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  #1  
Old 10-27-2009
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Crewing advice needed. Please!

Hi all from sunny Solent, UK.

I've already introduced myself as a newbie on the relevant thread and would like some advice from more seasoned sailors.

As a female the wrong side of 40, I'm new to sailing but have taken to it like a duck to water (pun intended) . I'd like to now improve my sailing skills and experience and combined with my cookery and hospitality skills, move into the field of stewarding/crewing on yachts. I'm not expecting to get straight onto the huge superyachts but maybe sail on the smaller charter boats that are more informal.

Am I being a little over ambitious? I'm planning on doing a marine hospitality course after gaining more sailing quals but, as the cost of courses in the UK runs into thousands I didn't want to invest in that only to find I'm not what people would be looking for. (Can't think why though! I'm lovely! )

So the question is, what kind of work/ training/ experience would you guys recommend for a stewarding position for someone in my position?

Thanks all!
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Old 10-27-2009
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Hi Drifter-


I have similar ambitions, I'm 50.

This is my limited experiance:

My daughter is 26 and has been a stewardess for 2 1/2 years. It is a grueling business. Quite frankly, I don't think we'd get hired at our age. ALL of the people she encountered on other crews were All under 40. She's been in the capitals of the sailing world (American Samoa, 6 days before it got leveled) and she's spent 1000's being trained for seamanship, safety, firefighting ect. She's never had "hospitality" training, the emphasis is on SAFETY at sea. She has an agent in Newport, RI that "sells" her resume. Being out to sea takes a physical toll on crew too. She's coming on land for a year to re-group, enjoy some space and start running daily again. I'm a bona fide diehard but I don't think we have a chance in this business at this level. Maybe local touring cruises but not private crew members on staff by contract. Sorry, that's my perspective.

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Thanks for that SailorGirl , it's pretty much the type of answer I was expecting regarding the age thing. How I wish I had started this earlier! I'm not as fit and resilient physically as I was say, twenty years ago, but I am hoping that some older sailors may want more life experienced crew for example.

I'm not looking for the glamorous, cocktail swigging, diving off the coach house type of life, but someone, somewhere must appreciate the experience and confidence that comes with age, not to mention tact and diplomacy! I've sailed with a few skippers now and tend to feel that at 40+ I'm somewhat of a spring chick on some boats by comparison! Surely not all want lythe young, bikin clads around the decks? (Then again I wouldn't blame them!)

I'm going to an Open Day at UKSA next week and expect to get an honest appraisal there on how good my chances are. For now I will concentrate on keeping fit, enjoying my sailing and honing my skills. Including the safety skills you mentioned which are a core of the Marine Hospitality course.
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Old 10-27-2009
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Originally Posted by DrifterJill View Post
Thanks for that SailorGirl , it's pretty much the type of answer I was expecting regarding the age thing. How I wish I had started this earlier! I'm not as fit and resilient physically as I was say, twenty years ago, but I am hoping that some older sailors may want more life experienced crew for example.

I'm not looking for the glamorous, cocktail swigging, diving off the coach house type of life, but someone, somewhere must appreciate the experience and confidence that comes with age, not to mention tact and diplomacy! I've sailed with a few skippers now and tend to feel that at 40+ I'm somewhat of a spring chick on some boats by comparison! Surely not all want lythe young, bikin clads around the decks? (Then again I wouldn't blame them!)

I'm going to an Open Day at UKSA next week and expect to get an honest appraisal there on how good my chances are. For now I will concentrate on keeping fit, enjoying my sailing and honing my skills. Including the safety skills you mentioned which are a core of the Marine Hospitality course.
Jill,

Sailorgirl has far more knowledge/experience in this area, so give her thoughts more weight than mine.

But if I ever owned a boat large enough to be called a "yacht" and that needed crew, I would much prefer to hire experience and maturity over bikinis and beauty. Or, at least, some combination thereof!

The young ones make fantastic crew -- they have great strength/stamina and virtually boundless enthusiasm -- but they require more training and "adult supervision." If someone's looking for peace of mind, there's really no substitute for the maturity/responsibility that comes from life experience.

So, I would say, don't get too discouraged by your age -- in fact, you could market it as an advantage you have over the younger candidates. If you have the time and available resources, take a chance and follow your dream. There may well be a niche somewhere for you. Good luck!!
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  #5  
Old 10-27-2009
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Here in BC there are several charter companies that offer adventure cruises on a small scale.. e.g. 68 foot ketches, max 16 guests, usually to the Queen Charlottes or Alaskan waters. A friend is a cook for one of them, working 3 weeks on, 1 or 2 weeks off throughout the spring/summer/fall seasons. In winter she cooks for remote ski camps and offers yoga classes too.

I think this sort of venture would prefer maturity and experience over the other (she is nearing 50 herself - though very fit). I'd expect you'd have similar companies in the UK, esp in Scotland, perhaps? that may be a good target employer for you.

Sailorgirls perspective may well be more accurate, but I'd not write it off altogether just yet!
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Old 10-27-2009
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Originally Posted by DrifterJill View Post
I'm not looking for the glamorous, cocktail swigging, diving off the coach house type of life...

Surely not all want lythe young, bikin clads around the decks?
Woah, woah, woah! You've just described a normal day aboard the S/V Smacktanic. And all this is precisely WHY I got into yachting in the first place! Yeah, baby!

On the other hand, if you must insist on dull drudgery, I'm sure there's a spot aboard Sailingdog's multi.

Seriously, though, the very fact that you want to sail makes you a pretty cool chick in my book. And anyway, most yachts are owned by people older than 40. So, though the bikini clads are welcome adornment - they always seem to have something else to do (school, bachelor parties, etc.). They never hang around more than a season and make lousy crew. So don't sell yourself short.
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Awww thanks for the reassurance guys. All comments and advice most welcome. I'm pretty hard to put off once I've set my mind to something to be honest, so I'm sure I will end up doing something I enjoy in the end.

As Faster already mentioned, there are smaller, less glamorous yacht charter companies and this was the kind of thing I had in mind, I've been on crewseekeweb sites for a while and have already touched base with a few yacht owners to find out what kind of person they would be looking for. Responses vary!

And yes, there are a number of charter companies in Scotland which I will check out, but I had rather fancied sailing in warmer climes than dear old Blighty. Boca anyone?
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Colder climes need people more skilled in preparing good food with few ingredients than people skilled in looking great in a bikini (not saying you would or wouldn't look good in a bikini of course) and serving martinis.
Anyway, the PNW is pretty warm in the summer, certainly better than Scotland at any time of year
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What is the PNW?

And my bikini wearing days are over!
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Pacific North West, northwest US, British Columbia and Alaska generally. Lovely part of the world, so good it made me move from England
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