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Old 08-07-2020, 15:21   #1
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Question Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

My spouse and I are in the process of purchasing a catamaran to become mostly full time live aboard blue water cruisers. I say mostly full time because my spouse will not be on the vessel during any passages longer than 2 or 3 days - hence the need for crew.

Our sailing experience is currently limited but we have been on numerous charters and know what we are getting into from the boat side of the equation. All our charters were either professionally crewed or had a professional captain at a minimum with the guests helping out where required.

We will have a full time captain to train us up for the first six months but I would be looking for help beyond that. The plan would be to do the Atlantic circuit once or twice before moving towards the pacific to see where the winds take us.

Is this sort of endeavour doable / feasible using volunteer crew? Hopefully my thought process isn't too out of line on this matter. Theoretically, the catamaran will be setup for single handed sailing but this isn't something we would ever consider doing.
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Old 08-07-2020, 16:37   #2
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

Crew are hard to find

Yachtmaster course Sea schools are a decent source

Young folks that need sea miles for a ticket

Be careful with alternative lifestyle types

Be careful with anyone unemployed

Be careful with nationalities and visa issues


The yachtmaster mile builder type crew , from
A sea school, will require paid expenses , air ticket and good quality sailing , safety gear

You should notify your insurance company that you will have temporary crew

I’ve had good luck with these young folks
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Old 08-07-2020, 16:43   #3
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

It is extremely simple to find voluntary crew.


It is extremely difficult to judge how good a crew anybody makes unless you know these people from your earlier life (on the water, preferably).


You can use a crew agency, to bet off some of the risk.


Be aware if YOU need CREW, you PAY.


If you do not PAY, do not expect the crew to WORK.

What you want is 100% viable you just want to be aware of known pitfalls and act responsibly - check credentials, agree on costs / duties split, etc. etc. - all well in advance, signed on paper, and then - stick to it.


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Old 08-07-2020, 16:50   #4
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Be aware if YOU need CREW, you PAY.

If you do not PAY, do not expect the crew to WORK.

Maybe I'm getting too old but 30 years ago I would have considered room and board while sailing around the Med, Caribbean or South Pacific to be pay!


Thanks for the reply.


Cheers.
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Old 08-07-2020, 16:55   #5
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

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Originally Posted by NaClyDog View Post
Maybe I'm getting too old but 30 years ago I would have considered room and board while sailing around the Med, Caribbean or South Pacific to be pay!


Thanks for the reply.


Cheers.
You still can

But only for real sailing and short periods
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Old 08-07-2020, 17:04   #6
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

Most countries are very strict regarding immigration. That means when crew are listed on the manifest when you arrive, then they need to be listed on the manifest when you leave....OR, you need proof of a ride home, such as an airplane ticket. YOU need to show the proof upon check-out. You need to consider how they are getting that ride and whom is paying for it.

Picking-up new crew in foreign islands isn't as easy. Either they're from western countries and have a ride (or a ticket) or they are from the island you're on. It's not the same as picking up and dropping off hitchhikers as you ramble across the country. You're other option is to fly people in. Now you're back to whom is going to pay for that flight in?
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Old 08-07-2020, 17:23   #7
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

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Originally Posted by NaClyDog View Post
Maybe I'm getting too old but 30 years ago I would have considered room and board while sailing around the Med, Caribbean or South Pacific to be pay!


Thanks for the reply.


Cheers.

30 years is a lot of time.


What I am saying is:


You need crew, you pay (in whatever form you agreed upon with the crew).
Crew needs you, crew pay (and become passengers)



Other than that it is very very easy to find volunteer crew. I think there is actually a 'Crew Wanted' tab on any cruising sailing forum you check.


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Old 08-07-2020, 17:55   #8
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

When I hitched around on sailboats, I expected to be fed and that's it. Watchstanding, boat chores, and paying my own way back if need be were what I brought. I turned down rides from creepos and people who wanted to charge X amount per week. Switching boats (when I was going further and the first had arrived) was never a problem in foreign countries. It was a grand time in my life, and given the chance I'll try to do the same for a hitchhiker who needs a lift down the coast, and try to be as decent to them as my first captains were to me.
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Old 08-07-2020, 19:21   #9
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

I've had good luck with findacrew.net. There's no need to pay if you don't want to but I ended up paying the last guy after a few weeks as he was worth it. $100 per day, excellent mechanic, very good sailor, and super dependable. He was with me for almost 3 months. But neither expected it and probably would have performed at the same level regardless.
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Old 08-07-2020, 19:21   #10
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

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When I hitched around on sailboats, I expected to be fed and that's it. Watchstanding, boat chores, and paying my own way back if need be were what I brought. I turned down rides from creepos and people who wanted to charge X amount per week. Switching boats (when I was going further and the first had arrived) was never a problem in foreign countries. It was a grand time in my life, and given the chance I'll try to do the same for a hitchhiker who needs a lift down the coast, and try to be as decent to them as my first captains were to me.
In order to remove a crew from my crew list I must prove onward transportation

I can’t just drop them off in Antigua or whatever

It’s not necessary to actually pay a crew ...only to feed them , insure them And get them back home

If crew are to be paid I never pay them for sailing time , only hourly wages for work ...manual labor ...when the boat reaches port
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Old 08-07-2020, 19:57   #11
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

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Originally Posted by Palarran View Post
I've had good luck with findacrew.net. There's no need to pay if you don't want to but I ended up paying the last guy after a few weeks as he was worth it. $100 per day, excellent mechanic, very good sailor, and super dependable. He was with me for almost 3 months. But neither expected it and probably would have performed at the same level regardless.

Thank you for that site, seems to be exactly what I was looking for.


Paying $100 a day for an excellent mechanic seems like quite the bargain!
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Old 08-07-2020, 20:23   #12
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

I've had lots of crew, very easy to find on sites like findacrew.

Normally I ask them just to chip in for food, I cover boat costs. As long as it dosent cost me to have them I'm happy.

I've been fortunate, only ever had one crew problem. Also people get crew and passenger definitions mixed up. In the real world we are just asking people to share the experience of cruising with us and yes they help out with the sailing and cooking, it's not crew in the sense of a job, they want to cruise paradise, I have a boat , that's how it works. I have crew onboard now.

Crew are onboard now in Tahiti, they get to experience paradise for the price of covering their food and alcohol, not a bad deal.
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Old 08-07-2020, 20:38   #13
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

I have had good, I have had bad. More good than bad. I agree with Dales's sentiments.

Lessons learned: Be very specific on expectations/ responsibilities. etc. Some people think 10 dollars a day for food/boat contribution is unreasonable.

If someone is contributing to the boat then they are not crew they are really passengers.

There is some advantage to that in regards to your liability.

My opinion is that if you are looking for crew for passage and you find someone qualified; room board/transportation to and from the boat is the bare minimum if you want more than a passenger. I'd pay 100 a day for the right person in a heartbeat.

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Old 08-07-2020, 20:51   #14
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

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Originally Posted by NaClyDog View Post
Thank you for that site, seems to be exactly what I was looking for.


Paying $100 a day for an excellent mechanic seems like quite the bargain!
He is. I also had him fly in to help me for three weeks do work on the boat last November. Then I paid him $150 per day plus all his travel and meals. Still the cheapest - best deal I could imagine. He has now signed up to help me deliver Palarran back to the Med. I'll pay his travel and all expenses, but no daily pay. He is super stoked. We hopefully will be friends for life. I should point this out about my mate, within a week of meeting him I could pass off the helm duties and go to sleep on passage - and sleep really, really well. Effin lucky.

Lot's of people have had bad experiences and I understand that taint's the viewpoint. Also, some have exaggerated value for what they perceive they bring to the table. But there are thousands of good people looking every day so just take your time and do the due diligence.
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Old 08-07-2020, 21:16   #15
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Re: Ease of finding crew as blue water cruisers?

We’ve presented opportunities to join us for specific passages and some limited cruising here on CF a number of times. Each time we received quite a few responses and we’ve selected one or two people for each passage, either via in-person meeting or Skype video call. We have a comprehensive guide to crewing on our boat that we send early and use that as a basis for our mutual interview.

It helps to be completely up front about your financial expectations and what will be paid/not paid. In our case we pay for all boat and passage expenses and expect crew to make their own way to and from either end and to pay their own land-based expenses. Where crew have extended to cruising pre or post the passage then we share on board food and alcohol expenses during that period.

We do set the expectation early that we are looking for crew, not passengers. Each person takes part in watches, chores, cooking/cleaning and whatever else they want to get involved in. One couple got right into 3-strand line eye splicing and we’ve got several bridles and mooring lines with decent spliced eyes. Another crew arrived early while we were still on the hard and joined in stripping and cleaning our 6 winches and putting on the final coats of anti foul. And got a week of cruising in the Mamanuca Islands before the other crew arrived and we left for NZ.

We can double-hand our boat just fine but prefer more sleep, so we ask for crew who want to experience an offshore passage. Skill and experience are not as important as attitude and each time we’ve been OK with having crew take their own solo watches - I sleep lightly and we have very explicit call-up rules. We aren’t a training academy, but typically become mentors - it’s fun to share the lifestyle.

So far no bad experiences with crew we didn’t know before. We’ve had some trouble with crew that we knew as friends. Weird.
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