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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

I am new to this site. I have been asked to crew from Toronto Ontario via New York City to Rhu Scotland. I am very excited about going. I have my Basic, Intermediate and Advanced CYA Cruising Standards as well as CYA Coastal Navigation Standard. The skipper is an very experienced seaman and is also keen to teach me more to become a competent sailor.

My concern is the fee to cross has been set at $2000.00 CAN and I don't know if this is a reasonable fee or if it may be considered too high. I don't want to sound like a cheapskate but the way I am feeling right now it seems a bit high considering I will be "working" the voyage across.

Thanks for any help and advice given.

John Boyd
Toronto, Canada
 

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Are you super cargo? Will you be required to stand a watch? Can you sleep if you don’t want to do your watch or it is too cold or raining? Is the food going to be steak not beans and rice? Will you need to cook and clean?

For $2,000 you should be a passenger not crew. If you must do crew duties then you should not pay more then shared cost of food. Split the bill at the store not a fixed amount a day.

Also don't fall for the "I will teach you navigation" etc so you should be paying me. I do this for free and a good capt will teach you anything you want for free.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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Are you super cargo? Will you be required to stand a watch? Can you sleep if you don’t want to do your watch or it is too cold or raining? Is the food going to be steak not beans and rice? Will you need to cook and clean?

For $2,000 you should be a passenger not crew. If you must do crew duties then you should not pay more then shared cost of food. Split the bill at the store not a fixed amount a day.

Also don't fall for the "I will teach you navigation" etc so you should be paying me. I do this for free and a good capt will teach you anything you want for free.

Just my 2 cents.
Wise words, hear them!

An additional question would be whether the "skipper" is the vessel's owner, or a hired captain that is delivering the boat to Scotland? If he is a delivery captain, then you are getting seriously rooked since he is likely charging the owner for his "crew" contingent and then double-dipping by charging you to be on his crew.

Even if he is the owner, that is an amount more akin to "paying passenger" than marginal cost-sharing. He is getting you to help him crew his boat across the Atlantic, charging you a fee for doing so, and not directly correlating that fee to actual food costs. This is not coastal vacation sailing to various attractive destinations, it sounds very much like a "delivery".

Unless this is an established off-shore school, offering recognized accreditation with an established curriculum and fee-schedule, it doesn't sound like a good deal to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you Charles Cook and John R. Pollard for your replies.

Not sure what is meant by "super cargo"?

The skipper is the owner of the vessel. He plans on sailing to Scotland and then later sailing back to the Carribean. I am planning on flying home from Scotland. I may stay in Scotland and get a rail pass and tour.

I will be required to stand watch. Four hours on fours hours off. I did ask about skipping watches and the captain said if it is necessary yes.

The cook is a cordon bleu chef so I wasn't asked to cook.

Didn't even think about "cleaning" so not sure about that.

Thanks for the advice regarding shared cost of food.

And the idea of an accredited school vs. just a captain giving advice/lessons.

John
 

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John,

The reference to "supercargo" is an old nautical term for paying "passengers" that don't participate in the sailing or managing of the vessel.

It's certainly not unheard of for inexperienced "crew" to contribute toward marginal costs like food and fuel. Just be aware that there are boats that would offer "free" passage in exchange for such services as crew, and there are even some (far fewer) that would pay wages and expenses for such services.

Only you can decide whether this experience is worth that much money to you. At a minimum, you should confirm that the vessel is properly equipped for such a voyage, and that you will not additionally be expected to assist with any significant preparation or maintenance of the vessel.
 

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John—

My take is that if you're willing to crew for free—ie, not get paid for working as crew—the most the captain/owner of the boat can ask of you reasonably is to share costs.
A good captain/owner will generally at least feed his crew, since they're not getting paid—which is not an unreasonable cost for the captain/owner IMHO. Food for a single person per day is $10 at most, unless you're going with very expensive foods and beverages.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Again, thank you very much John R Pollard. I am so impressed with this site that I only ran across today. And thank you "sailingdog" as well for your comments and advice. I feel so much better getting the information on how these "crewing arrangements" work. I wasn't feeling comfortable with the cost. I have now emailed the captain indicating my discomfort and the information that you have provided.

John
 

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Johnb, you are not crewing, you are not sharing expenses, you are paying tuition and if the skipper isn't running a "business" of training...the only question is whether he can get folks who are happy to pay his "tuition" fee.

If you could book similar passage with some recognized sailing school and come out of it with some type of credential, it might not be unreasonable. But to simply share a ride...some owners might at the most ask you to pay a share for food, fuel, dockage, etc. but many would be looking for crew and would take competent crew along at no charge at all.

Whatever all parties are happy with--is deemed fair. Common or otherwise.
 

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I'd be wary !

Many of the crew sites have these offers like the one you outlined or shared costs of some sort. There is the double dipping but all that aside the main question is 'who are you setting off across the ocean with ? What are his credentials, experience, references ? You're putting your life in this Captain's hands and you want to be damn sure this is a qualified Captain with an attitude of safety and a well equipped vessel for a crossing, especially in the waters of Scotland...brrrrrrrr.
TO me that is the most difficult to assess without getting references from others who have crewed with this Captain.
OPO is a great outfit, though I haven't used them personally.
Mum

Johnb, you are not crewing, you are not sharing expenses, you are paying tuition and if the skipper isn't running a "business" of training...the only question is whether he can get folks who are happy to pay his "tuition" fee.

If you could book similar passage with some recognized sailing school and come out of it with some type of credential, it might not be unreasonable. But to simply share a ride...some owners might at the most ask you to pay a share for food, fuel, dockage, etc. but many would be looking for crew and would take competent crew along at no charge at all.

Whatever all parties are happy with--is deemed fair. Common or otherwise.
 

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Wasn't there a thread about the illegality of charging crew unless you are a licensed charter with a licensed captain and properly insured for such
 

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Yes, there was... and there was another thread about how some countries are starting to crack down on this practice...

Wasn't there a thread about the illegality of charging crew unless you are a licensed charter with a licensed captain and properly insured for such
 

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I will be required to stand watch. Four hours on fours hours off. I did ask about skipping watches and the captain said if it is necessary yes.
Four hours on four hours off is a bear. I found I was really tired after a few days. A four hour night watch by yourself is a really long time. You would be better served having 3 hands stand watch with no cook. You can each take turns cooking.

I will be required to stand watch. Four hours on fours hours off. I did ask about skipping watches and the captain said if it is necessary yes.
Never going to happen because the captain would need to stand an 8 hr watch and he will be tired also.
 

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John,

Hopefully things will work out well for you. But just as a cautionary tale, you might want to peruse these threads. After doing so, you may come to understand why many of us tend to be a bit tentative about embracing just any old opportunity to crew.;):

Request for Crew

Atlantic Journey Hell

Second Request for Crew
 

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I have a friend who crews out of Leb on occasion.

He has no paperwork at all (license) but is experienced as crew.
He gets 120 Euros a day, food and the ticket back to Leb.

Four hours on four hours off is tough.
 

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"the illegality of charging crew " Nah, by definition "crew" are paid hands, and that can create all kinds of fun under international laws. What we call crew on a round-the-beer-cans race, isn't "crew" in the same way.

If you are paying someone else to sail with them, that's probably a charter or other business arrangement tolling a whole other set of commercial laws. (Starting with their insurance being void unless it is comercial insurance.)

It was only in the late(?) 80's that the USCG loosened their collars about "renumeration" from passengers. Before they made the new policies formal, if you took a couple of friends out for the day and they bought dinner and fuel--that was deemed "compensation" and illegal unless you were a licensed captain!
 

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4 hours on and off suggests two people. That schedule is tough especially if you add cooking and eating, and getting your gear on and off. Especially if you add in the possibility of sea sickness or disability. Your ability to sleep may be less too because of the conditions. Three people make it much easier. As it is a delivery voyage in effect he pays for the food. I also suggest meeting him beforehand. A tired martinet makes a very unpleasant environment with little opportunity to deal to him or get off.
 

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4 hours on and off suggests two people. That schedule is tough especially if you add cooking and eating, and getting your gear on and off. Especially if you add in the possibility of sea sickness or disability. Your ability to sleep may be less too because of the conditions.
Very good points.
Three people make it much easier.
Much easier... since you can get almost seven hours of sleep.
As it is a delivery voyage in effect he pays for the food. I also suggest meeting him beforehand.
Doesn't sound like he's providing food... he's asking for a $2000 fee, which is probably subsidizing his purchasing of food.
A tired martinet makes a very unpleasant environment with little opportunity to deal to him or get off.
Meeting a captain and crew that you're going to be stuck on a small boat on, and any boat on a transoceanic voyage that isn't an ocean liner is a small boat, is a good idea.
 

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SD.....I'm not sure that I can survive on $10.00 a day for food. I eat more than that for breakfast (slight exaggeration) and I don't know about the rest of you but I get damnably hungry and thirsty at sea.

The passage Toronto-NYC-Scotland is some 5,000 nautical miles. Lets say at an average of 5 knots thats a forty day voyage without allowing for stops. That's a lot of vittles.

OTOH.....forty days of four hours on and four off is a pretty hard ask. One would be dog tired by the end of it.

Personally, a trip like this with two up (plus the cook ?) should be on a share food basis yes. The question is what's a fair amount ? I'd have thought around half what is being asked.
 

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if it were me i would post the boat name to prevent other crew looking for a ride from wasting their time
 

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I am a licensed captain, and legally (at least from the US) you can't charge someone unless you are licensed.

That being said, why in the world would you pay anything to this captain and then have to work? Don't you see something wrong with this? Take your $2,000 and do a charter in the Caribbean with some friends. The money will be better spent. Then look for a delivery where the most you will have to pay is transportation to and from the boat. Quite honestly, I wouldn't even pay that, but that's because I used to deliver boats for a living. I know what a tough job it can be.
 
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