What Makes for Good Crew?

Part 1 – New Sailors Getting Picked up as Crew the First Time

What Makes Good Crew?

Crewing on someone else’s boat is probably one of the best ways to get involved in the sport. It can provide a variety of experiences so you can make determinations on what kind of sailing you like to do and what kinds of boats you like to sail on. 

Getting picked up as crew is easier than you might think. I had the good fortune to work for an airline for a while and that took me to Hawaii several times. The Hawaii Yacht Club did a “Friday Night Thing” point to point race just about every Friday night. After work on Friday, I went down to the marina a simply walked down the dock in something that resembled sailing clothes. When I saw someone getting their boat ready, I asked if they were racing and if they needed any help. Not once was I left on the dock.

In that situation, the key is just being willing to help with whatever they might need. So what if they need something that you may not understand or be able to do? Chances are they aren’t going to ask you to do something outrageous right out of the gun, but if that does happen, you can certainly ask how the Skipper wants it done or how it is done on their boat. Most of the time they are happy to show you. Pay attention though, because the expectation is now set that you’ve been shown and should be able to do it again if asked. At the end of the sail, be sure to exchange contact information so you can be asked back!

Other ways to get on with someone is to go to Yacht Club meetings and find out about the different events. Talk to people and find out who is going to be doing them and listen for your opportunity to jump in and offer help. Your club might also have a Crew Board either “looking for” or “offering to” crew (it might be online!)

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