I'll go back and add 2 cents for crewing
Good racers are racing
at the limits. I have sailed with a lot of good experienced sailors who haven't sailed at the limits and can't recognize their approach. Racing
teaches you to recognize when you are reaching a limit with the added bonus that if something breaks you don't have to pay to fix it.
I crewed for 2 years working up to bigger boats. I've been in sail failures, rig failures, gear
failures, broaches and knockdowns. I've sailed in thunderstorms and all kinds of crappy weather.
I've changed headsails in 30 knots on a pitching deck
. That's where I learned to appreciate anyone willing to work the foredeck. I hate it!
I've done real MOB
recoveries in similar conditions.
I'm not intending to brag, just to point out that I would never have gotten all that experience on my own boat - I wouldn't have pushed it that hard.
In terms of watches - everyone is different. I only need 6 hours of sleep a night and prefer 6 on and 6 off. I did 3rd shift for 2 years and loved it. A rotating schedule whacks me out...
And the biggest advantage of old crew is I get up to pee 4 times a night anyway - thank you prostate!