This marks six years of rotating crew on Furthur, most from the Godsend; findacrew.net. I have had crew from twenty eight countries onboard and what a joy it has been. This has been the most unexpected and rewarding component of my adventure. I left Seattle with friends and soon found that people who could drop everything and jaunt off across the globe a limited pool. Next i found boat hitchhikers and had some great and not so great luck but it was all based on luck not science. It was at the end of my first year that i found findacrew.net and have used them almost exclusively ever since.
crew from around the world and most of the USA, Texas and California here
After ever age, gender and combination of people, i found that my formula for picking works for me. Females in the 20ish to 40ish years from mixed countries with little or no experience seem to have the flexibility, curiosity, eagerness to learn, ability to bond fast with other crew and the lack of challenges that make great crew and company. Of course there have been glaring exceptions, some of the best crew do not fit in the formula but most do. Other combinations work for other boats so my formula is just for me. We are now seeing past crew come back for second and third stents on the boat.
My success has been largely in part to a in-depth seven page letter each potential crew receives. This letter has evolved over the years and grown in length. It covers daily life, what to expect, what is expected and what is not tolerated. Recent additions have been aimed at sorting out possible challenges inexperienced crew might find; the unpredictability of cruising, the lack of independence and the lack of private space can be issues that are not thought of by the starry eyed back packer.
One thing i have learned to make perfectly clear is that there is NO schedule, we move at the whim of weather, mechanical demands and safety. Our plans are fluid. I find that crew who have limited time in an area and want to see and do many things in a short time often feel constricted by the slow pace of a cruising boat.
we even have mermaids on the crew
The other circumstance that can cause angst is the balance of crew feeling at home, which i promote and respecting that the boat is my permanent home. i do have some quirks about my limited possessions that might seem odd. i am a mad stickler for protecting my boat, equipment and most of all people aboard. So there are rules, most come from experience that crew just do not have nor may understand. i do supply kayaks, dive gear and other fun toys so keeping them in tact is important. I find most of the crew accept this and appreciate the rules, mostly the ones for their safety, but there have been some bumps here for sure. Six years of cruising, dozens of crew, half way around the world and there has been no significant damage to the boat and most important, no injuries to the crew, this does not come from being sloppy about safety.
we make frequent land trips
i take great joy in making sure the crew gain experience and learn as much as they desire. As this is a power boat and equipped with most of the modern devices there is little hands on “work” most things happen with the push of a button. My crew needs are different than a sailing vessel, no strings to pull so strength is not an issue. My needs are more domestic, cooking cleaning and provisioning. i also need dive companions. Most of my crew are diving enthusiasts, the frequency of our diving is of great value to the crew usually. The crew learn the basics of navigating with modern devices and if they like the “old school” techniques as well.
i explain that there are two types of decisions i make; ones that are arbitrary, like where to eat or dive or next stop. this type i usually give the crew options to pick. The other type are safety decisions, go/no go, weather, anchorages and such are made for the safety of the boat and crew and there is no debate on these decisions.
even the work can be fun, bikini boat wash time
The most important element is having fun. The crew have duties but rarely interfere with having a great time. I have found that crew from around the world bond fast and we make sure there is an environment that enables such bonding. One of the most endearing traditions on Furthur is the gratitude sharing time just before dinner. Although some are reluctant at first, soon it becomes a favorite time. i do like to tease and be teased and have a quirky sense of humor for sure.. plus i am a morning person, big time. One girl told me if i am ever murdered by my crew it will be before seven AM! i strive to get crew to balance the fun and the duties and to make sure each gets to do the things they like, spend quality time with the group and some alone time.
A look at my findacrew site and the references will show how wonderful my crew experiences have been. After six years i am more excited about future voyages with new crew than ever, there are adventures to be had and memories to be made.