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Old 23-08-2013, 10:55   #1
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What Questions to ask a Skipper?

I'm considering crewing on a boat from seattle to San Francisco. I just sailed my 27 sailboat 3000 miles along the inside passage to alaska. I've done a few days of offshore sailing only. So I'm wondering how to determine if the skipper and boat are fully qualified. He did sail up this year and has sailed in SF for years. Its a 44 Island Packet. I am just one of those guys who likes to cross all my T's. I know that the west coast is nothing to fool around with. We'd be going sept 14 and mostly going off shore. The boat is cutter rigged 2010 model. Skipper seams very competent and experienced. But I don't want to make assumptions. So how to tactfully but thoroughly check out him and the boat and the plan would be helpful.

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Old 23-08-2013, 11:00   #2
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Re: what questions to ask a skipper?

when did they let you out of prison. (could well be relevant)
tell me about your sailing experiences....
do you have health issues....but that one only ask if you are able to do something about it---otherwise, dont ask....
tell me about your worst day of sailing
while you are asking pertinently impertinent questions, you best be admiring boat if you intend to sail with the soul.

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Old 23-08-2013, 11:04   #3
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Re: What Questions to ask a Skipper?

Ask for references from past crew and passages.
If it floats it's a boat, or perhaps it's f#cal matter!
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:07   #4
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Re: What Questions to ask a Skipper?

And seriously, from experience:

1. Have you serviced the engine? Like ever?
2. Do you actually know how much fuel and water this bad boy carries?
3. Did you fill those tanks up?

All questions asked by myself 2 days before a 650 nm offshore passage. Questions which were met with blank stares by the owners. I got the engine serviced on a priority basis by a friendly mechanic and filled up the water tanks. We still ran out of water because some ******* took long "languorous" showers due to the heat. And we very nearly ran out of diesel because the owner had no idea of his tank size nor the hourly consumption. And neglected to tell me he thought not filling the fuel tank was a good idea because we were "racing".

Check it all out yourself.
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:21   #5
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Re: What Questions to ask a Skipper?

In addition to all of the above, you can read the all-time "Mutiny at dawn..." thread at SailNet for some other aspects of spending a prolonged time on a boat with people and personalities you are not familiar with.

From my experience, I (and probably most of the people) need only 30 minutes to spend with that person (i.e. sailing in this case) to know if there is a click or not. The first impression is very often the right one.

Enjoy your sailing!

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Old 23-08-2013, 11:35   #6
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Re: What Questions to ask a Skipper?

Originally Posted by shutter puppy View Post
So how to tactfully but thoroughly check out him and the boat and the plan would be helpful.
Polite for sure, always. Tactfully? Not something I would worry about, personally I feel these questions demand a certain bluntness.

These are serious concerns, and the person in question should understand. Frankly, he should be asking many of them of you.

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