Cross with the Boss

10 May 2011 By Lucie Ferrer

You finished your last trip, dropped the guests off, crawled, wearily, out of thecharter pit and had a little squint at the outside world that you’d all butforgotten. You know what that means: The season is over at last. Hurrah! Allthat remains to be done is get back into comfy, off-charter attire and get yourcrossing underway. A couple of weeks with nothing to worry about, but whichsalon 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 funto do the crossing too.

Fornaughtier crews, crossings are a time to sit in the jacuzzi, smoke the boss’scigars, drink the good booze, chow down on the posh food and put the lossesdown to humidor/fridge failure, heavy weather, sea monster attack or whateverelse you can conjure up. Having the boss on board puts the full stop on thatplan, obviously.

Even formore 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 godown, count shooting stars, enjoy the extra space and hide from whichevercrewmember you considered throwing overboard during the season.

Acrossing can be a very rewarding part of a job in yachting. In short, the lastthing you want is the boss there, relegating you back to the crew area. This isparticularly true if the going gets bumpy and you’d rather sleep in a salonthan your vomit-inducing forward cabin.

Ratherthan 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 ofextreme sea-sickness, mind numbing cabin fever, mid-ocean tsunamis, pirates,etc. Failing that, there are a few measures you can take to make the experienceas painless as possible for all those concerned.

Boredguests are demanding ones. Keeping them busy does away with their need to hangaround the bridge/galley/crew mess asking stupid questions. Suggest they devisea program to keep themselves occupied pre-departure. Crossings can be a greattime to study, catch up on reading or get into an exercise routine, conditions permitting. Make sureyou’re well stocked with board games, playing cards, puzzle books, magazinesand such.

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

Make it afun experience for them. Alert them to dolphin and whale sightings, get themstar gazing, throw a “halfway there” cocktail party or have themed days.Observe equator crossing traditions – give the boss a Neptune costume and atrident 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.

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