Sailboat crewing is the greatest deal in all of sports! You don’t need expensive equipment, exceptional sailing skills, or money to get started. It’s a simple fact of life that all boat owners need crew members. The pay will rarely exceed refreshments after the race or cruise, but the on-the-job training is always free.
Crewing is the best way to get an idea as to the type of sailing you may enjoy (cruising or racing) and the type of boat you may be interested in owning someday. It’s also a great way to make new friends.
If you aspire to be racing crew, assuming you already know a thing or two about sailing, there are a few discreet guidelines to follow that will keep crew invitations flowing in your direction.
First, always be honest about your capabilities, limitations and expectations.
Some knowledge of sailing is certainly helpful, but many race boats will be willing to work with you to learn if you are keen to. If you have little or no sailing experience, you might consider taking the Adult Sailing Course offered at PCYC. This course provides an invaluable introduction to the fundamentals of sailing and, though it isn’t mandatory to crew at a PCYC racing event, you (and your future crewmates) will find the experience much more enjoyable if you have acquired some basic sailing skills and knowledge of terms and equipment.
You have to be willing to learn, which is why homework is the next most important step in being a solid racing crew member. A desire to learn is the key element most racing skippers are looking for. During your time off from racing, continue building your general knowledge of sail trim, sail shape, basic racing rules and tactics to help on the race course.
Plan to be the first there and last to leave. Never underestimate the power of enthusiasm. What you may lack in knowledge, you will more than make up for with a positive attitude and willingness to learn and help out.
Teamwork is the real key to any good racing boat, and racing skippers work hard to train crew in every position on board so they can operate as a mean, lean racing team while recognizing that racing, after all, is about way more than just winning and most of the fun is in being part of the team.
Racing skippers are also looking at commitment from their crew. While some may be willing to have an occasional crew mate for one race, most will be willing to spend time to train you if you are willing to commit to regular attendance.
Q. Which days do PCYC racing events take place?
A. Our main racing event, the GNS (Good Neighbour Series), takes place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Our TGIF racing clinic takes place on Friday evenings and Regattas on weekends. The Fleet section of this website and our calendar will offer more information on these events. Consider joining on us for TGIF first as it provides the ideal learning environment.
Q. Do I need to be a PCYC member in order to crew?
A. No, however you need to be invited by a member and you will be limited to only six visits.
Q. What happens after I’ve exhausted my six visits?
A. If you wish to continue crewing, we encourage you to join PCYC under our Crew/Non Boat-Owner membership. Kindly contact our office for additional information.
Q. As a guest, do I just show up prior to an event?
A. No, you must be invited by a PCYC member and this member needs to be on the premises to allow you entry.
Q. I don’t know any members at PCYC, so how do I get invited?
A. The Fleet Captain enjoys nothing more than talking to someone interested in getting involved as crew. and can help you identify an ideal event to start with and will likely know a few boats to get you started.
Q. Are crewing opportunities only available on racing boats or are cruising sailboats also looking for crew?
A. Yes, there may be cruising boats looking for someone to join them on a day-sail. But keep in mind that several racing skippers also enjoy going out for a day-sail or practice sessions.
Q. What size are your race boats?
A. Our race boats vary between 22 and 33 feet in length.
Q. How many crew members are on a typical race boat?
A. In general, the larger the boat, the more crew it requires. It could be just yourself and the skipper or you could be on a team of ten.
Q. What do I need to bring when crewing?
A. You do not need any special equipment, however we recommend:
1. Proper boating footwear (as a minimum, shoes with a non-marking sole)
2. A cap, sunglasses and sunscreen, for those sunny days
3. A water bottle
4. Gloves, unless you don’t mind possible burns and blisters
5. An approved lifejacket (most skippers will be able to provide you with one, although it may not be the best fit for your body size)
Q. How do I learn more about sailboat racing?
A. There is plenty of information online in both text and videos.
If you wish to crew, contact the Fleet Captain