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Old 18-06-2013, 21:05   #1
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Checklist For Voluntary Crew

If you were looking to crew on a sailboat for open ocean passages, what would be on your safety checklist as you decide whether a particular yacht was a safe bet? What questions would you ask the skipper? Also interested in the flip, what would you look for or ask of your crew?
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Old 19-06-2013, 00:20   #2
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When I am looking for a yacht to sail on I Google the captain's name to see if they've had any media exposure (crimes, mis-haps, or if they are a legendary sailor). I also like to ask around the marina if that's possible so I get a feel for their rep. But meeting and having a drink together tells the best story in my opinion. And looking at the captain's historical posts on these forums. Last thing I want is to be stuck on a boat with a racist or sexist cowboy who expects me to laugh at his jokes. But sometimes free crewers can't be too picky.
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Old 19-06-2013, 00:33   #3
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Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

I think asking around the marina makes sense. I guess doing a media check would be good, too. Seems a heart to heart chat makes sense just to get a feel for who they are. I think one thing, do they allow booze/drugs at sea? What they do on their own time is up to them, but don't want someone blitzed and giving orders at sea. Just a point of view.
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Old 19-06-2013, 01:02   #4
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Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

One of the tests that never failed me in business was to go to dinner and watch how they treated the waitress.
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Old 19-06-2013, 01:30   #5
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Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

Ha ha...good point. When people treat others with courtesy and respect it is a good sign! Great reply!
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Old 19-06-2013, 02:23   #6
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Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

Agree!!!!
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Old 19-06-2013, 07:19   #7
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Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

I've crewed twice now through this site. The first was to be 4 months around the Caribbean. From he capt "I'm over 65, in good health, and the boat will be ready when you arrive" In reality, 81 yrs old, feeble, (combination Of Mr Burns and Thurston Howell the 3rd), and the boat was on the derelict dock at a backwater marina in Guatemala. I spent over a month readying the boat to return to Miami for haulout (Caribbean?), had a final disagreement, and ended up crewing on a salvage tug for a while ( rescued a 38ft cat off a reef). The second was a Pacific crossing from Panama to Tahiti. Capt was a retired Royal Naval officer. Sounded good, but turned out he was a land based engineer, who decided he should buy a boat and sail around the world. Spent two months on board, during which time he infuriated many good people we met, panicked when the going got rough and ran us aground twice (after I pointed out we shouldn't be in either location due to reefs/rocks). Even the inhabitants of Pitcairn Island were expecting a mutiny. Research the captain and always have a way out if things go bad. Would I do it again? Hell yeah, they were some of the best experiences of my life, in spite of the captains.
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Old 19-06-2013, 07:29   #8
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Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

Having been both skipper and crew over the years

for crew, The general state of the boat is a key indicator.

for skipper, a run through sailing experience and if possible a test sail tends to sort wheat from chafe

I dont get too het up on booze issues and the like.

A crew dinner/night out is a good ice breaker and a good indicator, for both sides ( I like quiet drunks!)

Most of the time personality traits arnt an issue, unless they become very quirky ( and these will never be self evident at the start any way )

I dont think theres much science to it.

dave
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Old 19-06-2013, 08:52   #9
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Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

Funny I am vetting a crew right now. They usually sound excellent on the net, but this is something that is best done face to face. I think they need to sail briefly too. A passage is no time to meet someone for the first time.
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Old 19-06-2013, 09:08   #10
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pirate Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

Crew... something imposed on me by owners... usually zero sailing ability or experience but that's no problem as they're only there for lookout when I'm sleeping.
One of life's many brief inconveniences
What can I say... I'm an anti social single hander
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Old 19-06-2013, 09:31   #11
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Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

I like the idea of spending time together first. Before I jumped on someone else's boat for a long sea voyage, I'd want to ask about a few things. Off the top of my head, I think asking the skipper about these areas might tell you a lot about his own experence and readiness for the trip.

Comms. Does the boat have a SSB or Sat.? How does the skip expect to receiver weather info?

Fuel: What does the boat carry, and what's the strategy for using it?

Water: What does the boat carry, what does he expect to use each day, and what is the plan for getting more, if necessary?

Navigation: How many different ways is the skip capable of navigating? (GPS/DR/RDF/Clestial)

EPIRB. If you don't have one, I'll bring my own, or I'm not going.
Is there a life raft?
If you're going where it's cold, does the boat carry Gumby suits?
How old are the standing rigging/sails?
How many hours on the engine?
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Old 19-06-2013, 09:53   #12
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pirate Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anchors Away View Post
I like the idea of spending time together first. Before I jumped on someone else's boat for a long sea voyage, I'd want to ask about a few things. Off the top of my head, I think asking the skipper about these areas might tell you a lot about his own experence and readiness for the trip.
Hmmmmm...



Comms. Does the boat have a SSB or Sat.? How does the skip expect to receiver weather info?
Look to the sky and sail accordingly...

Fuel: What does the boat carry, and what's the strategy for using it?
As much as I feel is needed... including drums strapped on deck. In and out of ports and for motoring on days with little or no wind.

Water: What does the boat carry, what does he expect to use each day, and what is the plan for getting more, if necessary?

Water is for cooking/drinking and 1 solar shower/week... and lots of baby wipes. That's on a crossing... a few hundred miles along the coast is no worry.

Navigation: How many different ways is the skip capable of navigating? (GPS/DR/RDF/Clestial)
GPS and DR Oceans... sightings and tri-angulations along the coast..

EPIRB. If you don't have one, I'll bring my own, or I'm not going.
Feel free to do as you choose..
Is there a life raft?
Sometimes yes... sometimes no..
If you're going where it's cold, does the boat carry Gumby suits?
Never sail where its that cold.
How old are the standing rigging/sails?
The owner claims they're X.. who knows.. use the MK1
How many hours on the engine?
Well.... the dial says....

So... I guess you'll not be sailing with me...
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Old 19-06-2013, 11:01   #13
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Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

Oh, I'd probably cross an ocean with you Boatman old boy. You seem to know what you're doing most of the time. Besides, I personally don't think there's anything wrong with your answers. And it's telling that you *have* answers. As you allude to, the "right" answers to these questions probably change with the boat, the trip and the people involved. But in your experience, wouldn't you agree these are handy areas to discuss before you jump on a boat for a long trip with a stranger?
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Old 19-06-2013, 11:21   #14
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pirate Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

14th floor.... so far so good... 12th floor... so far so good....
Its never bad to ask the questions... how truthful the answers may be is another matter... especially with deliveries.
Every owner I've dealt with is sure their boats well set up for the trip... some are.. some are not... never know till I step on board and once I've done that I figure out how to cope with what I've got..
Mainly seem to get the jobs YM's don't want or price themselves out..
EG... A Catalac to Turkey had YM's demanding life raft, EPIRB, new sails and rigging, wheel pilot and a full survey... nearly £10K.
when he finally got down to the bottom of the barrel..
I asked for a decent dinghy and a tillerpilot... came to just under £500
Shoot... it was only coastal and island hopping all the way...
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Old 19-06-2013, 11:33   #15
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Re: Checklist For Voluntary Crew

The safety check is easy! Just look the boat over and check the Captain's background. Agree on the rules ahead of time, especially drinking. A daysail would be nice too.

The personality match is the tough part. I certainly can't complain about the friendships that I've made crewing, but there are a few little things that can grate on your nerves after a few days. Like Steely Dan 24/7.

Come on! It's a sailboat. It's supposed to be quiet!
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