There is a myth that yacht crewing is only for younger people. Older yacht crew can be better to have aboard thanks to their depth of experience. At the end of the day most yacht cruising is not the Volvo Ocean Race but something a lot more relaxed and a discipline that requires more problem solving than physical strength.
Older yacht crew advantages
If you had a longer passage in mind, who would you choose? A young, strong person with little experience or someone who’s older but has sailed in all conditions over hundreds of thousands of miles? Older yacht crew in this regard can be far more useful to a skipper than a young muscle-head.
Modern sailing yachts are designed to be sailed with fewer crew and often a husband/wife combination. You have light spars and lines, and though sometimes large forces are at work (the genoa sheet on a broad reach can be bar tight) intelligence and experience is more useful than brute strength.
If your boat runs aground the youngster may jump overboard to try to push the boat off the sandbank! The older crew, knowing that this would be an impossible feat, would look at rocking the hull to move the centre of gravity forward or aft to get the boat to float off the bar.
Yachts are complex machines. There is an awful lot that can go wrong in different circumstances. One sailing school skipper told me a few years back that he’d rather have an engine mechanic aboard than someone who had sailed around the world. Why? He knew he would have someone with an engineering brain and this means that that person knew the processes involved in resolving problems.
You do find younger crew with a wealth of experience, and who can also be fun at parties, but that isn’t to say that sailing is a pastime for youngsters as so many believe!
Sailing as a career
Here at Onboard Space we routinely say that sailing is a career rather than a hobby. The more you do the more you learn. Reading the weather comes with deep experience for example – is the weather beneath the cold front ahead going to be feisty? Often it is but sometimes it isn’t.
The more you sail the more that can go wrong, and in learning to resolve those problems so you grow as a sailor. The next time you hit a similar problem you’ll spend less time working out how to resolve it and more time in action fixing it.
This is largely why older yacht crew can be of more use than younger ones!
Find older yacht crew with Onboard Space!
Here at Onboard Space we have a range of yacht crew looking for skippers to sail with. As a skipper looking for crew you can find older yacht crew with great sailing CVs as well as younger, less experienced crew. Just sign up on our website and see who you could take aboard!