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Old 29-11-2017, 17:26   #31
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post

I realize now you were talking about crewing in general.. somehow I thought it was crewing on deliveries.
Well, it's pretty similar, except for the part about it's not the skipper's boat.
No, I should've been more clear. I am talking about crewing on deliveries. Thanks for the great replies.
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Old 29-11-2017, 17:36   #32
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

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IMHO the best boatknife you can buy is the Boye folder with titanium marlinspike.
The Boye looks great and is added to my wish list. I love my spyderco and I haven't had any rust from my Bay sailing but I'm sure it would be a mess after any bluewater sailing.

The Spyderco Tusk I linked to looks like a great knife too but pretty pricey (about $250 online.)
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Old 06-12-2017, 18:55   #33
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

For the op be sure you understand if this is the captains first boat, how long it's been in storage and what's been done to prepare the boat. I've been on boats with bad fuel, bad batteries, chartplotters with no charts, no depth guage. Empty propane tanks. And it will be your fault. Because the captain knows what he's doing.
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Old 06-12-2017, 19:54   #34
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

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Originally Posted by Badsanta View Post
For the op be sure you understand if this is the captains first boat, how long it's been in storage and what's been done to prepare the boat. I've been on boats with bad fuel, bad batteries, chartplotters with no charts, no depth guage. Empty propane tanks. And it will be your fault. Because the captain knows what he's doing.
Not too long ago I was on a boat from PR to FL and the only things that worked was the main engine, generator, running lights, microwave and the fridge. Everything else was burned out. My boss had a handheld VHS, iPad with charts and a InReach. That was fine until we started taking on water from the retractable bow thruster. The owner said they all do that, it has an O ring that gets old and starts to leak. We said next dock we are gone.
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Old 06-12-2017, 22:46   #35
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

I agree with most things said, but would add a led headlight with red bulbs as well as white.

I always pack my clothes in ziploc bags for wet boats.

Ask about:

charging stations for phones

bedding, towels, and linens

Personal safety gear/CO2 cartridges for inflatable harnesses.

where to put your wet gear when you come off watch

how to use the head/what to do with the TP.
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:36   #36
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

Interesting thread. My thoughts below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Traveler View Post
Has anyone posted a "Volunteer Crewing for Dummies" or "How not to be a total clown on your first delivery" post?
Hank Schmitt of Offshore Passage Opportunities has posted this: https://www.sailopo.com/Essentials.aspx . I don't agree with all of it but it is pretty good.


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Originally Posted by The Traveler View Post
-What to bring/what not to bring (do I bring my own first aid stuff? Basic tools? If I show up with a tablet and computer to pass the time does that give a bad impression, etc)
You shouldn't have to bring first aid or tools. If there is a supplement required it is the duty of the delivery skipper to provide that UNLESS you volunteer something and s/he accepts.

Personal electronics mean charging. That requires coordination in advance of and during the trip. My electronics and phone are backup (sometimes primary) navigation. If you unplug my laptop to charge your phone we're going to have a very serious discussion. If my laptop shuts off in the middle of a weather fax cycle and we lose a day's weather information I am going to be very unhappy with you. Coordinate in advance and ask permission in real time. Some boats will run an inverter full time and there will be outlets all over the boat. Others will have no inverter (or designated "charge times") and limited outlets. Some are 12VDC only. Some might only have one or two 12VDC power points.

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Originally Posted by The Traveler View Post
-I know we're not racing but is weight ever an issue? Can I pack enough stuff for random contingencies or is the goal to be a minimalist?
Volume is usually a bigger deal than weight. Hank and some of the posters on this thread have talked about unpacking. In my experience there is rarely room to store personal gear. You should plan to live out of your duffle bag. Be and stay organized. You should be able to dress for a night watch without turning on lights.

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Originally Posted by The Traveler View Post
-Usually the Captains say food is provided...should crew still bring along their own snacks?
Coordinate. I've had crew, despite long email discussion about provisioning, show up with bags of food expecting to be able to have room in the fridge for their stuff. Sorry, no. We have a provisioning plan. You saw it. You knew about the snack bag, and I would have bought whatever you wanted. If you have something special you want to bring coordinate with the skipper.

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Originally Posted by The Traveler View Post
-Is it safe to assume we'll be using the owner's heads as little as possible? ie don't plan on showers.
You use the head when you need to use the head. Showers offshore are limited by water availability as others have noted. Showers are also limited by bumpy weather. Slip and fall injuries impact everyone if you can't do your job. In my view baby wipes should be in every skipper's provisioning plan and so crew need not bring their own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Traveler View Post
-bring my own bedding?
That depends on the boat. Ask. Sometimes you have to bring everything and sometimes it is all provided. If the skipper doesn't know the answer to that question I would start to worry about what else s/he doesn't know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Traveler View Post
-Assume a watch schedule of 3-4 hours on; 3-4 hours helping cook, clean, maintain; and 3-4 hours sleep?
This depends entirely on the skipper. My preferred schedule is 4-on/8-off. I do most all the cooking; help cleaning up is appreciated. Someone is likely to be sleeping at any given time so I expect anyone awake to be considerate. Rest is a priority.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Traveler View Post
Ultimately I'd like to do some delivery work in retirement. In the meantime I'm hoping to volunteer for a delivery or two every year during vacation time.
You can join my crew list by sending an email to auspiciousdeliveries-subscribe@lists.skolnick.org . No guarantees beyond notice of opportunities. Please follow the directions for applying. You can also join Offshore Passage Opportunities (http://sailopo.com). There are other crewing services as well. Of course there are crew wanted posts here on CF and other places like SailNet and YBW.

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
A crew member that asks when they don't know, even if it amounts to hundreds of questions per day, is an absolute delight compared to the crew member that thinks that they know everything, or doesn't ask because they're embarrassed about revealing their ignorance.
I absolutely agree. Asking questions displays good judgment and good judgment is the single most important characteristic of good crew.

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
It's useful if crew members know about how to handle lines at docks.
Yes. You should be able to tie a bowline, a clove hitch, and a cleat hitch. "If you can't tie a knot tie a lot" is not okay. @JPA_Cate's comment about different strokes not withstanding there is only one way to cleat a line: Cleat Hitch | How to tie the Cleat Hitch for a Halyard | Knots .

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
The Captain should brief everyone on the plan du jour when approaching a landing,
Agree. I add that it is the skipper's job to get the boat close to the dock and slow enough for crew to *step* off even in high heeled shoes. No jumping. No heroics. If I can't get in close and slow I'll go around and try again.

There is a tendancy for people to want to deploy to duty stations too early. Once dock lines and fenders are rigged and ready I keep my crew with me in the cockpit until a minute or so before we reach the dock. If anyone sees anything and the plan must change everyone can hear. No yelling and less misunderstanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobiehobie View Post
One thing that could be problematic is that you are trying to fit some sailing into finite time frames. There is nothing worse from a captains POV than a crew member who needs to leave or return to make it back to work, pick up the dog, make a flight etc etc. Flexibility on timing is a big plus when selecting crew.
Don't buy your return ticket until you can see the destination dock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Years ago when I was doing deliveries I often picked up green crew.
Much depends on the size of boat, space, and tolerance of the owner for an extra mouth to feed. I try to take one newer crew on trips. Either I spend more time with them or for real newbies put them on a bridge watch (10-2 or 2-6) so they overlap with two watchstanders and get coaching from me. I consider it good karma.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
- If you have a personal set of binoculars you might want to bring those.
Please ask first. Just how many binoculars, VHF radios, handheld GPS, ... do you think we need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
- Watch. I always instructed my crew to call me in any situation. If they heard something, call me. If they saw something, call me. If they thought they heard or saw something, call me. When in doubt, call me. I don't care if I just went to sleep after standing watch for 24 hours straight. Don't think about it, just call me. I promise never to complain or say anything but thank you if you call me.
Absolutely correct. There is only one acceptable response by a skipper to being awakened: "I'm coming." That may be followed by "Wait. What?" or "Do I have time to put my pants on?" *grin* There are a lot of people who have seen me in my underwear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
BTW, perhaps an obvious one, but the skipper will really appreciate it if the crew remembers the boat belongs to someone else, so keeping it very clean and undamaged will be quietly impressive to a skipper because it helps him or her look good too when you get there.
Yes. Treat the customer's boat like your boss's living room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
When interviewing for a berth do ask questions. One area worth knowing is the skipper's plans for feeding the crew.
Agree. I'd generalize this to point out that when you apply for a spot on a delivery and get an interview that the interview works in both directions. You are interviewing the skipper while s/he is interviewing you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
Once aboard, one of the most endearing traits is to volunteer instead of waiting to be asked to do something. Be helpful. If you didn't do the cooking then get up and start cleaning the dishes - don't wait to be told. And keep your mess in your berth and assigned storage - don't spread out and take over.
Be helpful and keep a small footprint. I ask my crews to bring a small watch bag to keep their gear together so it isn't in the way of the next watch. This is a safety issue as well as one of consideration. On the same note the nav station is my office, not storage. Don't pile things there. Don't pile things anywhere. Keep your gear together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
I agree with most things said, but would add a led headlight with red bulbs as well as white.
Not on my boats. If I'm coming up the companionway and you turn to look at me my night vision is impaired. I don't care if the light is white, red, blue, green, or pink - if it is bright enough for you to see by it will impair my vision. There are times and places for headlamps (working on a boat system head down in a cramped locker comes to mind) but on watch is not one. Carry a flashlight in your pocket.

I'm pretty laid back but this is one of only a very few things that get me really upset.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
where to put your wet gear when you come off watch
This goes back to the point about respecting the boat. Dragging water and worse salt through the boat is awful.
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Old 07-12-2017, 06:03   #37
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

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I always pack my clothes in ziploc bags for wet boats.
All good points, but this one I hadn't thought of! They sell large "storage size" zip-locks. I use these for stowing my bedding off-season. But they'd be a great addition to the sea bag!

And it's not only wet boats. On our way to one delivery, the owner and I had our carry-ons gate checked when we got on the flight. They sat out in the rain on the tarmac until the baggage handlers came along to stow them aboard the plane. I got lucky; my foulies were on the outside of my bag, and deflected most of the water. The owner wasn't so fortunate.
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Old 07-12-2017, 06:34   #38
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

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Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
Interesting thread. My thoughts below.
Thanks for sharing! You clearly bring a wealth of experience to the discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
You shouldn't have to bring first aid or tools.
This is true in theory, and probably always on larger boats. But I've found that having a couple of band-aids to cover a minor boo-boo, or to pad a blister on my foot, is helpful. I've also found that many boat owners don't have a clue how to troubleshoot electrical equipment. A small multimeter and a leatherman tool often come in handy.

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Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
Please ask first. Just how many binoculars, VHF radios, handheld GPS, ... do you think we need?
Again, on large, well-equipped boats, probably not an issue. But my own experience is that having my own binoculars and handheld VHF is almost a requirement. Sometimes mine are the only ones aboard. As for GPS, that's in the cell phone.

I guess where I'm going with all this is there are different kinds of deliveries. A well-found blue-water yacht needing several crew members has probably been gone over with a fine-toothed comb by the owner and the skipper, long before setting out to cross oceans. Someone who just bought a coastal cruiser and needs help to get it to its new home port to start renovations might be less well-equipped.
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Old 07-12-2017, 07:44   #39
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

Auspicious, thanks for the great detailed reply. In addition to all the excellent suggestions posted here what I'm really taking away is good captains should be willing to entertain and expect many questions from new crew before and during the delivery. This is good to hear.

Thanks all.
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Old 07-12-2017, 09:24   #40
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

Get a large 5,000 - 6,000 CI (80-100 Litre) dry bag for your gear bag. I prefer the top-loading style, but the duffel style will work just fine. The large top loaders usually have shoulder straps to carry like a large backpack. It'll float even if full of gear. It can be submerged and keep your gear dry. When empty it'll roll and store to about the size of a shower towel.

From the tarmac, to the curb, to a dinghy ride, there are plenty of places for a gear bag to get wet.
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Old 09-12-2017, 05:27   #41
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

Some very good information presented on this forum. I've crewed on a few boats and, overall, had some great experiences. Every boat is different, as is every captain/owner. What I've found is most, if not all, captains/owners fail to inform you of their own shortcomings!
I've just "interviewed" to crew, was told to call back and the owner will not pickup or answer my messages. I've sent several PM's requesting a response, no reply. Just how do you think this person would be while out at sea?
I had another skipper/owner, who failed to inform me that he suffered from OCD and ADD. He was great while at sea but once moored or at the marina, a completely different individual, and not in a positive way. Overall, I enjoyed sailing with the man but dreaded the time moored or at anchor. Had he informed me of his condition prior to departing, I could have prepared better and possibly understood his "actions" rather than being frustrated wondering why he did some of things he did. Would I sail with him again, yes.
One thing you should ask any captain is about safety equipment on board, location, and procedures should an emergency arise.
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Old 09-12-2017, 06:30   #42
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Re: Instructions for crew - Crewing for Dummies

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Originally Posted by CharlesFCook View Post
Just a tip...

Unpack ASAP.

I like to live out of my duffle bag but the Capt I work with hates this. So I unpack to keep him happy. On one trip I did not unpack until after dinner the night before we were to get underway. Turns out everything in my bag was drenched. I think my bag got set down in a puddle at the airport. This was going to start out as a cold trip and I would have been in trouble with wet gear. I was lucky we still had a rental car and I could go and get my gear dry.
Everyone is different I guess. I basically require that my crew keep all their stuff in their bag. It keeps it in one place so they know where their stuff is, and makes it easy to relocate if necessary. I suppose if there is dedicated space for clothes where they are bunked, that would be fine, but I don't have that to offer them for the most part.

The North Face Base Camp duffel makes an outstanding sea bag. It's completely waterproof, is top loading so you can get to stuff easily, has attachment points, and can be worn as a backpack. Comes in a bunch of different sizes.



As far as gear goes, I think that after personal safety and foulies the most important item a crew can bring is a decent headlamp, one that has a red light function, and most importantly a red light function that you can turn on without cycling through the white! Nothing worse than destroying your night vision right at the very moment you need it lol.
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