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Old 04-11-2008, 13:50   #1
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Lightbulb Volunteer Crew - General Question

1st post here...


Brief Background and reason of my post:

I plan on taking ASA Keel boat sailing courses soon outside of Houston, TX but as of right now, have no direct sailing experience. Moderate motor boat experience but never ownership. However, I have had the sailing BUG... illness...disease since childhood, and never did anything about it.

This summer, my wife and I took off from work, and rode my BMW motorcycle from Houston to Guatemala and back. Been motorcycling across the U.S. and Mexico for some time now, but that is fading and seeking new adventures. I want to sail, but havent acquired the net worth yet to buy a rig and slip. I know (or have a good idea) of what the cost of ownership is for cruising rigs and its a tall order.

In short, I want to pursue my dream of sailing (coastal or blue water). I am 33 yrs old, about to finish up my degree in Finance (finally), married and have a professional career in the Oil & Gas business. Clean cut, articulate, former Medic in the U.S. Army Reserves, very technically savvy, very intuitive, and most of all..... very adventurous. Who else rides a motorcycle across jungles, mountains, deserts in foreign lands with the only gear & possessions being what fits in saddle bags for weeks on end.

I would be able to pay for my own transportation costs to/from port.... all food, land lodging, personal expenses, but what is the real likelihood of hooking up as a crew on a cruise to South America, or an Altantic crossing on a private boat? After my ASA courses, I will have nothing but the itch to get my feet wet and get some real experience. I could realistically take 3 months for a journey off from work.

Is somthing like this entirely possible for a person in my position?
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Old 04-11-2008, 14:39   #2
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You might want to see if you can get a crew position on a delivery. I am familiar with the California to Hawaii races, and there are usually boats looking for crew on the trip back to the West Coast. Check out the websites for the Transpac (2009) and Pacific Cup (2010) races -- the PacCup at least has a race/delivery crew signup area. I picked up one of my return crew from the PacCup list. These websites will be pretty dead now, though. No doubt there are other races that need crew for the trip home.

Also, there are cruiser's rallys, where some of the boats may need crew. The "Baja Ha-ha" from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, is under way now. There will be a good number of boats needing help getting back up the coast (it's called the "Baja Bash" for a good reason, though.)

Ask on the forums (like this one). For example, I have needed crew to help on a passage, and then dropped them off at the destinationand brought my family aboard for the daysailing or short-distance island-hopping.
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Old 04-11-2008, 14:50   #3
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I'll second the idea of crewing on a Baja Bash, I did it and it was a great learning experience and a lot of fun. I found the opportunity on Craigslist. If you can handle it, then cruising may be for you. In my opinion, one of the primary things to consider in crewing is putting your life in the captain's hands. How well will you get to know each other before you head offshore with him/her. What kind of skills/experience/judgement/philosophy do they have. How easy are you to get along with? Almost anyone can learn technical skills with practice, but not everyone can learn interpersonal skills.
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Old 04-11-2008, 15:04   #4
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I noticed that both posts referred to Racing Endeavours, or coming back from one.

My mental picture would be a private cruising sail taking it easy, seeing the sights, ports, islands, enjoying the journey, and getting some quality time learning from those experienced crewman. Hooking up with a couple and paying 100% of my own way but taking it easy all at the same time.

May I assume that a capt. and crew bringing a boat back from an event would be in a bee-line hurry to get back to port and deliver the vessel, or do these guys take it easy and see the sights on the way as well?

Have no problem in trusting my life to a capt. Its just like motorcycle riding in a way... My wife gets major credit for riding on the back for thousands of miles with me driving in a foreign country and not hitting me.
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Old 04-11-2008, 16:28   #5
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Every case is different, the couple I hooked up with wanted to bring their boat back from Mexico to the San Francisco Bay Area. They wanted to take it slow and enjoy themselves, so we spent three weeks from San Diego. It was a lot of fun, and we got to see the Channel Islands, swim, snorkel, fish, kayak in caves, spend 4 days in Monterey, two days in LA, etc. Lots of anchoring, lots of motoring, not very much sailing, but that's to be expected coming North.
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Old 04-11-2008, 21:34   #6
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The typical delivery is a no-nonsense voyage, with the emphasis on reaching the destination quiclky without breaking anything expensive. This can still be very enjoyable, and you get some great experience. If you sail with the owner it's going to depend on their priorities and itinerary. In my case, sailing back from Hawaii to San Francisco there aren't many (any!) places to stop along the way.

Sometimes cruisers are looking for another able hand as they sail along. It's probably harder to find a spot like that, but they do exist. I know some cruisers who look for "contributions" from their crew, and this can be a great experience (or not). Delivery crews typically get paid or at least expenses covered, but this depends on their experience level.
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Old 04-11-2008, 22:08   #7
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Welcome aboard 97Octane. You will find plenty of help around this site.

Here are some thoughts off the top off my head.

Experience - You don't have any but you sound like you have a great attitude and when you get the sailing lessons done will bein good shape to get going.

Racing - Casual club racing would probably be no problem. Super competitive racing will probably require more skill than you have now. I would hang out at the local clubs and start to get plugged in. Usually lots happening.

Deliveries - Straight bee-line. On a schedule, comfort not a factor. Often lot's of motoring because you are on a schedule. Could pick this up as a 3rd guy with little experience.

Cruising with another couple - This is like getting struck by lightning. I think you have to be ready and not be on any schedule. Cruisers won't adjust thier plans to fit your work schedule. The stories I have heard is by people hangin out at likely jump off locations and getting hooked up serendipity or pounding websites after websites posting your availability. And Finally cruising families often won't be looking to add a stranger and the dynamics that come with that to the crew.

Oil & Gas is cool. There are lot's of oil and gas people in SEA. Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei etc are big oil producers. If you are the adventurous type figure out how to come to Asia. Tons of sailing out here.
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:59   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Welcome aboard 97Octane. You will find plenty of help around this site.

Here are some thoughts off the top off my head.

Experience - You don't have any but you sound like you have a great attitude and when you get the sailing lessons done will bein good shape to get going.

Racing - Casual club racing would probably be no problem. Super competitive racing will probably require more skill than you have now. I would hang out at the local clubs and start to get plugged in. Usually lots happening.

Deliveries - Straight bee-line. On a schedule, comfort not a factor. Often lot's of motoring because you are on a schedule. Could pick this up as a 3rd guy with little experience.

Cruising with another couple - This is like getting struck by lightning. I think you have to be ready and not be on any schedule. Cruisers won't adjust thier plans to fit your work schedule. The stories I have heard is by people hangin out at likely jump off locations and getting hooked up serendipity or pounding websites after websites posting your availability. And Finally cruising families often won't be looking to add a stranger and the dynamics that come with that to the crew.

Oil & Gas is cool. There are lot's of oil and gas people in SEA. Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei etc are big oil producers. If you are the adventurous type figure out how to come to Asia. Tons of sailing out here.

Great information guys.... I thank you for all the thoughtful responses.

Time isnt really a problem for me. If it became a problem after a few months, I would no issue with arranging to be dropped off at a port, and I would buy airfare back. I have the means to do that from virtually anywhere in the world financially. I am very financially capable of taking care of any situation I would ever possibly find myself in, including medical emergency... short of an acute case of death.

But you all have basically answered my fundamental question and at least have given me realistic expectations of my goals and I thank you.

What I am hearing is,

1.) Crewing on a delivery is entirely possible. Would get some sailing experience, but sounds like its less than leisure, pleasure, comfort cruise even though I do have more than adaquate financial resouces to help cope/compensate at any ports or destinations.

2.) Private Owner (Couple Cruising) - Sound like my cup of tea, but also sounds like it may be quite difficult to find the right opportunity.

I would love for my wife to want to go, and connect up with another couple in Clear Lake, Galveston, or Corpus.... get to know one another before setting sail and have a spectacular time, but I dont think she has quite the interest I do. (At least concering a multi-month voyage at sea costing thousands, its not her ideal image of a vacation, but its right up my alley. If we are going to spend 10K plus, she wants to go Nepal and India.

We both are well travelled internationally, have passports and the Missus speaks the Espanol almost fluently. I get by with my spanglish, but I can order beer like no tomorrow.
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Old 10-11-2008, 06:35   #9
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Well,

The wife and I took ASA 101 this weekend. Had a great time... 2nd day we had a nice steady easterly wind at 20Mph and made for some great sailing on a 22' catalina.

ASA 103 - 104 coming soon
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Old 10-11-2008, 07:15   #10
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In the meantime. Get your lessons done, and get in what ever sailing you can. That includes dinghies on a small lake. SMALL boat sailing will improve your skills more than anything, except for a great mentor.......BEST WISHES in getting on a fun boat......i2f

One last thought. In June I asked for crew here in CF. It was a quick delivery from Miami to Green Cove Springs Floida. It was only 42 hours, but Jerry got some experience for the feel of a catamaran. He also got in some navigation time. He found somethings he will like & dislike on a future purchase of a boat. Getting on as many different boats as you can will help you make a wiser decision for yourself if you ever purchase.
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