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Old 27-11-2009, 11:49   #16
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I'd much rather have 3 or 4 onboard, which gives you the option of at least rotating so that each crew can have one "long sleep" of 6 hours every day, which is necessary for peak performance, while not requiring the other crew to stay on watch solo for that long--it is simply too long.

Not that that applies to everyone, but it is the common stat produced by the last forty or forty years of all the fatigue and sleep and labor studies from every source. If you're going to do it just as a couple, make sure you are up to the fatigue challenges. I
We have found that after the first couple days of getting adjusted we moved to a more flexible watch system that allowed us to get longer periods of sleep. 6 hours on watch during the day with nothing to really watch in reasonable weather seemed to be pretty easy so the other could get good sleep. We usually only had to keep the shorter watch schedules during the night.

We got into a rhythm we really liked after a couple days. We would probably not have enjoyed the company on a long trip. There is help in case of injury or emergency though so you have to weigh the chances of that and your comfort level with handling it in the equation.

Your mileage may vary.

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Old 27-11-2009, 11:50   #17
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Wow and I thought only nurses ate their young...

Thanks to all of you who gave me what I asked for, your opinions on safety and crew on a first major voyage.

For those of you who felt the need to comment on my frightend state of mind or need for confirmation, no thanks at all. Get over yourselves. Sorry but someone needed to tell you.
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Old 27-11-2009, 13:12   #18
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For those of you who felt the need to comment on my frightend state of mind or need for confirmation, no thanks at all. Get over yourselves. Sorry but someone needed to tell you.
Welcome to the show!

Another thought, 3 is sometimes an awkward number socially depending on the dynamics. There is a good possibility of 2 sided against the third. With reflection you can probably make a reasonably good guess if this might be the case for your situation. All else being equal, a crew of 2 or 4 might work better, but it really depends. Just another thought to add to the mix....
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Old 27-11-2009, 15:17   #19
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Which again reminds me of the movie 'Dead Calm' (or was it just 'Calm'?).

OK, ok, just trying to brighten you up!

;-)
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Old 27-11-2009, 16:52   #20
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Two's company and three's a crowd. Unless the 3rd person is an(other) attractive female in which case three's company too.
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Old 27-11-2009, 17:29   #21
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A compromise might be to sign him up for one leg only. Inexperience is only inexperience until he learns. If he doesn't take the time to learn and be good crew you know he's off at the first port 'o call.

Read the book, "Gentelmen Never Sail to Weather" - It can be a bit to plough through but they took on unknown crew for various passages, mostly unsuccessfully. Don't buy it as I got mine in the library.

My opinion is that a boat can be more of a democracy with 2 on board. With 3 or more there needs to be a more formal chain of command and that will change the dynamic a lot.

Reading your post you have reservations and that's the main reason not to have him on board.
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Old 27-11-2009, 17:45   #22
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Well, Barnies "Dead Calm" is the closest thing I can think of that the situation of the original poster gets themselves into.

Yes, maybe Asia is getting to me... maybe because its here that we met a couple with a PAID crew who will NOT move the boat unless the CREW want to! The owners have missed many places that they wanted to go because the crew doesnt!!

Also is just 12 months since we met a guy who could not remove his crew off the boat! They would NOT leave! This was in Tonga and the guy intended on solo sailing but was fear induced to take a couple.... who ganged up on him! He finally manipulated them off the boat but he had already, unsuccessfully, tried the police.

Yes, let me reiterate what I harshly said in my earlier post that fear tactics from folks at home can make us make decisions we will later regret. Just for starters is the word 'pirate'. I get at least 2 emails per week off my website contact form asking about pirates. Any couple who are about to leave home that mention sailing will have all their parents/relatives say: "Ohhh do you really think you should? Theres pirates out there..." Someone tell me that they have never been told not to go because of pirates? Anyone?
So peoples fears, insecurities and nervous anticipation are real factors that influence decisions this close to heading off on a long awaited (25 years) cruise.

The achievement of that culmination is not as easy as leaving the dock waving bye to Mum and Dad - who we may never see again as their age and our location make things difficult. The achievements are what is important to us: We did this. WE managed this. WE unblocked the toilet together.
As crazy as it sounds the ability for us as a couple to unblock our first head disaster together was very important. We were in the Galapagos with a sealion perched on the swim platform as we slipped on surgical gloves....

Its impossible to share some moments with a friend no matter how close.

Now let me attend to the size of a 42 footer and the cruising couple on a long haul. After a month a 39 footer feels like its small. After a year it feels tiny. After 18 months we have this dance routine so we don't actually bump into each other all the time. Simple rules set up in the beginning sounded childish: 'only one person in the galley at a time'. It sounded stupid then buts its just so important. If living cheek by jowl is difficult to a couple in love whats it like for those that need a foot of air-space?

When we have arguments there is no place to go. Its 39 foot from pointy bit to blunt bit. Its bad enough without an audience.
Can a 39 or 42 footer hold 2 couples for a year or more cruising? I am absolutely sure not.

Let me look at the storm management thing. The Original Poster said they are competent sailors. Then they should be able to weather a 'normal' storm. Thousands of couples out there do it, why can't these people.
Now consider the husband and wife team both equal partners 50:50 as a team.
Now lets put one more male on board for the storm. Is it 33:33:33? Or does the testosterone relegate it to 35:35:30? "Geee the storm is bad, I think us boys need a hot meal!" Great! But who then does more than their share of household tasks.

So put the non-sailing crews partner on board sea-sick in her cabin. All of a sudden instead of being 50:50 the Admiral is relegated to nursemaid, cook and bottle washer to the men and infirm.

Is that what people dream of when they dream cruising the world?

For all my lack of tact, my lack of knowledge, and lack of having completed a circumnavigation, someone here please point out how anyone would be MORE empowered by putting 1 or 2 extra people on board their dream cruise?

I'm off to grumble in the Asian sun

Here is a photo of Nic learning the guitar in Langkawi


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Old 27-11-2009, 20:03   #23
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I have done a bit of work on 23 - 60' boats and have always found 2-3 people – at least 2 being experienced - is comfortable. Saying this we were all blokes and there were no relationships happenning.

At any rate, the comments above about three being a crowd make me feel a lot better about the fact I am about to head up the coast to finalise the purchase of a boat that is really only suited for a cruising couple or at the most 2 people.

I don’t know what your friend is like, however to date I have had crew offers from a few males who think being at sea is all about the consumption of alcohol and picking up “wenches”. (ever seen the movie “Donkey Punch?). In these cases I have decided sailing solo is actually the better option! It is not that I am adverse to “fun”, just I really do like exploring the coast, developing seamanship, diving, fishing and adventuring.

Funny thing is that I have always admired those open plan Gozzard’s where the V berth becomes a settee and other than the quarter berth there are no cabins for crew to hide in. My joke has always been that there is no room for mutineers!

(Yes, I do admire Captain Bligh)
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Old 28-11-2009, 01:39   #24
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Crew

I agree with everything MarkJ has written. Learn to trust and hone your own abilities. 3 or 4 on an extended cruise is a crowd. Peoples living habits,laziness etc are not seen when you socialize only, wait till they have been aboard for one week! We had one crew ( experienced but lazy who did everything begrudgingly ) for 5 months, never again. When we crossed from South Africa to Caribbean some 6 yachts had crew ( strangers ) all had problems. Our "experienced" crew person (male) fell asleep on watch and by chance I went above and there was an oil-tanker about to run right over us,its bridge-deck was like a lit-up block of apartments right behind us, I immediately switched the engine on and swung left, the tanker missed us by 50metres. No apology,remorse from the big guy. Was MarkJ's comments too harsh NO! Trust yourselves and your confidence will grow, 42ft is fine for 2 people.
Enjoy your Pacific cruise,
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Old 28-11-2009, 04:53   #25
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My husband and I will be embarking on a cruise of the Pacific that we have been dreaming of for the last 25 years. ..........
Let's assume you have been dreaming this as couple for 25 years; I see no need to change the dream now to include a friend.
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...... is it actually safer or a liability to bring someone along who is so inexperienced?
It can be either, just depends on the person involved, inexperience doesn't necessarily relate as a liability and it depends on how they handle their own learning curve. You know him so you have to make that judgement.
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Add to this that he has advocated to bring a girlfriend along for the entire trip (also inexperienced) that we have never met. Already said no to that one.
Not a good sign.
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I can see how 3 could add to the enjoyment and safety....
He may had to the safety but hardly to the enjoyment and more likely detract from the enjoyment after the first month or so.
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..... Our boat is a 42' cruiser, and we can handle it fine but in rough weather we think a third hand might be an asset.
What you need to do is be sure you can handle your boat in rough weather then the question becomes irrelevant.

Having said all that and reading of other peoples experience, I have crewed on a 46 ft sloop with 6 crew (4 male, 2 female, 1 couple - 3 experienced, 3 previous day sailors only). It worked fine, we needed at least 4 (the boat was hand steered) and 6 was OK. I have also had an extra hand (total of 3 on board) for a some passages on a 28 footer and it worked out OK.
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Old 28-11-2009, 05:49   #26
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Found this on another sailing site. Another "Dead Calm" story?

Two men and a yacht, and a mystery
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Old 28-11-2009, 08:18   #27
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... inexperience doesn't necessarily relate as a liability ...
On re-reading the posts and re-thinking the matter I want to subscribe to the point made by Wotname.

Perhaps experience is less important than what the person actually is. I think I would rather go with a serious but inexperienced person than with an experienced but complacent one. Then again, there are not many experienced and complacent sailing people; the sea is a fine filter.

So, experience counts but not over other personal traits - attention, respect for the sea, care for others, willingness to learn (and re-learn), perseverance, sense of humor.

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Old 28-11-2009, 11:32   #28
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I'd imagine that the OP has already made up her mind so I hope she'll forgive me for exploring the crew conundrum a little more. I've had some unfortunate experiences when friends crewed for me in the past but it can work out. The crew I have now are golden. I can totally trust them on watch and there are little or no arguments. I've noticed that some of the guys have commented on there being no problems with all male crews. Perhaps there is something in that, mine is an all female crew. Others, Mark comes to mind, have commented on the 35-35-30 percentage with testosterone and others have alluded to the possibility of the woman being outnumbered. It's happened to me, two male 'friends' thought that the only person on board who should be doing any 'housework' was me They got off on at the next stop

So is part of the problem the old male female divide?

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Old 28-11-2009, 14:51   #29
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So is part of the problem the old male female divide?
I think it can be. Cruising on a sailboat is a bit of a pressure cooker. Those little social annoyances they would be fine at a party or for a daysail usually become greatly magnified. For example, I have a friend that's very social and gets along great with everyone. When sailing, he's content to just sit back, drink a beer, and let everything happen. Never asks to learn anything, and I've noticed that he makes a point of showing up as late as possible for work parties. I have another friend that is downright laconic and never really the center of a party. He's happy spending time at home perfecting his cooking technique or what have you, tends to off to the side much of the time in social situations, but he's always interested to learn new skills and always lending a hand when there's work to be done. I haven't cruised with either of them yet, but I'm guessing that it would be a stretch to cruise with the first for even a week (despite the fact that I like him very much), but I could probably cruise with the second for a month and be quite happy to have him aboard indefinitely.

This pressure cooker environment can be just as true for male/female relationships. I found a somewhat related passage in an old 1943 book where a whole chapter had to be devoted to making sure your wife enjoyed sailing because of division of the sexes was so pronounced then. After debunking a laundry list of stereotypes as to why women wouldn't make good sailors (it was the '40s), Alfred Stanford goes on with the following except in the middle of the chapter entitled "The Sailor Takes a Wife" from "Pleasures of Sailing":

------

Some of these sentiments may sound as if I were traitorous to the male sex. Let the chips fall where they may. If most boats are in charge of men, most trouble can be got at by pointing out the misconceptions most men suffer from.

It also becomes apparent that some of these misconceptions embody the very same kind of rubbish that had to be got rid of right at the start, when the idea of the boat doing the sailing first came up and when the notions of the god-skipper were laid to rest.

Perhaps we can now translate some of the woman's railing against sailing. What she may mean when she says "I don't like sailing" is: "I don't like to do the scut work aboard while you play god."

Other translations can also be made: "I don't like to be the one who always has to remember the race circular and which side to leave the marks, while you take the tiller and guide the boat across the finish line with a look of triumph on your face."

If cruising has created a family situation, further translated remarks might run: "You can rant all you please about the cooking being the most important job in all the crew, but if that is so, how would you like to devote all your talents to cooking and cleaning up below?"

Male or not, I for one must reluctantly admit to the truth of some of these "translations from the Chinese." I'll be damned if I'd like sailing either if I had all the housekeeping chores and none of the fun of sailing the ship.

What can be done about it?

If men get a freedom, a sense of release--in short, fun--from sailing, isn't it wholly reasonable to allow women to share the fun and adventure and not just endure a repetition of the shore work under more arduous conditions?

-------

He goes on, but you get the point. While he may have been trying to reform the popular view in the 40's, there are certainly men who wouldn't get this today (there I go, betraying my sex, too).

People who are used to living in small or crowded spaces have habits that make it easier to establish a kind of virtual space/privacy which can also make a small boat seem much larger. Unfortunately, these skills are rather rare in mainstream American culture with our big, empty houses. I imagine someone who's had many successful relationships with roommates on land would make a better crew member, too.
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Old 28-11-2009, 16:14   #30
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People who are used to living in small or crowded spaces have habits that make it easier to establish a kind of virtual space/privacy which can also make a small boat seem much larger. Unfortunately, these skills are rather rare in mainstream American culture with our big, empty houses. I imagine someone who's had many successful relationships with roommates on land would make a better crew member, too.
Very well said!

As a hypothesis it also explains why I have no problem working in commercial situations where others have developed these skills and are dedicated to a life at sea (and why I still enjoy watching Trawler Men and king crab docos).

Still, one of the problems I have always found is the louder some people are about their skills the more they can be just full of the proverbial sh%t. Conversely, some people with quieter demeanours and a genuine interest in any activity can be great to take on adventures and often flower in the field.

As many of the posts above recommend, sometimes you just need to follow your own sense of intuition and/or gut feelings. If you are getting a bad vibe it might be for good reason!

(I note, even as a self-confessed loner I still often meet individuals who I am happy sharing confined spaces with. Then I do have a more than a few horror stories…,,,)
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