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Too many dockwalkers
Crew Confessor
Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2008 2:27 PM
Joined: 20/11/2008
Posts: 94


Posted: Sunday, January 11, 2009 3:43 PM
Joined: 11/01/2009
Posts: 22

Ahoy Crew Confessor.....

     Greetings from Spain.   Winter has been nice over here, limited Mistral, reasonably dry, paintwork is progressing.
     I see Herds of young guys over here with fist fulls of expensive Bluewater tickets looking for a crew job. 
Whats going to happen to all these youngsters ?  The coming season looks bad...real bad.   Cheers Slug  

Crew Confessor
Posted: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 8:22 PM
Joined: 20/11/2008
Posts: 94

Hello Slug, First, what's up with your user name? Are you s slug because you are a slow and slimy creature, aka garden slug, a snail without a shell? Are you a slug as in being a part of a mechanical system, or... a counterfeit currency substitute used to steal items from coin op vending machines? In my garden I have slugs and to get rid of them I put out a tray of beer, the slugs drink it, fall in and drown happily. Just asking.

Ah, yes, your question. Good to hear that Spain is having a pleasant winter. One of the best countries, even with a bureaucracy that can seem a trifle frustrating, but that's all part of the charm isn't it. Love those tapas. I don't know who owns your yacht but things can't be too bad or they would have put off the paint job. "Herds of young guys with fistfuls of tickets..." maybe they are just trying to get a jump on the spring hiring scene. One can't fault them for getting some education and hunting down a job, even though in the best economy January is not the ideal time of the year to get hired anywhere in the Med. Put a respirator on a few of them and give them some day work and encouragement. You never know the guy you give a job to today may be the one who hires YOU tomorrow.

 What will happen with the economy? This is a question that, if I had the answer to it I would own one of those big white boats myself. You asked me though, so I'll give you my best guess. I do think things will get worse before they get better. During a downturn/recession when you see a lot of buying in the market it's because the big boys have decided it's not going to go any lower. This hasn't happened yet. I also read in a NY paper that the Highlander has been mothballed till next fall. This is worrisome, but interesting that they name a time when they expect to be using the boat again. Or it could be bad gossip and the boat is really just getting a paint job. Hope so.

 There is reason for hope. There are a lot of people in the US and indeed all over the world, in far flung, remote outposts, who are optimistic because of the election of Barack Obama. Optimism can be a very powerful thing and a good first step to a more positive future. It may not happen right away, and there is much broken that must be fixed, but a new captain is about to take the helm and so far he is picking very good crew for his new command. In the meantime don't be surprised if even those yacht owners and charter clients who remain relatively unscathed financially tone down their yachting profile. St. Barths this holiday was evidence of that.

Regardless of when the world economy picks up there are many yachts out there that represent significant assets and simply can't be abandoned. Systems must be maintained, washdowns, etc... it doesn't take long for a yacht to take a nosedive in depreciation if left to "rot." Someone with dreams of working their way up from deckhand to captain on a big yacht might want to put those plans on hold for now and consider becoming a maintenance specialist for the time being. Hope the spring brings lots of work and wonderful weather for everyone. Carry On. The Crew Confessor

Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2009 11:25 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

Well crew confessor...nothing wrong with giving the young fellows a bit of day work to keep them fed and  on location . Its the way the way the world operates.  Ive got plenty of work going on, problem is the new rules and regs around the shipyards .  If they work on my boat, they must have a security pass to enter.  The security pass requires that I put them on the crew list...WITH A CONTRACT and full documentation.  Tough call confessor...plenty of paperwork and a big fuss just to get a few eager boys in to drop the anchor chain and hammer out the chain locker.  Big dilemma.... the young guys spent all their cash on tickets and are now starving out because the casual work scene is so constipated.  
Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2009 11:35 PM
I had no idea that such bureaucratic red tape had become the norm. Registration of day workers is one thing, but contracts and all that entails... for crying out loud. I think the schools who are doing the entry level classes should form a coalition and lobby the yards and what not to relax these regulations because day working has always been one of, if not the number one way, for these guys to gain entre to the industry, not to mention a meal in the belly. The schools have been happy to take their money, now they should step up and figure out a way to make it simple for the yachts to hire their graduates as dayworkers... which hopefully leads to full time employment which in turn brings those crew back to the schools for further education and certification etc... Maybe this is something you could organize slug?
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2009 10:01 AM
Joined: 11/01/2009
Posts: 22

Hmm ?   Somehow this thread got titled to many dockwalkers ?

 What I meant to  imply  was that there are fewer opportunities for the  junior , unconnected,  crew that are looking for work in Palma.
    The normal procedure that I have followed for the past 3 decades as yacht captain has been to quietly cultivate  crew with shipyard day work during winter maintenance.   I get to know the  local crew candidates  and  offer the best of the lot a job come spring.
  This system is breaking down.  In Palma work is around, but these new rules and security fences that have sprung up all along the waterfront in the past few years make it very difficult for the youngsters to approach boats. For newbies it becomes  very intimidating to break into the scene thru hands on shipyard daywork. 
   The yachty bars  certainly get rich feeding off the newbies .  Unfortunately the juniors  end up broke, hiding behind crew agents... waiting and praying for something to happen.
  This situation serves the crew agents well...they become the talk of the town and  get bulked up with hundreds of resumes.   The ones who come out  short are the yachts and crew.     Yachts have always relied on a steady stream of casual labor to keep the show on the road.   This casual work works both ways, it gives  newbie crew actual hands on yacht experience and skills that are very usefull on board and  more importantly it keeps them in pocket money until a permanent position is secured ..
   If this cycle gets broken, Come spring I end up having to  hire  inexperience crew, ones who have never broken down a winch , bent  on a sail or have even the faintest idea how the yacht works.
  There is no easy answer to this problem. 
 Its the curse of the modern yacht scene...its what has convincing these  young kids that their onlyway to break in is to patronize crew agents, bulk up on funky yacht certificates,  then hope they have the  heaviest resume come spring. 
   I have never needed crew with certificates...I always need crew with marine skills.  
  I could  have used a handy fellow last week to replace all the leather chafe gear on it 50 hrs on the job training in return for a weeks salary.
This is a major defect in the modern yachting scene..... 

 Oh and one more comment for you juniors...dont be coming behind my boat asking some dumb question any work ?  I dont know what you can do.   Better to stop by and offer to do a specific task like.  DO YOU NEED THAT STAINLESS STEEL POLISHED?   Ill probably look around...see all the dam  rust bleeds and say.  good idea...  12 euros an hour...get to work.    

 Average 5 out of 5