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Old 04-01-2019, 20:44   #31
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

As a captain (license expired), mt climbing expedition leader (to 8000 meter peaks as well and lesser) and climb leader I have always given a safety talk, ship/climb expectations talk and such.

But for many the best talk is the organization talk. It is simple and serves to bring home just what we are doing. it goes like this:

This climb/sail is not a democracy - it is a Benevolent Dictatorship. I will ask for your thoughts and take them into consideration but when a decision is made. I will ask you, then tell you, then yell at you.

Of course there is more than that but it does bring into focus that decisions are made and then carried out without endless discussion.

As a climb/expedition leader I rarely have had to tell people what to do. Asking is enough if everyone knows what is expected. And, no amount of discussion will bring the **** heads into the "fold". Best to cull them before starting out.
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Old 04-01-2019, 21:08   #32
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

A good Captain has the last word
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Old 04-01-2019, 21:17   #33
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

A good Captain always takes responsibility for the ultimate decisions but I'd always open to input from others. But crew must always understand that the captains decision must always be respected since crew members may not have the full picture of the situation. I've always proceeded in a cool calm manner under all conditions. When things seem to be reeling out of control it's usually time to take a deep breath and slow the situation down.
Rational thought in rapidly changing situations can make the difference between success and failure.
Of course, if a pannicking crew member refuses an order I am not above using old time sailor language to motivate them.
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Old 06-01-2019, 21:27   #34
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

I also had a bad crewing experience.

In my case, I knew the skipper, and we got along fine. I had stipulated that I don't smoke or drink, and would be happy to crew (for free) if the rest of the crew were not smokers (or smoking) and drinking was saved for in port. IMHO, when you drink while underway, you are not of any use...and a safety risk.

Well, the skipper waited till we arrived in Spain (departed Canada by air) to tell me the other 2 crew "smoked occasionally". In fact they were chain smokers who smoked continuously the entire trip. Also, they were all alcoholics. We carried more booze than fresh water. I was often the only one sober, as they drank every day. At the end of my long night watch, I was often unable to wake the next watch...either still drunk or too hung over. I often found the other crew asleep on watch. A few days after we left the canaries, and there was no turning back, the skipper's wife called on the sat phone to tell him not to come home. The skipper went into a manic depression and took it out on the crew. This is all just the tip of the iceberg. For example, 2 of the crew (4 total) did not speak english and had no offshore experience.

On the bright side, I lost over 30 pounds and came home looking thin and tanned.

So my advice is that questions don't matter. Its all about trust. Do you trust them? After a few days of night watches, little sleep, bad food, big waves, wet clothes, and seasickness...the smiles come off. That's when you find out who these people are.

I took over 1000 pictures during the trip, and I would love to post a few images, but my camera somehow "disappeared" when we arrived in Antigua.
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Old 06-01-2019, 21:31   #35
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

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Originally Posted by lifeofreilly57 View Post
A good Captain has the last word
...and a bad captain just keeps on yelling and yelling.
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Old 11-01-2019, 07:45   #36
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

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Originally Posted by JC Reefer View Post
Crummy Crew dynamics can screw even the best of trips. Well at least make it less pleasant.

Rules:
Safety first
Keep water out of the boat
Keep the mast point up
Keep the boat moving
If you don’t know then ask

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My Rules....
No smoking on board.
No sailing under the influence, booze or drugs.
If someone blocks the heads, they unblock it!
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Old 11-01-2019, 07:57   #37
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pirate Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

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Originally Posted by JC Reefer View Post
Totally agree with all you wrote but only included a bit of your part.

I’d like to drag up the seized engine back up to the foreground. I would be grateful if the original poster would elaborate on the details.

Seems there are a few skippers who could use a slice of humble pie.

“Do as I say. Not as I do” seriously?

I have had problem crew in the past but I don’t think it was rule breaking or the lack of rules that was to blame.
Shove your Humble Pie up your butt..
I sometimes require my crew to wear life jackets if conditions require unless I know them very well and am confident of their abilities.. but even then there can be exceptions.
I do not however use life jackets or harness myself, even when solo, as I know my abilities are up to my needs for jobs in hand... I also do not send crew forward in weather, I go myself and make sure its done right first time.
If you were on a boat I was delivering you would put on a life jacket if told or get off at the nearest port and good riddance.
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Old 11-01-2019, 08:05   #38
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

as a crew member, i agree the captain has the last word. Having said that i will say that i have taken matters into my own hands. I recall a trip in the Bahamas. We were heading to the southern most cay and we had heavy winds at night. We wanted to bring down the main. somehow it stuck fast in the middle of the mast near the shrouds. it would not raise or lower and it was beating about madly. the boat was wallowing and the situation was not improving with time. i suggested climbing the mast to free the halyard, the captain said no but had no alternative. so i simply climbed the mast and freed the halyard and returned to the deck and lowered the main. obviously with out all that sail beating about things became calmer and we continued to the next anchorage.

The captain turned the boat around the next day and returned to Florida where we started out a few weeks prior. To give a better picture his wife had just left with the kids a few days before and it wasn't good. But it seemed that incident took the wind out of his sails. it was against the captains orders but swift action kept the situation from deteriorating. i was out a passage thru the canal and had passed up an offer on another boat crossing the Atlantic just a few days before.
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Old 11-01-2019, 08:14   #39
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

A couple simple suggestions;
1. Never order, always command
2. Never demean a crew member, especially a volunteer. Simply discuss the correction needed and move on. To keep berating a crew member will almost guarantee you will never see that crew member on your vessel again.
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Old 11-01-2019, 08:54   #40
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

I just got down with the same sort of situation, two sets of crew. These were "backpackers" wanting a free ride from one country to another, doing some sailing/learning.

I give each member of the crew a crew agreement that I got from Cruising World many years ago. I threw the first crew off the boat when they would not assist with their duties, which I allowed them to chose... They basically just wanted a free ride, even though the agreement spells out that they must work 3 hours per day to help with sailing maintenance.

The second crew worked, and helped out, but always had to have a discussion on ANY thing I asked them to do (one of the pair had actually crewed, and had a worthless certification from somewhere in the UK)... I was puzzled until I started to realize that they were part of the millennial generation. If you read about this generation you will find this is how they approach any problem... group think. I also noticed that when I assigned them a maintenance task, they needed to be micromanaged, even though when I we talked through the task, they new what to do....

They were backpackers also... so wanted a free ride, and abandoned the boat the minute we hit the destination port, and refused to help out with putting the boat away. This will be added from here on to the agreement

Dealing with this generation was exhausting, when compared to other generations. In conclusion, also look at the generation and evaluate the reason they want to crew, in detail, before you accept them.
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Old 11-01-2019, 09:04   #41
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

Being the skipper, it's important to remain relatively calm but assertive. Screaming orders may be interpreted as panic and is definitely not good if you have an inexperienced crew. As in the military, it may not hurt to run some brief training exercises with the crew prior to departure or while underway just to give the crew an idea of what to do should a situation arise.
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Old 11-01-2019, 09:07   #42
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

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My Rules....
No smoking on board.
No sailing under the influence, booze or drugs.
If someone blocks the heads, they unblock it!
I second the rule of absolutely no drugs aboard, not just "no using" but absolutely "no carrying" them. Any crew caught with drugs (even 420 in a state where it is legal) will be immediately disembarked. Many years ago, while I was crewing on a boat on a long-distance race, we got boarded by the Coast Guard and they found a stash of weed (at the time, it was illegal) that some idiot crew had smuggled aboard and hidden inside an unused sail bag in a locker. It was not pretty what happened next, for both the rest of the crew and the owner/skipper (to make things worse, needless to say, the culprit denied any involvement until much later). I have never had such an issue with crew on my boat, but that episode stuck on my mind as an example of how things can go South in a hurry for reasons that you may not be even aware of.
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Old 11-01-2019, 16:38   #43
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

Having the money to buy a boat does not mean someone knows what they are doing or should be given any sort of authority over others. It is just as much the crews responsibility to not go aboard a boat where the Skipper has the wrong personality to be a skipper or has limited knowledge. Do you really want this person to have any authority over you? Some skippers let it go to their heads that they are some sort of a God because they had the money to buy a boat. Now they can boss people around legally....and its massively good for the sense of self-importance. Not all skippers get that way of course, but too many do.

I learned a long time ago teaching a boating course for employees of a number of government agencies that not all people have the personality to be a good skipper.
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Old 11-01-2019, 19:10   #44
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

For me, the first rule of skippering is to not need any crew. If you know you can handle your vessel single-handed, then taking a crew becomes optional and makes it easier to pass on questionable prospects. Taking someone along that you don't want to spend time with is a mistake.

As a single-hander I have learned to be careful about taking a couple (of any sort) as crew. Too often they naturally assume that they should be making the decisions between themselves, rather than listen to the skipper. And if one doesn't agree with the skipper the other is likely to support them. I find taking two people who don't know each other first is preferable.

Most of us that have taken on crew over the years have our horror stories. It is important to remember the good - even great- experiences as well. A good crew can be a wonderful experience.

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Old 11-01-2019, 19:54   #45
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Re: The rules of Crewing and Skippering

I'm a long-time commercial aircraft pilot.

My craft, my rules. I am responsible for your safety.

PS:
I have zero patience for nincompoops. If you smell like a suicide, I personally invite you to wait for the next ride.

One example == we had a milk-run from SEA to Travis AFB near Frisco via Turkey Spain Greenland. We were diverted to Germany to pick-up a couple spooks. We exchanged one secret squirrel for another in Turkey. From before they crawled aboard at Ram to all the way to Clark in the PI, all the spooks were falling-down drunk, but were compliant. All I needed was one word of sass, and they would be restrained and gagged then dumped on the closest friendlies.

Ask me about a subsequent all-night card game at a hootch in Olongapo. And the proprietor had a python fetish. For the five days we were their baby-sitters, the spooks managed to stay falling-down drunk. Their names == both of them == were 'Roger', something they thought was falling-down hilarious to repeatedly admit to a flight crew.
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