Dockwalk - Cross with the Boss Untitled Page

Cross with the Boss

May 10th 11
Lucie Ferrer

You finished your last trip, dropped the guests off, crawled, wearily, out of the charter pit and had a little squint at the outside world that you’d all but forgotten. You know what that means: The season is over at last. Hurrah! All that remains to be done is get back into comfy, off-charter attire and get your crossing underway. A couple of weeks with nothing to worry about, but which salon to make yourself at home in and which TV series to work your way through, right? Wrong! The unthinkable has happened: The owner has decided it’d be fun to do the crossing too.


For naughtier crews, crossings are a time to sit in the jacuzzi, smoke the boss’s cigars, drink the good booze, chow down on the posh food and put the losses down to humidor/fridge failure, heavy weather, sea monster attack or whatever else you can conjure up. Having the boss on board puts the full stop on that plan, obviously.


Even for more law-abiding crew, crossings are a time to unwind, to watch movies, sunbathe, swing in the hammock gazing out to sea, watch the sun come up or go down, count shooting stars, enjoy the extra space and hide from whichever crewmember you considered throwing overboard during the season.


A crossing can be a very rewarding part of a job in yachting. In short, the last thing you want is the boss there, relegating you back to the crew area. This is particularly true if the going gets bumpy and you’d rather sleep in a salon than your vomit-inducing forward cabin.


Rather than the whole crew opting to throw in the towel and abandon ship en mass, first do anything you can to put him off the idea of coming.Tell tall tales of extreme sea-sickness, mind numbing cabin fever, mid-ocean tsunamis, pirates, etc. Failing that, there are a few measures you can take to make the experience as painless as possible for all those concerned.


Bored guests are demanding ones. Keeping them busy does away with their need to hang around the bridge/galley/crew mess asking stupid questions. Suggest they devise a program to keep themselves occupied pre-departure. Crossings can be a great time to study, catch up on reading or get into an exercise routine, conditions permitting. Make sure you’re well stocked with board games, playing cards, puzzle books, magazines and such.


Load up on sea-sick supplies and hammer home to guests that prevention is better than a cure by explaining, "Once you’re ill, it’s too late for pills to work." The last thing any crewmember wants is to be mopping up in heavy weather. Stock up on ginger ale and travel sickness tablets – “non-drowsy” for crew and “not non-drowsy” for guests. No one is suggesting you actually sedate your passengers (well, a few people did, but can you blame them?) but sleeping guests are next best to absent ones. Let’s not let anything prevent them from nodding off. Decaf, decaf, decaf.


Make it a fun experience for them. Alert them to dolphin and whale sightings, get them star gazing, throw a “halfway there” cocktail party or have themed days. Observe equator crossing traditions – give the boss a Neptune costume and a trident to don for the day. If it's alright with the boss, keep the atmosphere less formal than usual as it will make everyone crew and guests feel more at home and comfortable. 


Keep smiling, stay positive and enjoy it! Moodiness is infectious. A boat with a bad atmosphere is not somewhere you want to be stuck for weeks on end.


Rating  Average 3 out of 5

  • Sounds real nice. I have had the fortune of very good owners whom would mingle in with the crew and enjoyed watches. Sadly not all are the same my current owner I have to stop myself throwing him over board on a 5 hour trip so a Atlantic crossing would be the end for him. Before anybody says change boats I am trying and will be gone at first opportunity but we all need to earn money
    Posted by Alan_11 25/05/2011 08:34:24

  • I am hoping that you wrote this in jest.

    Surly the point of having the job aboard a Yacht is to enjoy the actual act of sailing (motor or sail), of being part of a great crew that can for the first time show their owners what life at sea is about. Get the sextant out, run a fishing line out, make it a different atmosphere. Get the owners doing watches with you, engine room checks, plotting positions on a paper chart that you can frame for them as a gift later.

    If you like the job and owner (life is short people so lets hope so) this should be the opportunity of a lifetime. If you are good, it is a time to get to know the owner and understand them better. Read what they read, swap books, stories knowledge.

    They have a lot to share, they did not get to be the owners by sitting on their backsides drinking beer in the hot tub. You have much to share as well. Your knowledge and life is probably quite interesting to someone from a different background and culture.

    Don't look at owners or guests as a bad thing, a drag, look at it as an amazing opportunity to shine and learn.

    Unless you are suggesting that every owner out there is a Ogre it seem a great shame that more owners do not take the opportunity to enjoy (at least once) the wonders of crossing the Atlantic on their own Yacht. In times when there seems to be far more yachts for sale than owners it seems like the industry should be trying to get owners to enjoy there Yacht anyway they can.
    Posted by simongb-N2 12/05/2011 22:11:22

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