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Old 01-08-2012, 04:35 AM   #1
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Default American world traveler wanting to crew Caribbean, Latin America

My name is Deborah and I don't own a yacht but I'm on a quest to sail in the next months if people will allow me to come on board and contribute.

A few months ago I learned I needed to give my rented LA condo back to my landlord to live in. It was the opening I'd wanted to travel again. (When I lost a great apt in my 20s I hit the road and backpacked about the world by myself for a few years.) This time I want to get to know the Caribbean, Panama, and South America.

Ideally, I'd like to go down to Florida and join a yacht there to start sailing. Alternately, I thought to fly to Puerto Rico or Nassau. I want to get to know the islands so I'm good with landing and living a bit before sailing on. (One catch: I have to wait 3 weeks + a few days to get my renewed passport before I can enter another country.)

I know to check out yacht clubs, harbors/moorings as I travel but if I can get to know people here and through introductions, that would be so much nicer. I loved visiting yacht clubs as I traveled but doing it with a great want of a ride wreaks of desperation and is a job rather than a nice walk with a great view and the sounds of masts in the air.

I am bright, I figure things out well, I listen to instructions. I can cook. I respect the sanctity of marriage and am not looking to snag a millionaire boat owner. And I'm good with Macintosh and tech stuff. (I find Windows frustrating but can still help.)

Do yachts have internet access? (I need to keep working as I travel.)

My sailing history:
I learned to sail and got Red Cross certification at the old NYC Worlds Fair grounds in 1984, with a group called TASCA. Helped on friends yacht on Long Island Sound a bit. In 1986 I took a course in the Isle of Wight (UK). I was a greeter for the Sydney-Hobart race New Year's Eve going into 1987 and was the cook going up most of the way to Sydney afterward but didn't really get to sail for years. Then I joined Single Mariners in Marina del Rey in 2002, built them a heck of a website and created business card and grew the group well and was elected Commodore while out of town. I did a bit of sailing elsewhere, like an easy day barely helping on Lake Travis, Austin but it really doesn't count as doing any crewing. Oh, went out of San Diego a few years back going into the ocean in winter rain. That was an interesting day of tacking around military vessels! It was also the day I learned the value of gloves (which I didn't have).
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:16 AM   #2
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Good luck on finding something that works for you. About cruisers and internet access and your needing to work--what is it that you plan on doing (work wise) with that internet access? It can be very spotty if you'll have it and if you're cruising it will vary from boat to boat whether they've got a good setup (radio-based) for email (only). Surfing the web isn't likely to happen unless you're in an internet cafe somewhere per chance. Hope you don't REALLY need to work while crewing.
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by HandyBilly View Post
Good luck on finding something that works for you. About cruisers and internet access and your needing to work--what is it that you plan on doing (work wise) with that internet access? It can be very spotty if you'll have it and if you're cruising it will vary from boat to boat whether they've got a good setup (radio-based) for email (only). Surfing the web isn't likely to happen unless you're in an internet cafe somewhere per chance. Hope you don't REALLY need to work while crewing.
My apologies for my confusing words. I'm a writer/website updater and have to keep working on the articles, manuals, sites. I also do a weekly radio show, Computer Talk Radio. That's why I asked about internet access at times to upload or check mail. I was stuck in my costly LA apartment thinking, I can do this from anywhere but I never even get outside. So I'm trying the do it from anywhere life now. The work itself is not full time but I do need to keep my clients up to date and also to keep earning a bit of money. I figure I'll be on land and as you mention, have the cafes. I also have a modem into which I can put a local sim card.

I'm just picturing myself recording my weekly 10 minute radio spot, holding the mic while adjusting a sail. That would be some interesting audio.

When a boat has radio-based access, does it tend to cost per byte sent or be a blanket fee the owner is paying?
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by TravelingAgain View Post

When a boat has radio-based access, does it tend to cost per byte sent or be a blanket fee the owner is paying?
Welcome to Cruiserlog!

Here's some vague but hopefully useful information:

There are a couple of different HF radio services available that cruisers commonly use for email. One is for licensed amateur radio operators ("HAM") and it is free and the other is a commercial service used by sailors. The first is absolutely free but cannot be used for anything commercial. So, you could not take advantage of it for your business email correspondence. The other one we don't have but as I recall there is a per week limit in minutes on the transmission time the boat is allowed to have. So, you'd be sharing that time with the boat's owner. Also, my hubby says to remind you that you're not going to be able to make attachment files work--they're too big. The connection speed is even slower than dial up speed.

Many cruisers update their blogs or websites with text posted via these radio services. If you have your clients' sites set up for remote and automatic update of content then this is possible. You won't have the bandwidth to upload photos or graphics though. Nor would you be able to see or hear what you've posted until you arrive somewhere with "real" internet access.

If you have some money to use....like....say, what you'd use on your rent in LA....you have more options. Then you could get a sat phone and use it for your business uploads. That would be a reasonable way to achieve what you're trying to do.

Other thoughts:

If you had your own boat, you would very likely be able to go from port to port and indulge the lifestyle you're imagining. You may consider crewing briefly on various folks boats just to figure out what sort of vessel you'd like to purchase for yourself so that you can make what sounds like a wonderful dream come true. You could purchase a small boat suitable for coastal cruising and spend years simply cruising Mexico's West Coast. Mexico happens to have OK internet access available via their cell phone network. As long as you're anchored near a major roadway or city you'd have access. Some places you'd not have access but you could choose when to go there and how long to stay. I know you said you're interested in other parts of the world--but Mexico is on the way

Realistically, most ads you'll find for cruisers who want to take on crew are for particular passages (primarily sea time) during which you'll be expected to be part of the crew--standing watches, cooking, fixing things, cleaning, and all. Depending on the boat and the passage, you'll either be quite busy with all this or totally bored and able to use a low power, small, notebook computer to do your work. Sometimes crew join a cruising boat for several months and do enjoy in-port as well as passage-making times with the same boat but that set-up seems more rare.

I would think you have some network resources via Marina del Rey from your time with sailors there. You may find a great reference there and get to spend some time on the boat of a friend-of-a-friend. Here on the West Coast you are more likely to end up doing the Puddle Jump (in the spring to the South Pacific) than making your way into the Caribbean.

Good luck in achieving your goals! You can start by placing an ad on the crew finder here.
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