Questionaire: Becoming Permanent Crew

I didn't start sailing like most people. I decided that I wanted to sail and went and bought a boat. A Cole 23 to be exact but I thought she was the Queen Mary. Most people don't start like that. They either start in dinghies as young tackers and work their way ever upwards towards larger and more expensive boats, or they start on larger and more expensive boats as crew. Here they learn the ropes, literally, until finally they buy their own boat, steal the best half of the crew they have until recently sailed with, and commence to race the boat that they until a short while before were learning on. Such is life.

But how do you get that first all important foot on the ladder? This is a question I am often asked. Why I take some people sailing regularly and not others? Why I favour teaching some people over others? Well firstly, that is my, and any skippers prerogative. We own the boats, we pay for the boats and frankly Dreamagic isn't public property and I don't want to spend my leisure time with people I don't like or respect any more than you would invite them to your house. Fortunately CYC has Club boats (most yacht clubs don't) so there is no need for anyone to miss out, but still there is that factor that some people seem to get all the invites while others don't.

Dreamagic has played host to a lot of people recently, some who can't sail and some who can. The question has been raised several times so finally I took time to devote some of my diminishing grey matter to ponder the question over a few glasses of red. After much deliberation, (and much medicinal imbibing) I devised this simple test, hoping it might give some clues as to how these decisions are made. I hope you enjoy it.

Note that there is no right answer. Please choose the option that best suits you.

You have been sailing on various boats for a while and the same boat for the past three WAGS. The skipper has sent you a text inviting you to come sailing. He has therefore committed his boat and his time. 

  1. Thank him, confirm that you will be there and ask what time, and what you can bring
  2. Reply that you don’t know and vaguely offer to get back to him if you don't get a better offer
  3. Ignore him. He will find room for you if you can’t get onto your first preference.

The sailing event is an all day one. 

  1. Offer to make the lunch and bring enough grog for yourself plus whatever the skipper drinks.
  2. Bring your own food and not quite enough grog for yourself
  3. Think “The skipper owns a boat so he is loaded” and turn up empty handed.

You know the event starts at 11.00am. 

  1. Call the skipper, ask him what time he will be at the boat, join him there and offer help.
  2. Turn up an hour before, hang with the rest of the crew watching the skipper get the boat ready while drinking your beer
  3. Arrive 30 mins before, climb aboard and drink his beer.

The event is over and the boat is back in it’s berth. 

  1. Help put the sails away, secure the boat, wash it down, and clean and tidy below decks
  2. Open the last of the beers you brought and get out of the way
  3. Tell anyone who cares that although you had no idea when the boat would be back you are late, grab your stuff and leave the boat.

You have been sailing for a while now and have just enough knowledge to be dangerous. 

  1. Thank the skipper for allowing you to learn on his boat and ask him if he will consider giving you more responsibility
  2. Over ride the skippers instructions, take charge and tell the crew how to trim sails, steer the boat and navigate
  3. As answer 2 but also tell anyone at the Club House that your skipper is incompetent and encourage his crew to join other boats

It is time for the boat's annual haul out and anti-foul. 
  1. Think "Great! I need to learn this for when I get my own boat" and offer to help, staying on the boat overnight if necessary.
  2. Think anti-foul gets done by boatyards and there will be plenty of people there to drive the boat into the slings so they don't need you.
  3. Ask, "What is anti-foul?"

After you have completed this short test add up your score and email it to Dreamagic. Scores of 6 and less will receive a reply. Dreamagic is always on the lookout for new crew.

Fair winds and safe sailing.

Capt'n Willi

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