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post #1 of 11 Old 04-15-2007 Thread Starter
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Crew Checklist - what to bring?

Hello every,

25 years old, I am very experienced on the water. I have spent all my life on and around boats, mainly fishing from small (20-25 ft) powerboats, but also used to sail small boats (12-17 ft) as a kid, nearly on a daily basis. I have a decent amount of experience on larger boats as well, both power and sail. I am comfortable on extended passages, am good at gear maintenence, and have experience with rough weather.

Anyway, I am thinking about doing some crew work in the near future and am looking for advice. I see a lot of posts about provisioning and outfitting your boat... etc, but not much on how to prepare as a crew member. Assuming that I would be sailing throughout S. Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, do you have a gear checklist for crew? I have lived in the Caribbean for 2 years in the past, and know the climate. I know how to dress, but don't know quantity. How much and what should I plan on bringing? I plan on going down there for 9-12 months, working jobs as I can find them.

I know my question depends a lot on the size boat, length of voyage, and geographic location, but I am just looking for a starting point. Thanks!
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One of the ways to learn about being a crew member is to learn all you can about sailing, but mainly just go sailing.

Fair winds

S/V Scheherazade
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I had a dream, I was sailing, I was happy, I was even smiling. Then I looked down and saw that I was on a multi-hull and woke up suddenly in a cold sweat.
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-15-2007
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The corollary to that is that the best cruisers have spent a lot of time as racing crew.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-15-2007
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Gear that you need as crew, assuming that you are not racing but making longer bluewater passages, working as crew:

Personal PFD with Harness
If an inflatable, at least two spare inflation kits. Should have a whistle and strobe on it as well. If you carry a rigging knife, you don't need one on the harness. Be aware that different airlines have different requirements for carrying inflatable PFD and CO2 cartridges. Mine is a Spinlock Deckware Pro Harness with PFD.

Safety tether
I prefer an ORC-approved one with two legs, safety clips on the two boat ends, and a snap shackle on the body end.

Rigging knife
I carry and use two different ones, a Leatherman Charge multi-tool and a Boye's Rigging Knife.

Flashlight—
I like the LED-based one, since they're often brighter with longer battery life than regular ones. I keep the Energizer Lithium AA batteries in it... since they're both lighter and longer lasting.

Binoculars and/or hand-bearing compass
The handbearing compass is an Iris 50, and the binocs are 8x30 Steiners

Personal handheld GPS
A Garmin 76CS. I like keeping a track of where I've been/gone. It also provides a quick and dirty backup to the boat's main GPS in a pinch.

Good foul weather gear
Should be appropriate to the season and area of sailing, as well as they type of sailing you're doing.

Personal Journal
While not a necessity, not a bad idea IMHO. I carry and use Moleskine notebooks. Carry a Fisher Bullet Space Pen to write with.

Passport and other travel documentation
I carry mine in an anti-theft wallet.

iPod and charger

Looking to get a small solar charger for it, but can charge off of any 12V system or USB port.

Digital camera and charger
The one I carry is an older Pentax Optio WP, and is water-resistant. Unfortunately, the charger is only 110 VAC IIRC.

Travasak or sleep sack.
The one I have is made from micro-fiber cloth, rather than silk, since it is much lower maintenance.

Small personalized first aid kit
Should contain any prescription medication needed for yourself, as well as things like sunscreen, vitamins, etc.

A good hat
I wear a Tilley Hat.

Good sunglasses
Mine are prescription and custom made, with polarized clip-ons.

Good sailing gloves
I will carry at least two pairs, depending on where we're sailing

Good deck shoes
There are lots of ways to injure your feet on a boat, especially one you don't know very well.

As for quantity and type of clothing, that's really kind of a personal choice. If you don't mind doing laundry often, bring fewer clothes. I generally pack a variety of versatile clothes, since I know that conditions can vary a lot over the course of a passage. The pants I carry are usually Mountain Hardwear convertibles, so that they can be worn as shorts or as pants. They're synthetic and wear like iron.

Even in the Caribbean, I'll usually have at least one fleece long-sleeve shirt, since they're light, warm, and very low maintenance.

I'd avoid cotton clothes, since they're quite prone to mildew, don't dry quickly, and provide almost no UV protection once wet. Almost all of the clothes I carry while sailing are synthetics that are designed to keep you warm when wet, dry really quickly, or both. Fleece falls into that last category.

All of this stuff fits into a large drybag, and much is packed in smaller bags inside, to help keep things organized.

I hope this helps. Some people think that some of this stuff, like the PFD and Harness should be provided by the boat and captain... In an emergency, do you really want to trust gear that you don't know, aren't familiar with, and aren't sure what condition they're in??? I wouldn't... so I carry my own personal gear.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-15-2007 at 07:12 PM.
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-15-2007 Thread Starter
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SailingDog,
Thanks for the info. That is exactly what I was looking for. It was really helpful.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-15-2007
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A good sailing watch is a pretty handy thing too....
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-15-2007
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BWMD-

Glad to help... that's a pretty basic list, and you might want to add or remove items, depending on the length of the trip, the size of the boat, and such.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #8 of 11 Old 04-15-2007
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Consider adding a snorkle/mask & flippers!
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-15-2007
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Cam-

Sorry, they didn't make my list since I don't snorkle... just snore...

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #10 of 11 Old 04-16-2007
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Sailingdog nailed it pretty well.

Other than the already mentioned mask and flippers I would add books and a CD/DVD player.

Both make those mid and early morning watches pass quicker.

Best of luck!
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