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Old 10-21-2011
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Capt Len is on a distinguished road
Unless a potential crew on the jetty can talk the talk+walk the walk or pay the ship the going rate as a 'trainee' it's going to difficult to find a berth on a vessel of your choice.Today the internet allows your reach to exceed your grasp but so it does for every dreamer. If I were on the dock with my duffel I'd be looking for a fidded topmast and hope it's going somewhere.One thing leads to another. It's all about the experience and since flogging/ keelhauling is quite rare nowadays what can you lose? My personal experience was along those lines and I met some very interesting boats and the men and women who sailed them. Wouldn't change a thing. It got so bad I had to come home and build my own (not so big) tall ship.
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Old 10-22-2011
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I agree with Nick. I spent a few years working aboard tall ships; initially as a volunteer, then as a paid AB and finally as an officer.

It is indeed a very small, tight knit community once you break into the fraternity. I would suggest checking into the schooners that operate out of Key West as day boats. They have a busy winter season and pretty high turnover so they would be a good place to look this time of year. You won't get paid much, if anything at all. But a season on one of them will at least give you enough ammo to talk to the crews on the bigger boats about working as maintenance crew. Once you prove you're willing to work hard chipping paint in the snow it's pretty easy to step into a full time position.

Don't hold out for something with a topsail, get on any gaffer that will have you.
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Old 10-24-2011
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I have not found any commercial schooners that like volunteers. They feel they are unreliable. You don't make much money, but you still get paid. I use the money to fund repairs/upgrades/toys for my boat.
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eagle , tall ships

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