How much does yacht crew cost? A lot less than you think!
Karibik-Segeltörn / Caribbean Sailing Cruise 2014. Photo: Christian Lendl

How much does yacht crew cost? A lot less than you think!

Yacht crew cost not as high as you'd imagine
Karibik-Segeltörn / Caribbean Sailing Cruise 2014. Photo: Christian Lendl

As with all things in life, you often get what you pay for when it comes to yacht crew. Unlike many other things in life however you can often find that yacht crew cost can be very low even while getting high quality sailors. Why? Most sailors in this world are just in it for a laugh, good food, rum and beer!

Professional yacht crew cost

Recently a former Vendee Globe skipper told me he was headhunted to do a transatlantic yacht delivery as skipper for around €500 a day. Assuming this is a 25 day passage that’s €12,500, plus food at €25 a day per crew (€625) and then you need travel costs to the departure and arrival locations (€700 based on an Economy class flight + travel to departure point). For the skipper that would be €13,825. Assuming watch keeping crew charge €6000 less than the skipper and you need two of them, you would add €15,650 to the skipper: €29,475 to get your boat across the Atlantic. 

Are there cheaper ways?

You can minimise yacht crew costs by bringing on amateur crew. There are large numbers of people (like me!) who have a considerable amount of experience sailing boats in all conditions yet have an itch to cross an ocean as crew. For many years we have been anonymous and hard to find. Here are some questions you need hard answers to if you were to perhaps only pay travel and food for a transatlantic delivery crew member:

  • How good are they really? You need to sail with them in a good blow to find out. 
  • Does their sailing CV stand up? Bullshitters abound at sea…
  • Have they done a trip like this before? While not a deal killer you’d hope they’ve done medium distance trips. 
  • What qualifications do they have? While experience is more important at least they have a piece of paper
  • Do they have other skills like engine maintenance or rigging experience? Sailing a boat isn’t just about handing, reefing and steering these days!
  • Are they good to hang out with? You really don’t want an unhappy ship
  • Are they committed to the trip? You don’t want dropouts three days before the delivery

There are other questions you as a boat owner need to drill down into to see what these people are about. Ultimately you need to see if this person has what it takes to maximise the chances of your €100,000+ investment in a yacht making it to your sailing grounds. 

We should state that the same questions apply even if it is a coastal route, perhaps from La Coruna to Athens. The crew is moving your boat and you need to be confident in them!

Have you considered Onboard Space?

In discussing yacht crew cost and the potential of taking on amateurs, we haven’t yet looked at where to find crew. Being a crew / skipper ‘dating agency’ we at Onboard Space are interested in connecting skippers and crew. You register as a skipper or crew for €0 and only pay when you connect with your chosen sailing partners through the site. That is only €5 per connection. That’s hardly going to impact your overall yacht crew cost is it?! Sign up today and see who you can find on your next sailing venture!

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