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Old 05-08-2010, 22:52   #1
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Crew Horror Stories

The 'A Rant....OK, a Moan' thread has me shaking my head in amazement and dismay, but on the plus side it provides an interesting if shocking story to tell over drinks or the Internet. So: I was wondering if anyone else has crew horror stories they may wish to share. Feel free to change the names to protect the (not so) inncocent .

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Old 09-09-2010, 12:09   #2
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I do! But I've got a lot more skipper and owner horror stories!

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Old 09-09-2010, 12:12   #3
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Come on then, dish the dirt.
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:20   #4
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How about a captain/owner who, upon reaching San Diego from southern MX asked me to go find some engine belts. When I returned there sat my bags packed and sitting on the dock. Owner and boat were gone along with my travel reimbursement and the monies I had paid for food, fuel, etc.
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Old 09-09-2010, 13:27   #5
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I was going to crew on a boat to Hawaii from San Diego. I met the owner and captain, neither one of which could tell me with a straight face who was going to be in charge. The owner didn't want to do any work short of give orders, the captain pulled me aside and said all kinds of garbage about the owner, and wanted me to cook sushi for him every other night.

The owner wanted to get out there in three weeks, leaving in a few days, spend a week sailing around the big island with a friend, then we needed to come back, also allocating three weeks.

I showed up a few days before we were going to leave at a time we had scheduled in advance, and the owner was drunk off his ass passed out in his berth. Oh, and this same guy thought it was bad luck to leave on a Friday. Of all the things that he could do to make a passage more successful, he resorted to an archaic superstition.

I passed on the whole affair.

Two months later the boat was for sale. I'm so happy I didn't get onboard that hellride.
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Old 11-09-2010, 13:17   #6
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Crew who new it all

SWMBO and I had been in Gibraltar for a week with Allaboard doing a Day Skipper Practical Course . The course was two weeks and we were joined for the second week by a quiet German guy and John from Weymouth . Well he was doing his Coastal Skipper Qualification so the Instructor gave him the job of a crew brief and out to sea . We were briefed .. About not being afraid if the boat tipped etc . What a day . Everything had to be done BY THE BOOK .. Etc . WE had had a great time upto this point . We were now dreading the rest of the week

Anyway . At the end of the day we arrived back in Gibraltar and SWMBO decided that she would sort the food because she would know what had gone in it . We all departed to the pub . Had a couple and returned back to the boat .

What a great meal . Couple of bottles of wine and the John says he's off for a shower . We all breath a sigh . He's gone . Next we hear . Man Over Board . We all pile up on deck and he has managed to hook a foot round a line as he was departing the bow and finished up with feet on the bows and finger tips on the quay . Not being able to do anything else he let go . SPLASH . Couldn't have happened to a nicer chap .

He headed off to the showers and we went below .

No one say anything when he comes back . Its been bad enough all day let alone this as well .

I'm banned from SAYING ANYTHING by SWMBO on pain of death . Off to the cabin and early to bed .

Next morning still banned from saying a word as I exit the cabin to make coffee . John is already up and dressed . First thing he says is " That was a daft thing to do wasn't it . Well he started it so we all pitched in .

He was nowhere as bad for the rest of the holiday ..

Meanwhile the quiet German 'Mark' would rush down below everytime we got within site of a port to see if he had a signal on his mobile. Then we all had to do HIS bit because he was busy chatting to friends about what he had been doing all day ....

Oh .. Did I say John is something to do with the 2012 Olympics in Weymouth ..

Hi JOHN ... NICE ONE .....
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Old 18-09-2010, 16:40   #7
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pirate How about a Mexican booze cruise?

Back in the heyday of Cabo San Lucas when everyone was building timeshare condos and getting drunk gringos to foot the bill, there was a lot of "free" booze cruises for attending the timeshare seminars.

I found myself on one of these. It was actually kinda cool, but then I love a wreckless Mexican vaction. I got some free tickets and hit the dock with a friend. This old beater triple decker that was probably an old ferry built in the 1930s sailed out of port with a Mexican rock band going full bore and all the free pina coladas and margaritas you could hold down.

First, the weather started getting rough, and the band was kinda doing the two-step back and forth across the stage as the boat rocked. Then came the "fireworks show" which was basically the crew launching these fat skyrockets from the top deck. Many of them were landing back on the boat before exploding. If I recall, one rocket bounced off the deck and landed right in the middle of the band before exploding in a shower of sparks. The band played on and the crowd of about 30 sunburned and hard drinking gringos didn't flinch. But I was getting kinda concerned because I noticed: 1) the boat was now listing about 20 degrees to port, and 2) we were foundering about 1 mile outside the harbor, in heavy seas.

I climbed up a ladder to look into the bridge to see why the boat was no longer motoring, but listing, and rocking hard. What I saw sent a shiver down my spine. The captain had taken apart the steering gear and was using a mallet to hammer something into place inside the wheel housing.

I went back down to the party deck and told my buddy that we may have to swim back to Cabo (an unlikely event given the currents down there) and to keep drinking. The captain managed to get the boat going again and we motored in as if nothing had gone wrong. That was a true booze cruise.
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Old 22-09-2010, 11:59   #8
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Not sure if this qualifies as a 'crew horror story' but here goes. i was engaged to deliver a fair size power boat to Puerto Vallarta from San Diego a number of years ago. I knew the owners casually as they were moored on the same dock as we were. Had more $ than brains which should have been my first clue that something was amiss. Cosmetically, the boat was fairly well maintained but I was a little concerned about the seaworthiness of the mechanical systems. I badgered the owner about having the tanks cleaned for several weeks before the scheduled departure while I checked out the other main systems. He finally assured me that the tanks were cleaned and fuel polished and we were good to go. I even took the boat out of the harbor to test things out and the owner asked me not to run up over 1300 rpm as he was trying to conserve fuel. The night before we were to leave, a crew member who he had hired got into it with a woman who showed up at the boat. Both appeared to have been drinking heavily and we watched them physically fighting from our boat down the dock. Police were called, woman ejected from the marina and the owner fired the crew member. This guy had been hired without me knowing about it (another harbinger of trouble ahead). My wife agreed to come along to help out along with another couple who the owner had previously invited, making up a group of 6. About 20 hours out, everything shut down... both engines, generator, causing loss of power to all refrigeration, 110v systems,stabilizers etc. Position was about 120 km north of Cedros Island out 50 km from shore. Boat immediately swung beam on to the heavy northwesterly swell running about 8 to 10 feet. Immediately ran down to the engine room and checked the fuel filters which were clogged with muck and debris ( I had cleaned them just prior to leaving). Swapped out the filters and got one engine running but no generator. I asked the owner who cleaned the tanks and his reply was that his boat had been sabotaged by the crew he fired who obviously had come back aboard and put coffee grounds down the fuel filler. Finally got the other engine running just in time to have the first engine start blowing smoke due to the fact that the owner had never run either engine over 1300 rpm which caused the turbo to choke up. Long story, but the disasters continued to mount, mechanically and electrically (one generator caught fire between Cabo and PV). The owner refused to return to Cabo for repairs so we limped into PV in the middle of the night and immediately left the boat first thing in the morning. Certainly, the delivery from hell!
Lessons learned:
Everyone understands who is in charge, Skipper? Owner? Guests?
Check and double check every system under as many sea conditions as possible
Make sure you know something about everyone who is going to be aboard, capabilities, experience, personality (if possible)
You hire or invite the crew
Don't ever take representations at face value as to condition of vessels systems

The one bright spot to this whole disaster was the couple who accompanied us turned out to be wonderful folks who remained our friends for years.
As a footnote, the owner sold the boat in Mexico years later and I was asked to bring her north by the new owners. On entering Puerto Vallarta harbor on the way to San Diego, we were met by an attorney representing a mexican national who claimed he had been stiffed by the former owner and wanted $3000 in back wages. The Port Captain would not clear the boat until the claim was paid. I negotiated a settlement and we were on our way. Life is never dull out there!! Capt Phil
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Old 27-09-2010, 15:11   #9
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Confined spaces

No matter how well you know someone, you will see their true personality after a few days of sailing confined to a small boat. I know this from experience

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Old 19-10-2015, 11:09   #10
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Re: Crew Horror Stories

Bump, I would like to read more stories. lol

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