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Lanealoha 01-02-2019 12:17 PM

First Time Crewing
Hello, I've landed my first gig crewing from Ensenada, BC to La Paz BC. Provided I don't get sick or injured in the next few weeks, this will be a 2-3 week journey. I've researched the Captain as best I can, I feel confident in the journey and my skills and ability (well for what my experience level is). This will be my first time on an extended sail and offshore. Any tips or advice regarding this endeavor that you would recommend? I would call this stage 3 in my goal of setting sail with the family, I look forward to learning as much as possible to gain confidence in this arena and most importantly want to return to my wife and 10 y/o son (I have no doubt I will). Thanks

MarkofSeaLife 01-02-2019 12:52 PM

Re: First Time Crewing
The answer to this question used to be easy. We used to say "Take a flash-light, warm clothes and spare undies"

But now... yikes!

Interview the "captain" at length, face-to-face, for a long time prior to setting one foot on his boat.

Ask if he carries guns on board and does he carry drugs. And then work out if you are happy to be unarmed on a boat with a stoned, gun wielding captain.


RegisteredUser 01-02-2019 01:04 PM

Re: First Time Crewing
Dont get rip roaring drunk the 1st night at sea.

Wait until the 2nd or 3rd....

MarkofSeaLife 01-02-2019 01:30 PM

Re: First Time Crewing

Originally Posted by RegisteredUser (Post 2051573560)
Dont get rip roaring drunk the 1st night at sea.

Wait until the 2nd or 3rd....

If they are supplying the booze calculate the number of nights at sea...

GeorgeB 01-02-2019 01:40 PM

Re: First Time Crewing
Lanealoha, this is a wonderful trip and you will enjoy it very much. You didn’t mention the size/make of the boat so it is hard to give you specifics so here is a few generalizations. The weather will be “cool” until you pass Cedros Island/ Turtle Bay so bring appropriate clothing. Nights will be chilly. Once pass Bahia Santa Maria/Magdalena you will be in shorts and Tshirts the rest of the way. Baja runs on $2 (Panga rides, beers, street food) so bring plenty of ones. Gringos need to show their passports in order to exchange USD$ to Pesos (Go figure.) But not to worry, everybody takes dollars (albeit you will be paying at the “tourist” exchange rate.) 2-3 weeks is more than enough time to get to la Paz. Is your skipper’s intent to sail the entire way? Or are you leaving time for a weather window? The winds tend to be close to DDW so plan on doing some gybing. The winds build during the day but die off after the mid-watch so there is plenty of bobbing around until mid morning-midday. Again, this is a great trip and I am looking forward to hearing how it was. Keep in touch.

Damon Gannon 01-02-2019 01:44 PM

Re: First Time Crewing
First off, good for you for building your skills and experience, and for anticipating the things that could go wrong. You have probably done this already, but ask the captain about the normal day-to-day operations and routine safety measured used during passage. Take a look at the first aid kit. Look at the boat's safety equipment. Are they sufficient for an offshore boat? Does it look like they have been serviced/restocked recently? This will give you some insight into how conscientious he or she is.

After a couple of bad experiences on other peoples' boats, I now bring my own handheld GPS, an appropriate means of communication (handheld VHF and satellite communicator for offshore), and of course my own life vest and tether. If you have a PLB, bring it.

If you get to the boat and things just don't feel right, don't be afraid to walk away. And don't feel pressured to not let the captain or other crew down. There will always be another boat. Pay attention to that little voice in the back of your head. I used to be pretty cavalier because I have confidence in my own skills, so I ignored that little voice once before a long delivery trip with a pro skipper. It was a $#!+ show from beginning to end. The boat was fine; the delivery captain was shockingly reckless. We were lucky to have lived through it.

You are asking the right questions now so you are likely to have a great experience. Enjoy the passage and let us know how it went.

MacBlaze 01-02-2019 01:48 PM

Re: First Time Crewing
If you are fussy at all about food, bring some familiar snacks/comfort food or a even a stash of candy for the night watches... says the man with exactly one long trip under his belt :wink

SanderO 01-02-2019 01:58 PM

Re: First Time Crewing
I would
want to know what safety / emergency equipment is on board.
want to know if he intends to do and "drills" with the crew.
want to know what the watch schedule is
want to know what sort of meals are provided and if you have to cook
want to know if drinking is allowed and what sort of drinks
want to know the experience level of the rest of the crew and of course the captain
want to know if a float plan will be filed with the USCG
want to know what sort of communication equipment is on board
want to know what sort of medical supplies are on board
want to know if the captain has done the passage before
want to see the maintenance log
want to know what sort of spares and tools are aboard
want to know when the rigging was inspected and by whom

Minnewaska 01-02-2019 02:42 PM

Re: First Time Crewing
Some additional thoughts to those already made.

You say you vetting the Captain. Just to test your resolve, there can only be one Captain. You have to be confident enough to allow them to make all the calls.

Test various sea sickness meds now, at home. Even if you've never been sea sick, you say you've not made a trip like this and it's not the time to experiment with side effects. Learn what you tolerate best now.

Always present a positive attitude aboard and be willing to do whatever is needed.

Understand the watch schedule and assess whether you think you'll easily accommodate it. Be dressed and ready to take your watch, at least 5 mins before you're scheduled. That usually means awakening at least 15 mins prior, longer if you're a slow riser.

Bring your own snacks and extras if other crew members take a liking. You don't want to be a stingy mate. Had a buddy who could not be on watch with peanut butter and bread, so he always brought his own and plenty for others.

I would never be on passage on another's vessel, without my own means to communicate home or call for help, if necessary. These days that can be a variety of things, starting with a plb, but comm devices such as: InReach, Spot or a Sat phone are pretty common. Some of these can be rented.

Have fun. Let us know how it goes.

RegisteredUser 01-02-2019 03:59 PM

Re: First Time Crewing
The greatest danger in going to La Paz is that it is a very nice city.
Your family should worry...:)
You may not want to come back.

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