How to be a Popular Crew – Dave Robson
How to be a popular crew
According to anecdotal evidence gathered from more than thirty-three years of hanging around the sailing scene, it seems that only a tiny percentage of newcomers to sailing, people who aspire to crewing on yachts, get invited back to crew again, while the mystified majority are left on the quayside wondering what they did wrong or didn’t do right.
For that reason I concluded that crew members who repeatedly get invited to come back to crew another day are members of a tiny elite.
The ideas, suggestions and true stories that follow attempt to dispel some of this mystique so you can join that elite – if you’ve got, or are willing to develop, the special qualities required of everyone who goes to sea.
My unabashed aim, via the information in this book, is to help you become the most sought-after crew person in your yacht club.
When I took up sailing after my divorce in 1984 I knew no one who sailed, let alone anyone who had a boat, but luckily some intuitive prompting from inside, you could call it wisdom from a higher place, guided me to make a start and to follow up virtually every opportunity that came my way – and there were many.
I don’t really know what it was, but some inner drive or passion pushed me to get going on this path and from that, probably the first thing I learned was that when you follow your heart without hesitation and start taking appropriate action, opportunities always come your way. Incidentally, that applies to anything in your life, not just sailing, so it’s a very useful realisation to take on board. But though I believe it is perfectly possible and realistic for anyone to live their dream, at the same time we have to be practical and acknowledge that it’s easy to be put off.
If you want to learn to sail and get into yachting as an aspiring crew, or you are a new yacht club member wondering what planet skippers come from, what on earth they want from you, what you have to do to get invited on board and, most of all, how to get invited to come again, I hope this book will give you at least some of the support, insight, inside knowledge and guidance you need.
CHAPTER ONE: WHAT’S IN A CREW?
“You can’t get the crew these days.”
This moan has been a familiar mantra in my yacht club ever since I can remember, even though we have a list of members, the majority of whom do not have their own boats but who desperately want to get afloat. And I gather the story is the same in many other yacht clubs throughout the land and beyond.
Not only that, but often I hear a body of the non-boat owning club members who see themselves as potential crew members complaining that they never or rarely seem to get to go out on other members’ yachts. Why not? Because they don’t get invited.
So we have the paradoxical situation where skippers are crying out for crew and going sailing short handed, while others who want to go sailing but don’t have boats are left ashore. Thinking further about this, it occurred to me one evening when in conversation with two friends and fellow boat owners, that most weekends we skippers actually compete with each other for the same tiny handful of individuals from our membership pool for people we want to invite to crew on our boats. In other words, suitable crewing candidates constituted a tiny elite.
So what’s the cause of this crazy situation?
The painful truth that became apparent as soon as I started probing was that the vast majority of the available members simply have not got the qualities that most skippers are looking for in their crew, though this, I believe, is mainly due to ignorance on the part of these recruits. If that is your problem, in many cases you can rectify this by absorbing the information in this book. However, I have a suspicion the issue originally stems from a lack of conscious awareness on the part of the would-be crewing candidates.
The ideas in this book aim to fill in some of the missing information, and to help well-meaning crewing candidates develop some of that missing awareness. Skippers will benefit as well, simply by understanding what’s missing and maybe by giving a copy of this book to newcomers before they come aboard their vessels.
Here’s the rub: Most novices to yachting simply do not realise what is required of them.