The sailing holiday may be a great adventure. You can really cut yourself from the world, focus only on your boat and admire everything you see around you. Well, almost; you probably need a crew. It’s rare for people to sail with their family or friends unless you rub shoulders only with other sailors.
In most cases, if you have a boat or you’re planning on chartering one, you will look for an outside crew and it’s a tough decision to make, but so is the whole preparation process.
You have to know what you should take with you and that the equipment may vary depending on the destination. For example, if you decide to sail in the Caribbean, you need to know that in August and September, there is the highest possibility of stormy weather, you have to find out what currency you may need and what languages are spoken there. Luckily, there are websites where you can find more info on the matter and be prepared for everything.
Unfortunately, it’s not so straight and easy when it comes to picking your crew. Very often you make contact with people through online forums and you don’t have a lot of time to get to know them; it’s like with online dating, only you’re stuck together for at least a week in a small space. How can you make sure that you choose the right? And what to do to avoid conflicts during the trip?
Skills are the most important
Everyone has that friend they love but can’t stand working with – you don’t want him on your boat. Getting along may be vital as well but it won’t help if one doesn’t have required skills – more often it can work the other way round. You need to really talk to a person before deciding and make sure it’s a face-to-face talk or at least a phone call, not texts.
Think about what you may ask them – how to fix an impeller, perhaps? How much rode to put out to avoid dragging? Write a short profile on yourself and state what you’re looking for – are you willing to get beginners on board to help them learn or do you prefer working with people who know what they’re doing? Be clear about your on-board rules, too.
Don’t go for all-male or all-female crew
You probably haven’t thought about it, right? Of course, there are tons of famous all-male crews; more and more often we hear about all-female crews as well. But there are people who know each other very well and they possibly spent a lot of time together. When we talk about gathering a crew of strangers, experienced captains and skippers agree that it’s better to keep it balanced.
Make sure you know what everybody likes
It’s important to prepare a short questionnaire for your potential crew members. It’s not about knowing all possible tastes but try to choose people who you think can get along.
As an organizer, you should ask whether they like to listen to music while, and what kind of music; it’s good to know their preferred way to relax, whether they like to party or are on a diet. This information may come in handy, considering that you’ll spend at least a week together.
During the trip
It’s crucial to stay open-minded and adaptable. You have to be able to make compromises – it’s something worth remembering no matter the circumstances.
Be tidy. A boat may not have a lot of space but it is still frustrating when you can’t find something you need, especially when you’re in a hurry because there are some obstacles, or it’s already dark. Carelessness and being on another planet are out of the question during work.
Even when you get along with people, conflicts may arise. It’s normal because it’s impossible to find a 100%-compatible crew and it doesn’t mean you have to throw someone overboard or become lifetime enemies. The most important thing is to talk about everything. If something vexes you, don’t make scenes; bite your tongue when you’re angry and wait for a less stressful moment.
In most cases, it’s enough to be fair and open to talk things through and improve the situation. It’s the same when it comes to praises – everyone likes to hear something nice from time to time so if you think that a person is doing well, say it. Who knows, maybe you’ll make some lifetime friends.
A crew can make the whole experience better or break it completely – that’s why you should give it a lot of thought. But you can’t be afraid. Very often these complete strangers stay in your life even after the sailing holiday while a trip with friends may cause some fallouts. Be prepared, be open and enjoy!