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Old 04-21-2013
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Re: Overwhelmed sailing novice seeks advice

There are specific periods when sailing boats move and many of them are seeking crew;
October/November; US east coast to the Caribbean or Canaries to Caribbean
April/May; Caribbean to US east coast or Europe
When we do long passages we will usually take a couple of crew and we will always choose a totally inexperienced crew member with a good attitude over an experienced one with a bad attitude, as would many skippers. A lot of us actually prefer novices, because many experienced crew can be PITA's and have a lot of "bad habits". I say this to give you encouragement; this is one of the very few places where a good attitude outweighs experience, by far.
If you get lucky, your skipper might pay for your repatriation (we don't), but if not, you must have funds enough to cover a flight to your country of origin from where ever you leave the boat or you may not get aboard a boat at all.
Also, IMO sailing schools will not give you the skills nor the confidence that a 1500 mile ocean voyage will. Save your money for airfare!
Good luck.
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