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Old 01-10-2018, 09:15   #1
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Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew 2018... Next year will be better.

Here’s the story:

A good portion of our 2018 cruising season was basically ruined by a few invited guests who’d agreed to help crew on passages and basically tour Maine, Nova Scotia and Croatia with us. We’ve known each of the three individuals for many years, but had not spent time on a boat with them, although two of them have extensive experience on their own 55ft sailboat. The purpose of this thread is not to vent or complain, but rather put it out there so hopefully, these issues won’t happen to any one else.

Our goal when purchasing our Oyster 62, was to provide a platform for us and invited guests to reconnect and see parts of the world together.... create lasting memories, but unfortunately the memories so far haven’t been pleasant ones.

The first two guests I’ll discuss, agreed and seemed quite enthusiastic to join us in Nova Scotia for two weeks then take part in an Atlantic crossing over to the Azores, then onto Gibraltar. After we picked them up in Halifax (the port and marina of their choosing), within days it became apparent they were just along for the ride. Besides cooking one meal of Shepards pie.... they did nothing else in the way of helping out, keeping watch or paying for fuel and marina fees. They were also the type who would insist on going out to eat at each stop to a restaurant of their choosing (expensive), order several drinks and appetizers each, an expensive meal along with a bottle of wine, offer a taste of the wine to us (my wife doesn’t drink), then.... always want to split the bill when it came. One time unknown to me they ordered a $200 bottle of wine and pulled this, so my wife ended up paying $80 for a plate of spaghetti. These folks also sent us a bill after being on our boat for two weeks, expecting US to pay for THEIR unexpected credit card charges and international currency transaction fees and some booze he’d forgotten that was left onboard (we don’t drink except for an occasional beer). They also bailed out at the last second on helping with the Atlantic crossing by declaring “the boat is unsafe,” which left us short a crew member. Time ran out and the boat remains in North America.

Guest number three was in a league of his own... A former employee from 35 years ago, now living in Europe who connected with me via facebook the same day I left for Italy. I thought it would be nice to catch up since I hadn’t seen him in eight years, so I invited him to join us on the Oyster 53 in Dubrovnik and head down to Montenegro for VAT reasons, then back up to Italy. My wife and I could hardly recognize the guy when he arrived, although he’s the same age as us at 61, he had the body and frailty of a rather sickly 80 year old. It took the two of us to get him in the dinghy and onto the boat safely... and it wasn’t easy, it was like I was working as a nurse back at the nursing home on my boat. That evening we got to hear all about his multitude of medical issues.

We set off the next day to Montenegro, first checking out of Croatia in Dubrovnik where there was some difficulty with the guest’s passport and he was detained by immigration for an hour, but he was finally allowed to exit and we were assured all was fine. My wife and I checked into Montenegro along with the boat six hours later... no problems; however the guest was once again detained by immigration, but this time his passport was confiscated by interpol and ours were held. We were instructed to remain on the customs dock for eight hours while the police and interpol decided what to do with our guest, meanwhile our engine and generator batteries we’d planned on replacing in Montenegro began to fail, so we couldn’t turn off the engine. Finally at 2:00am, my wife and I were given back our passports, instructed to leave immediately and to take our guest back to Croatia, there was no way he could stay... the police were very nice to my wife and I insisting that we were “welcome to return the next day... but only without your friend.” They kept his standard USA passport per interpol orders.

After two hours on our way back to Dubrovnik, our engine and generator batteries began to overheat and smoke badly, so we made all necessary preparations for a possible fire emergency... it was not fun, it was not a drill. Ditch bag, life raft, tender, life jackets, fire hose, fire extinguishers, flares, my wife and I were ready. We pulled back into Dubrovnik early morning 8am on diesel fumes having not been allowed to refuel in Montenegro as we expected to do, only to be held at the dock while our guest was once again detained. It was only after I showed the border police the status of our batteries and fuel situation along with an expected Bora (wind storm) due in 3 hours, that they agreed to let us stay, but our guest was sent to the US embassy.

What caused all of this you may ask? Unknown to us, he was a convicted sex offender!!! When he eventually returned two days later with a new passport, it was stamped with an endorsement stating that “THIS PERSON HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AGAINST A MINOR.” He was wondering when we could leave for Italy? I said never, kicked him off the boat and hope to never see him again. He admitted filling up his computer up with child pornography and pleading no contest to the charges. These people never change, they can’t be rehabilitated, he couldn’t understand why it was such a “big deal.” In his words... “it’s really no different than peeing in the park.” He was on our boat for less than 36 hours and cost us over 1500 euros in lost savings on duty free diesel, repairs and marina fees.

Our trip down to Montenegro was ruined, again time ran out. I think from now on we’re going to be using a written contract with guests and sticking with current friends we know well, and forget about reconnecting or anything to do with Facebook.

Here’s hoping your 2018 went better than ours.

Ken
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:28   #2
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

Jeez, all this in one year!

Money sucks. Some of my best friends are people I won't travel with due to differing attitudes about money. It's just not worth it. But bailing at the last minute just shows you didn't really want them as crew anyway...probably dodged a bullet.

But I'll come crew in 2019 ... I'm MUCH better than those guys were :-)
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:34   #3
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

I am sorry for all that and hope the future is brighter. Of the many experiences "reconnecting" or "catching up" in my own life and those I observe among people around me, it is rare for things to turn out well.



I think the most interesting part of your story is your friend's immigration troubles related to a criminal conviction. I'll start another thread rather than derail this one.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:41   #4
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

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Jeez, all this in one year!

Money sucks. Some of my best friends are people I won't travel with due to differing attitudes about money. It's just not worth it. But bailing at the last minute just shows you didn't really want them as crew anyway...probably dodged a bullet.

But I'll come crew in 2019 ... I'm MUCH better than those guys were :-)
We do have other friends whoíre a pleasure when their aboard. Tom and Nicholas arrived a couple of days prior to the horrible guestís abandonment, and the three of us discussed making the trip to the Azores together, but in the end decided it was best to wait until May 2019.

Those two are terrific guests and crew.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:47   #5
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

Just deserts; perhaps?
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:52   #6
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

Another reason facebook is...[insert your own phrase here]
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:04   #7
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

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Another reason facebook is...[insert your own phrase here]
Stu,

I’ll really not a participant on facebook. Believe it or not, I was watching a WWII documentary on TV while I was waiting to catch my flight, and I looked up one of the German generals on google. Then an hour later a facebook email appeared in my hotmail inbox showing my sex offender guest dressed in a WWII generals uniform. So I commented on how much he looked like the general on his FB page. Hadn’t even thought about this guy in over eight years.

The connection was made. Facebook works in the background in ways most folks wouldn’t believe.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:07   #8
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Another reason facebook is...[insert your own phrase here]
Actually Facebook, if you give it enough time, often reveals a lot about about people. That is generally a downside if you are into your privacy but for vetting potential guests could be a real boon
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:10   #9
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

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Actually Facebook, if you give it enough time, often reveals a lot about about people. That is generally a downside if you are into your privacy but for vetting potential guests could be a real boon
How could it help me avoid this sort of thing in the future? Especially, since Iím now afraid to go on it after all this.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:13   #10
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

I normally wouldn't answer this but it seems that you have a problem communicating negative things at the time they occur. Remember, if you play the role of doormat people will wipe their feet on you. Read your own filing rather than looking for someone to agree with you. All the information that will be helpful is in there. Good luck on your maturity.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:17   #11
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

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I normally wouldn't answer this but it seems that you have a problem communicating negative things at the time they occur. Remember, if you play the role of doormat people will wipe their feet on you. Read your own filing rather than looking for someone to agree with you. All the information that will be helpful is in there. Good luck on your maturity.
Yeah right... I’m the one with the problem, not the guy with the computer filled up with child porn.

Thanks for the advice. Not!
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:17   #12
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

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How could it help me avoid this sort of thing in the future? Especially, since Iím now afraid to go on it after all this.
In your particular case I am not sure it would, people aren't likely to to post about the porn proclivities. But I find a lot of political and social viewpoints become pretty damn clear by what people share or how they comment on things. And its not so much which direction they swing but how adamant they are about it that sets off red flags for me.

Even things like splitting bills have come up in discussions or memes which can give you a hint. But it's not worth your (or anyone's) time joining just to see how irritating people can be...more likely to turn you off humanity all together.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:18   #13
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

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Yeah right... Iím the one with the problem, not the guy with the computer filled with child porn.

Thanks. Not!
OMG he didn't have a laptop with him did he? <horror>
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:23   #14
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

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OMG he didn't have a laptop with him did he? <horror>
No, I didn’t have a computer onboard and the sex offender guest did not have access to any of our iPads.

Which brings up another issue.... guests having access to onboard internet.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:27   #15
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Re: Horrible Guests, Terrible Crew

I've not run into border guard types who search computers/phones when we enter the US by boat, but that is a issue that never occurred to me when I am essentially crossing the border with my home. And having guests with who-knows-what in their search history makes it just frightening.

I think you've just ruined my day.
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