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Old 07-23-2007, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,946,733 times
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Has anyone ever signed on as crew for a sailing yacht? Can anyone recommend any resources--books, websites, message boards, etc--to help me research this?

My wife and I will be travelling around the world in 2008-2009 and we would like to explore reducing our travel costs and slowing our journey down by looking for sailboats in need of crew. We're a stable couple in our late-20's. I'm a strong, but very green, deckhand, swimmer, and I have an iron stomach. She's an excellent cook (of mainly asian cuisine), seamstress, and a hard worker as well, though she does have a slight motion sickness problem that we'll have to resolve (find a working combination of drugs or herbals) before we could crew up anywhere of course.

We're travelling from Taiwan to Japan by way of Okinawa in the early spring of 2009. Then, from Japan to Indonesia, Tahiti, and/or the Philipines mid-spring depending on our transport situation. Then from Indonesia to Thailand in the late spring. In the summer, we'd be looking to travel from India to the Maldives. Then from the Maldives to Greece, Greece to Italy. Finally, we'd be looking to travel from the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, or Morocco, to the Canary Islands and from the Canary Islands to Bermuda/Bahamas/Puerto Rico sometime in 2009/2010.

We're interested in making any/all of the legs of our journey working aboard a sailboat, so any input, or other ideas on how to travel in interesting ways without incurring too much expense would be great

And, a little off-topic, does anyone have any recommendations for travelling overland from Thailand-China East Coast-Mongolia-Nepal-Tibet-India? Bus, train, walk, fly? Anyone have any experience they could share?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-23-2007, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
3,359 posts, read 10,917,111 times
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You might get a job as crew without sailing experience but having some would be a much better bet. It might be better for you as well. Going blue water (out of sight of land) can be a harrowing experience if you've never done it. Knot typing, navigation, electronics, handi-man skills, engine repair, climbing ability, diving certification, meterology, map reading, seamanship, all these things will be what people look for. Her cooking skills will help.

Hanging out at the marina is the best way. Be prepared to go on a moment's notice and bear in mind that with intl travel the crew will be armed (if that's an issue for you) against pirates. Yes, they still exist in today's world and can be deadly. Your gear should be no larger than a duffle bag can handle, one for each of you, and that is a whole 'nother issue as to what to bring.

You'll have to google for web sites as I don't have any handy at the moment. I've posted before and gotten responses. If you have any other skills, such as languages make sure you note that too. Last time a friend of mine was in China his sailboat was confiscated and he was thrown into prison as a spy. That was a long time ago.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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Thanks Sgoldie! That's good advice. We really do need to spend some time sailing beforehand. If nothing else, we've got to figure out how to deal with my wife's mild motion sickness, or we won't be getting on anything smaller than the Taipei-Okinawa-Tokyo ferry.

Fortunately, there's several local marinas here and I know many people with smaller boats who'd be willing to teach us what they know.

I have no problems with an armed crew, though I've got ****-poor marksmanship, myself. Between us we speak German, English, Taiwanese, Mandarin, and can read a little Japanese, so I'll remember to mention that when we're out there boat-hunting.

Luggage is no problem, as we'll be hoofing it when we aren't sailing, and we've both learned to carry the smallest, lightest packs we can get away with.

Can you tell me a little more about the people who do this sort of thing? Care to share your experiences? We've done a good deal of travelling but sailing will be new to both of us. I mean, besides a spin around the bay in a friend's 34' Catalina, that is.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
3,359 posts, read 10,917,111 times
Reputation: 3843
There is a wrist band that you can buy at marine stores that works on accupressure for motion sickness.

What can I say about these sorts of people? They're rough and tumble, they're educated often highly so, they're supremely independent, they're risk-takers, they're adventurers, they're irrasable, they're the wild west on the water. They're also cultured, intensely interesting, experienced...

You'll more than likely find books aboard (and something alcoholic). Teamwork is essential in running a sailing yacht. That's why you should get as much experience as you can. The captain is always right and will let you know it. Best if you can anticipate what needs to be done and quickly, no slackers allowed. There will be long periods of time where it seems as if nothing is going on (lots of boat cleaning) and then a few days of heart pounding terror that seems to last forever. Survival skills and first aid training is recommended.

I have a friend who charged crew ($10,000 per year) to teach them the ropes while sailing them around the world. He'd carry a dozen people and did it for 20 years, with no radio on board mind you. Most have tons of electronics now. Some tall ships do the same thing.

I'm not trying to frighten you just appraise you of the reailty. A good captain will make sure you know how to use everything on the boat. Self-sufficiency is what you have to be prepared for under any possible circumstance. There's no calling 911. A couple of good books - Chapman's Seamanship (the yachter's bible should be on board), US Armed Forces Survival Manual (never drink sea water), Advanced First Aid by the American Red Cross.

Last edited by Sgoldie; 07-23-2007 at 07:42 PM.. Reason: add
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Old 07-24-2007, 04:18 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,933,865 times
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Sounds fascinating. You ought to write a book, Sgoldie.
Aren't there courses you can take from the Coast Guard? (Of course, it helps if you live on the coast.)
We once chartered a yacht that was crewed with a South African couple: he was the captain, she was the cook. Expensive fun, but a rewarding trip.
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Old 07-24-2007, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,946,733 times
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I appreciate the honest appraisal. My wife and I are no Ambassadair travelers, and neither of us is a shrinking violet when it comes to hard work, challenges, and the occasional rough spot. Otherwise, we wouldn't have gone some of the places we've been.

However, we've got a lot of prep to do, as I thought. We'll start working toward it at our local marinas. We'll read up and practice up--thanks for the suggestions--and decide whether the experience will be worth the investment of effort.
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Old 08-03-2007, 02:49 PM
j1n
 
Location: Southeast of the Northwest Territories
1,237 posts, read 4,149,000 times
Reputation: 445
hey sponger,
one of my good friends is a private chef aboard a 143 foot, three-level, $25 million private yacht. He was docked in the marina down by Liberty State Park a couple weeks ago, and we got a little tour of his "work". Talk about beautiful! Definitely one of the most beautiful "homes" i've ever been in...anywhere! They had a 9 person crew...captian, first mate, second mate, mate, engineer, chef, and 3 housekeeping staffmembers. Obviously the captain, mates, and engineer are sea-folk. But my buddy and the girls were just working...I guess you could say "doing what they do"!
My friend says that the sea up and down the east coast can get rough to the point where he does medicate against it. But he's also pulling down 60-75k a year for doing what he loves, traveling, etc...with no rent to pay, no utilities, no real overhead. And plenty of downtime, sunsets, etc. Drop me a pm if you are still seeking info, and I'll see if I can get you some links. Apparently it can be a pretty small "everyone-knows-each-other" community of boat-working folks.
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,946,733 times
Reputation: 2978
Thanks for the advice. It looks like another cheap travel opportunity has opened up for us, but I'm still going to do my homework just in case the opportunity arises...
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