Dealing with Crew

In West Palm Beach, Florida, we picked up a third crew member. He was living on his sailboat in Florida and wanted to voyage the worlds oceans. He knew that his boat was not capable of such a voyage, so he was looking to do it on someone else's boat, and so he joined ours.

When we first met, he spoke very highly of his cruising exploits. Having sailed from New York to Florida various times. Sailing single handed through tight quarters and challenging situations. The more he talked, the more excited we were with his cruising prowess and wanted him as part of our crew as he would surely complement our cruising style.

We didn't have time to go through the boat systems before we left Florida for the Bahamas, so Maddie and I sort of manned the ship the whole way across the Gulf Stream. His watch involved one of us baby sitting him, where we would sleep in the cockpit and he would wake us if anything changed. He wasn't allowed to make any alterations to course or sail because we didn't know first hand what his judgement was like. We are glad we took that precaution!

When sailing from West End to Freeport, Maddie and I went forward to do a sail change. We left him at the helm and told him to maintain us on a "shallow broad reach". While working the sails, I noticed the wind was coming from a different direction, so I looked at the wind point and noticed he was sailing us on a dead run, and sometimes a little by the lee!

I ran back to the cockpit and told him what he was doing and what was expected of him, and he seemed dazed and confused. Turns out, he didn't know what the term "Close hauled", "Beam Reach", "Broad Reach", or "Run" meant. So when I told him a point of sail to keep us on, he simply smiled and nodded, stated "Good Copy" and had no idea what I meant!

If you are ever crew and given an order you do not understand, a captain will gladly explain it to you in other words rather than deal with the mess caused by your inability to carry out the order.

Had we jibed while we were up there, we would have had serious issue! The massive boom slamming across the deck will seriously injure someone, and the headsails are deck sweeping, meaning that they would have just pushed us off the deck and into the water!

At this point, we realized that he was all talk and no substance. I knew I would need to teach him as we go instead of starting off with a great sailor. This was a bit frustrating as I greatly despise people who exaggerate and show off. He soon became frustrated because he likes people to believe he is amazing and hates when people see through his facade.