Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: on the boat - Chesapeake
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Re: Being a good guest/crew member
Have a great trip. The advice above is pretty good - surprising for the Internet. *grin*
Context: I'm a naval architect, a long-time active sailor, and an active delivery skipper.
Here are some thoughts on the advice above, more to help understand the "why" and to fill in some detail than anything else.
With respect to seasickness, if you have a history of it start you medication of choice before you leave the dock. If you feel uneasy and haven't already started medication start immediately. Once you become sick the effectiveness of medication drops. If you do have a history of seasickness visit your doctor and get a prescription for suppositories. The take-up is better and you don't have to worry about keeping tablets in your stomach long enough for absorption. Talk to you host about the availability of Stugeron or other brand of Cinnarizine. It works tremendously well for almost everyone; it is not available in the US or Canada. There are high and low dosage varieties - get the low dosage sort as more is NOT better. Whatever you choose, try it before departure to be sure you are not adversely affected.
Try to keep a small footprint on the boat. On a liveaboard cruiser there is unlikely to be space for you to "move in." Plan to live out of your bags. As noted duffel bags, rucksacks, or backpacks are most convenient for you and your host. You'll want one or two bags for your belongings but also two or three others to stay organized. Certainly a Dopp kit for toiletries, possibly a shower bag (for less often used items to keep your Dopp kit small), and a watch bag. My watch bag is the smallest canvas bag I could find (I have a slew of "boat bags" from LL Bean with my boat name on them). The watch bag is where your book, iPod, snacks, water bottle, and anything else you take on watch goes. When you go on watch you have everything you need and when you go off watch you leave nothing behind.
Donna's points on health issues are very important. Be open about conditions and medication. Expect your host to be similarly forthcoming. If you are on medications you should carry them in the original prescription container to avoid hassles with C&I.
Do check with your host well in advance for parts and supplies that would help. Prepare to be a pack horse. One of my crew hauled a full set of Detroit injectors to Panama for a delivery. He is stronger than me, so he "volunteered." *grin* A personal thank-you gift you choose yourself will be well-received as thoughtful. Two things to keep in mind is that food items can be a factor getting through C&I (check ahead with your airline or the official websites of the countries you pass through on your way), and do pay attention to what is available where you meet the boat - C&I aside, I wouldn't take cheese to French islands for example.
Don't bother with handheld VHF radios or GPS units. Those are boat utilities. If you take personal electronics check ahead about charging. I carry a 12VDC power point adapter with multiple USB outlets so if I need to charge something others can charge also. Check with your host about his ability and willingness to generate 117VAC to charge laptops and other larger items. Flashlights are generally a personal item. I prefer the mini-Maglites but there are lots of alternatives.
sail fast and eat well, dave
beware "cut and paste" sailors.
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