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How to get taken for a ride


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#1 keel trimmer

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 02:58 PM

I am a decent sailor, and this discussion presumes you are, too. But it also presumes that you're not a pro or anything close to it. I want to respond to the recurring question of how to get a ride on a 'big' boat, because I personally have had a lot of success in that regard, despite the fact that I am not a superstar (except in the galley, but that's another matter). This is for my fellow passionate amateurs. Fortunately, most of the skippers are just slightly more affluent versions of us, and need us to make their boats go fast. If you get known in your local sailing community as the kind of person who does the following things, and you are at least a competent sailor, then I believe you will be welcomed aboard and invited back at all but the highest level of our sport.

Getting aboard
  • Walk before you run. Don't expect to do races before you've done deliveries.
  • Network yourself like it's a job.
  • Show up. Example - my ride for MHOR isn't a sure thing, yet. If I don't get it, I'll get my ass up to Marblehead a day early and ask around. Someone will nab me. Same thing for deliveries/returns - there must have been 20 boats leaving from Bermuda last July after the Newport race who would have paid for crew had any been available.
  • Leverage who you know already - if the big boat at your local club is full, ask the skipper about his competition and if they need anyone - unless he's a jerk, he will want to get his class up to full strength and will help you get a ride.
  • The Sailing Anarchy crew board is probably the best generic one, but don't overlook the race web site. Not everyone reads SA.


Getting invited back
  • Do the dirty jobs before you're asked.
  • Unless you walk on water and have been brought on board because no one trims downwind like you, be humble. (Of course, if you're that good, then you don't need my advice - I need yours!) Don't talk about how good you are, no matter how good you are, until after you've done some sailing with the crew and they know you're not an asshat. I have found it's better to patiently wait for the chance to demonstrate your skills than talk about them ahead of time.
  • Don't get too friendly with any one person until you learn the dynamics of the boat.
  • Don't talk trash about anyone or anything until you know who you're sailing with, and who their sisters are dating.
  • Age matters. If you're young and a great sailor, expect to be treated like you're young. You won't be treated like a great sailor until you've bled a little.
  • If you're an oldster, watch out that someone isn't giving you more responsibility than you're ready for. You'll embarrass yourself and potentially endanger the boat if you don't fess up and something goes wrong (don't ask me how I know this).
  • Act like someone who deserves to be entrusted with the owner's most prized possession, as well as his life and that of his family's.
  • Don't goof off until you know you're 'in'.
  • Prepare as if someone had asked you to. Know the weather, local conditions, SIs, etc. If you are a local, then you might have some great intel on the competition, and should be ready to share it - if someone always leaves too much mark room, let the skipper know that.
  • Buy the first round at the bar (unless you're a poor student, in which case no one will expect you to).
  • Ask someone how to use the head and the galley as soon as possible. Your mates will appreciate not being woken up when you need to take your first crap, and they will embrace you as one of their own if you're the guy who brings them a hot cuppa as you come on watch.
  • Save something for later. On a new boat, I hang back a little at first, because every one is different. As an observational learner, I pick things up by watching others. The regular crew will be fired up at the start and they know everything better than you anyway. So watch what they do and keep an eye out for a-holes, lines in the water, foul traffic, etc. Then, when they're grabbing a sandwich, offer to grab the sheet, man the winch, backstay, whatever. This goes for later, too. Be the guy who got rest when he could so when it really hits the fan you have the energy to deliver.

OK, I've opened the discussion. What else ya got?

#2 mustang__1

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:21 PM

i have one comment - i'll save it for NY... otherwise, having been on both sides of the coin, everything you said is right. however, i would add, dont be the jackass that brings 200lbs worth of gear on the boat - unless the conditions do warrant it...If its 75degrees, sunny, and the forecast says its supposed to be like that for the rest of the regatta - you dont need to bring enough shit to cross the north atlantic. that always drove me nuts. gloves and glasses, if you race in either. leave your streetshoes on the dock (assuming you';re not an idjit like me who can never find their boat shoes anyway), jeans in the car, etc.

#3 keel trimmer

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:29 PM

Thanks, Mustang.
Forgot one - bring an extra knife. If you lose yours you're not screwed, and if someone else loses theirs you're a hero. But make sure it's a crappy one, since anyone who loses one knife......

#4 kpp45

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:43 PM

does anyone know any good websites to find boats to race on?

#5 keel trimmer

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:50 PM

does anyone know any good websites to find boats to race on?


do a search on that topic. I believe you'll find I either authored it or contributed.

Oh, and while you're searching for that, search 'newbie' so you can understand this....

Fuck off, newbie Posted Image

#6 keel trimmer

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 06:16 PM

Another suggestion. Make a sailing resume. You won't need it after the first year or so, but it shows you're serious. Here's a snip from mine....



v 2008

Gearbuster: AmericanGirl (3rd in class).

Stamford American Girl, an X-37 (3rdin class).

Around Long Island Regatta: Foredeck& helm on Jouster, a Frers 36 (3rdin class).

Member of Offshore Sailing Club,racing Colgate 26s in NY Harbor.



v 2007

Club racing aboard Impromptu, a J/35 based in Stamford.



Deliveries



v Deckhand on Shooting Star, Beneteau 36.7, delivery from City Island, NY toAnnapolis, MD (June 2009)

v Mate on Thistle, a Hinckley 48' ketch; shorthanded delivery from Oxford, MD to Newport, RI(June, 2008).

v Deckhand on Owl, a 42' Rhodes Reliant ketch; cruising delivery from Halifax, NS to Bar Harbor, ME(August, 2007).



Classes & Certifications



v Racing Rules of Sailing, 2009 - 2011

v US Sailing certified throughBareboat Charter

v Attended Safety At Sea seminar(April, 2008)

v First Aid/CPR/AED

v New Jersey Safe Boating

v SCUBA certified

v Ocean Lifeguard and Water SafetyInstructor (expired)

#7 pogen

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 07:41 PM

From Sailing the Bay by Kimball Livingston [amazon]


Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

As a skipper, I would have probably put 'loyalty' in there a few more times.

BWS makes some great points above, prospective crew should take them to heart. Make sure the skipper knows you will do the delivery associated with the race when you first are invited.

And when you are pinged or invited to go on a race, respond promptly with a definitive answer, either yes or no. Don't leave the skipper hanging, if the answer is no, tell him and let him get on with finding someone else.

Also, bring ice.

And a few don'ts:

As new crew, don't necessarily point out every little thing that is wrong or non-optimum about the boat, rigging, condition of the sails, etc. Chances are the owner already knows about 99% of the things you are observing.

Don't spend too much time slagging other boats and owners as conversation fodder. Sure, funny anecdotes are funny, but later people wonder what you are saying about them when they are not around.

#8 pogen

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:04 PM

Informative thread about various crew list sites is here: http://forums.sailin...howtopic=116456

#9 livefree

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 11:14 PM

a piece of great advice i have to a new sailor that wants to get on boats in general, go in with an open mind and get ready to learn, its a steep learning curve your not going to be an expert first time around the cans. On the bigger boats I have worked on, you would be surprised when I have had a green decky lash out at me because they think they now at all... aka yelling at me that she took a firefighter course (we all had our bst's so kinda stupid to say that) when we were doing a deck wash and she knew what she was doing yet when she was done there was a still sand and crap all over the deck, the chief mate busted my balls for it.

also don't to be the drunk kid at the crew party, you don't know who will be there it could really mess up your career, I will admit a few years ago I was this kid luckily it didn't hurt me to bad but it really came back to haunt me almost 3 years later and had to clear it up this summer

also also persistance is key, I have had dozens of kids come up to trying to break into the scene, I give them my card and mostly always they never email me but when they do and I get to know you more then I will help you find a job

#10 keel trimmer

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 01:45 PM

Pogen - thank you for taking this and running with it. I love the last line, "a rookie who stays alert and aggressive and keeps a simple job under control is a rookie who is on the way to better job".

Fact is, every weekend there are good boats who can't find crew and good crew who can't find boats. As far as I can tell, the situation has not changed one iota since I got into this in 2006. When I found SA, I thought it would be the perfect filter - only the real nuts like us make it to SA and hang around. But now, I think it's too good. Having actually had conversations with a few skippers who fit the profile I had in mind when I posted yesterday, a lot of them find SA to be too rough and tumble for their tastes (can you imagine?). Which takes me back to race specific sites and also yacht club sites. http://forums.sailin...opic=40774&st=0

http://forums.sailin...opic=98593&st=0
http://forums.sailin...&st=0&p=2342787

I looked pretty hard and could not find the thread I contributed to where we listed a whole bunch of other sites. Hope someone else can dig it up.

#11 kelpcutter

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 01:44 AM

-Show up early-carry shit- scope out the line configuration on deck- ask questions if you are not sure of a placement
-Show up with snacks to share and I dont mean the crumbs in the pocket of your shorts
-No bad weather only bad clothing... make sure you are dressed to be dry if conditions warrant- hypothermia is humbling and no help
-Take fenegren or bonine prior to getting on board if you even have the potential of getting sick... newbies end up in the sewer a lot

Volunteer to unclog the head if needed....

Thank the capt. for taking you out!


#12 pogen

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 02:10 AM

Hmmm... a few pet peeves

  • Don't put litter into the line bags or cockpit coaming cubbies, especially organic material
  • It's OK to drink too much and pass out AFTER the race. Don't help yourself to the best booze at 1000hrs without asking first.
  • Don't leave stuff on the boat, try to account for hats, gloves, jackets, etc.

I went to a talk by Stan Honey one time, he said that when you are starting out all you can get are rides on the crappier boats where it is always disorganized down below and people were filthy. As you get better and better rides, you find that people take better care of themselves (including hygene) and the boat better, and things run more smoothly. And he has had the best rides in the world.

Stan Honey's takeaways:

  • Never use the head and then wash your hands in the galley sink
  • Corollary: Always wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer in the head
  • Your gear belongs on your hook, on your person, or in your seabag. Period.
  • Plus most of the stuff in the OP I am sure.


#13 Prouda my Pickle Dish

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 09:37 PM

A few more items to further your sailing career...and not piss off the nut holding the helm and writing checks...

1. When stowing shit below, put it where it came from...if you don't know, ask. if you just shove some item, equipment or part in some pocket without telling the skipper, when there is an emergency the inability to find it quickly could cost time, a life or spilled rum.

2. Do not EVER-EVER, except for broken bones (more than one) or death, bail out the day of or before the race. If you do, you run the risk of the crew and skipper passing the word around the good boats that you are an inconsiderate, unreliable shit-for-brains slacker. Give the skipper at least 3 days notice or send your highly skilled replacement.

3. Do not wear your deck shoes in the parking lot walking through leaked oil, pet shit and vomit. Change shoes on the dock so that slag doesn't wind up ground into the white non-skid.

4. First couple of times, bring a 6-pack of something more expensive than Burgermeister. Its not the beer, its the thought that counts.

5. Be on time. If not, Be early. There is no other alternative.

Happy Sailing mate...

#14 Greyhawk

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 12:25 PM

If it is an overnight or longer distance race, even 3 days notice is not enough, so understand the level of commitment involved.

As has been pointed out repeatedly, pay attention and be observant. Be aware that different skippers, crews, and boats each have their own peculiarities and are often very particular about the way things are done (for example, how they coil a line), so even if you learned the "right" way to do something on your previous ride, be ready for the possibility of learning a different "right" way.

In addition to being on time, or early, ready to work; also plan to stay late to help put the boat to bed.

#15 PDG

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 09:26 PM

5. Be on time. If not, Be early. There is no other alternative.


This should be #1 on everyones list. Being late all the time says lots of things about you, all of them bad.

#16 keel trimmer

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 03:34 PM

Sailingboy has given us all a lesson in how NOT to get taken for a ride.
http://forums.sailin...howtopic=119406

#17 dreaded

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 08:01 PM


5. Be on time. If not, Be early. There is no other alternative.


This should be #1 on everyones list. Being late all the time says lots of things about you, all of them bad.


As a skipper I can say this is very important... For one regatta, one crew shows up at 9:50 for a 10:00 start... she was getting breakfast down at the clubhouse.. needless to say, she doesn't get on the boat anymore..


Another rule, hold your tongue, don't talk incessantly .. nothing worse than having someone who won't shutup..

#18 burnsed

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 12:29 AM

Most newbies start on the alternate list meaning you get the call to sail later than the established crew. The newer you are the later you get called. If you are in that group drop whatever other plans you might have and go sailing every time you are asked. That can be a pain for you but a godsend to the crew organizer. The more often you show up the higher you will go on the call list pretty soon you will be the first called to fill out a spot. If you do all the other things mentioned by OP's you'll have a full time ride rather quickly.

#19 keel trimmer

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:42 PM

bumpity bump

#20 ajbram

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 07:05 PM

So... I'm no rockstar, but like to think of myself as a fairly competent sailor. I suppose I'm pretty useful on the bow, which never hurts your chances of getting a good ride, but there's much more to it than that. Here are some things that I've learned.

1. Be ON TIME or early.
Nobody wants to have to rush to get to the start line because they waited for you. Sometimes shit happens and you run late, and if you have already built a reputation as good crew or you've been sailing on the same boat for a while, they won't mind, but early on DON'T BE LATE! I used to sail with a skipper who was habitually late. Eventually he gave me the key to the dock box and I got the boat rigged in case he got held up at work. It ended up working out very well for everyone, but it came from being known as the guy you could count on to be there.

2. Know the basics.
While every boat is configured a bit differently, they all function about the same. Make sure you know the basics and you won't be the guy who is getting in the way and screwing up the regular crew. You may even be helpful.

3. Get to know all the positions.
I'm usually running the pointy end, but if my regular boat isn't going out, I'm happy and competent filling in wherever I'm needed on another boat. On a side note, if I'm on another boat and the bowman does things differently or in a way that I think is worse, I don't give him shit about it. There are usually reasons that things are done the way they are on any boat... personal taste, ability level, or just the way it works best on that boat. Watch and learn (this can be learn what to do or what not to do). Either way, you're likely to get a lot more good rides if you're known as someone who can fill in for whoever is missing.

4. Loyalty.
All skippers want consistent crew. Sometimes its better to stick with the 4ksb that you have been on the whole season than it is to fill in for 1 week on the shiny new sportboat that needs a spare trimmer. Everyone respects you more in the end if you don't leave your regular ride hanging. If your regular skipper isn't a total jerk, you will find they are usually not against letting you take a ride on a different boat every now and then as long as they have enough crew for the conditions. If it means more boats get out to race, usually everyone is happy.

5. Cleaning up.
Don't disappear as soon as you get to the dock. If everyone pitches in, there's more time for socializing after. Besides, helping tidy up the boat is a good way to learn where everything is.

6. BEER / BEVERAGES.
This is a social sport. As much as we all love a good healthy dose of competition, most of us are really there for the camaraderie. I've found that most skippers insist on supplying the beer. They're usually appreciative of your efforts and they realize that without you, their boat won't go fast. Don't insult them by slagging their beer choice (my favourite kind of beer is FREE BEER!). Have a few if they're offered, but don't be gluttonous. Also, bring a 6er of something good along every now and then, especially the first time on a new boat. It doesn't go unnoticed.

Most of all, have fun, thank the skipper/owner for inviting you along and be courteous. it's always worked for me.

#21 Sailing My Cubicle

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 10:10 PM

Lot's of good tips here. As one who has moved several times in the past few years and who's "home" YC is on the coast of Maine, I've had to rely on crewlists alot. Here's some takeaways from my experiences on the lists:

1) Crewlists are basically a combination of Monster.com and Match.com.

Well some may be more like Casual Encounters on craigslist, but that's for different threads. Your crewlist posting is both your resume and your introduction to the owner/crew boss. Be very honest with your experience, availability and the type of boat/program you are looking for. If you're only available for beercan racing, state that in your posting. Come across as a dick and you likely won't get an email. Clearly, if you're still building your sailing resume, you're hoping to catch a ride on anything and state that.

2) Organizing a crew is like "herding cats":

When talking with an owner/crew boss, let them know your availability. If you commit to a race, you better be there. Make sure your S.O. knows that you're trying to race on weekends. Nothing worse than a crew who commits and bails, especially when they forget about a wedding or a home improvement project they promised wifey they'd do.

3) Communication is key -

Respond promptly to any email from an owner. If you can't make it, let them know asap. Let them know when you are available. In some instances, esp distance racing, ask about life jackets. Some regattas require them and the boat may be BYO-Safety Gear.

While you're trying to get a ride, you're temporary and anonymous. I was once crew for the Around Long Island Race on a well-regarded program and was found by the owner on a list. During the pre-start, other boats we're asking him who his crew was etc. His response "some guys I got off the internet." THAT'S YOU. (It's still me at times). Until you get invited back, you're some guy from the internet. To get invited back - follow the tips that other posters added.

One poster said network to get onto a boat. Yes this helps a lot. But don't fuck over your network too. I helped a close friend and good sailor get onto a boat I was established crew on. He showed up to a few races and then became a complete flake. Obviously he got the flick. Owner didn't get pissed at me but it was embarrassing to recommend someone and have them flake out.

Other advice I'd recommend is to show up early, be friendly, don't be too eager to show your stuff. Think of this as a first date. You may have a monster cock, but are you going to lay it out on the table the instant your date arrives? No, well at least I hope not, you're going to learn what makes the date/boat tick and see how you fit into the scheme of things.
One thing I look for with new crew is how much boat sense do they have - do they understand where the need to be during all phases of a race? Are the on the rail hiking or hanging out on the leeward rail for some unknown reason?

Hope this helps,

SMC

#22 ChgoDave

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 03:48 PM

This is good stuff. I've herded cats and putting together a "good, dependable" crew is much harder. I would add one thing here. Its more for how to get taken for a ride next year. One thing that drives me nuts is people who make the same mental mistakes over and over. Not just on one race, but things you've practiced, talked about, and pointed out. Even worse, doing things you've been repeatedly told NOT to do is even more dangerous. Here's a great example: On my old boat, everyone was told not to put more than 2 wraps on the primaries when tacking, until the tack was completed and you were doing final trim. It often resulted in an overwrap. Everybody got this except one guy. When it was really blowing, the resulting overwrap was very hard to undo. Obviously, your boat aint going fast in the right direction if you can't trim or ease the sail. This guy thought he knew more than everybody else because when it was blowing 10 knots or so he could easily correct the overwrap. The key here is to pay attention and learn. All boats are different (even one designs). People have stupid rules because they have already learned the hard way. They've ,made it easy for you. Just listen, write it on your wrist if you have to. Its always the crew that wins a race; its always the braintrust that loses it. If they realize they made a mistake by having you on board, they will eventually correct it. If you insist on doing it the hard way, you will probably be doing it on another boat next year. I've seen idiots relieved in the middle of the race (not my style), but you dont wanna be that guy. Make a committment to never be the guy making all the mental error. Its takes 3 weeks to teach a dog not to piss in the house. Surely, you can learn what not to do on a boat in that period of time. If not, they just might trade you in for a dog.

#23 dglad

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 04:19 PM

This is all great stuff.
I like to bring my Leatherman along for the ride because often times it is the man with the bottle opener who saves the day.

#24 mustang__1

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 02:50 AM

learn how to do jobs that make life easier for everyone.... for instance, know how to pack a jib turtle. dont just ball the damn thing up and stuff it below. it takes two goddam seconds to run the zipper back, roll the bag into itself, and pull the tack-end zipper over the bag. when the bowman goes to get the bag next, he can get to putting the sail away instead of sorting out the mess you created.... in other words, make sure you make the rest of the crew happy as well as the owner....

#25 Gregzore

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 07:50 PM

This is good stuff. I've herded cats and putting together a "good, dependable" crew is much harder. I would add one thing here. Its more for how to get taken for a ride next year. One thing that drives me nuts is people who make the same mental mistakes over and over. Not just on one race, but things you've practiced, talked about, and pointed out. Even worse, doing things you've been repeatedly told NOT to do is even more dangerous. Here's a great example: On my old boat, everyone was told not to put more than 2 wraps on the primaries when tacking, until the tack was completed and you were doing final trim. It often resulted in an overwrap. Everybody got this except one guy. When it was really blowing, the resulting overwrap was very hard to undo. Obviously, your boat aint going fast in the right direction if you can't trim or ease the sail. This guy thought he knew more than everybody else because when it was blowing 10 knots or so he could easily correct the overwrap. The key here is to pay attention and learn. All boats are different (even one designs). People have stupid rules because they have already learned the hard way. They've ,made it easy for you. Just listen, write it on your wrist if you have to. Its always the crew that wins a race; its always the braintrust that loses it. If they realize they made a mistake by having you on board, they will eventually correct it. If you insist on doing it the hard way, you will probably be doing it on another boat next year. I've seen idiots relieved in the middle of the race (not my style), but you dont wanna be that guy. Make a committment to never be the guy making all the mental error. Its takes 3 weeks to teach a dog not to piss in the house. Surely, you can learn what not to do on a boat in that period of time. If not, they just might trade you in for a dog.


This is a very important comment about not repeating mistakes. We have a rule on my boat that when a mistake is made and fixed, whoever made the mistake admits it and says so in a way something like this 'I will never make that mistake again.' It is a little demeaning and embarassing to say that, but they seem to remember, and repeated mistakes are rare, plus it sounds a hell of a lot more meaningful than a simple 'sorry'.

#26 keel trimmer

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 06:13 PM

Foul weather gear is so named for the protection it affords, not the fragrance it emits.

A savvy sailor doesn't make his mates tell him his gear stinks.

#27 mustang__1

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 02:55 AM

no comment.

#28 bluepatch

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 08:04 PM

For ISAF offshore races, boats are required to have a certain number of crew to have certifications. You can up your chances of getting on a boat if you can count towards fulfillment. Two common requirements are the Safety at Sea Seminar, CPR and First Aid. Attendance at the SASS helped me get on a boat.

#29 Yorick

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 05:15 PM

Nice thread here.

In addition to the gems already posted, say hypothetically you are given a task in the cockpit, for example trimming the guy.

You might not be asked to do that again if you keep letting the pole slam into the forestay. Especially when you mash up a body part in the process. (Hypothetically...)

#30 keel trimmer

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 08:30 PM

Bump for 2012. Happy sailing everyone - I hope you all get on the boats you want, or for you owners, sail with full crews every time.

#31 teuchter

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 12:21 AM

For what its worth updating this , afew things i found helpfull.

* Being early - i was 30mins early first time i raced a boat and this payed off. I got a good impression on one of those "legends" and his word counts for alot.(never knew who he was at start )
* Be prepare - this has been covered, have alook at forecasts in advance and try pack what you need
* Get stuck in- dont sit around tidy those ropes up, put those UV protection coves on before asked
* Respect the others on the boat who have more expaince sailing that specific boat, dont try to show off ect
* Show dedication - I had a 4hour drive to race one out of 4 races of a regatta, this got me invited back. It also meant i had to opertunity to offer myself to others, managed to get my name around alittle
* Dont get drunk on the first couple of days, not saying dont dirnk just watch what you drink. Bar is number one place to socialise and get to know others, geting really drunk could look bad for both your self and the boat

#32 sailmichigan

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:19 AM

Great thread with lots of very good tips. Loved it but hope the guy with the "monster" keeps it in his pants during the whole trip. Nothing worse than having to bail one of your (never to be seen/heard from again) mates out of jail for being stupid in public. Keep everything under control for everyone's sake.

#33 keel trimmer

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 04:53 PM

Personal update - I've moved to Baltimore and, using my own advice as well as that of others, scored decent rides for the weekday beer cans. Hope everyone is getting some this summer.

#34 keel trimmer

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 04:54 PM

For ISAF offshore races, boats are required to have a certain number of crew to have certifications. You can up your chances of getting on a boat if you can count towards fulfillment. Two common requirements are the Safety at Sea Seminar, CPR and First Aid. Attendance at the SASS helped me get on a boat.


+1

#35 money drain

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 11:13 PM

Just a quick note to tell you guys that this thread inspired me to do less "couch sailing" and get out on the water this season (no previous racing experience). Two months and ten races later (a mix of around the cans, a few overnighters, etc) I've landed a more or less permanent position on a Mumm 36. Also sailed two doublehanded races on another boat, where I experienced my first storm during one of them.

Totally hooked. And would probably never gotten into it at this level without reading this thread...

#36 ShockValue

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 07:47 AM

Couple years ago I was in the same boat (har har) moneydrain. Threw my name out there as a total newb. Showed up on time, tried not to be a dick, did the best I could to follow orders...

Learned a hell of a lot "trial by fire" method.

I'm still a newb, but all of a sudden I have more requests to crew than I have time. Feels nice!



#37 keel trimmer

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:24 AM

Just a quick note to tell you guys that this thread inspired me to do less "couch sailing" and get out on the water this season (no previous racing experience). Two months and ten races later (a mix of around the cans, a few overnighters, etc) I've landed a more or less permanent position on a Mumm 36. Also sailed two doublehanded races on another boat, where I experienced my first storm during one of them.

Totally hooked. And would probably never gotten into it at this level without reading this thread...


Your post made my day - thank you. My greatest wish for the sport of sailing is that everyone else figures out what I realized 4 years ago, that this is sport is fucking awesome.

I will let others give you the usual welcome.

#38 wristwister

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 03:37 PM

... of course, if you're female and hot, none of the above applies. Welcome aboard!

#39 money drain

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 05:39 PM

By the way, after hanging around on a few boats the last months loyalty seems to be the biggest issue on most of them (when getting a few new people each race the results isn't always that great). Already asked to switch boat a few times, one with a very tight and loyal crew which gets consistent good results, but I think it will be more fun to be on a team that slowly improves than joining a already winning team. Good for my own development too, I hope(?)

Your post made my day - thank you. My greatest wish for the sport of sailing is that everyone else figures out what I realized 4 years ago, that this is sport is fucking awesome.

I will let others give you the usual welcome.


Thanks! And yes, it's fucking awesome. And I've never been a sports guy in my thirty years of lifetime.

... of course, if you're female and hot, none of the above applies. Welcome aboard!


Luckily not, being female on a boat with 8 other men and a sealed toilet on offshore races doesn't sound too appealing. Thanks though!

#40 phdrunkard

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 08:24 PM

1) How to get a ride in SoCal?
Bring Beer And Safety Material.
(premium can cold with ice / a solid indica)


2) How to get invited back?


Make sure to by the crew boss any thing he wants at the club.
Buy sailing lesions from such person will ink your name on the crew list.

#41 PDG

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 09:51 PM

1) How to get a ride in SoCal?
Bring Beer And Safety Material.
(premium can cold with ice / a solid indica)


2) How to get invited back?


Make sure to by the crew boss any thing he wants at the club.
Buy sailing lesions from such person will ink your name on the crew list.


I think you meant sailing lessons, but sailing lesions is way funnier...

#42 phdrunkard

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:32 AM

spelling errors, i should of used buy instead of by ......
and i forgot the rest of the book Witch is going to be available on amazon in 2015. still doing research.

be invisible

be constructive

weight oriented

non confrontational

fun and always know a really dirty joke

#43 Olsonist

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 07:34 AM

Email back immediately. Yes, no, I'll know on Tuesday.
On time is early. Dock time is late.
Bring something.
Ask questions.
Vets, say hello to the newb.
Don't yell.
Be safe.

Say thank you. You have no idea how hard we skippers work and how much we spend so that you can sail. The least you can do is appreciate it.

Observe, listen and learn.

#44 Speng

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 04:10 PM

Make sure you have all your gear (clothes, gloves, PFDs etc) if you're not sure ask.
be ontime. Said before but can't emphasize enough.
Different places have different traditions regarding what skipper will provide. In the US I was used to a sandwich and drinks but in England I learned to carry my own for round the cans stuff. Jumped on one boat in the US where the beverages were water and beer, Made sure to bring gatorade the next day.
Going from dinghies/small boats to bigger yachts make sure you understand the winches especially if self tailing and/or multi speed. Also items like separate sheets and guys can make a difference whether you can do foredeck or not. Assym kites also make a difference better to ask questions than to run sheets wrong (!). Don't be afraid to customize your area a little. Same is true if you're going from big boat to small. On a dinghy spin pole jaws are down not up and a roll tack may very well mean different things. good thing is that on a dinghy you can easily practice the maneuvers in a short period of time.

#45 jackolantern

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 10:15 PM

Don't be an idiot and talk too much.

#46 dacapo

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 12:55 AM

Another rule, hold your tongue, don't talk incessantly .. nothing worse than having someone who won't shutup..


I'd fack that one up in a nanosecond..... ;)

#47 the paradox of thrift

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 04:39 AM

I posted this on another forum, but it seems relevant to this thread:

I agree with the posts here. I don't own a boat, but I get to use one like it is my own. I used to wonder why many boat owners were such cynical old bastards. Over time I've worked it out for myself.

Crew shouldn't have to pay towards the boat but they can:

1. Be committed. Once an owner has stumped up for a boat and all the gear show your appreciation by turning up and being reliable. I do crew HR and spend an inordinate amount of time finding crew. If I had $1 for every person who said "I'd like to come sailing" and then, when offered, can't I would be retired at age 40. You can't do the Fiji or Hobart race unless you can commit to everything else (and those who are exempted from this will have put in the hard yards before you were there).

2. Treat the boat like your own. Look after the gear - flake sails carefully and don't trash them when they're stowed. Many, many crew seem to have no idea how much things cost or there's no way they'd treat it like they do. Put sh*t away as well.

3. Do the Deliveries. The boat won't mysteriously get itself back from Fiji, Hobart or Southport. The most stressful part of doing long races for boat owners is getting it back afterwards in one piece.

4. Be understanding. It isn't always a piece of piss on crowded start lines or at mark roundings. If you're one of those crew who are always convinced you could do better you may be part of the problem as far as the owner's concerned.

5. Say Thanks. After a long day on the water, whether it went well or badly saying thank you always goes down well. At the end of a season buy a gift from the crew to say thanks.

6. Help prepare the boat. Safety inspections, rig checks, engine services, radio checks, bottom cleans, life raft services, PFD services, First Aid Kit replenishment, flare replacement, etc., etc. can take more than a working week every year - heaps more if you are doing serious offshore racing. When you go offshore all that kit isn't assembled onboard by oompa loompas in the dead of the night. Ask how you can help. The uninitated would be blown away to know how much this costs and the time involved. You'd also be pretty surprised how much f**king paperwork there is to be done for races, etc.

7. Pay for food and grog.

8. Help with less experienced crew. Instead of behaving like a prima donna and being a c**t to young or inexperienced crew try being helpful by offloading some of your awesome sailing knowledge to them. You were one of those people once.

9. If you are going to incurr expenses on behalf of a boat owner, arrange in advance what they are and who's paying for what.

10. Be understanding (2). Sometimes the only person not having fun is the boat owner. Realise that racing in fresh breezes or doing big races offshore is stressful for an owner because they are responsible for the lives of their crew and they've invested a massive chunk of their net worth into the boat you are "sending" in rough conditions.

#48 killapenguin

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:38 AM

A few simple things that I think can go a long way:

1) Sponge the bilge. Nobody likes doing this, but it can be rather gratifying in a zen-like manner, even on someone else's boat.

2) Pack the kite, and properly. If it's a "big boat", make sure it's banded. Make sure the tack and clew are set up so the kite can be pre-fed without the whole sail coming out of the bag. If you're doing a beer can race, jump down below and get started on the kite before the boat hits the dock. When it's blowing 25+, you'll be happy that you've packed the kite more than a few times, you'll be efficient about the process, and you'll have the confidence that it will go up without fouling.

3) Learn something in a lot of detail. Weather, rules, race management, electronics, electrical systems, diesel engines, sail repair, rigging, first aid, etc. Start with one thing and learn it well. Then move on to something else.

#49 haligonian winterr

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:04 AM

1 - Always try to learn. Once you get a few rides, you'll think you're king shit, but that is when you really need to take the time to sit back and observe what other people are doing, specifically in a position that you want to move up to. Bow from pit, trimmer from grinder etc. I learned this quickly on a recent delivery when we were getting pushed onto the dock by 20kts, and the hired Captain used a different way to get us off of there, I would never have thought of it and in hindsight I wish I had paid more attention.

2 - Be the nice guy (it's been said before), do the dirty stuff, make friends, you won't get invited back if you're a dick.

3 - If you're doing prep, ask questions but don't badger, and make sure the little things are covered. Running out of wool or elastic for banding kites, or not having any tobasco sauce for the last 3 days on freeze dried food, or power bars and candy for that matter, can really eat into a crew. If you know you're going to be banding kites, pick up some extra wool or bands, if you know you're going to be cooking, pack what you think you need, then pack more.

4 - Everything that has been said above, repeated, Mainly reliability and punctuality.

HW

#50 SemiSalt

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 01:37 PM

Anticipate. What's the next sail change? What's the next job? Do you know how to do it? What can you get ready?

Keep your head in the game.

#51 SailRacer

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 02:06 PM

Print the NOR and SI's and maybe a scrach sheet if available.
Read them and bring a copy to the boat.

Take a photo of the results later so you can refer to them without crowding the board (hate those guys) ..
Thank the owner for the opportunity to race with them.
Offer to be available if needed.

YMMV

#52 SailingSG

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 02:54 PM

How I started:
  • I got hooked up with a nice guy with a boat. I told him I'd go sailing anytime he asked me. I went *everytime*, no exceptions. I was very quickly the first guy called, because the owner knew he could count on me.
  • I wanted to sail even more. So I bought a boat!
  • Guess who saved my ass every time something broke or I could figure out how to fix something?
One thing I'd emphasize/add to comments above:
  • Be either the second last (right in front of the skipper) or last (if he's not picy) guy off the boat. As owner, little impresses me as much as the crew who keep asking what else should be done to close up the boat, and little ticks me off more than the crew who walk off when we tie up.


#53 unShirley

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 07:22 PM

One thing I'd emphasize/add to comments above:

  • Be either the second last (right in front of the skipper) or last (if he's not picy) guy off the boat. As owner, little impresses me as much as the crew who keep asking what else should be done to close up the boat, and little ticks me off more than the crew who walk off when we tie up.


Absolutely! Get there early to rig, stay late to put 'er to bed.
equally important:
  • STFU!
  • Demonstrate your skills, don't talk about 'em
  • Bring Beer. The cooler I bring goes into the dock box for after the race. Don't break open the beer during the race unless the owner suggests it
I also often take the chute home to rinse, band, and pack for the next race. I have a key to the boat and so check on it for the owner occasionally and return the spi asap.

#54 Beachcomber

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:59 AM

What started as a sensible post with good advice on how to get onto a "big boat" in this thread was made into a ridiculous one the front page on how to get into a "racing boat" by whoever edited yet. Yes editors, dinghies are racing boats too, and I don't think I'll ever understand the American fetish for big boats, or this websites fixation on them.

#55 GSpot

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 05:16 AM

And don't think that because it's a good think to bring a six-pak that it's okay to bring other drugs.

I was about five miles offshore when to everybody's surprise, one of my ex-crew pulled out a big bag of weed and fired up a joint. I guess he didn't see the coast guard boat about a half mile away, nor did he realize that my boat could have been seized. I made him get rid of that shit fast, and he hasn't been on my boat since.

#56 Mexican

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:48 PM

- Show up. Example - my ride for MHOR isn't a sure thing, yet. If I don't get it, I'll get my ass up to Marblehead a day early and ask around. Someone will nab me. Same thing for deliveries/returns - there must have been 20 boats leaving from Bermuda last July after the Newport race who would have paid for crew had any been available.


This is the only point I disagree with. I personally would not commit to an open ocean trip unless I know 60% of the crew well and had sailed with them previously and had some experience of the boat.

200 nm offshore is too late to find out you're sailing with a bunch of sea sick muppets.

Mex

#57 GSpot

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 03:42 AM

Another minor detail, but please write your name on all your gear. Then if you leave it behind, or somebody else picks it up by mistake, it's easy to return it to it's rightful owner.

#58 Olsonist

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 10:33 PM

Just because you're cute doesn't mean you get invited back.
After all, there is the feminine form of being a dick.

#59 Great White

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 05:58 AM

Email back immediately. Yes, no, I'll know on Tuesday.
On time is early. Dock time is late.
Bring something.
Ask questions.
Vets, say hello to the newb.
Don't yell.
Be safe.

Say thank you. You have no idea how hard we skippers work and how much we spend so that you can sail. The least you can do is appreciate it.

Observe, listen and learn.

+1
The biggest issue I have with crew is when they don't give me an answer when I send an email announcing the next race. It only takes a few times of not hearing from them before I drop them off my list.

Another issue is when someones says that that will come and then a few days before the race they tell me that they want to go with a friend on another boat or an offer came up on a boat with more potential(don't call it a better ride!). They usually don't get ask back.

#60 PDG

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 02:04 PM

Just because you're cute doesn't mean you get invited back.
After all, there is the feminine form of being a dick.


So would the feminine form of a Douchebag be called a Douchebaguette?

Always wondered about that. Sorry for the hijack.

#61 quecatsofai

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 04:44 PM

Agreed! Ocean racing or offshore delivery with unknown crewmates...fine if you are young and don't care but for the rest... sail with them first and know what your personal tolerance level is. Check safety gear as well.

- Show up. Example - my ride for MHOR isn't a sure thing, yet. If I don't get it, I'll get my ass up to Marblehead a day early and ask around. Someone will nab me. Same thing for deliveries/returns - there must have been 20 boats leaving from Bermuda last July after the Newport race who would have paid for crew had any been available.


This is the only point I disagree with. I personally would not commit to an open ocean trip unless I know 60% of the crew well and had sailed with them previously and had some experience of the boat.

200 nm offshore is too late to find out you're sailing with a bunch of sea sick muppets.

Mex



#62 keel trimmer

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 04:12 PM


Just because you're cute doesn't mean you get invited back.
After all, there is the feminine form of being a dick.


So would the feminine form of a Douchebag be called a Douchebaguette?

Always wondered about that. Sorry for the hijack.


Douchebitch

#63 keel trimmer

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 04:16 PM

Aw shucks. I'm on the Front Page.

Does it say something about the (lack of) popularity of the Crew Forum when it takes the editor darned near two years to notice this thread, or was 10 October simply an historically slow day for sailing news?

:blink: :blink: :blink:

#64 keel trimmer

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 04:21 PM

Agreed! Ocean racing or offshore delivery with unknown crewmates...fine if you are young and don't care but for the rest... sail with them first and know what your personal tolerance level is. Check safety gear as well.


- Show up. Example - my ride for MHOR isn't a sure thing, yet. If I don't get it, I'll get my ass up to Marblehead a day early and ask around. Someone will nab me. Same thing for deliveries/returns - there must have been 20 boats leaving from Bermuda last July after the Newport race who would have paid for crew had any been available.


This is the only point I disagree with. I personally would not commit to an open ocean trip unless I know 60% of the crew well and had sailed with them previously and had some experience of the boat.

200 nm offshore is too late to find out you're sailing with a bunch of sea sick muppets.

Mex


In principle, you are right. In reality, you may not have the luxury of personally knowing a boat and crew before going offshore.

Use your network. Go on Sailing Anarchy and post the name of the boat - if it's a race boat, chances are if they are exceptional in any way - good or bad, someone here will know about it. Then you are a few PMs away from knowing a lot more than you did.

If it's local, ask if you can meet for an orientation sail or at least a walk-through of the boat prior to delivery day.

#65 ChgoDave

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:16 PM

I posted this on another forum, but it seems relevant to this thread:

I agree with the posts here. I don't own a boat, but I get to use one like it is my own. I used to wonder why many boat owners were such cynical old bastards. Over time I've worked it out for myself.

Crew shouldn't have to pay towards the boat but they can:

1. Be committed. Once an owner has stumped up for a boat and all the gear show your appreciation by turning up and being reliable. I do crew HR and spend an inordinate amount of time finding crew. If I had $1 for every person who said "I'd like to come sailing" and then, when offered, can't I would be retired at age 40. You can't do the Fiji or Hobart race unless you can commit to everything else (and those who are exempted from this will have put in the hard yards before you were there).

2. Treat the boat like your own. Look after the gear - flake sails carefully and don't trash them when they're stowed. Many, many crew seem to have no idea how much things cost or there's no way they'd treat it like they do. Put sh*t away as well.

3. Do the Deliveries. The boat won't mysteriously get itself back from Fiji, Hobart or Southport. The most stressful part of doing long races for boat owners is getting it back afterwards in one piece.

4. Be understanding. It isn't always a piece of piss on crowded start lines or at mark roundings. If you're one of those crew who are always convinced you could do better you may be part of the problem as far as the owner's concerned.

5. Say Thanks. After a long day on the water, whether it went well or badly saying thank you always goes down well. At the end of a season buy a gift from the crew to say thanks.

6. Help prepare the boat. Safety inspections, rig checks, engine services, radio checks, bottom cleans, life raft services, PFD services, First Aid Kit replenishment, flare replacement, etc., etc. can take more than a working week every year - heaps more if you are doing serious offshore racing. When you go offshore all that kit isn't assembled onboard by oompa loompas in the dead of the night. Ask how you can help. The uninitated would be blown away to know how much this costs and the time involved. You'd also be pretty surprised how much f**king paperwork there is to be done for races, etc.

7. Pay for food and grog.

8. Help with less experienced crew. Instead of behaving like a prima donna and being a c**t to young or inexperienced crew try being helpful by offloading some of your awesome sailing knowledge to them. You were one of those people once.

9. If you are going to incurr expenses on behalf of a boat owner, arrange in advance what they are and who's paying for what.

10. Be understanding (2). Sometimes the only person not having fun is the boat owner. Realise that racing in fresh breezes or doing big races offshore is stressful for an owner because they are responsible for the lives of their crew and they've invested a massive chunk of their net worth into the boat you are "sending" in rough conditions.

Well said. As an owner, I have guys that understand the boat has to get put up and are always there for me. What pisses me off are the 1 or 2 who think its someone else's responsibility. Its unfair to their crewmates. I have the Sammy Sosa rule, i.e., look to eliminate "a cancer in the clubhouse", regardless of how talented they may be. I will put up with alot of crap, but what will make me consider getting rid of crew is when their behavior, actions or lack of commitment affect the crew. Examples are not showing up and making us sail shorthanded and repeatedly doing things you've been instructed not to do. The rest of the crew sees these things and recognizes the problem. I have found that with patience loyal people will get better, but well sailing pains in the asses never seem to resolve themselves with time. You can only be as committed to crew, as they are committed to the boat.

Self-motivation is important. I am fortunate that my crew can set up the boat and break it down without me being present. Some of them, mostly younger guys, are not so good at cleaning. I suspect this is a sign of the times. I've never been to their apartments, and I'm not so sure I want to after seeing some things they've done on the boat. About the only fixed asset they own is their car. They truly do not understand the investment that sails and a boat represent. It may be worthwhile to make new crew aware of this. Perhaps Capts assume this knowledge on the part of crew. I haven't been 20 something for a while.

Fun is important. Not only for the crew, but for the Capt. Every now and then you run into crew who think you are campaigning a boat, just so they will be able to enjoy themselves during the summer. I gladly let a guy go this year who said he wasn't having fun. He didn't seem to understand that it was not all about him (Sammy Sosa rule). He was oblivious of how his quest for fun was crapping on everyone else' (including me) fun. No one is perfect. Look around. If you can't see something that you are doing might be a problem, then you probably are a problem. If you do see a problem with yourself, correct it. You just made the boat better and became more valuable as a member of the crew. In life I have found that usually, if someone things you're f*cked up in regards to something, you probably are. Its OK to be f*cked up about things. You can't make everybody happy. On a boat, its NOT OK. You are part of a team. If you're f*cked up, then so is the boat. Be f*cked up on land, but never on the boat.

#66 keel trimmer

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:32 PM

Happy Springtime!

Bump Bump Bumpity Bump.

#67 No.6

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 09:50 PM

How you been buddy? Still in Baltimore? ~Enjoying the live aboard experience??

#68 CraptainJack

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 10:00 PM

Learn how the foredeck likes the kite packed... then pack kites.

#69 haligonian winterr

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 01:59 AM

Get out there!!

Now is the time of year where yacht clubs are hosting crew mixers, and people are looking for crew for the season. Up north, it's also boat maintenance time, if you can get on a crew, and volunteer a few hours a week for menial boat prep like sanding and scrubbing, it will help secure a position as well as solidify a reputation.

Also, get some business cards to carry around in your wallet. You never know who you'll meet, and when you do, you usually won't have a pen to write down your contact info, so a business card makes it quick and dirty, plus it shows you're at least a little bit dedicated.

HW

#70 24_Racer

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 11:30 PM

Showing up on the dock and not being an asshole will usually get you a ride, it might not be the hottest ride out there, but its better than not racing

 

And always build your network, Keel Trimmer himself got me a ride to Bermuda last year...



#71 haligonian winterr

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 09:46 PM

Bump!!

 

And a re-read for some of us

 

HW



#72 Torsten

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 07:13 AM

Anticipate. What's the next sail change? What's the next job? Do you know how to do it? What can you get ready?

Keep your head in the game.

 

This.  Plenty of n00bs zone out when there's not much going on during certain legs and then get caught off guard.



#73 keel trimmer

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:09 PM

Balti-where?

 

Been moving around a bit.  Deltaville, VA is home for another couple of weeks, or whenever weather permits three more coats of two-part paint on the back deck.  I'm helped by the fact that I've splurged on a covered slip, but it's still kind of capricious.

 

The plan is to get this stuff done, then recruit a couple of monkeys to help me schlep the boat as far as Cape May.  From there, I will have to carefully consider the rest of my plan because everyone will tell me not to do it, and I'm only going to go through with it if I'm sure it's worth it.

 

As for this thread, I can't say it enough - just show up and try to listen at least 100x more than you talk.  The rest will work itself out.

 

Been thinking about starting a new thread - 'How to find and retain good crew'.  I've shared my thoughts on how to get a ride - we need a thread about how to keep the keepers.



#74 Bump-n-Grind

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 06:32 PM

Balti-where?

 

Been moving around a bit.  Deltaville, VA is home for another couple of weeks, or whenever weather permits three more coats of two-part paint on the back deck.  I'm helped by the fact that I've splurged on a covered slip, but it's still kind of capricious.

 

The plan is to get this stuff done, then recruit a couple of monkeys to help me schlep the boat as far as Cape May.  From there, I will have to carefully consider the rest of my plan because everyone will tell me not to do it, and I'm only going to go through with it if I'm sure it's worth it.

 

As for this thread, I can't say it enough - just show up and try to listen at least 100x more than you talk.  The rest will work itself out.

 

Been thinking about starting a new thread - 'How to find and retain good crew'.  I've shared my thoughts on how to get a ride - we need a thread about how to keep the keepers.

 

 

Title it,"How to tame a boat whore" :lol:



#75 Bulbhunter

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:02 PM

Best way to not get rides is to be a flake. Oddly enough this applys to pretty much everything else in life. The girls who were always complaining about this crew thing were the worst at flaking out and leaving us in a pinch for crew. They also seemed to be the same girls who had the hardest time finding cool dudes interested in them beyond the first date.



#76 sail2win

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 02:58 AM

After the race is over, make a list of items to be repaired, fixed or replaced with input from the rest of the crew. Then volunteer to repair, fix or replace them or get help from others if the list is long or beyond your expertise.  It can be as simple as offering to take the torn kite to the sailmaker and making sure it is picked up or delivered to the boat in the morning for the next day's racing.

 

Develop specialized knowledge relevant to something specific on the boat. For example, download the manuals then learn how to calibrate and operate the instrument system and become the go-to guy.  Be the rig adjuster - know what settings are appropriate for every wind speed, sail combination and type of racing (buoy vs. distance) and keep a notebook recording that data.  If you're the main, jib or spin trimmer, be the sailmaker liason - the sailmaker probably can't sail every race so you can be the on-board expert. Know the design parameters of each sail. the windspeed crossovers, keep track of hours of use in a notebook, coach other crew to protect the sails (flake or roll, remove or detension battens, wash salt off, etc), inspect for wear.

 

Make yourself indispensible - don't wait to be asked.



#77 Medic38

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:09 PM

I'm pretty much a noob and sailing addict. I followed this advice. I was there early, grabbed the biggest of the bags, went for the mainsail covers and lines before my frothy beverage, brought plenty of beer for others and myself, kept my mouth shut, asked questions when I needed help, didn't talk shit, and never over stated my sailing prowess, help stowe equipment, towed the dolly back off the dock to the lot. Gave the capt solid yes and no answers as to availability. The capt and crew were great sailors and very welcoming of a joey on board, and they gave me some great tips about my sailing and how to become more efficient Got asked back for next tues. thanks for the advice.

#78 Shaggy

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:27 PM

This from one of the the top fordeck guys when I was 13 or so right before he scampered up the mast (sans harness or anything else attached for that matter) to get the toping lift after it was sky'ed it. 

 

Do the thing no one wants to do first. 

 

 

Served me well.......    



#79 Bedford

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:36 PM

Often the crew banks for races are full of crew looking for a ride and there are few, if any rides available. Your listing would be lost unless you really stand out. But there are other ways to get your name in front of an owner. Here's a few ideas that have worked for me;

Generally the owners of the biggest, coolest boats are hard to get ahold of. Look at the scratch sheet. Find the boat you'd like to race on. Email the sailing director at that boat's home club. The owner will read his emails. Ask him to forward a note to Mr. X, the owner. Be respectful and tell him that you would like to be part of his team if there are any vacancies. Include a comprehensive sailing resume.

Here's a few more points:
- As mentioned, get your ISAF SASS and first aid stuff. Some boats will take anyone with the course to be legal.
- Mention that you are available with short notice. The best rides come a few days before the race when the unforeseen happens...the bowman is in jail, the main trimmer was shot by a jealous husband...that sort of thing.
- On the crew bank pages, do not check off every position. Pick your best two. Otherwise, you look like a hack.
- Be a bowguy (girl). Anyone can spin a winch. Bowguys tend to be in the highest demand after hot chicks with beer.
- Most offshore races involve a delivery before or after the race. Volunteer to do the delivery as well.

#80 Bedford

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:47 PM

Also, do not say that you are an excellent driver unless you've got Olympic gold to back it up. You'll look like a dick. Driving is for the guy that signs the cheques and his friends He has no interest in handing control of his pride and joy to a complete stranger.

Everyone wants to drive and you will likely get a chance to prove yourself at the helm. If you're hitting the targets, good for you. If you find yourself consistently shy of the target speeds and angles, take yourself off the helm before someone else has to. Even if you are on the numbers, recognize when you get tired and your focus starts to slip and ask for the next driver.

Finally, DO NOT COME ON DECK LATE FOR YOUR WATCH!

#81 Sailing My Cubicle

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:49 PM

- Most offshore races involve a delivery before or after the race. Volunteer to do the delivery as well.

 

+1 Doing deliveries is a great way to work your way into race rotation in the future.  Also offering to do race + delivery upfront will make you more valuable to the boat than someone with comprarable skills who is just available for the race.

 

Like Bedford said - don't be late for your watch.  Come on watch 5-10 min early to a) wake-up, B) gain your bearings and ask questions about trim, mode etc, and c) relieve somebody early.

 

And if you're new to offshore, take some seasickness meds before shoving off.  We don't care if you've never been seasick before b/c if it does happen to you and it could have been avoided, you're an asshole.  I'll be sympathetic and will try to keep you hydrated, but that's one less person on watch and if it gets soo bad that you need medical attention - that's the end of the race.  If you get so seasick on a Bermuda type race that the boat needs to divert or put you onto a cruiseship, and you could've taken meds which would have prevented it, your bravado just flushed thousands of the owner's dollars down the drain and ruined everyone else's adventure. 

 

Obviously - the meds don't always work or maybe you can't take them for some other reason...that's a different story.  Some people get seasick regardless.



#82 Bedford

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 07:22 PM

- Most offshore races involve a delivery before or after the race. Volunteer to do the delivery as well.

 

+1 Doing deliveries is a great way to work your way into race rotation in the future.  Also offering to do race + delivery upfront will make you more valuable to the boat than someone with comprarable skills who is just available for the race.

 

Like Bedford said - don't be late for your watch.  Come on watch 5-10 min early to a) wake-up, B) gain your bearings and ask questions about trim, mode etc, and c) relieve somebody early.

 

And if you're new to offshore, take some seasickness meds before shoving off.  We don't care if you've never been seasick before b/c if it does happen to you and it could have been avoided, you're an asshole.  I'll be sympathetic and will try to keep you hydrated, but that's one less person on watch and if it gets soo bad that you need medical attention - that's the end of the race.  If you get so seasick on a Bermuda type race that the boat needs to divert or put you onto a cruiseship, and you could've taken meds which would have prevented it, your bravado just flushed thousands of the owner's dollars down the drain and ruined everyone else's adventure. 

 

Obviously - the meds don't always work or maybe you can't take them for some other reason...that's a different story.  Some people get seasick regardless.

If you can get it, Sturgeron is the best stuff in the world for seasickness. Unlike other meds, you can take it after the symptoms set it and it won't make you drowsy. Good for hangovers too!

 

As far as watches, we have a system where everybody has an offset. For instance, there are two bow guys. Fifteen minutes before the end of your watch, you slip below and wake your offset crew. Usually you share a bunk with your offset so the system works. If you are late, the deal is a round of drinks for the rest of your watch for every time you're late coming on deck.

 

Don't forget to list other skills - cooking, diesel, electrical, glass/carbon repair, splicing etc.



#83 JeffR

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 03:36 PM

How to keep that ride.... 

 

After you get asked back a few times don't stop doing what got you the ride in the first place.... number one way to lose a ride.... be late or no-show a few times



#84 keel trimmer

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 08:50 PM

I am beyond pleased to report that this thread has inspired a workshop at StrictlySail Chicago.  I hope the session is well attended. 



#85 keel trimmer

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 04:45 PM

Giving this thread a bump for purely self-serving reasons, as indicated in the next posting.  I need a ride in Newport!



#86 couchsurfer

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 05:07 PM

.

...haven't read the thread...but from both sides,,as boat owner as well as crew....I'd stress the importance of getting a reference or two about the boat,,crew you're thinking of teaming-up with ;)  



#87 Sarc

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 11:37 PM

.

...haven't read the thread...but from both sides,,as boat owner as well as crew....I'd stress the importance of getting a reference or two about the boat,,crew you're thinking of teaming-up with ;)  

I wholeheartedly agree  :rolleyes:



#88 haligonian winterr

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 02:16 AM

+1 training days are also beneficial, if the crew are at each others' necks on a "calm" training day, could be a disaster on the course...

 

Of course, I wound up doing pointy end on a boat with three tacticians once after good references and practice sails...

 

Was still fun though!

 

This thread has helped me lots, hope it stays active and can help everyone else too!

 

HW

 

.

...haven't read the thread...but from both sides,,as boat owner as well as crew....I'd stress the importance of getting a reference or two about the boat,,crew you're thinking of teaming-up with ;)  

I wholeheartedly agree  :rolleyes:



#89 Bruce T. Shark

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 11:12 PM

That is interesting about head sink and galley sink..i like that..

 

 

Hmmm... a few pet peeves



  • Don't put litter into the line bags or cockpit coaming cubbies, especially organic material
  • It's OK to drink too much and pass out AFTER the race. Don't help yourself to the best booze at 1000hrs without asking first.
  • Don't leave stuff on the boat, try to account for hats, gloves, jackets, etc.

I went to a talk by Stan Honey one time, he said that when you are starting out all you can get are rides on the crappier boats where it is always disorganized down below and people were filthy. As you get better and better rides, you find that people take better care of themselves (including hygene) and the boat better, and things run more smoothly. And he has had the best rides in the world.

Stan Honey's takeaways:

  • Never use the head and then wash your hands in the galley sink
  • Corollary: Always wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer in the head
  • Your gear belongs on your hook, on your person, or in your seabag. Period.
  • Plus most of the stuff in the OP I am sure.


#90 whispers

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 08:26 AM

Ok I'm an older bastard, I've done admirals cup, Olympics been involved in Americas cup as crew granted several decades ago and now sail on a few different yet significant programmes. I'll tell you a few secrets to be invited back.
1: shut up don't tell everyone how good you are, we took a particular young sailor who worked for norths on his first significant ocean race after ther race and a 16 hr spinKer repair he was vetted for a ride on a 100 footer of note without him knowing, and subsequently into the vor
2: it's a small world sailors of note know each other
3: keep clean do not leave your shit around the boat
4: do not get drunk or do drugs
5: be proactive and try to help
6: make sure you know your limitations if it 40 knots and dark and your not comfortable steering don't
7: be aware all boats including the big professional ones are looking for competent non agro crew
8: we have a few boats and people are to stupid to realise if they are good on the 70 footer and do a few deliveries they can work up to the 100 footer
Anyway now half of Sydney knows who I am I better put the red away and If you want a ride pm me

#91 haligonian winterr

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 12:02 PM

+1 being unnoticed is the best way to get yourself noticed.

 

HW

 

Ok I'm an older bastard, I've done admirals cup, Olympics been involved in Americas cup as crew granted several decades ago and now sail on a few different yet significant programmes. I'll tell you a few secrets to be invited back.
1: shut up don't tell everyone how good you are, we took a particular young sailor who worked for norths on his first significant ocean race after ther race and a 16 hr spinKer repair he was vetted for a ride on a 100 footer of note without him knowing, and subsequently into the vor
2: it's a small world sailors of note know each other
3: keep clean do not leave your shit around the boat
4: do not get drunk or do drugs
5: be proactive and try to help
6: make sure you know your limitations if it 40 knots and dark and your not comfortable steering don't
7: be aware all boats including the big professional ones are looking for competent non agro crew
8: we have a few boats and people are to stupid to realise if they are good on the 70 footer and do a few deliveries they can work up to the 100 footer
Anyway now half of Sydney knows who I am I better put the red away and If you want a ride pm me



#92 keel trimmer

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 02:43 PM

Thank you for your valuable contribution to this thread, you used up old fuck  :-) 

 

I'd fly to Sydney just to sail with people like you.

 

Ok I'm an older bastard, I've done admirals cup, Olympics been involved in Americas cup as crew granted several decades ago and now sail on a few different yet significant programmes. I'll tell you a few secrets to be invited back.
1: shut up don't tell everyone how good you are, we took a particular young sailor who worked for norths on his first significant ocean race after ther race and a 16 hr spinKer repair he was vetted for a ride on a 100 footer of note without him knowing, and subsequently into the vor
2: it's a small world sailors of note know each other
3: keep clean do not leave your shit around the boat
4: do not get drunk or do drugs
5: be proactive and try to help
6: make sure you know your limitations if it 40 knots and dark and your not comfortable steering don't
7: be aware all boats including the big professional ones are looking for competent non agro crew
8: we have a few boats and people are to stupid to realise if they are good on the 70 footer and do a few deliveries they can work up to the 100 footer
Anyway now half of Sydney knows who I am I better put the red away and If you want a ride pm me



#93 boats and goes

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 01:51 AM

Be friendly / polite to everyone, you never know who they might be. Two years ago I met a guy looking for crew on his star for a weekday race at the club I coach at.

This previous winter I got to go to Miami to do a few star events with him (winter series, masters and bacardi). Had a hell of a time and probably would not have had the opportunity without meeting him.

Also don't be "that guy". We all know that guy, he's an asshole that some how finds his way onto a boat every week. Every club has one, don't be him (or her).




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