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Old 16-03-2016, 10:21   #16
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

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Originally Posted by coffsguy View Post
Stories abound in various CF threads of volunteer crew arriving at a vessel to find the skipper and his boat nothing like as portrayed in the crew wanted posting ... check out a very informative thread "Checklist for volunteer crew'.

As enticing as it might be for aspiring novices anyone hopping on a boat intending to make an extended blue-water passage is putting their lives and well-being in the hands of an unfamiliar skipper/owner, other crew, and the boat itself.

Take for instance a pacific crossing which is around 9,000 nautical miles. In some places the nearest assistance could be over 1,500 nautical miles away (a minimum 12-14 days sailing time). Something as simple as a failed impeller or belt could potentially lead to an inoperative motor, flat batteries and/or no refrigeration after several days. Running out of/or contaminated water would be equally inconvenient. In the event of a catastrophic equipment failure or collision a sat phone or HF radio would potentially allow a distress call to be responded to by vessels in closer proximity, but not all vessels have this equipment.

Having sailed with many skippers and on numerous boats over the last eight years and also owned my own vessel here are the things I would look at or consider prior to embarking on an extended blue-water passage or remote area cruising. It is not a complete list and additions, amendments and comments would be welcomed.


- 2x2 metre fender boards (50mmx250mm) incl. lines (allows pylon berthing in remote ports)
- sufficient fenders and mooring lines
- rigging (when checked/replaced), turnbuckles, jack/safety lines
- evident hull/deck damage or stress crazing
- last antifouling, stiff bristle brush/scraper with extension handle, snorkel/mask
- ground tackle (spare chain, rode, anchors, anchor tripping line & float) min 80 metres chain plus rode
- anchor winch, manual option?, bow roller condition
- headsail/jib furler(s) , check foil damage, condition of jib sheets (spare lines?)
- boom car/all pulley blocks running freely, main furler bearing, tack hook (spare if possible)
- condition of sails, is mainsail binding when furled, sail repair kit, spares/storm sail,, drogue/sea anchor
- condition of lines, sheets, halyards, deck fittings (spare line 10mm, 12mm, 14mm)
- assorted shackles, snap hooks, pulley blocks, bolts, tools, sealant
- sheet winches, handles, bosun's chair
- Q flag

- steering quadrant, cables/hydraulics, emergency tiller
- keel bolts, bilge/bilge pump(s) incl handle, seacocks, hoses, shaft seal
- engine condition, hours, cooling system, maintenance records, manuals
- when was impeller replaced, is there a spare and tools/access to fit it
- fuel capacity, consumption rates, reserve jerries,
- spare fuel/oil filters, spare belts, oils/lubricants, adequate tool kit, hose/repair materials
- fresh water tanks, reserve jerries 2x20 lit, pressure pump okay, spare, head operation, holding tank, hoses & lines

- batteries, age/amperage, charging sources, consumption rates
- spare fuses/teminals, multimeter, cable, tape, tools
- communication equipment/radios, AIS, radar, weather forecasting
- navigation equipment/instruments, GPS, autopilot, wind, depth, log, software
- physical and electronic charts, guides, destination information, entry req'ment/fees, ships papers
- current/registered EPIRB(s), appropriate offshore safety equipment, Type 1 life jackets , harnesses, tethers, weather gear">foul weather gear
- life raft, life ring/bouy/strobe, dinghy
- comprehensive first aid kit/dressings & medications
- emergency grab bag (epirb equipped if possible)

- books/reading material, cards, board games, music
- blankets/linen
- fishing equipment, reel/rod, lures/tackle
- sufficient LPG
- refrigeration, adequate dry storage, kitchen/BBQ utensils/equipment (good knives please)
- basic dry provisions for a three person four month trip:
toot paper (2-3rolls/week), paper towels (2x2 pack), washing detergent/powder, disinfectant, bleach
cling wrap, alum foil x2, baggies, plastic containers
frying oil (2x5 litres), rice 10kg, plain flour (2x5kg), rice flour, oats, yeast, baking/bi carb soda
salt/pepper, white sugar (3x2kg), instant coffee (3x400g), tea bags (allow30/wk)
seasonings, curry powder, vinegar, golden syrup, powdered milk, coconut cream, tomato paste capsules, soy sauce, green curry paste (3x200g), crunchy & smooth peanut butter, vegemite
nuts (8x500g), barley sugar (4x250g packs), various muesli bars (10x10 packs)
Nice list, can be used as conversation piece but totally impractical. Just give me a five min time to speak to the owner is all I need. I will follow looking up any info about his boat or and any questions he has posted on the forum.

If I send your "list" to the owner, he would just move to other offers instead. You don't want to project yourself as a high maintenance crew, no one has time for that.

There is always problems may occur, it is a boat after all. You will deal with it as it comes. You are a skipper/crew (worker or slave....LOL) and not a guest.
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Old 16-03-2016, 10:29   #17
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Old 16-03-2016, 11:40   #18
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

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Originally Posted by Lizzy Belle View Post
Am I the only one who's wondering what the OP feels the crew should bring to the table?
I can think of a few things I'd like crew to know / do / be aware of before volunteering

-

@SeaSick: hahaha! I might take on crew in the future, but if they want a luxury cruise with their favorite food and pre-approved steak knifes ready and waiting for them ... pls don't waste my time emailing me your demands

What should crew bring to the table....easy...I'd bring Boatie! Lol


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Old 16-03-2016, 11:55   #19
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

Coffsguy:
Nice list, but I have to admit to my 1 (so far) volunteer as crew from Bermuda to Annapolis involved little more than...can I be a member of your crew...I flew to Bermuda, hopped a cab, arrived at boat, a 38 ft Island Packet, to find that I was 1 of 4 for the return trip. Skipper/owner was a 6'8", 70ish ex-college basketball player who's knees were shot, requiring a line to be wrapped around the nearest winch for leverage to stand up. 2nd mate was 65-70 yo male-type with bilateral hearing aids that when wet stopped working. 3rd crew member was my age 50ish with all body parts functioning and me. Excellent boat but with a few idiosyncrasies: radar was dead, autopilot dead (no windvane), refrigeration worked but wanted to really be a freezer. 10 days back to Annapolis was good fun. Had 2, 5gal jerry cans lashed on deck, plenty of fresh water in onboard tanks - cant say i knew how many gallons. Skipper oriented us to ditch bag, life raft, engine, lines, etc. A few days out the generator began to smoke during routine daily running for 1-3 hrs. Thankfully no fire after shut down..all in all an excellent experience...alittle drama crossing the gulf stream when clouds, lightening, and winds kicked up, but all went well. So bottomline, i arrived with foul weather gear, a few t-shirts, shorts, sun glasses, harness, book, life jacket and i-pod...in retrospect ..wish i had brought some sani wipes, handheld GPS, and Starbucks coffee, other wise... good to go. Dave PS..have to go w/ thumbs down on the vegimint
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Old 16-03-2016, 12:16   #20
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

my experience has been with crew who were exactly opposite their description and agenda. this is not appreciated, as saboteurs are literally a dime per dozen. ask me how i know.

the goal is positivity, not destruction.
people, err, potential crew and potential assistants are screened for a reason.
crew to my boat are working in my home. i am sharing my home and entrusting my life to your shaking hands and lack of judgement.

potential crew need to be communicative,
they need to follow instructions without question,
and they need to be able to recognise changes immediately.
this is nothing more than i expect of my self. remember you are being allowed to sail my home.
you want epirb, bring one.
you want life raft, sorry i have these other options.
if you want liferaft, bring one.
no, you may not bring drugs or weeds. you may not bring booze.
you may bring your own pfd of choice.
so far, folks have wanted to test my auto inflatable ones but refuse to bring replacement co2 cartridges for same when splained what kind and model pfd i supply.
i donot provide your special needs items. you had surgeries and cannot tolerate XXX in your diet-- do not tell me you have no health issues.
you just had myocardial infarct, yet tell me you are healthy as a 20 yr old-- stay away.
i donot provide your medicines nor health care delivery nor funerals. no i willnot carry an aed.
sorry.
no i will not allow you to bring one.
you gonna live to next port or stay away.
schizophrenics with 20 voices telling you to kill me--stay the HELL away. your misery is unwanted here.
if you havent a clue as to how the item works for which i hired you-- stay home.
yes this is my home and everything i own., respect or leave.
most of those insisting on helping have been less than helpful.
yes, each thing i mentioned has been brought to my boat.
so have disrespect and sabotage.
i have no need nor desire for those.
if you have drama-- keep it away. i live peaceful life. not always quiet, but peace filled.
and do NOT mess with my cat. you WILL no longer be welcome. yes i toned that down massively. and if he doesnt like ye-- go.

i must mention my first crew out of san diego--they were awesome.
i know more like them exist, but are harder to find. they are also very busy. (good crew always are busy)
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Old 16-03-2016, 13:00   #21
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

I think the O/P is spot on and should defiantly email this list to any potential skipper they wish to sail with. It will be enormous help in the difficult process of crew selection, just don't buy you ticket to the boat until you hear back...
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Old 16-03-2016, 13:07   #22
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

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Originally Posted by nebeluk View Post
It has to be Marmite !


And OXO - the really big square jars of liquid OXO (anybody know where you can still get them?). When you are cold and wet, nothing beats a big mug of steaming hot OXO.

And Marmalade, of course!

PS Good knives make a lot of sense (e.g. my cooking knives are good Sabatier ones - there are very bad Sabatier ones though, they license them to just anybody), but the most important thing, is a good knife sharpener (my favourite is a large Ruby Ceramic that Spyderco once made).

Blunt knives are really dangerous.

PPS Marmite is the secret ingredient in something I make that everybody likes - even if they don't like Marmite. I'd bring my own.
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Old 16-03-2016, 14:00   #23
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

Seasick has the right idea. One skipper out of Marathon going to Norfolk was very experienced over cocktails. Went out for a little shakedown and he couldnt find his way back in broad daylight. Ran aground even after he was told he was going the wrong way. Another skipper Marathon to NYC) who I had faith in gave the control to one of the crew. We sailed into NY harbour at two in the morning on the wrong side of the markers to stay out of the traffic and touched the rocks.
Seasick you are on the right track.
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Old 16-03-2016, 16:45   #24
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
my experience has been with crew who were exactly opposite their description and agenda. this is not appreciated, as saboteurs are literally a dime per dozen. ask me how i know.

the goal is positivity, not destruction.
people, err, potential crew and potential assistants are screened for a reason.
crew to my boat are working in my home. i am sharing my home and entrusting my life to your shaking hands and lack of judgement.

potential crew need to be communicative,
they need to follow instructions without question,
and they need to be able to recognise changes immediately.
this is nothing more than i expect of my self. remember you are being allowed to sail my home.
you want epirb, bring one.
you want life raft, sorry i have these other options.
if you want liferaft, bring one.
no, you may not bring drugs or weeds. you may not bring booze.
you may bring your own pfd of choice.
so far, folks have wanted to test my auto inflatable ones but refuse to bring replacement co2 cartridges for same when splained what kind and model pfd i supply.
i donot provide your special needs items. you had surgeries and cannot tolerate XXX in your diet-- do not tell me you have no health issues.
you just had myocardial infarct, yet tell me you are healthy as a 20 yr old-- stay away.
i donot provide your medicines nor health care delivery nor funerals. no i willnot carry an aed.
sorry.
no i will not allow you to bring one.
you gonna live to next port or stay away.
schizophrenics with 20 voices telling you to kill me--stay the HELL away. your misery is unwanted here.
if you havent a clue as to how the item works for which i hired you-- stay home.
yes this is my home and everything i own., respect or leave.
most of those insisting on helping have been less than helpful.
yes, each thing i mentioned has been brought to my boat.
so have disrespect and sabotage.
i have no need nor desire for those.
if you have drama-- keep it away. i live peaceful life. not always quiet, but peace filled....
I think we must know the same people......

A memorable quote ( one of many) from my last misfortune.. 'It wasn't in my contract that I had to steer the boat'.... FMTT and beyond....the goose had contacted us and volunteered.. I hadn't been looking for crew... 1st mate said a 3rd watchkeeper would make life easier.... she won't say that again.

Its a lot easier to check out a boat and skipper than it is to check out crew.

From now on I have a very short list of acceptable crew... it has one name on it... they have already done about 15000 miles with me.
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Old 16-03-2016, 17:27   #25
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

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Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
Also a compatibility check as in 2-3 days of interaction with the other crew. I find crew compatibility to be a major factor which can either mitigate otherwise an unpleasant trip or ruin a good one.
My own trans-atlantic volunteer crew experience: The skipper confirmed his boat is "smoke free", and it would be a "dry" trip (no drinking) to keep it safe underway. The reality was 3 heavy drinking chainsmokers who had barely sailed before and spoke little english. The entirety of nautical terminology was reduced to "ya ya ya" and "no no no". To my surprise, they all had daily fresh water showers, expected their drinks to be ice cold, and had little interest in food or standing watch.

I didn't find out about the smoking (I'm an outspoken NON-Smoker) until I was already in Europe, enroute to the boat. I didn't find out about the drinking till we were headed to the Canaries and they were all extremely drunk the first night at sea. I considered jumping ship in Gran Canaria, but the skipper basically cast off while we were sleeping, less than 12 hours after arriving in Las Palmas.

The boat itself was in good shape. But the skipper had no idea how to operate the $20,000 worth of electronics he had had installed. I did my best, but there is no way to calibrate some electronics while at sea. My Garmin etrex (yellow) ($99 at walmart) sufficed (I had pre-loaded the critical waypoints).

I spent 3 days convincing the skipper to take the great circle route, since he had never heard of such a thing before. In the end, I don't think I convinced him the great circle was a shorter distance, we just got tired of debating it.

So even if you do your due diligence, people lie. People lie a lot.
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Old 16-03-2016, 17:43   #26
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

I do not pretend to be in any way worthy to reply to this post. But, from the replies that I have read, he may have failed to demand what I have observed to be his most necessary required provision...

Charmin! NOT White Cloud! He is obviously full of $#!^ !!!

Aarrrgh!
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Old 16-03-2016, 18:00   #27
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

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What should crew bring to the table....easy...I'd bring Boatie!
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Old 16-03-2016, 18:08   #28
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

I don't think I ever volunteered to be crew. I was always Pressganged.

Usually clouds of dust and lots of tooting of horns from about 400 yds away in the drive, to get me to get a move on, and a "Grab your stuff! We're going sailing!"

Still it usually meant lots of food (sometimes even Bill's famous dressed crab, and his missus Mary was an awesome chef as well), and large amounts of beer poured down my throat, so I didn't mind really.

Sometimes they even told me where we were going.
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Old 16-03-2016, 18:35   #29
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Re: Things you should know before volunteering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaarrgh View Post
I do not pretend to be in any way worthy to reply to this post. But, from the replies that I have read, he may have failed to demand what I have observed to be his most necessary required provision...

Charmin! NOT White Cloud! He is obviously full of $#!^ !!!

Aarrrgh!
I think some posters are misunderstanding the purpose of my original posting. I was not in any way implying that it be used in the way suggested by some members as that would be rude and intrusive.

There are many very experienced and reliable skippers around and I agree that having an initial chat over the phone or a coffee is a good means of determining if the conversation should continue. Spending

What I am simply saying to newcomers is that you shouldn't assume just because someone owns a boat that they (and the vessel) will get you safely to you destination. The list I posted is based on my own crewing experiences and that of others I have heard of during the last eight years where things didn't turn out as expected.

As for the comments about provisioning I perhaps unwisely listed what I carried on my boat - yes, I like to cook and I find fish and sometimes limited local produce pretty boring after a while. As for the peanut butter, I often use it for satays, but more importantly I carry it as a high energy emergency food source.

To newcomers who dream of crossing oceans, don't give up

To others who seem to have been offended, my apologies.
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Old 16-03-2016, 18:45   #30
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Not offended at all.. slightly amused.
If anyone volunteers to crew with me they are my guest.. in my home whether its my boat or a delivery.. its one and the same.
I do not know the customs of others.. however if you come to stay with me and then make demands that I change my habits to conform with your prejudices you'll be judged an ass and kicked of the boat.. I've done it before and would cheerfully do it again.
Where do folks get off rearranging MY galley and stores to suit themselves when they cannot even cook water..
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