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I have been lucky enough to be invited to spend about 10 days aboard my friends liveaboard Panda 40 (SV Coconut Woman) as they sail from Tahiti to Bora Bora.

I know the sailing basics, enough to keep watch, so I'm not really worried about that.

I would love advice on what to bring / not bring, and what to do / not do in order to be a great guest aboard.

What are some great things guests can do, and what are some annoying things?
 

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Bring earplugs and a willingness to wash dishes, clean and cook. Bring something for seasickness even if you've never gotten seasick. You'll need to stand your watch regardless of how sick you are.
 

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Ask the Skipper what He/She needs, or wants you to bring. Bring your gear in soft canvas bags (no suitcases). Smile a lot and give people space when they need it. Help with all the work.
 

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I would love advice on what to bring / not bring, and what to do / not do in order to be a great guest aboard.

What are some great things guests can do, and what are some annoying things?
Best advice I ever got from anyone on the subject was "keep your gear stowed". Dopp kit for toiletries, the book you're not reading at the moment back in the duffle, etc. The less present you are when you're not actually right there, the better.
 

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contact boat owner and see if they need any spare parts etc. you could arrange to get them and bring them with you which I think would be a tremendous help. I am not saying you have to buy them. Just getting them there is a great help.
Have everything you need for standing watch, head light, foul weather gear.
Have everything in a soft duffle 24 inches by 12 inches. This might be excessive but try to have as small amount of baggage as possible.
Lastly think of some food item that they may have been without for a while, chocolates, snacks for everyone, fancy coffee, but check customs.
rdw
 

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Show up healthy or don't go. I've transported "crew" from exotic places with things like toothaches they had before they showed up. I've stood double watches while crew was down for the count from drinking too much the day before departure. Things happen, but if you show up with a known problem without letting me know in advance, I'm not a happy captain.

If you are going to stand watch, you are part of the machine, as much as the rigging, rudder and keel.

All of this of course doesn't apply if we're just doing short hops between island beach bars, as I'm willing to single hand while the rest of the crew recovers from hangovers, but if you're really sick the best I'll be able to do is the local witch doctor;)
 

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+1 on what capecodda said. Also, if you have any health issues that are not going away let the captain know. I have mild Raynaud's. If I fall overboard hypothermia will set in really, really quickly. I also have asthma and only one lung. This may or may not mean that I won't be going on any 10-mile hikes up island mountains that a potential host has planned because he/she didn't know ahead of time.

The flip side of all that is if you're on my boat and something happens to you that leads to emergency care, I'm better informed and can pass the information on to the medical team if you're not conscious. Are you taking prescribed meds for anything? Let me know. I once had a guy who sliced his finger with a knife, the bleeding wouldn't stop, and finally he let us know he was taking blood thinners. Does the medication dictate your diet, your sleep patterns, your physical activity, etc.?

When you're going to be far, far away from a local ambulance, you want to be honest and upfront.
 

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Awesome trip. Hope you have a great time. If you remain conscious of the fact that you are a guest and act accordingly, you should be fine.

This does work the other way around too. You may want to know what will happen if the boat owner can't make the trip or decides they're not up for it at the last minute. Are you booking and paying your own airfare, for example.
 

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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.
 

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Bring their snail mail for them.
 

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Like that environmental advice with a skew... Take nothing, have no footprint.

You probably need 2 TShirts, 2 pairs shorts, swimmers, toilet bag the size they give u on a plane.

BUT they may expect u got go out on the town so ask them, and bring a nice shirt, good shorts.

best to bring money and buy stuff u require. For example, the boat may have 1 gallon bottle of sunscreen and feel 3 extra small ones a pain in the bathroom... So find out before, or buy some there.

Same with extra clothes, a Tahitian shirt may end up as a v nice souveneer.

A 40 foot boat is very small and even a TShirt left in a common area is quite distracting.

SAVE WATER!!! Practise at home having a shower using 10 seconds of water to get wet, then scrub, then 15 second rinse. Practise cleaning your teath without any water at all! Tastes great! Yum! :)

If they troll a line and catch a fish YOU clean the deck. Thats the hardest, mist horrible job and your hosts will appreciate it immensely.

Be the first to pitch in and help, but ask first. Guests on my boat can not do the dishes because of the unique, stupid, tap set up, so till I change it I would hate for a guest to touch it... Lucky guests :)

Don't tweek the bloody sails! Leave your racing prowess at home unless its truly-rooly appreciated. If you power up a boats sails that is 6,000 nms from a decent chandlery you may break something that can not be replaced until they get to Australia. Its not a saturday afternoon race... Its a huge ocean where long term safety is utterly paramount.

Be a good guest and your hosts will become relaxed around you :) and invite you back.

P.S. Even if you are seasick, hungover, bleading from 16 bumps, always have a smile and pitch in for work even whilst chundering and feeling like death warmed up.

Mark
 
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