A Duty Roster for a Shipshape Charter

Author:
Updated:
Original:
Make a task list for your crew to help avoid a mutiny

Make a task list for your crew to help avoid a mutiny

When bareboat chartering with friends or family, it can be tough to be the captain. Not only are you ultimately responsible for navigation, anchoring and the safety of the vessel, but you also have to manage crew duties without coming off like Captain Bligh. Part of good crew management and morale is keeping the boat clean and shipshape so you don’t have a mutiny.

I like to see how roles develop naturally aboard before making a roster. Some people cook because they like it, some are fastidious cleaner-uppers, some are capable mechanics, some are good shoppers and some can be downright lazy. Even if your whole crew chips in, you might want to rotate duties to eliminate grudges and make sure everyone is involved in managing the boat, although that can also mean being a little out of some of the crew’s comfort zone. I set up a four-component roster and rotate everyone through, including myself, because the captain should lead by example.

Cooking

This is a tough one. Some people excel at meal preparation while others get hives when asked to boil water. However, even kids can get involved with making an occasional meal, especially if it’s just setting out sandwich meats for lunch or fruit and yogurt for breakfast. Leave the big dinners to the chefs aboard, but get everyone in the galley at some point to share in the fun.

The first rule is: the cook doesn’t do dishes. A cook might have a sous chef who will help clean up as they go, but the big dishes are done by someone else. You seldom have three meals aboard as people scatter to bars and restaurants during the day. For dinners, I like to have a rotating shift of people who make sure the galley is spic and span for the night. Dishes are not allowed to sit overnight for three reasons, including 1) the smell and bugs they attract, especially in the tropics; 2) the mess the morning cook has to deal with if the cleanup crew is still asleep; 3) if the weather gets rough during the night, it’s best not to have stuff flying around in the galley.

Decks & Cockpit

Boats get dirty. Even with daily rain showers, the cockpit usually fills up with food crumbs and hair, sand lodges in nooks and crannies, and there’s always a tangle of lines that needs tidying. A bucket on a length of line is a great way to sluice the decks with seawater just before dinner and a quick wipe down makes a happy hour, happier. Just be careful of open hatches over people’s beds.

Heads & Floors

This is usually the least popular duty aboard and hence the reason for having a rotating schedule. Floors should be swept and wiped down with a mixture of vinegar and water if they’re salty. If you have enough heads for each couple aboard to have its own, it’s usually up to them to make sure the facilities are usable and not aromatic. Even so, someone should cruise through to check that the through-hulls work and that the heads get freshened up with vinegar or lubricated with oil for proper function. If the captain is smart, he or she will take this duty first. Not only will the crew admire your selfless example, but the heads are never as foul at the beginning of the trip as at the end, so you’ll catch a break.

Other Stuff

Now that you have the tough stuff out of the way, that leaves sailing, navigating, checking the engine, jury-rigging anything that’s broken and provisioning. I have no official roster for these functions because people have natural tendencies toward certain areas. But it’s easy to spot a wallflower who might benefit from a quick navigation lesson or who would get a thrill out of hoisting the sails. Don’t let the same people do the same stuff all the time, and try to get everyone involved.

There’s an important function for everyone aboard, even if that’s an enthusiastic cruise/entertainment director. A duty roster is not just about keeping everyone busy, but rather about running a shipshape charter that will linger in everyone’s memory as a fantastic vacation. And it doesn’t hurt that you, as the captain, will be the star of the story. s

Charter Chat

Dream Yacht Charter is offering aLow Season Special in Australia, 7 nights for the price of 5, 10 nights for the price of 7 and 14 nights for the price of 10. Offer is good from November 1 to December 23. dreamyachtcharter.com

Sunsail Vacations is offering kite-board adventures while on a catamaran flotilla. Learn to kite-board when cruising on a Sunsail 444 catamaran in the Bahamas. The event runs from November 5 to 12, 2016. sunsail.com

The Moorings will introduce new monohulls from Beneteau into its Caribbean bases this coming winter. A fleet of four-cabin Moorings 48.4s will be split between St Martin, St Lucia, Grenada and the BVI. Smaller, but lacking nothing in comfort, the new 42.1 will be delivered to the St Lucia and Grenada bases in December. moorings.com

Zuzana Prochazka holds a 100-ton Coast Guard license and cruises Southern California aboard Indigo, a Celestial 48

August 2016

Related

09-Map-Route-VG2020

Vendee Globe Village Closing, Race Still On

Following the latest national lockdown measures announced by French President Emmanuel Macron as part of the fight against Covid-19, the 2020-21 Vendée Globe Race Village will be closed to the public beginning Friday, October 30th. The Vendée Globe will still take place as ...read more

Register-2048

Register of Circumnavigators Launched

Just in time for a fresh class of Vendée Globe sailors to attempt their circumnavigations, The International Association of Cape Horners (IACH) has taken on the responsibility of maintaining an official register of sailors who have completed solo circumnavigations by the Three ...read more

FPO skys0tlm8jlrpynehcpe_NEW

A Half-century of Cruising with SAIL

I cannot say I have been reading SAIL magazine since the very beginning, but I come pretty darned close. Sometime around 1974, when I was in high school, I began buying it every month at our local newsstand and saving every issue until I had great stacks of them, as carefully ...read more

B&G-Halo20+-side-facing

Gear: B&G HALO radar

B&G’s HALO series of radars now includes the HALO20+ and the HALO20, a pair of compact radomes expressly designed for use aboard smaller sailboats. The units measure 20in in diameter and weigh a mere 11lb. The HALO20+, in particular, delivers a full 360-degree sweep every ...read more

PICTON CASTLE under sail with stunsls WV7 compressed

Picton Castle Seeks Crew

The Picton Castle is set to begin its eighth circumnavigation this spring under the command of Captain Daniel Moreland. A professional crew of 12 will guide up to 40 trainees at a time as they learn about all aspects of sailing the bark, from steering to lookout, ...read more

DSC_0013

Ask Sail: Keel Attachments

Q: I have an early ‘70s Catalina 27. The keel bolts look pretty good. My question is, why not glass over the keel to bond to the hull rather than changing the bolts if, or when the bolts are too far gone? I haven’t seen anything on this, so could you discuss? Full-keels are ...read more

04-GOPR0511

Book Review: Sailing Into Oblivion

Sailing Into Oblivion by Jerome Rand $15.99, available through Amazon As refreshing and inspiring as Jerome Rand’s 2017-18 solo-circumnavigation may have been, his account of the voyage in the book Sailing Into Oblivion: The Solo Non-Stop Voyage of the Mighty Sparrow may be even ...read more

01-1970-Dec

50 Years of SAIL

Back in early 1970, Bernie Goldhirsh and the recently founded “Institute for the Advancement of Sailing,” publisher of an annual sailboat and gear guide, launched something called SAIL. A half-century later, a look back at the magazine’s first few years provides a glimpse into a ...read more