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Old 11-04-2011, 04:23   #1
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Amusing and Unsuitable Crew

While musing over the singlehander thread, I thought about the time or two when I've taken on crew for a short jog up the coast while learning to sail. Far from being active help, on two occasions it was an outright disaster, once due to both additional crew being horribly sea sick and another time a guy just got freaked about being so far from land.

Surely there'd be an amusing thread here if you guys can tell some of your "crew went wrong" stories or I am the only one that gets them?

Any takers ?


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Old 11-04-2011, 04:33   #2
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pirate Re: Amusing and Unsuitable Crew

Professional Ethic's prevent me relating any stories about crew... only time I have them is on deliveries...
The rest of the time its the least seaman like female I can find...
And boat handling is bottom on the list of desired skills..
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:37   #3
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Re: Amusing and Unsuitable Crew

I've got two I can share. I can't think of any good reason for naming names but the stories are now old enough that I can see some of the humor in them.

One fellow, who had a 100LT Masters, ignored the beeping of the autopilot when it kicked out long enough for the boat to gybe four times, shattering all the battens on the rigging. It became apparent he also couldn't steer the boat, at least at night, in anything like a straight line and really couldn't steer to the compass under any conditions. Expensive lesson.

I had another crew member who insisted on washing her long hair every day. She maintained that she only used a cup of water and she did indeed use a cup - just dozens of them at a time. Everyone else aboard cut way back on usage but we still made port with only a couple of gallons of water left. Clueless.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:03   #4
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Re: Amusing and Unsuitable Crew

We picked up a tourist hitchhiking in Nassau to help us crew to St Thomas. Within three days she had eaten everything in the galley except the cardboard boxes. We decided to part ways in Georgetown Exuma. Could not have afforded to feed her all the way to the VI plus the only time we let her stear we ended up 20 miles off course after a 4 hour watch.

Had another temp crew that was pretty much terrified every time we left the dock. His first night watch he came on deck with full weather gear">foul weather gear, Sou'wester hat, sea boots, harness, clipped on lights, radio, binoculars. This was about 2 miles off the coast of NC in Sept, 75 degrees, clear, dead calm, boat on AP motoring, no need to even leave the cockpit. Then every time he saw another vessel's light within 3-4 miles he would literally panic and call everyone on deck, I guess to prepare for the collision.

Then there was the sea sick guy. As soon as the boat left the dock he turned bright green, went straight to his bunk and didn't leave for almost a week except to throw up or occasional trips to the head. As soon as we made the next port he bolted directly to the airport.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:13   #5
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Re: Amusing and Unsuitable Crew

I crewed on a yacht many years back Brisbane to Auckland; one guy was seasick for the entire two weeks but stood his watch every time and retired to his bunk only to continue throwing up until his next trick on the helm.

On the same trip, one woman had a solo watch from 2am to 6am and when the skipper came up on deck around sunrise he asked why we were heading back to Australia - yes she had turned the boat around somehow and was faithfully steering to the compass course except on the aft end of the lubber line rather than the bow end! The set of the sails wasn't that great either. This was pre GPS days!
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:51   #6
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Re: Amusing and Unsuitable Crew

Bad crew - pah - try bad skippers & owners, I have more but this will do for starters!

I joined a boat in Trinidad and we set off to sail to Grenada. As soon as we got the sails up it was clear that the boat was unprepared as everything in the cabin started flying around including the cat's litter tray.

The trip took 24 hours longer than planned because our skipper was unaware of the current that we clearly marked on the chart. On the same trip the ship's cat was seasick on my bed. And the skipper insisted that the monitor wind vane didn't need to be adjusted for the wind-angle, we just needed to engage it and it would steer us in a straight line - of course this didn't work so we hand-steered the whole trip too.

We arrived at about 0100 on Boxing day (should have been Christmas day!) and anchored outside St George's harbour. The next morning we made ready to enter the harbour at which point the skipper revealed that the gear selector mechanism didn't work. I jury rigged a push rod/pull cord and he took us in to pick up a buoy, whilst shouting 'forward, reverse' to me controlling the gears from the cabin sole. It soon became apparent that he couldn't do it, so I sent him forwards 'to catch the buoy' and then did it myself at the stern whilst steering and rushing below to control the gears.

Once I had rebuilt the gear linkage and my other faithful crew-member had secured everything and we had bought some proper charts, we set off for Carriacou, after a week or so there we headed north for Union Island. During that trip while I was at the helm we got caught in a squall, the skipper/owner insisted on helping the other crew to reef the main, only to get knocked almost overboard (he was the only one not wearing harness and lifejacket). Shortly after reefing the yankee in the same squall, the furling line snapped and I had to rush forward, jury rig it with some spare line and furl the sail.

The wind dropped right off and we were in danger of not making the harbour by nightfall so we started to motor. I noticed it was getting pretty warm in the cabin and had a look at the engine temp-gauge in the cockpit - it was off the scale. When I pointed that out to the skipper he said 'oh yeah it always does that', just then the other crew came up from below and said the cabin was filling with smoke. Thankfully the heat-activated powder extinguisher in the engine bay had done its job - we left it for a bit and then opened up the cabin sole while I stood ready with another extinguisher, but the fire was out. We then limped into Union Island harbour (none of us had ever been there before), in the dark, under sail and dropped the anchor between two reefs and sat there all night while the wind howled and tried to blow us onto a lee shore.

I stuck around for a bit while I pulled his engine apart (and stopped him from topping the sump up with water) to find that the header-tank had corroded through into the exhaust manifold. I put him in touch with the chandlers on Union island, and got the hell out of there. 2 years later I read that he was lost overboard his own boat while alone on watch in the middle of the night somewhere near Niue, it was only discovered when his crew woke up the next morning to relieve him.

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