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post #1 of 3 Old 02-29-2004 Thread Starter
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crewing problem

Hi folks. Just airing a little (okay, quite a bit of) frustration and at the same time hoping for an eligtening answer or two.

This is the situation. Ignoring some sailign experience that I had many many year ago, my Lady and I have been "seriously" workign at our sailing for one soli year now. I am not kidding when I say that. It is more or less a full time thing that has replaced most of our other hobbies and priorities.

In the past year we have aquired our Costal Navigators tickets, Our Competent Crew (part of the Yachtmaster program), Our Sea Safety And Survival tickets, Our Radio Operators permits, Have completed the Yachtmaster course (but cannot sit the exam until several hundred more hours of practical), Have sailed the three day practical Yachtmaster Coastal ticket. I also have my Senior First Aid certification and can cook (and spent a week working at coming up with doable "boat meals" for passagemaking)

We are regular crew on board a H28 ketch where we are now instructing the newbies pretty regularly, and have crewed on several racin yachts in local regattas (though racing is not what I enjoy. I like bluewater cruising).

Given that we started with a couple of courses in dinghy sailing about 13 months ago, I think we have packed a fair bit in since then.
I have worked on restoring a big wooden ketch and learnt alot doing it.
We have bought a Heron dinghy that needed a fair bit of work, which I did it is now pretty wonderful) and also bought an Endeavour 26 keelboat (pocket cruiser) which is currently stripped back and getting a full rebuild (by me)after having spent several months getting to know it by sailing around the Bay.

I have a good work ethic and basically just try and stay pretty quiet and polite and just make sure that stuff around me is done and ready to go. I do not argue with the skipper or any of the other "interesting" habbits that can be observed in crew...

So the point of all of this, finally, is to ask what the hell I need to DO to get accepted as crew for cruising sails with the cruising club part of the yacht club???

I volunteer around the club and "do stuff" that is hopefully positive and of benefit to the membership. when I was working on my boat in the yard I was available to lend a hand or a tool to other folks doing stuff...

But now the Cruising club is organising it two-three week sail around Bass Straight and its islands. My boat will not be anywhere near ready and besdies, I would love the opportunity to get some real experience as crew before having it all hinge on me as skipper of my own little boat.
As things stand now, I have never been sailing beyond the Heads (I live in Melbourne, Australia. Port Philip Bay is a lovely big sailing area, but beyond the heads is Bass Straight and the Southern Ocean and the Rest Of The World...and I want to get out there).

Anyway, We offered ourselves as crew to any of the fifteen boats making this sail, veen stated that Margaret and I were willing to crew on different boats if it meant getting a place.
Well, we had a little bit of interest form one boat, they asked us to turn up on a certian day and take a look at the boat and see how we liked it and stuff. We got there at the appointed time to be, basically, "brushed off" and told that he wasn''t sure the boat would even be making the trip, and if it was ready in time then he actually had people that wanted to crew for him. well fine...but what the hell did he think we were and why did he ask us to come and discuss it.
so there it was. We didn''t even get to set foot on the boat in the marina. I kept it all very civil ad polite...but I walked away wanting to yell and do damage!

No one else has even expressed an interest in us as crew.

I have applied several times to crew on race boats going out to Tasmania or King Island or whatever the next ocean race is...But since the ''98 Sydney-Hobart race, the race rules have changed to state that at least 50% of the crew must have sailed in the same race or same category event before. Somehow I always get dropped off the crew card because "we only have four people that have sailed cat2 before and we already said yes to X, X, X and X as crew, who haven''t"

Basically, I am feeling pretty frustrated and dejected here. What the hell am I missing?

What more do I actually need to do?

Admittedly I do not hang out at the bar in the yachtclub all that much. I am not really into drinking and I don''t smoke (so other people''s cigarette smoke is not something I actively go out of my way to be around)...

Oh never mind. You get the picture.

any ideas?

By the way, I am 6 foot 2 and kind of menacing looking (I''m told), but it is not like I am actively trying for that. This is just what I am. I''d think that having someone that is physically strong and mechanically competent on board would be an asset. wouldn''t it?

Okay. Enough form me.I''m just sulking, I guess.

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post #2 of 3 Old 02-29-2004
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crewing problem

Sasha, my first reaction is that you''re putting too many eggs in one basket. Melbourne''s a big place and has a fair bit of yacht activity, yet you seem to be describing a lot of resourceful effort in one place...which clearly isn''t the place to be concentrating your efforts further given the results to date.

I''ve not (yet?) been to Oz but up in the States and also the Caribbean and the UK there are a host of ways to petition interest in crewing, including throw-away newspapers & periodicals (there are always a few that concentrate on sailing), Bulletin Boards at every YC and SC, cruising associations (which publish their own newsletters), websites for local sailing groups (which often have a ''Crewfinder'' section) and so on. Based on your side of the story, my first recommendation is to expand your ''marketing campaign'' to other nearby venues. You''ve got the credentials, clearly the motivation and genuine interest (the most important criterion, IMO), so I think you need to expand the potential circle of boats and skippers.

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post #3 of 3 Old 03-01-2004 Thread Starter
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crewing problem

I did eventually pull my head out of my proverbial and send off a little resume thingy to every cruising yacht club within two hours drive. Guess I was pretty focused on going on this particular trip and not taking the long view.

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