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Old 28-01-2010, 04:09   #1
mct
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Couples as Crew - No Thanks

(dunno if this is the right place for this post...)

I sail three longish passages each year, and take crew found from sites like 7knots, findacrew, ybw and (next month) a guy from here too. We swap emails, get references and usually its somewhere between fine and fab.

BUT i am extremely wary of taking along a couple, for lots of reasons.

I reckon it spoils the dynamic - a team within a team. Each of the rest of us is an individual and also a part of the team - but those two have their own special little team as well.

Couples also have that awkward power - "we think..." "Stu and i have been talking and ..." so that your crew isn't bunch of individuals any more.

Of course, if you're a couple then taking along another couple might be fine. There again, it might not.

Couples work at their relationship, which of course is fine. But when new crew come on the boat, I want them to work at the relationship with me and other crew, and not have the always-somewhat-higher-priority of each other.

Once, with a couple crew i had, the guy fell on the foredeck whilst at sea. I had to physically restrain his girlfriend from rushing up to help without clipping on etc first. Couples look out for each other above almost anything else.

Couples usually have a leader/spokesperson and it might be either the guy or the girl. So you tend to have the ideas person and the tagalong. Sometimes the leader/follower thing is so strong that you ask one of a question - the other answers for them. Or you tell one them to do something and they check it with their other half. I even had one couple who planned to swap watches and thought that "their" watches were a joint task that they could divvy around as they fancied - he'd do a bit more watches and she'd do his galley chores. I don't think so - would she swap watches with anyone else? Nope, thought not. I haven't had it but i can see the possibility of getting from here to "i'd prefer it if you don't talk to him/her like that..."

I note also that where there some storm/rescue boat, it seems disproportionately common for the crew to skipper/owner owner PLUS - a not-to experienced couple. Perfect storm, the catamaran in tasmania in the press recently and lots more. What seems to happen is that one of the couple gets frightened/hurt - so their partner dedicates themselves to looking after their partner, and/or makes strong representations to skipper about what ought to happen now. This wouldn't happen in any other crew of three in total - one down would mean the other two have to sail the boat in turns.

Yep, and of course, they're having sex and I'm not. I wondered if that's the main thing, but it isn't, no really...
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Old 28-01-2010, 04:34   #2
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There are a couple of very sensible points here.. Perhaps someone who has experienced this situation would like to comment?
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Old 28-01-2010, 05:41   #3
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Hello…. mct….

Couples are a double edge sword that if it works will give you crew who are living the dream onboard your investment, happy with each other and not out seeking companionship in every port. That can mean longevity with crew and a stable relationship.

Unfortunately it usually cuts the other way and the team dynamics do get spoiled because of the personal relationship trumping crew relationship.

One partner is also usually better crew than the other, but you are stuck with this package deal and are forced to compromise your standards.

As a super yacht Captain I never hired couples and actively discouraged hallway romances, but once nature took over I would know it was only a matter of time before I lost one or both professional crew.

Also, I think your last line while probably tongue in cheek might be the primary reason it doesn’t work for most boat owners or lonely captains.

Let’s be honest! … we “A” types don’t like to just sit on the bench and watch!

Certainly glad my girl sails with me now on my own boat and the crew cabin is situated well forward with 3 privacy doors in between our cabin.

I just think of it as my way of helping my single crew to work for and achieve his own dream
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Old 28-01-2010, 05:57   #4
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I was following and understanding well untill the last line re sex

Maybe this offers an insight into how a mans mind works?
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Old 28-01-2010, 06:09   #5
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Old 28-01-2010, 06:42   #6
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And what about the "captains wife"? They can be just as bad
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Old 28-01-2010, 06:50   #7
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maybe you were sailing with the wrong couples ..
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Old 28-01-2010, 07:11   #8
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I would love to have my wife on board- but the last time we did a passage she was hit on by the crew! No really! Our arrangement is that I will sail to foreign ports, and she will come in via air. We do gunkholing with another couple, or my kids.
Weird how we look at the same topic so differently...
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Old 28-01-2010, 08:08   #9
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None of this is earth-shattering. Why do you think the U.S. Navy has strict regulations on relationships and fraternization between certain personnel? It's to ensure smooth, reliable functioning of the crew by eliminating the impression (or reality) of favoritisim, maintaining esprit de corps, and discipline.

Are those things any less important on a civilian yacht than they are on a warship?

Oh- I'm speaking strictly in the context that MCT is, meaning a vessel with a paid crew (paid by money OR barter for adventure or sailing experience, whatever), I'm not talking about a pure pleasure day-sail where an owner invites a couple out for the day with no real expectation for them to crew. Sometimes these strict conventions can bleed the fun out of a ride but in certain circumstances they are very necessary.
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Old 28-01-2010, 08:12   #10
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Not to piss in your Wheaties but........... I trust my wifes abilities on board. After 100k miles of racing, cruising and transporting boats together we know how to work a boat as a team. How would I know if you can be trusted? You may be an incompetent captain only interested in making a couple bucks with no regard for the boat or the crew.

Kind of a double edge sword eh? I've met some pretty obtuse captains.

Cheers,

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Old 28-01-2010, 08:21   #11
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mct,

well, it's obvious that you're not married and don't really tolerate what comes with it. For you, it's a wise choice that you don't carry couples. I also detect a slightly overbearing control issue. Within reason, such things as subtly shifting a few loads/hours between the crew really shouldn't be a problem. So what if they do? If there's a skill set issue versus a particular difficult portion of a passage, maybe. If one is not getting sufficient rest as a result, then yes, step in. You AREN'T the military for goodness sake. Folks who join you on a passage are most likely hoping for an enjoyable voyage not to be ruled by a Capt. Bligh.

Good enough. Let your standards be made known up front, but I wouldn't sail with you based on that post alone. And I understand the responsibilities of command and crew management having had a career that included command of big, steel, boats.
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Old 28-01-2010, 08:25   #12
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Lol...Joli I don't think he was trying to be insulting, just blunt. And you proved his point exactly. You trust your spouse more than the captain and you're more likely to disobey the captain, and favor your wife. Do you consider this acceptable behavior for "crew"?

You are an advanced sailing couple so I can't imagine why you'd sail as crew for anyone unless it was to experience sailing a class of boat you'd never been on. Bottom line: If you don't trust captains, don't crew, but don't volunteer as crew and then stage a "couple's mutiny" unless you have a damned good reason. Definitely not over little crap like galley chores or a watchbill.
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Old 28-01-2010, 08:31   #13
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Well, that would depend on the captain wouldn't it? Sometimes you don't know what your dealing with till you're off the dock. Like I said, it's a double edge sword.

And no, we very very rarely crew for others and I am very cautious picking up crew as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleHeadMd View Post
Do you consider this acceptable behavior for "crew"?
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Old 28-01-2010, 08:36   #14
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Old 28-01-2010, 08:57   #15
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Demonstrated the point perfectly Joli!

CChesley - go easy on the amateur psychology eh? I'm actually pretty easy going skipper and several crew have done more than one transat with me, two are doing a third later in the year. Crew selection -before they step aboard- is the time when perhaps *should* be overbearing and controlling - not just accept whoever turns up first? That way i can ease off and let them run the boat - on several transat trips I haven't touched the wheel except if in and out of a marina. So not overbearing and controlling see?

Also married 22 years, so um, praps don't give up the day job? Heck, you're a psychiatrist?...
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