Why do sailboat owners look for crew?
Updated: Feb 9
Why would boat owners and skippers need crew? You would think that they already have enough friends or family to sail with.
Sailboat owners are looking for crew for many good reasons:
They want to sail more often when their friends and family are unavailable
They need to deliver their boat and require crew for an offshore passage or a longer cruise
They like racing and look for crew for their racing program or season
They need help for night watch or for a specific task on board
They want to find more friends and fellow boaters to share their passion
They live on board and want to share adventures and good time
They want to find companion for their liveaboard retirement.
There are many other reasons and each skippers has his own good ones to look for crew.
One of the best way to understand why boat owners are looking for crew is to ask one of them. Today, we share a very interesting discussion with François-Pierre, a happy owner of a Catamaran Nautitech Open 40. He explains why a crew finder website is good for him and why he likes the concept of sharing time with others on board.
A skipper and boat owner explains why he needs crew
Hello Francois-Pierre, since you bought your Nautitech Open 40, you've been sailing 4 to 5 months a year. Is coboating an integral part of your sailing program?
Yes it is, my boat is pretty big, and she is difficult to handle alone especially for atlantic crossing of longer offshore passage. I need crew on board. I use coboaters, a crew finder website to recruit crew and to meet new sailors. I have been using the site for sometimes now and I like it because it is very intuitive and easy to use. I am very happy with it!
Have you tried other websites to meet crew or fellow boaters?
No, I haven't tried other sites for the simple reason that I always found available crew on Coboaters.
So you were saying that this boat is quite big and wide. What kind of crew do you need?
I need at least one crew member who can jump onto docks with a mooring line when we arrive in port. The crew needs to be able to tie a knot. As long as it holds, I am happy! It's very quick to learn how to tie a cleat knot or a bowline knot and I can teach them the proper way.
Are beginners able to sail with experienced captains?
Yes, absolutely! I like to have experienced crew member, but I don't turn beginners away and it has always worked out very well. Generally, most crew members who register on Coboaters have some kind of sailing experience and they are very motivated. The willingness to learn and to participate is very important. I like sailors and mariners who are very proactive.
Have you ever recruited someone without any sailing experience?
Yes and no, all the crew members who came on my boat have always had a little experience and an idea of how things work on a sailboat. I always ask if they are seasick or not so we can be prepared. It's important that the crew members know what to expect.
Do the crew members help you on board?
Absolutely, I want them to participate as much as possible, even if I do some delicate things like those in port. I ask them to take part in all sails trimming and setting. Everyone is involved in the kitchen and basic boat maintenance like cleaning. Everyone participates in everything. It's important and I explain it to the crew beforehand.
Has it ever happened that someone didn't want to get involve?
Yes, It already happened that I have made one or two remarks to encourage people to participate: I am not alone on the boat, everyone eats and lives on the boat and consequently everyone must participate. It's like being at home, we take care of the boat as we would take care of our own house.
Did you have issues between crewmembers?
It always went well. I never had a crew that I did not get along with.
Do you think that it always goes well because of your personality, because the boat is nice and because you sail in a very pleasant part of the world?
Yes, I think everything is important. Most crew members work very hard all year. They need breaks and vacations. They want to rest, enjoy the sea. People are always a bit stressed when they arrive on board but they adapt pretty quickly and the stress disappears within a few hours. We often share good time right away like coffee, drinks and a good meal before setting sails.
There is a permanent turnover on your boat? You often need to adapt your boating program to embark and disembark crew. Is it a big deal for you?
Yes indeed, I try to solve this problem by splitting my cruises from weekend to weekend. Every Saturday, I communicate with my crew as best as I can. I Tell everyone that I will be at such and such a place and the following Saturday at another place. It's up to the crew members who want to come, to come to where the boat is. I set the meeting places, and then it's up to the crew to be there on time.
So are you obliged to stopover every week in specific places, whatever the weather conditions are?
I organize my cruises to sail about 150 miles between each stopover. It's an easy distance to cover in good weather conditions. Even if I'm stuck in one place for 3 or 4 days because of unforeseen circumstances, I know I can make up the distance in 24 to 30 hours of non-stop sailing. I have never been late! I have already done longer crossings. For example a crossing of 1250 nautical miles. I know what I'm getting into. In that case the arrival time is a little more random and the crew members are warned in advance.
Do you think your crew can learn basic sailing skills with you?
I am happy to teach few things on board of my boat and I always answer to questions. I share as much as possible. I think this kind of experience is useful for them to learn more but if you want to learn sailing, you have to sail on smaller boats and join a sailing school. You will be able to feel the wind, the sea and the currents because you will be taught on smaller boats.
If you are a crew, you may need answers to these questions;
Is it easy to find a boat to sail with?
Yes, it is easy! Boat owners often need crew for day trips, weekend trips, cruises and delivery. Sometimes, there is huge demand for crew, for example for long offshore voyages, transatlantic races or popular races. In these cases, there are more boats looking for crew than available crew.
Is a crew finder network free?
Despite the good reputation and success of Coboaters, we still receive regularly questions from users who ask us why Coboaters is a paying website. The answer is simple: We cannot provide a good service if we rely on advertising only. The cost of a website, its maintenance, animation, moderation, members assistance is huge. We do our best to lower the membership fees but we cannot provide good services without those fees. You can read this article more details: Why is coboaters a paid service?
Is it advisable to go sailing with a stranger when you are a woman?
40% of Coboaters users are women sailors and some of them own their vessel! This is reassuring for women users because it is the proof that women feel safe on Coboaters. To learn more, read our articleSailing with a stranger? advice for co-boaters and 40% of coboaters are women”,
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