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Old 11-11-2013, 14:56   #1
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Finding crew

We cruise on very nice, solid but small boat. Pacific Seacraft 34. We have few modern amenities. No watermaker, shower, hot water, microwave etc. We do have a good little fridge (but no freezer). And we also have a four year old. Needless to say, this is not a luxury cruise. But it is pretty cool all the same.

Multi-day passages are difficult because someone always needs at hand during most the daytime to provide attention to our four year old. This means we are both up half of the night and do not get enough sleep during the day. Two day/one night passages are just fine, but even after as few as two nights the sleep deprivation starts to accumulate.

Keeping a good watch requires some experience, training and responsibility. For example, the crew member really needs to determine what they are looking at when they see, say, a green and a red light in front of them, or any set of lights that maintains a fixed position relative to our vessel. They need to be able at least have a vague idea what oncoming bad weather feels like in the dark and looks like during the day. They need to know that if they hear surf breaking at night we might be a little close to land. They need to know if they are prone to sea sickness. They need to know if they nod off for half an hour everybody's life is at risk.

Has anyone in similar circumstance had luck recruiting experienced volunteer crew along the way? For example, we may be looking for an extra crew for some longer passages in the Caribbean next year. We would prefer to recruit people we have a chance to meet face to face so we can get a feel for the chemistry and show them the boat so they know what to expect. Or should we just resign ourselves to recruiting volunteer crew over the Internet? And/or should we resign ourselves to paying for good crew?
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Old 13-11-2013, 10:44   #2
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Re: Finding crew

I've had good luck with crew from here for the last 3 deliveries. I have also had excellent results on Craig's List as they are local and easy to meet face to face. Face to face I do at least 2 times, different settings and time of day. Also by giving then short notice of the meeting, helps weed out a few.
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Old 13-11-2013, 12:14   #3
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Re: Finding crew

I used to do a lot of deliveries to the Caribbean and recruited crew members in just about every way you can imagine (except craigslist since this was back in the olden days before the internet). I had good and bad results from every method.

Most of the time we recruited crew from friends or friends of friends and it worked out well the majority of the time. One that didn't was a friend that was very compatible but turned out to be the most sensitive to motion sickness of anyone I've ever met. Picked up a few crew along the way with fair success but overall did better with friends.

I never had a problem taking along someone with zero experience on a boat. Did one delivery on a 32 with 2 crew, neither of which had ever been on a sailboat or even at sea and it worked out great. Just made sure we started out with one rule.

When you are on watch and there is anything, call me.

If you see something, call me.
If you hear something, call me.
If you smell something, call me.
If you think you might have seen, heard or smelled something, call me.
When I doubt, call me.
I don't care if I've been on watch for 24 hours and just went to sleep, call me. I promise I will not be mad but in fact will thank you profusely if you call me.

Worked perfectly and after a few days when I got a handle on the crew that rule might be modified a bit.

I did one 3 day sail double handed with a dead autopilot beating in rough weather. By the time we got to a place to anchor for a rest we were both completely exhausted. After that I always made sure I had minimum three on board for a passage.
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Old 15-11-2013, 16:33   #4
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I like your rules, Skipmac. Maybe I need to loosen up and be ready to train who is available and compatible rather than looking for perfect crew.
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Old 15-11-2013, 17:01   #5
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Re: Finding crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by shanedennis View Post
I like your rules, Skipmac. Maybe I need to loosen up and be ready to train who is available and compatible rather than looking for perfect crew.
I have to agree that compatibility is pretty important on a boat.

Also, don't think I need to say (but I will anyway ) that there was a just little more to my procedures for sailing with green crew besides the call me instructions. The biggest was I was either on watch or at least awake and supervising in any demanding situation like landfalls, crossing shipping channels, passing close to any navigation hazards, etc.

Can only recall a couple of missteps in 7-8 trips with newbies, including 3 trips where I was the only one onboard with experience. One trip, on her first night watch, one crew was a bit slack on keeping course. The next day when we made landfall we were off by over ten miles.

The one that I thought the worst was the guy that fell asleep on watch which meant he didn't wake up the next watch. Nothing happened but I always wondered if we had any close calls during that night.
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Old 15-11-2013, 17:25   #6
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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Also, don't think I need to say (but I will anyway ) that there was a just little more to my procedures for sailing with green crew besides the call me instructions. The biggest was I was either on watch or at least awake and supervising in any demanding situation like landfalls, crossing shipping channels, passing close to any navigation hazards, etc.
Landfalls especially. Cannot imagine being down below during any landfall no matter how seemingly innocuous.

Dissapointing to find a crew member asleep. I take the graveyard shift because I figure it's potentially the hardest and most dangerous shift.
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Old 15-11-2013, 21:09   #7
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Re: Finding crew

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Dissapointing to find a crew member asleep. I take the graveyard shift because I figure it's potentially the hardest and most dangerous shift.
Very disappointing. We had been out for a couple of weeks and he had been fine up until that night. The part that really got me was he copped an attitude about the situation and was annoyed that I wanted "to make such a big deal about it." After all, nothing happened and we hadn't seen any traffic for a couple of days.

The real kicker, he was ex-army and just days before had told a story about how you could get court marshaled if you fell asleep on guard duty.
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