Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: somewhere south of civilization
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Re: First Time Crewing
I find this thread enthralling.
Not very many of these suggestions, not to say any are bad, were a possibility when I began sailing on other peoples' boats as crew and very few were available to prospective crew when I was skippering. And yet, for the most part, all went well.
The idea of bringing delights onboard and not sharing them is obviously not in the best interests of harmony aboard, so I usually ask each crew member for a list of their particular likes and buy plenty for all when provisioning. I have never asked a crew member to pay for anything themselves, including liquor, as they are helping me do the job of moving the boat. I kinda consider it as their pay. I don't understand captains who do otherwise and would never have sailed with one who did ask me to pay my way. A good crew member should surely be worth the provisions he/she consumes.
As a skipper, too many questions from an inexperienced prospective crew member is a real turn off. If it hasn't all been settled before they arrive aboard with their seabag, then they are probably not going to enjoy sailing with me. Of course, it is a different world today, but as captain I've met and dealt with my fair share of crazies over the years, and though the incident sometimes required defending myself (once being woken from sleep at sea by a nutjob wielding a winch handle), none has caused any serious physical damage to either party.
Before electronic navigation, there were probably many fewer inexperienced skippers, and those seeking crew were probably better seamen in general, so it was easier to trust them at face value. Many had tempers and weren't particularly nice people, but I always felt safe with them in command, even when running the bar of the Columbia River, in an onshore gale.
As so many above have said, I guess it really comes down to your gut feeling. Go with that, after all is said and done.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
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