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Old 01-08-2007
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Trans-Atlantic Sail

I am a recent college graduate, feel free to offer your condolences, and am looking to have a bit of adventure before getting tied down in this so called ďreal world.Ē Iíd like to travel for awhile (most likely Europe) and do so as cheaply as possible. A major cost Iím looking to reduce is airfare, and I figure sailing across to Europe would make a much better story than 8 hours in a cramped seat. So what I was wondering is if anyone can offer any advice on possibly hitching a Trans-Atlantic ride on someone personal sailboat. Are there any yearly Eastward Trans-Atlantic races that need crewing? Are there any festivals/gatherings/reasons a large number of people sail out from this side of the Atlantic to any part of that side, and would be needing crew? Any popular ports of departure or time of year for departure? Whatís a ballpark figure in terms of time to sail across? I donít know much about Trans-Atlantic sailboat traffic so any information you could offer would be helpful.

Here is some personal information that might possibly help you. I am a 22 year old male currently living in Boston, MA. I am willing to travel anywhere on the East Coast to meet a vessel, or possibly meet you in the Caribbean/Bermuda if my travel there is not too expensive. I am willing to pay for my share of food/necessities (what would that typically run?) My only sailing experience is out on the Charles River in dinghies and day sailing on a friend's 33' Catalina around Buzzard's Bay. I'm by no means an accomplished sailor but I know how to use a winch and do what I'm told. I love to learn and I pick things up fairly quickly. I'm in decent shape. I currently work as an EMT in the city and so am used to stressful and panicked situations, and while I hope I'd never need to use it under sail I am fully capable of first aid and CPR/AED. I have no destination port in mind and thus Iím not terribly picky in that regard. I also do not have a departure date set yet, as I will be planning my trip around the best time for a ship to depart. I most likely will be flying back to the US since I won't have ample time or resources to plan a return voyage. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated, or if you have any other questions about myself feel free to ask and Iíll get back to you. Thanks.
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Old 01-08-2007
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Hey Zach,
This is not a direct answer to your question but I hope interesting to you nonetheless.
First, People leave the East coast of the US just prior to hurricane season each year for obvious reasons. That means April or May typically. I don't know where you would best look for a ride on a cruising sailboat.
Have you thought at all about finding work on luxury yachts? There are not so many luxury sailing yachts around but lots of motor yachts and being at sea still rocks no matter the vessel!
For a minimal investment (about 1000 USD for an STCW95 cert) and a trip to Ft. Lauderdale you could likely find daywork first (yacht maintenance and cleaning) then, with some luck, a ride to Europe and work while you are there! As a deckhand your pay would range between 2000 and 4000 US/mo. All expenses covered and a neat way to see things. Although it keeps you pretty busy, you do get around and see things. Who knows, you might even like it enough to make a career out of it.
I read your previous post too and it seems to me it might be a good fit for you.
Anyway, just a thought,
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Old 01-08-2007
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There are crewing websites around that are a lot like personals websites where you make a crew profile, etc, and try to get hooked up with boats that are leaving when you want to leave and going where you want to go. Some of them are very active and typically you can get on to the sites and look at pictures of the boats, see how many years experience the captain has, and that kind of a thing, and see what kind of responsibilities you will have on the boat. I don't know any of the sites off the top of my head but they are easy to find with a search engine. Good luck.
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Old 01-08-2007
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There is a mass rally called ARC Europe which takes boats back to europe from the caribe and US in MAY. The boats converge and meet in Bermuda from starting points in St. Augustine and Antigua and then make the crossing. May of the boats are cruising couple and might be looking for a third watchkeeper. Suggest you contact the website and make known you are availabe for crew duties.
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Old 01-08-2007
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Paul, thanks for the idea of working on a motor yacht. While I would love to be under sail you do have a point that any vessel is better than none. I looked into getting my MMD and STCW cert. quite awhile ago, but I forget how long it generally takes from start to finish. Do you have any idea off the top of your head? Also how difficult would it be to find day work and then eventually lead up to a deck hand position? My lease in Boston doesn't end until Sept (although I could likely sublet it out) and my student loans are already coming due so if the day labor is hit or miss I would likely need another source of income. I'm not above relocating completely, infact it might be good for me, I guess no more school, no more girlfriend, and a job where I can take as few or as many hours a week as I want has it's ups and downs. The deckhand position does seem like something I'd really enjoy at this point in my life. I used to run an exterior home painting business during the summers and sometimes I miss the physical labor and painting (just not the angry homeowners or the ulcers). Any other info/hints/advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

I have some crewing websites bookmarked somewhere in my archives so I'll have to dig those out and start making some profiles. And camaraderie I'll definately look into the ARC Europe rally, it sounds just like what I was looking for. Thanks again everyone for your help, I'd love to hear anything else you have to offer.
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Old 01-08-2007
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Oh, Paul, one more quick question. Why Ft. Lauderdale? Is that an unofficial hub for luxury yachting? Are there any other major ports in the luxury yacht circle, and are they seasonal? I'm guessing most move out before hurricane season. Thanks.
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