Archive for the 'Crew' Category


Thanks to AJN for the find.

How to be a good crew (and get good rides)

The other night I came across the following passage from Sailing the Bay by Kimball Livingston [amazon].   I had been thinking a lot about crew management and recruitment, and it seemed like a timely find.

As a skipper, I would have probably put ‘loyalty’ in there a few more times.

Coincidentally, there was a thread started on Sailing Anarchy discussing the same topic, although more slanted to getting on the fancier rides rather than to the novice.    The user known as Blue Water Swimmer has the following advice:

Getting aboard

  • Walk before you run. Don’t expect to do races before you’ve done deliveries.
  • Network yourself like it’s a job.
  • Show up.   Example – my ride for MHOR isn’t a sure thing, yet. If I don’t get it, I’ll get my ass up to Marblehead a day early and ask around. Someone will nab me. Same thing for deliveries/returns – there must have been 20 boats leaving from Bermuda last July after the Newport race who would have paid for crew had any been available.
  • Leverage who you know already – if the big boat at your local club is full, ask the skipper about his competition and if they need anyone – unless he’s a jerk, he will want to get his class up to full strength and will help you get a ride.
  • The Sailing Anarchy crew board is probably the best generic one, but don’t overlook the race web site. Not everyone reads SA.

Getting invited back

  • Do the dirty jobs before you’re asked.
  • Unless you walk on water and have been brought on board because no one trims downwind like you, be humble. (Of course, if you’re that good, then you don’t need my advice – I need yours!) Don’t talk about how good you are, no matter how good you are, until after you’ve done some sailing with the crew and they know you’re not an asshat. I have found it’s better to patiently wait for the chance to demonstrate your skills than talk about them ahead of time.
  • Don’t get too friendly with any one person until you learn the dynamics of the boat.
  • Don’t talk trash about anyone or anything until you know who you’re sailing with, and who their sisters are dating.
  • Age matters. If you’re young and a great sailor, expect to be treated like you’re young. You won’t be treated like a great sailor until you’ve bled a little.
  • If you’re an oldster, watch out that someone isn’t giving you more responsibility than you’re ready for. You’ll embarrass yourself and potentially endanger the boat if you don’t fess up and something goes wrong (don’t ask me how I know this).
  • Act like someone who deserves to be entrusted with the owner’s most prized possession, as well as his life and that of his family’s.
  • Don’t goof off until you know you’re ‘in’.
  • Prepare as if someone had asked you to. Know the weather, local conditions, SIs, etc. If you are a local, then you might have some great intel on the competition, and should be ready to share it – if someone always leaves too much mark room, let the skipper know that.
  • Buy the first round at the bar (unless you’re a poor student, in which case no one will expect you to).
  • Ask someone how to use the head and the galley as soon as possible. Your mates will appreciate not being woken up when you need to take your first crap, and they will embrace you as one of their own if you’re the guy who brings them a hot cuppa as you come on watch.
  • Save something for later. On a new boat, I hang back a little at first, because every one is different. As an observational learner, I pick things up by watching others. The regular crew will be fired up at the start and they know everything better than you anyway. So watch what they do and keep an eye out for a-holes, lines in the water, foul traffic, etc. Then, when they’re grabbing a sandwich, offer to grab the sheet, man the winch, backstay, whatever. This goes for later, too. Be the guy who got rest when he could so when it really hits the fan you have the energy to deliver.

More tips from the thread:

  • bring a spare knife (cheap)
  • don’t bring a lot of heavy gear if conditions don’t warrant it
  • have a sailing resume ready

BWS makes some great points above, prospective crew should take them to heart.     Here are a few more:

  • Make sure the skipper knows you will do the delivery associated with the race when you first are invited.
  • When you are pinged or invited to go on a race, respond promptly with a definitive answer, either yes or no. Don’t leave the skipper hanging, if the answer is no, tell him and let him get on with finding someone else.
  • Also, bring ice.

And a few don’ts:

  • Don’t stress out the skipper by being late for boat call.  (You would think that this was too obvious to mention.)
  • As new crew, don’t necessarily point out every little thing that is wrong or non-optimum about the boat, rigging, condition of the sails, etc. Chances are the owner already knows about 99% of the things you are observing.
  • Don’t spend too much time slagging other boats and owners as conversation fodder. Sure, funny anecdotes are funny, but later people wonder what you are saying about them when they are not around.  (BWS says much the same.)

Finally, here are some crew list resources for you aspiring racers:

Good luck!

Gender stats in sailing

It’s noticeable that more men are involved in sailing than women.   Since the Latitude 38 Crew List allows one to see the gender of participants (I can’t imagine why they think it is important),  I thought I would do a little study.   Results are as of today.


Racing Crew 189

Racing Skippers 33

Daysailing Crew 220

Daysailing Skippers 40

Cruising Crew 449

Cruising Skippers 122

The  Latitude 38 Crew List Party is at 1800 hrs March 9 at the Golden Gate Yacht Club.  Temerity Racing will be there to meet new crew prospects.


Original art by NSL.

Getting into yachting

Maybe this guy could help me find crew…

Nat Criou in the Chron

NSL friend and shipmate Nat Criou gets a nice writeup in the Chronicle…

The first time Nathalie Criou sailed in the Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, a whale came aboard. It sank the boat but not Criou’s enthusiasm for offshore long-distance racing. When she is on land, Criou, 36, is a product manager living in San Francisco.

Why: You feel both humble and powerful in the middle of the ocean. There is always something to learn.

Greatest accomplishment: Surviving a Moby Dick-descendant attack in 2008. We had to be rescued by a container ship. A few months later, I was diagnosed with cancer and made the whale the logo for my nonprofit (

Gear you can’t live without: My Musto foul-weather gear and Dubarry Gore-Tex sailing boots. It’s the only way I can stay warm and dry.

Most annoying thing people assume about athletes in your sport: That it is expensive to get into sailing and that you need 1,000 years of practice before being able to do anything. It is very easy to get to crew on any boat for free and be trained by fantastic sailors.

Advice you’d give a rookie: Just being on a boat is tiring. Your body keeps working to maintain your balance even if you are just sitting around. So take it easy at first and let your body get used to the new motion – and drink loads! Being around water doesn’t make you feel thirsty, but you can dehydrate very easily.

– Sam Whiting

Read more:

Outrigger paddle-buddy of the week


Tahitian/Abydonian beauty Vaitiare Bandera  shows good form.

Weekend wahine


Since Joe’s postings have been sparse of late.

Lala’s 2008 calendar


Now you know what to get yourself for Christmas.

Avalailable at The Lala Store, or TikiBarTV.

A “10/5” gallery of boat babes for your Friday amusement

For October 5 (10/5) we are pleased to present a gallery of 105 randomized boat-babe pics.  Some may have appeared before, I hope you won’t mind too much…

(Click each pic to embiggen.)

Continue reading ‘A “10/5” gallery of boat babes for your Friday amusement’

Why superyachts can’t get crew

More and bigger superyachts every year

Sail World reports on the tragic, tragic situation of superyacht owners difficulties in hiring qualified crews for their mega-toys.

Crew of the week


MM rows a dinghy.

Kelly Brook on a sailboat




Not sure how one gets the crew assignment of bikini-bottom trimmer on this boat, please write if you have any ideas.

[from Knuttz]

Salty ladies

Two women, one in man’s clothing, pose on a sailboat in a studio shot. Photo by Fritz W. Guerin, c. 1902.

Another view of Fitz Guerin’s sailing sisters from 1902.

both from Shorpy  [1]   [2]

Crew of the week


Norma Jean at the helm.