It’s a catch-22: you want to go on an offshore passage, but you’re supposed to have passage experience to get a slot. Where can you start? This list is not comprehensive, but offers a range of opportunities to explore. Do you know a program or a tactic for gaining offshore experience that belongs here? Please let us know.
Crew Matchmaking Sites
Private Crewing Resources
- Annual rallies often assist with crew matchmaking
- Coho Hoho (Puget Sound to California; departures late summer)
- Baja Haha (San Diego to Cabo; early November)
- Salty Dawg Sailing Association (multiple events in US and Caribbean; largest is Chesapeake to Caribbean, November).
- Ocean Crew Link. A service of the World Cruising Club playing crew / captain matchmaker for their rallies: the ARC (Med to Caribbean), Caribbean 1500 (Virginia to Carib), and World ARC.
- Offshore Sailing Opportunities: Caribbean centric crew/vessel matchmaking.
- Andrew Burton Adventure Sailing. Safety focus; passages, celestial.
- 59° North. Atlantic passages with a pair of Swans. 59-north.com
- Mahina Tiare. Passage based training on an HR46. (Offshore passages currently replaced by coastal- with offshore jaunt- training from Puget Sound.)
- Modern Geographic Expeditions. Traditional skills program in Hawaii.
- Morse Alpha. Near and offshore training on a Norseman 447.
- Tethys Offshore. All-women training with 2x circumnavigator.
- John Kretschmer Sailing. Voyage experiences with either John Kretschmer or his partners.
Knowing Time and Place
Match departure hubs with seasons, find a hostel, and join the morning VHF net. More then a few crew/boat matches happened around us that way here in Mexico. But you have to start by knowing the seasons, then refine it to the hubs. In broad strokes, the time to look:
- Atlantic passages, Europe to Caribbean: Oct-Jan
- Atlantic passages, Caribbean to Europe: May-July
- Pacific passages, Americas to French Polynesia: Feb-May
- Pacific passages, New Zealand to islands: April-June
- Suzanne van der Veeken has written OCEAN NOMAD: The Complete Atlantic Sailing Crew Guide. I haven’t read it, but she nails approaches on her website and I expect this book to have useful information.
- Hire an advisor! Suzanne (book above) offers this service; Jamie and I offer this in our coaching service (along with a screening guide, whether you are looking for crew or looking for a boat – and, matchmaking between coaching clients); Pam Wall’s consulting service can help.
- Use your network! With some clarity to your ‘ask,’ it’s amazing what you can find.