“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.” – John Paul Jones
While I really don’t plan on intentionally putting myself in harm’s way, I am planning to encounter rough patches and stormy seas. And to that end, I need to work on my sailing experience. What does a guy do if he really just wants the cliff notes though? If you’re thinking: “buy a book” – it’s a good start, but when you’re in a rough patch offshore – experience counts.
Learning to sail won’t be a huge stretch for me, I’ve spent many hours on many types of boats over the years. Everything from sportfishing boats to liveaboards, even sailboats. But actually learning to be self-sufficient (and safe) while sailing the most remote (see: best) spots on the globe, isn’t something that happens overnight. So the reasonable alternative is to gain some first-hand experience in bluewater sailing from an experienced sailor.
That’s not something that just comes across your plate when you’re working full-time (or more) at a growing software company in Austin, Texas. I can’t just pop down to the local bar on Thurs/Fri/Sat and start spreading the word.
There may yet be hope, here’s my rough plan:
- Get my finances in order to leave (updates soon)
- Get my real estate in order (updates soon)
- Wind down my professional life
- Hitch a ride on someone else’s boat as paying crew (subject of this post)
- Buy my boat
- Take off with (a little bit of) experience under my belt
Finding a ride on someone else’s boat isn’t easy though. The only real way to do that is via cruising forums. If you’re new to this idea – sailors and full-time cruisers have forums too, and in those forums sometimes “Crew Wanted” and “Crew Available” posts are made. Hopefully, via one of these posts I’ll find an easy-going sailor cruising an interesting area that’ll let me tag along for a couple of months.
My first thought was to make the passage from Panama through the Marquesas, but I’m a little worried about the timing on that one. After some research it looks like the best time to make that crossing is Feb-April, and I really don’t think I’ll be ready to drop everything and take off that quickly. Even more importantly, I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to wait two years to begin learning to sail. I can’t bear that much anticipation.
Another major crossing would be ideal. There’s nothing like spending nights on watch and days without the sight of land to test your mettle. I don’t think it’ll be a big deal for me, but I can’t be sure until I’ve done it. So tonight I made a “Crew Available” post, here’s what I wrote:
I’m planning a circumnavigation, but before I take off on that I want to gain some experience crewing another boat, early/mid ’14. Thus this post.
About me: caucasian, male, 29, recovering professional in the software industry (see: not as athletic as I used to be). Strongly prefer the ocean to the office, have spend multiple days in sailboats without seeing land (but much, much more time on powerboats).
I’m a freediver, spearfisherman, avid traveler, ceviche fanatic, and enjoy the occasional glass of red wine. I prefer to not see land for extended periods, and thoroughly enjoy (almost?) everything on the water. Read/write as much as possible.
Easy going, have more than a couple of stories and have traveled extensively. Born in Dubai, lived in Europe, dove off of the coast of almost every Central American country. Prefer dives to resorts and local culture to expensive trips.
Don’t mind splitting food/bev/entertainment expenses as long as they’re moderate. Can have a very flexible schedule starting early/mid 2014, let me know what you have in mind.
Because I want to buy a catamaran for my own circumnavigation (after crewing), I’d prefer to crew on a cat. That said, I’m not going to turn down anything that sounds fun on a mono. Cheers!
If that sounds like something you’d see on a dating site, consider that this person will be: sharing very cramped quarters, meals, drinks, conversation, and tons of quiet time with me. To that end, I think they deserve to know the stuff that makes me tick.
I’ll letcha know how this does, I’m as curious as you are.
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