The Ideal Crew Mess

27 October 2010 By Rubi McGrory
Photo by Suki Finnerty

Picture, if you will, your ideal crew mess...then get real. While you, as crew, don't have the luxury of designing their perfect crew quarters, you can dream, can't you?

Dear Mr. Yacht Designer,

I appreciate you spent a very long time in school educating yourself about the mechanics of naval architecture, studying physics, engineering and hydrodynamics. I understand your aim is to create the best possible boat for your client, a vessel which is beautiful, sound and fast. I realize that you are just doing your job. But please know as you weave your way out of your maze of an office towering with book shelves and filing cabinets, hop in your car, stop at the market to pick up a few groceries and come home to your spacious 3,000 square-foot-dwelling, we yacht crew must live and work in the same (very small) space.

Please remember, esteemed designer, that your client and my boss are the same person; we are, in essence, co-workers. As such, perhaps you could do us a few favors.

Can you make a crew mess table which doesn’t require a bench seat, so each crewmember may come and go freely to change the laundry or check tank levels without making other crewmembers get up so they can get out.

Speaking of which, can you make sure the table seats at least as many crewmembers as are needed to run the boat and maybe a bit extra for a dayworker or two. We hate squishing or eating in shifts. Also, can you sort something out so the stews don’t need to do the laundry at the same table? Chicken curry and 800 thread count white sheets don’t always go well together. A place to complete copious piles of ironing and not be interrupted by mealtimes would be very much appreciated.

I know at some point, when the boat is new, there will be big, fancy spreads in Boat International and ShowBoats and you’ll want the crew area to look good. Trust me, you are a genius, it will look nice, shiny and new. No one will ever take formal photos in the crew area again, so can we please have really easy to clean surfaces. And how about walls made of magnetic whiteboard?

May we please have heaps and heaps of accessible storage? Space for a bit more than a package of doilies and one that doesn’t require a circus performer to access. Can we have plenty of shelves for books and dvds? I know you are technologically  forward-looking, but we have lots of these old forms of information bound together in print. We frequently need to access them for stain removing, cooking, operating, repairing, engineering or navigating. There is absolutely no room in our cabins for these.

While you are drawing the cabins, can you try to give us hanging lockers that will fit our jeans and tops ,and maxi-dresses for the ladies, and a few pair of boots as well as our uniform fleeces and foul weather gear. Just a side note, if you can invent a material for crew showers so we needn’t chamois them after each use, you could probably make enough money to buy your own boat.

Until then, can you also please see to it that there is room for a massage table in there somewhere and extra space for a full-time crew masseuse to live.

Thank you.

Yours Sincerely,

The Crew

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