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Old 07-01-2007, 11:59 AM   #1
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I'm curious about whether any of you have favourite methods to cheer up the crew / captain when things are not going well and everybody is getting a bit grumpy.

Days of rain, heavy wind, blocked head, no-one feeling like cooking, etc.

Hidden stash of chocolate?

Put on a Leonard Cohen CD?

I spy with my little eye, something beginning with "W"?

Play "Who knows the worst sailing disaster story"?

Or do you just play "Mutiny on the Bounty"?

Tell us what works for you.
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Old 07-01-2007, 03:17 PM   #2
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Mmmm, good question!

As a captain, make sure you do have a stash of “goodies” hidden away that can be produced when needed. I also keep the ingredients for making crumpets, which are simple to make and are a good boost for the crew when it is cold and wet, served drizzled with syrup and with a mug of strong hot chocolate.

Then there is nothing better than baking bread. I always bake two loves at a time and into one I put a large handful of raisins – there is nothing better than the aroma of freshly baked bread and then everybody gets stuck into the raisin loaf whilst it is still hot. Cut into “door-steps” and served with butter goes down a treat.

Make sure you have a few packs of cards and the instructions of a few simple games.

My taste of music is normally not the same as my younger crew. The rule on board my boats is always to allow music to be played on the boat music system during daylight hours but not in a manor to disturb other crew catching up on sleep. Normally, when I am off watch in the afternoon, I tell my first mate that the crew can “let rip” with their own music – I go to my cabin and relax with my iPod whilst the crew do their own thing with “the old fart” out of the way.

Then I also run a competition on a leg where we will be sailing in shipping lanes – normally between St Helena and Trinidad or Gibraltar. It is a Ship Spotting competition, which is normally quite competitive as the person who spots the most ships wins a bottle of good rum (or local brew) when we arrive in the next port. The results are marked off on a paper plate stuck above the chart table. The aim of the competition is to keep all crew alert for shipping and the fact that they can also have a good time when in port.

And finally, tell all crew that it is “fresh water shower day” – this really has the crew perked up!

John

The Delivery Guy

http://www.sailblogs.com/member/deliveries/
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Old 10-01-2007, 06:08 AM   #3
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Very often when on long passages, we would break out the popcorn and watch a movie on the computer just after dark. That got the whole crew into the salon and gave them a different focus. It broke up the routine a bit, and it separated day watches from night watches to some degree. Overall, it seemed to a positive effect on life on board.

I can honestly say I never had cabin fever on our small catamran. I think the reason is because a catamaran has separation of accomodations and there is enough private space for everyone to retreat to their private world whenever they desire. Even when the weather was bad, I regarded Exit Only as my refuge rather than my prison.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:02 PM   #4
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Margaritas, I vote for margaritas, improves mood, lime keeps scurvy at bay.

On a serious note, I've found that simply warming up a large pot of hot chocolate or tea, serving scones and clotted cream or similar and enjoying a few minutes out of the bad weather seems to keep the crew a bit more at ease.

On one trip to Bermuda we put up with bad weather, cold and multiple gear failures for several days. Everyone was upset and things were tense. A vast reduction in sail, setting the vane and then cooking up a pot of chili and beans, chips and dip and a few margaritas and everyone was relaxing and when the weather improved the next day all was well with the world.
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:07 AM   #5
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One thing that I learned from my racing days is to have an hour a day when the watches overlap - usually at dinner. Getting the entire crew in one place with food and appropriate drink (hot if cold, cold if hot and so on) seems to help. Of course there is always someone steering and trimming, but generally that task got passed back and forth over the course of the hour.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:18 AM   #6
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There are two kinds of not going well-one in which everything is breaking down. That one we have excellent coping skills for, thank goodness. The other "when everything is not going well" is often scary weather/sea state related. In those cases, we have a long history of rough trips to recount "oh, it's not as bad as that freezing cold Hunter Island trip in May 1982" or even reference to friends' trips and disasters-- "at least falling off that big wave didn't do damage--like the cracked mainmast Chris experienced during his last Atlantic crossing" puts it all in perspective.

I'm handicapped though--my husband is a retired fighter pilot and a regular adrenalin junkie so anytime conditions get scary he literally is on a "high." He laughs, starts telling jokes and generally is having the time of his life. Happiest when things are "out of control" and those are the times when most anyone else aboard is tense and fearful.

Takes all kinds.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbopeep View Post

I'm handicapped though--my husband is a retired fighter pilot]
Remind him, "There are old fighter pilots, there are bold fighter pilots, there are no old bold fighter pilots"

Black shoe.
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Old 02-03-2012, 03:00 PM   #8
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How about another comment on fighter pilots :

Man is never so alive as when he faces death !

Anyone can sail when the weather is perfect, the real measure is how we deal with the reality of adverse weather, gear failures and other such matters. Enjoying the challenge of exciting times is what separates the men from the boys.
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