My luck seemed to be running out and then I found the best friend a solo cruiser can have www.findacrew.net. This site provided me access to people seeking just what I had to offer and offering just what I needed. For the next year l had a collection of great people on my boat, some for long stays some short.
I also learned to hone my search to criteria that worked the best. My crew needs are different than a sailing yacht. I do not need help with the running of the boat, so experience was not a criteria. I do need help with domestic chores, provisioning, and managing those things. I also like to have good dive partners. Companionship and camaraderie are essential; I am here to have fun! I love sharing this wonderful life and it gives me great joy when my crew immerse themselves in the lifestyle. Although I have had great male crew members, I find female crew more attentive, curious and adventuresome.
So the third year found me in the wilds of Indonesia with a crew of five, a full boat for sure. We had crew from around the globe, Russia, Brazil, UK, and the US. We sang together, did allot of diving, and entertained the other cruisers. Two of this crew would pursue professional interests learned on Furthur, one dive instructor and one yacht management professional.
Once in Thailand I had a variety of crew come along for shorter local adventures and shorter stays. I learned more about what works and what does not. I also prepared a long letter to send each crew covering life on Furthur, the more information I gave the better the communications and happier the crew. I learned to be pragmatic in this letter. For instance I found sometimes the “intrepid traveler”, one who has backpacked umpteen countries solo may not adjust to the slow pace and lack of independence on a cruising boat. I am clear in the letter, this is not a democracy, I try to be a benevolent dictator but a dictator all the same.
I have had people who just did not work out and left early. i always try to learn from each experience so examined the times people were not happy on the boat. Some just do not like the cruising life; it is slow, often unpredictable, and confining. Some did not like me. I have a quirky personality, odd and fluent sense of humor and do not react well to unkindness. Most of the crew found me good to be around, hence the wonderful references, but some do not. I looked at each instance and tried to learn what I could have done differently. More communications and learning the expectations of crew are very important.
I was blessed to have had fourteen wonderful people aboard this year that stayed a month or more. The largest crew was 5, too big for the boat systems but a great group. I find 2 are perfect and 3 works fine. I really like it when the crew is inquisitive and wants to learn, as most have been. Many of the long term crew leave this boat qualified to a professional positions. We have enjoyed a consistency that comes with passing on from one to another the workings of the boat. Only once did I start with all new crew.
Life on Furthur is simple, the duties are easy and there is plenty of time for leisure. We do allot of scuba diving, kayaking, swimming, movie watching and entertaining. I try to leave the domestic duty assignments to the crew. I have found the best crew members are proactive in this area and work out schedules and duties amongst themselves. I do supervise all deck work and equipment handling.
I am a stickler for safety, no compromise. With over 40 crew and guests in the last three years and 25,000 miles, I am proud to say there have been no injuries. We are prepared if a problem occurs, full first aid, O2, and I am a trained EFR and O2 provider. I have “cardinal rules” that we simply do not break, they are simple and easy to follow. I am also a stickler on protecting the boat and equipment, again no significant damage to the boat over this long voyage is a result of rigorous attention.
Today I have an excellent crew, eager to learn and please and fun to be with, again I am blessed. I look forward to meeting more new people as the voyage progresses. I really do not know what I would be doing now if not for Findacrew, thank you for making my voyage and epic one full of fun.