What if you have no experience yet want to crew?
On Onboard Space you might put up an advert to the effect of ‘Boat crew job no experience’ as you want to sail yet have never done any real sailing. That shouldn’t be a problem! Sailing is a career and vocation not a simple set of skills. Let’s now look at how you can learn to sail with just a little training.
Don’t spend money on a sailing course at first
No one really knows what sailing is like until they have sailed in a variety of conditions. I hate calms as much as I am scared of storms. You will never really ‘get’ sailing until you have been on a broad reach in a boisterous 15mph of wind with the sun shining – that is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on!
Equally every sailor will have to learn what it is like beating into a nasty headwind with waves sloshing from the bow to the cockpit, people being sick everywhere and in cold rain to the point nothing on the boat is dry. If you have a smile on your face at the end of a day like that you’re likely to want to sail again and again and again!
The only way to get to that point is to sail someone else’s boat. The easiest way to get to that point is to advertise your lack of skills but willingness to learn on Onboard Space. For just €5 per meeting we arrange for you you can get those experiences.
With a little experience do a basic crewing course
Nearly every seafaring country has an organisation that teaches sailing and with a bit of experience you should invest around €400 in a basic crewing course like the RYA Competent Crew, though you can download this e-book that shows some of the courses you can do around Europe and beyond.
A crewing qualification like the Competent Crew will teach you everything from victualling to how to respond when the skipper falls over the side and needs to be rescued. These courses are really worth your time when you get into sailing as it can make your CV shine among others. With that on your sailing CV you can do longer trips and are immediately recognised as a useful, if inexperienced hand.
Onboard Space is open to sailing instructors too, so in the coming year or so you may even be able to do a course like this through us too!
Again, as with any career, once you have a basic qualification you should build on your experience by volunteering as crew for other skippers. The more miles and hours you get under your belt the better, as the more that will go wrong and the more problems you will solve, learning all the more about how to sail in the real world. From your ‘Boat crew job no experience’ ad you will have built yourself up to having some good experience and share some true, salty tales with your fellow crew and skippers.
From crewing with no experience to skipper qualifications?
As part of learning to sail you can go off and get skippers’ qualifications. Even at this stage you don’t need to be thinking of buying your own boat but can plan to be a mate of watch when crewing another person’s boat, perhaps on a delivery.
Get some night hours in. Quite apart from being able to enjoy the sunset and dawn with empty horizons (up there with broad reaching in a stiff breeze!) you learn a lot from night navigation with just lights and lighthouses to navigate your route on.
These night hours will extend your experience from being a complete crewing novice to being an experienced hand, perhaps with ambitions to do an ocean passage.
Enjoy the adventure!
You just don’t know where your sailing career will lead you. While some religions believe we have a pre-ordained route through this world, even they accept that with few exceptions few ever get to know their own part in the Plan. The same applies to a sailing career. You may find that your stomach erupts on as soon as you hit 20cm seas and you’re spending your entire first trip leaning out of the cockpit, spewing bile and apologising, never to go afloat again. If you’re young and find yourself steady even in a screaming Force 10 you could end up racing around the world on the Volvo Ocean one day. From being a boat crew with no experience you never know where you could end up!