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Old 12-08-2006, 12:32   #1
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Crew considerations

Our son is thinking about crewing for a complete stranger on a 900 mile delivery. What should he bring along? What boat and personnel considerations should he be thinking of? It's been said that experience is the best teacher, but we'd like him to avoid some of the pitfalls that a novice cremember may encounter. Thanks.
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Old 12-08-2006, 18:28   #2
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In my limited experience....

Others on this Forum have way more experience than myself but some suggestions...
Safety at sea comes from a seaworthy boat, experienced crew and commonsense so first I would suggest that you check that the proposed boat and crew are acceptable.
Second I would suggest that you check that all necessary safety, communications and navigation gear is on board, including mounting points to attach safety harnesses.
Third you may care to consider bringing forward Christmas and Birthday presents and buying good weather gear">foul weather gear, safety harness, inflatable PFD and locator beacon.
900 miles is a long trip (one month plus?) so he may be better off only crewing for part of it.
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Old 12-08-2006, 18:48   #3
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I'd find out a LOT about who this person he is crewing with is. Background, experience, REFERENCES - hopefully of former people who have crewed with him, etc...

Do some major research on the person, the vessel, etc...

Don't stop until you are satisfied with the situation - even if it means possibly insulting the person with the boat.
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Old 12-08-2006, 21:23   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris31415
900 miles is a long trip (one month plus?)
Yes, 900 miles is a long trip, but if this is a delivery (rather than a cruise) it shouldn't take a month. Depending on the boat and the route, it could take as little as a week, but more likely about two weeks. The original query didn't specify whether this is an offshore or coastal trip.

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Old 12-08-2006, 21:55   #5
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having done a trip from Mexico to the Marquesas with a crew that I didn't know well and a deliverey from Tahiti to Sydney NSW I can tell you that the trip can be an absolute nightmare or fabulous. A few pieces of advice:

1) Check over the boat to make sure that it is in good shape. Know where the seacocks are is there a life raft epirb radio etc.

2) Ask around for references on the skipper. Some skippers never get a crew to go with them twice.

3) Your son will grow on this trip. He won't have any choice either he gets along with the people on the boat or he learns how to deal with not getting along. The latter is a better lesson.

4) Equip him with good gear so that he is as comfortable as possible.
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Old 13-08-2006, 03:48   #6
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... crewing for a complete stranger ... is not a great idea.
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Old 13-08-2006, 04:03   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay
... crewing for a complete stranger ... is not a great idea.
Yeah, you want to exchange enough communication with the skipper and crew ahead of time so that they are no longer complete strangers by the time of departure. As I said on another board, one of the keys to good crew relations, in my limited experience, is to be very clear about your (and their) expectations.

I took two "complete strangers" on as additional crew on a recent delivery. I had many applicants for the positions, and screened them on the basis of their enthusiasm for the trip and their potential to compliment the other crew that I already had signed on (and with whom I was already very familiar). Prior experience with offshore sailing was not really a criterion for these positions on the crew, but at least some experience day sailing or coastal cruising was a pre-requisite.

In the weeks leading up to our departure, I kept the entire crew (and their spouses) well informed about (and involved in) the planning and preparation for the voyage with regular e-mails. I wanted to make sure everyone knew what they were getting themselves into, what would be expected of them, and in turn what they could expect of me.

It all worked out very well. We had six guys ranging in age from 23 to 74, sailing a cramped leaky 34-footer from the mid-atlantic up to new england, offshore through a gale and other trials and tribulations, and we were all still smiling at the end of it. Of course, our trip was only a week long.

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Old 13-08-2006, 18:43   #8
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Well, as said before, but we need more info from you Michael:

i) Is it a coastal delivery (like the Intercoastal from the mid-Atlantic area to Florida -- or is it offshore?

ii) Who are (if any) the other crew members for the delivery? A two-person delivery offshore is not something that I'd suggest unless your son AND the delivery captain are really experienced -- even then...

iii) Where, what vessel (age, equipment, condition, etc.), what flexibility for weather conditions, etc.?

Weigh in here, Michael...
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Old 13-08-2006, 19:33   #9
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The best crew we have had on our boat was a number of years ago when we brought Sunspot Baby north after buying her in Fort Lauderdale.

Before our departure, he spent several hours going through the boat, checking out electrics, mechanics, safety equipment, and satisfying himself that everything was ok for an offshore passage. I have no doubt that if he had found anything lacking, he would not have continued on with us.

He only had a small bag of personal gear, so no stowing issues, but it contained his own inflatable pfd (fanny pack style), a small inverter, his own gps, and although he didn't have it then, he now travels with his own laptop with navigation system. I would add a personal EPIRB as a requisite.

Before coming on watch, he donned his pfd fanny pack, debriefed the crew, got his position report, hit the head, got his coffee, music (if any), and was thoroughly prepared to go on watch a couple of minutes before the appointed time.

He did a little personal laundry each day, helped with the preparation and clean up of meals, and completed a number of small maintenance tasks on the boat when he wasn't on watch.

When he came off watch, he did a position report, briefed the oncoming watch, and went about his business.

At the end of the trip, he presented us with a list of action items, some of which were mandatory, others optional, for Sunspot Baby. This was very helpful as new boat owners when we had so many other details on our minds.

His discipline and attention to detail made a big impression on me. I try to follow a similar drill when going on watch, and still reminds me of how important these duties are.

Your son is probably an experienced sailor or he might not have been invited to go on this adventure. However, I just thought I'd throw in my two cents worth about discipline and professionalism.

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Old 13-08-2006, 22:41   #10
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As already asked, Some more info would be great. I am not sure how to answer this till we know more. The present info only leaves me to ponder this with a small sense of nervousness. Why? well..... a delivery trip is usually done by a skipper with plenty of experiance. It is quite often the case that the boat may not be errr...."up to the task" of taking on the trip it is being asked to. If the skipper has that sort of experiance, then it is strange that he is asking a compleat stranger to crew. Usually a delivery skipper knows the possible pitfalls and cautiouse enough to ensure crew can handle themselves and the boat over such a trip.
It's only the "delivery" part of this equation I don't like.
Otherwise, the experiance will be awesome and the distance is a good one. There is a likely chance your Son may get sea sick. Even BAD seasickness will clear in about 3days. He just needs to have the right mind and get a good view or sleep on his Back. But after that the trip will be worth it. 900 miles is a good week for most boats in good conditions. It can be quicker in a faster boat or longer in a slow boat and bad light wind.
As for what to take, I would suggest he invests in a good set of wet weather gear. Ensure the jacket can take a harness and ensure you have a Harness and tether and a good inflatable life jacket. These items are not cheap, but they are then his and it ensures he has what is needed and it fits and is good and confortable.
Also ensure that the boat has safety gear for an overboard situation and for an abondon ship situation.
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Old 14-08-2006, 03:57   #11
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Crew considerations

Thanks, everyone for your thoughtful replys. The aforementioned son is presently trekking around Washington State, so we don't know any of the particulars. I posted after this "first official delivery" opportunity was relayed to us. From his parents perspective (us), he's experienced offshore, was essentially born and lived aboard for the first few years of his life, and has sailed aboard a variety of boats with us for most of his 22 years. He's a recent Mechanical Engineer grad, is presently taking some time off hiking and messin' about, and pondering his next moves. He's not even aware we've posted here, but we wanted to get a take on others perspectives in case he's chosen to pursue this delivery upon his return. After all, what do your parents know? Michael
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Old 14-08-2006, 13:38   #12
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Arrrr I see. Worried Parents. He's a lucky Lad to have Parents that care. He sounds like he will be fine. With that srot of experiance, I now see why a Skipper would choose him. I would say go for it. I think he will be a do just fine.
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