As with all the previous years, my crew experiences have been extraordinary and full of lessons. As i have for the last 4 years i rely on findacrew.net for most of my crew needs, such an asset to the cruising world. I had one exceptional crew, Sam, who stayed on the boat for a year. She was such an asset as she trained all the other crew and became their leader. Sam left the boat in February and i miss her and wish her well. We stay in touch and she is part of the family for sure.
As is expected there were some lessons learned, mostly to trust my intuition and stay by my rules. i had an exuberant couple of girls who said they were traveling friends asked to join the boat, at this time i needed crew. After we agreed they would join and just before they arrived, they informed me they were a romantic couple. I have expressly said on my profile and the letter that i do not take couples of any kind and their waiting until the last minute to tell me was off putting but i agreed they could come. We did long somewhat hard few days, nice following seas but a bit rough. What i found is that one of the girls just wanted to argue about just about everything, she had a real need to win. i told her i played that game most of my life and did not want to even suit up. The tension grew and the energy on the boat descended fast. Interestingly the other girl who said very little was a great help but they came as a pair. It all ended a bit unpleasantly and i learned another lesson. My self-doubt in my decision to not keep them was erased when i spoke to the next skipper they joined a few months later, he had the same story to tell.
We also had an interesting girl along at that time who stayed a bit longer, a super adventurous doctor from Poland. Back in the marina we prepared for the next crew, this time a Yankee and a eastern European girl. With this crew we headed to the Philippines. The US girl had some issues with chipping in at first but they improved, the Latvian girl came to us on crutches from a motorbike wreck so not much help either. Soon they both got with the program and we had a few good months. Like others before them they felt constricted on the boat and chose a more independent course with more partying and freedom of movement. From this point we had several short term crew, even one from Iceland and two from the Philippines. We stayed local and were able to switch easily. After the last American Sam demanded “no more Americans” sadly she was right, with a few notable exceptions we have had generally poorer experiences with American girls. I can only speculate on the reasons but some have tended to not fit in this lifestyle as well and often leave abruptly. Just after Sam left i took on a Yankee, with some in trepidation for sure. First day on the boat she was told by the existing crew that we did not take Americans and if Sam were here she would not be on the boat, yikes the girl was brutal. Bree rose to the occasion gallantly seeing her need to defend our homeland and also Texas. Bree turned out to be one of the best crew ever and most fun. She stayed all the way to Thailand, she redeemed her creed for sure. Proving there are no absolutes only tendencies, picking crew is not a science it is a black art.
the big issue this year was crew who arrive with undisclosed and crippling health issues or injuries. Two came on crutches, one with a disabling skin disease making her prone to tropical infections and others with extreme allergies. i hate to be harsh but they put a big burden on the rest of the crew and often limit our activities. This is a tough call but i will now ask if there are any health issues in my letter.
So another year, more lessons, and many incredibly wonderful experiences later we are awaiting the next crew and the next adventure!