When we wanted to sail a tall ship, we just searched on line until we found one we liked. On the sail training square rigger, HM Bark Endeavour I , being over fifty years old, had to get a doctor's release. All crew members had to climb the ratlines to the t'gallant yard and down the other side before the ship left the dock. Other than that, a positive attitude and willingness to pitch in are all that is required. For this type of ship you pay a fee to join the crew. There are a good many vessels of various types with various programs ranging from near luxury cruises that allow you to take an occasional trick at the wheel to hardcore sail training ships that will require full participation in the operation and maintenance of the ship. Some are restricted to young people but many will take any age if you can get a doctor's release. The duration of the cruise can be anywhere from a weekend to almost indefinite. After our initial cruise in Endeavour, three weeks for me, six for Laura, we were invited to rejoin the crew for a six month voyage from Freemantle to the UK via Cape Corn. Regrettably, we had to decline. But former shipmates and friends went. You can see footage from that trip in the movie "Master and Commander"
When Laura crewed for the delivery of the schooner Spike Africa from San Diego to Kauai, we found out of the crew opening through our yacht club, Nawiliwili YC on Kauai. Laura was interviewed over the phone by the captain and paid her own way to San Diego to join the ship but no money exchanged hands.
It is fairly easy to get a return delivery crew berth on a racing yacht going back to the mainland from Hawaii after the Trans-Pac or Pacific Cup races and sometimes on private cruising yachts if you can document your skills or if you volunteer to do the cooking. You just have to be hanging around the right port with no commitments for a few weeks when the opportunity presents it self.
Another option is to join a large private yacht. Often these boats post notices on bulletin boards in the marina or in the crew list in magazines like Latitude 38 advertising for crew to some port or other. Typically, you will be required to purchase a return airline ticket and sometimes contribute to the grocery bill. Requirements, conditions and shipmates vary widely. Choose carefully or you may find yourself sailing with Captain Bligh or worse (At least Bligh was a good seaman).
I've been riding motorcycles for more than forty years. I've been sailing for perhaps thirty, owned my own boat for almost twenty. Bikes are far more risky than boats but for some reason, people generally seem more comforted by the fact that an ambulance can come pick up your remains shortly after you slam into a bridge on the way home from a night of drinking than they are with the idea that if they get scared and uncomfortable in bad weather at sea they may not be able to call for a helicopter to come pluck them off their perfectly good boat.
Bad weather at sea may be uncomfortable but there is really nothing to be afraid of in a well found boat if you have plenty of sea room. It's when you are close to land that you need to worry.
Sure, I take risks every time I ride my bike. Most of the time I'm on my bike, I'm drunk. Whenever I go for a ride, I end up at a bar. Knowing this, I usually have a few before I even head out. But, I always feel like I'm in control of the situation. I don't go beyond my limits. The fact that I'm still alive, still have all my legs and arms and fingers and toes attests to this.
Before, every ride was a life and death experience. I would come back from rides physically drained. I would tense up on my bike. My hands would cramp up from gripping the handle bars too hard. Bikes don't scare me anymore like it used to when I first started riding. I'm used to it now.
Sailing, on the other hand, is still new to me. I don't even have a boat yet. I've never been more than a few miles out to sea and I've only gone sailing a few times in my life, just along for the ride.
Deep water and big waves scare me. Getting caught out at sea in a bad storm would scare the crap out of me. But, that doesn't mean that I'm not going to get a boat or learn to sail. It's a fear I will have to overcome. Learning to ride a motorcycle was scary at first, but you get over it.
yup, getting rid of your life's possessions is very difficult. I think before I get my boat, i will build an addition to my mom's house for all my stuff. That will also give me a place to stay when I'm tired of being on a little 40' boat. I'm afraid of putting everything I own on a boat that might sink, either because of mother nature or my own incompetence. I still like riding my bike and I want to keep one leg on land.
So did you have any scary moments crossing the Pacific? And that was the first time you ever did anything like that, am I right?
We have a motorcycle crate of stuff we couldn't bear to part with in storage and a friend is holding a motorcycle for me. We are finding that we have too much stuff that we don't need on the boat and we are gradually getting rid of it. Incredibly, a lot of people won't take the plunge and go cruising because their stuff owns them instead of the other way around. A garage full of junk that hasn't been touched in years is the anchor that keeps them from living the dream.
Yah, the problem is I have too much stuff. I don't know how I would fit it all on a 40 footer. I don't know if I would even want to put everything I own on a boat. Boats sometimes sink. Get caught in a bad storm and everything you own goes under. Thats a big risk to take, putting all your eggs into one basket. If you lose your boat, you lose everything. Thats scary thought.
So you and your wife (or GF) live on a 27 foot boat? I thought a 40 footer was on the small side to live on for 1 person. I wish I could afford a 55+ foot boat to live on. And you sailed across the Pacific on that little thing? Damn!