Second that. I sail with many people with little sailing experience but I have only one rule for those watchkeepers: If ANYTHING changes, wake me up. I will not be angry or fussy if it comes to nothing. However, if something changes and you don't wake me up, I will be a BIT on the grumpy side.
Most skippers can handle the boat themselves while awake and rested, it's getting that rest that is paramount. You must trust the watchkeeper enough to exercise their best judgement and alert you when something changes or you will never get to sleep in the first place.
Definitely agree. This is one of several reasons I try to sail with three crew in addition to me. With three crew standing four hours on and eight off everyone gets rest, including me even though I'm up multiple times per watch until I have everyone assessed. My approach also means if someone doesn't work out or gets sick I can just step into their spot in the watch rotation.
The boat I race one ZZzoom has always had a crew put together from free adds in the newspaper.
While plenty of people did not work out they were never really dangerous and the main problem was they just did not enjoy sailing
I have a long racing history. Full size crews with blue-gold watches are vastly different from two, three, or four folks on passage.
No one helms my boat sans me over the shoulder without I watch them first.
Which works fine day-sailing. Not so well on passage. The people that have been problems for me did fine under observation.
Some of the best advice I've received is from a doctor who does a lot of offshore passages. He treats his crew like part of the equipment. He dictates what they eat, what they drink, and when they sleep. He wants their medical history. If they don't like his rules they don't go.
I'd like to think I treat my crew a lot better than just as cogs in a wheel *grin* but the do eat, stay hydrated, and get rested. I will send people down to rest, especially in the first few days while everyone is excited and jazzed on adrenaline.
We always have a "sharing" session before departure to understand medical issues, sleeping patterns, how early to wake folks before watch, and so on. Once in a while I get a private medical concern but most aren't relevant. Heart problems, weak backs, bursitis, allergies, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, dietary restrictions are things that everyone aboard should know about.
There are only a handful of people I want to do a passage with. I admire those who can figure this out on the fly with new people (but based on my experience with selected "friends" maybe you're better off).
Sometimes friends and family make the poorest crew. You have to deal with all kinds of collateral emotional issues. I have put crew on an airplane in the Azores for example. That would have been more challenging (although I'd like to think I'd still do it) if the crew was an uncle or a sister-in-law. Thanksgiving can get testy. *grin*
I don't want to turn people off to getting crew.
I met Chip over the Internet. We got to know each other over time. We live half the country apart from one another. He is my very first choice of crew every single time I can get him. He and I did Annapolis to Narragansett two-up non-stop and landed in the Point Judith Harbor of Refuge in fog that left visibility at about 50 feet (we could see the bow of the boat, but not the rip-rap at the breakwaters on the west entrance to the harbor). Chip went with me from Boca del Toro to Rio Dulce and was an outstanding engineer as we worked through engine troubles underway. He was similarly invaluable working fuel issues on a Passport 40 offshore - he dealt with the engine while I sailed the boat.
I met Anja over the Internet also. Outstanding crew. Open minded, collaborative, the ultimate morale officer, smart, and funny.
I met Adam over the Internet. Good friend, good sailor, smart, strong, motivated, and willing. I'd sail with him anywhere. Seeing Adam walking down the dock to meet me on delivery always makes me feel better.
There is great crew out there. You just have to find them.
On that note, I have a couple of hundred folks on my crew list. If you're looking for crew and you convince me that you're a decent skipper I'm happy to float your opportunities to my list and share my experience with the candidates. Time permitting I'll help with conference calls for interviews. To be clear - no one pays to be on my list and I won't ask for money from you.
I also strongly recommend Hank Schmitt at Offshore Passage Opportunities. Crew pay $250 per year to get his list but owners don't need to pay. Like me, Hank will want to make sure boat and skipper are in good order. Hank has a handful of pro skippers (I was one for some years) if you need support.
I do owner-aboard training/delivery trips often. Those aren't free. *grin* If you want support for an offshore passage I'd like the chance to bid.