CREW INFORMATION

I love sailing, and I love sharing my love of sailing. So, if you are interested in joining me on my quests of discovery, this should give you a pretty good idea of what you’ll need, any costs, and expectations if you are invited to join me aboard S/V Discovery. Please refer to the Specification page and the Photo page and the Equipment pages for more information about S/V Discovery and her gear. Also, please keep in mind that all dates and itineraries are subject to change. A small boat in a big ocean has no firm schedule. There are periods of daylight followed by periods of night and passing seasons.

This page can be downloaded by crew as a packing checklist prior to boarding S/V Discovery.

 

 

EXPECTED COSTS

Let’s get this out of the way, so there is no misunderstanding, and because it is often one of the first questions many new mates ask when asking about making a passage aboard S/V Discovery.

I try to keep things simple; I don’t pay you to crew on my boat, and you don’t pay for any costs of maintenance, repair, upkeep, experience, passage, or fuel. This is not a delivery; it’s a recreational voyage; a quest of discovery that I am offering to share. But that doesn’t mean it’s a free ride. I try to keep your out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum. There are five expenses for which you will be responsible.

  1. Transportation to/from boat.
    This is not a paid delivery. This is a recreational voyage of pleasure, a quest of discovery! So, you will need find a way to get to the boat at least 5 days before the tentative departure, and you will need to be able to pay for your return when you leave the boat.

  2. Food and Drink Provisions.
    This depends on the duration of the voyage, but it is usually less than $200 per person…and we eat very well. (See my provisioning guide.)

  3. Personal visa upon entry.
    This varies depending on location. Please research ahead of time.

  4. Personal items and gifts.
    I think this is self-explanatory.

  5. Any medical/dental care, and emergency medical evacuation (if needed).
    Should you require medical care at a clinic or hospital, or medical evacuation I highly recommend some form of insurance. I highly recommend
    DAN Travel Insurance if you have a primary residence in the US or Canada.
     

 

GENERAL PACKING ADVICE

First and most important, space is limited on a sailboat. Just like a plane, you are allowed 1 soft-sided duffle bag, and 1 carry on.  The largest bag I recommend is 18”X18” by 30.” The North Face XL Base Camp Duffel -XL is a perfect size. 

 

Absolutely no hard-sided suitcases, or hard-frame backpacks.

Inside your duffle bag, I highly recommend packing cubes. These are like a portable chest of drawers in the locker on the boat. The help organize your things and make packing/unpacking much easier.
 

 

THE ESSENTIALS

As the section title says, these are the essential items you must have available when you board S/V Discovery.

  • Passport that is valid for at least 7 months prior to a scheduled departure.
    Most countries require the passport valid for 6 months upon arrival, so 7 months valid prior to departure assumes our passage takes no more than 30 days. Yes, I will check your passport, and I will place all passports in a water-tight container in the Rapid Ditch bag for the duration of the voyage. 

  • Customs and Immigration Visas.
    If you are the citizen of a country that must apply for a visa prior to arrival, that visa must be in your passport prior to getting underway. The captain (me) will check!

  • Record of Immunizations (Yellow Card).
    Some countries have required this in the past, and I suspect more will start requiring this in the future. Please get one, even if it is blank. These will be kept in a safe place with your passport when you board S/V Discovery.

  • Allergies and Medical Conditions
    Please discreetly inform the captain (me) of any allergies (including allergies to medications), or medical conditions prior to departure. Alternately, you can list medical conditions on a piece of paper in a sealed envelope that will accompany your passport in the Rapid Ditch Bag. This is important so we can provide medical personnel with vital information that will help them assess treatment.

  • Emergency Contact Information
    Please provide at least 1 emergency contact. Phone number or email of friends, family, or a relative. Again, this can be listed on paper and put in a sealed envelope. I don’t want to pry into your personal life, but I always try to be prepared for worse case scenarios.

  • Proof of sufficient funds to purchase airfare to home country.
    Some countries require proof of sufficient funds for travel back to your country of nationality. Please research this ahead of time. If it is required for any of the countries we plan to visit, you must demonstrate you have enough funds in a bank account prior to our departure.

  • Lifejacket with Harness (PFD)
    I do have a few extra coastal lifejackets aboard. If you don’t already have one, you may want to purchase an offshore lifejacket. Yes, they are expensive, we are sailing offshore.

  • Safety Tether
    We are sailing in the Pacific Ocean. Help is far very away. You do not want to become separated from the boat. I highly recommend a
    3 clip-2 line tether. You will be required to be tethered to the boat at night, and other times the captain deems necessary (See Ship’s Articles.)

  • Prescription Medications
    This is important -
    ALL prescription medications must be in the original prescription bottle with your name. Please ensure you have a sufficient supply of prescription medications for the expected duration of the voyage plus an additional 2 weeks. All prescription drugs must be declared upon entry into a foreign port; and failure to declare prescription medicines could lead to severe consequences (high fines and jail). Also, some island nations may not have medications, so do not expect to get refills when we hit land.

  • Foul weather gear
    Sometimes, a quick downpour in the tropics is a nice way to shower the salt off your body and cool down a bit. But a gale or storm is not fun, and it can feel cold and uncomfortable. You will appreciate a good set of foul weather gear if you need it.


     

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ITEMS

Here are some personal items that you should have and will certainly add to your comfort and enjoyment aboard the boat.

  • Sailing gloves
    I highly recommend at least 1 pair of ‘fingerless’ sailing gloves to prevent rope burns. The lines on the boat are hard on the hands. Unless the palms of your hands are tough leather with big calluses, you’ll want gloves.

  • Folding Serrated Knife
    Ideally attached to your PFD. Serrated knives cut cords and lines quicker than regular knives in case something needs to be freed quickly in an emergency.

  • Sunglasses
    It’s bright out on the water with lots of reflections. Polarized sunglasses will allow you to see more clearly (especially important for spotting coral heads when we get close to shore) and protect your eyes from strain. Don’t forget a neck strap!

  • Headlamp (w/ red light)
    A good headlamp with red-light / night mode makes it easier to work on night watches.  The rechargeable ones are great or have an extra set of spare batteries

  • Sealable Water Bottle.
    I think this is self-explanatory.

  • Ear plugs
    A boat underway makes all kinds of noise. Soft foam ear plugs will help block out some of that ambient noise when you are off watch and trying to sleep.

  • Smartphone, Tablet, E-Reader.
    I have an Iridium Go satellite system onboard so you will be able to send/receive email messages. I also recommend loading up your devices with your favorite music and books. Don’t forget to bring at least 2 charging cables (1 always seems to disappear), and earbuds. I do not recommend laptops that need AC power to recharge. The only time I will turn on the inverter is if we need to run the engine. Smartphones, tablets, e-readers, etc. are easily charged via USB connectors throughout the boat; mostly using solar energy to recharge.

  • Toiletries
    Stuff like toothbrush, floss, body soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. It is good practice to store your personal toiletries in a small mesh bag.

  • Sunscreen
    I highly recommend 50 SPF (non-aerosol) sunscreen lotion.

  • Lip balm & Zinc Based Cream
    Something to keep lips from drying and cracking, also some zinc cream on nose, ears, and cheeks to prevent burns.

     

PERSONAL CLOTHING

We are cruising in the tropics. I highly recommend your clothing be loose fitting, quick-dry, moisture wicking, light colored, sun-protective fabrics. My favorite place to buy clothing is REI. Since we also do laundry by hand, lightweight, quick drying clothing speeds the (hand) washing and drying cycles.

  • T-shirts or polo shirts. (I highly recommend a few long sleeve shirts).

  • At least 1 button down shirt (short sleeve is OK).

  • At least 1 pair of long pants (or skirt below the knees).
    (Long pants/skirt, and a button-down shirt are sometimes required when checking into some foreign ports. Even when not required, it is respectful.)

  • Short pants

  • Under garments

  • 1 or 2 pair of socks

  • Bathing suit (2)

  • Hats (2)

  • Light Jacket / Windbreaker

  • 2 pair of non-marking soft-soled shoes (open toed sandals don’t count).

 

OTHER STUFF TO CONSIDER…

  • Digital copies of your passports (and visa if required).
    Please make digital copies of your passport and visa (if required) and store them on a cloud backup service such as iCloud or Dropbox.

  • Personal AIS Beacon
    I prefer a
    Personal AIS Beason over a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) because in the Pacific Ocean your nearest possibility of rescue is the boat you fell off, not a rescue service that is thousands of miles away. The personal AIS transmits a signal to all AIS enabled vessels within a 4-mile radius. The PLB transmits a signal to a satellite that is then sent to emergency rescue teams who then must launch ships and aircraft towards your position.

  • Garmin InReach
    Personal communication if you choose not to use the onboard satellite system.

  • Spare prescription glasses (if required)
    If you wear prescription glasses, please bring an extra pair. You are no good to the operation of the vessel if you can’t see.

  • Camera and/or GoPro
    I have a camera and 2 GoPro’s, but you may certainly bring your own. Extra battery and charger, extra memory cards.

  • Snorkeling equipment.
    Mask, fins, and snorkel are a nice way to pass the leisure time at anchor.

  • Insect Repellant
    Insects are not a problem at sea; however, some areas we may visit may have mosquitos so a small can of bug spray may prove helpful.

  • Beach Towel
    At some point you may want to go swimming, or lay on a beach somewhere. Please refrain from using the boat’s bath towels for drying off after swimming.

     

THINGS YOU DON’T NEED

To save you some packing headaches, here is a list of things that are aboard S/V Discovery that you don’t have to bring with you. If in doubt, please ask.

  1. Absolutely NO Illegal Drugs or Substances (yes, marijuana is an illegal drug).

  2. No Firearms – no guns, no ammunition, no illegal weapons

  3. Sleeping bags – There are extra linens and blankets aboard.

  4. Bath Towels – I carry 8 bath towels aboard.

  5. OTC medicines – OTC medicines are stocked in the medicine cabinet.

  6. Binoculars – There are 2 sets of binoculars aboard.

  7. Personal Problems or Drama

 

 

PRIMARY DUTIES

  1. Assist in provisioning and preparations
    I have a provisioning checklist, but there may be some items that you prefer to include in the ship’s store. The pre-departure shopping trip is a good way work together as a team. It also familiarizes everyone with where our food stores are kept on the boat. Also getting the boat ready for passage means activating some systems (e.g. water maker, wind vane steering) and stowing and organizing gear.

  2. Watch Schedules
    Watches are split evenly between everyone onboard, including night watches. No one will be on a watch for more than 4 hours (even if there are only 2 of us). S/V Discovery is equipped with both wind vane steering and a hydraulic autopilot. There is little hand steering. During the watch you are responsible for sail trim, wind vane steering trim, keeping a lookout for obstructions, vessels, and land! If there is any situation beyond the scope of your skills, you will immediately alert the captain (me).

  3. Cooking
    We will all share cooking duties. This gives you the opportunity to show off your culinary talents and surprise your mates with delicious meals. With different shifts, we might be on different eating schedules, but I encourage everyone sit together for the evening meal. Please be courteous and always ask your mates if they are also hungry before preparing food or enjoying a snack.

  4. Cleaning
    Cleanliness is important aboard for multiple reasons. Everyone is expected to clean up after themselves, and keep their personal gear organized. Washing dishes is also a shared responsibility. Same with the head (bathroom). If we clean up after ourselves, the head should remain relatively clean, but it is nice to wipe it down with disinfectant daily.

  5. Laundry
    We will do laundry about every 3 days. Laundry is done in the tub in the ship’s head, and then hung outside to dry.

  6. Assist in Maintenance
    S/V Discovery is well appointed with spares and tools. Should something break or malfunction, I may require your assistance in repairs, maintenance, or daily operations.

  7. Relax and Have Fun
    This is the most important duty you’ll have aboard the boat. Relax, enjoy the time, learn, experience the joy of sailing, and the excitement of going places less travelled.

OTHER DUTIES

There are many daily activities aboard S/V Discovery while underway. I highly encourage everyone to learn and participate and share your knowledge and experience.

  1. Weather Routing
    Each morning and each evening we will download the latest weather maps and sit down to analyze the forecast and discuss our route.

  2. Radio Communications
    Along with the Iridium Go satellite communication system onboard, I also have a Single Sideband (SSB) / ham radio and will conduct daily radio check-ins with Pacific Maritime Net on 13.400 Mhz. If you are interested in learning how to operate the SSB radio, I will be happy to teach you.

  3. Navigation skills
    There are 2 chart plotters as well as paper charts (on the nav table). The position of the boat is automatically uploaded to the internet hourly. I will be more than happy to teach everyone basic navigational skills as well as reading the radar (which will be essential during night watches).

  4. Fishing
    I do rely on fishing during the trip to add to our provisions and diet. I have never had difficult catching fish, so we only fish when we have no fish onboard, or the day prior to entering a port to share with the local population. I have 2 trolling rods onboard, and 2 yoyos.

     

SHIP'S GENERAL RULES

  1. Be kind and respectful of others aboard.

  2. Absolutely nothing goes into the head that has not passed through your body.

  3. If you plug the head (toilet) you get to unplug it.

  4. No urinating off the side or stern of the boat while underway.

  5. No alcohol consumption while on watch. Alcohol in moderation off watch is allowed; inebriation is not allowed.

  6. No one is allowed on deck at night unless tethered to the jackline AND another person is in the cockpit.

  7. While on night watch (between dusk and dawn) all crew in the cockpit must wear a life jacket and be tethered to an attachment point.

  8. The Captain can mandate wear of PFD anytime he determines it to be prudent.

  9. Only the Captain can order abandon ship and deploy the life raft.

  10. The Captain is the final arbiter of all decisions while at sea.
     

I openly discuss operational decisions underway, and value the knowledge and experience of everyone aboard. I am a laid-back skipper. I do not demand anything that I would not do myself. I do not raise my voice or engage in arguments. I am not perfect, but I am ultimately responsible, so I must make the final decision if there is disagreement. By coming aboard S/V Discovery, I am asking you to put your confidence in my experience and our collective knowledge and skills to have a fun and safe passage.