by Pete Green
Following on from our Top 5 tips for crossing the Atlantic blog, we have been looking at how to keep your crew entertained on a long passage such as a Trans-Atlantic.
Everyone has their own views on what makes crew happy whilst sailing, and a Skippers job of keeping a cohesive team unit focused on the goal of getting the yacht successfully from A to B can be made significantly easier if the crew are content and happy.
After researching a large pool of offshore sailors, crew opinions about how to keep busy or how to inject fun onboard does differ depending on whether you are racing or cruising. Most racers say that there isn’t much downtime at all after being on watch, changing sails, trimming, changing sails (again!), cooking, cleaning, navigating and sleeping etc. It seems that racing sailors crave a little bit of R&R when in their bunk (which is not often) and choose an I-pod and noise-reducing earphones with either easy listening music to relax, louder music to drown out the noise of what’s happening on deck or audio books.
Yacht delivery and leisure sailors alike tend to favour the I-Pod or upbeat music playing on deck whilst on watch or in their bunk. Downtime sees books, backgammon and diary writing being a popular way to while away the hours whilst off duty.
Food features high on all crew’s lists in the responses we got, especially bread making to lift morale and cover up any nasty on-boat odours. Treats are a must with Skippers finding very clever ways to introduce them at key moments of the passage such as birthdays, halfway mark, crossing the Equator, each 1000 miles sailed and basically any excuse to crack open the cake box! Fruitcake, lemon drizzle cake and ginger cake seem to be the preferred cakes of choice. Fruitcake lasts forever, we still had fruitcake left on the last leg of a round the world race, and it was just amazing! A fishing line to pop over the stern to catch a fish seems popular, especially if you catch one! Having a time each day that all the crew see each other is important if you are in a strict watch system, and even better if this revolves around a mealtime such as lunch or dinner.
Crews tend to get very inventive when sailing offshore mainly as mobiles are out of range and boredom can quickly set it if time is not managed well. Tales of Murder mystery games, Movie nights, quizzes, word games and silly challenges can keep everyone occupied for hours if not days. One of the more interactive games we heard about was changing all the nautical terms to animal noises, so trim became woof and tack became moo, etc. That would definitely make me laugh! Just trying to come up with different sounds for the different manoeuvres would keep crew occupied for hours! And of course there is crossing the line (Equator) ceremony that needs to be planned well in advance to initiate those novice crew into the traditions of the deep and keep them safe from the perils of the sea. Dressing up is a must as well as a toast to Neptune and a dram for all crew.
And then there are the purists, that when sailing don’t like to do anything other than look at their surroundings, enjoy the peace, quiet and tranquillity of the sea and the nature around them.
What is your favourite entertainment on a long passage?
Halcyon Yachts Ltd is a dedicated international yacht delivery specialist with highly experienced and qualified crew. For more information or to see details of their recent deliveries please visit www.halcyonyachts.com/