An organised crew is the first step to a successful sailing holiday – part 2

crew2An organised crew is the first step to a successful sailing holiday. It’s not always easy to prove yourself as a skipper and gain authority on-board when your crew consists of friends, work mates or family who you live with in a different way in daily life. But a boat is a boat and as the skipper, you DO have the responsibility for your crew and the chartered yacht.

A successful and safe bareboat charter holiday is only possible when there are clear rules on board and when the crew is well prepared for their duties and responsibilities on board. This is the second part of the article on how to act as a yacht skipper. You can find the first part of the article here.

6. Always stay calm and talk clearly and calmly as a skipper. There is no reason to bark out orders and create stress. Stay cool and think every step clearly through before you speak. Creating a hectic and stressful atmosphere on board will create insecurity among your crew. Calm and clear instructions will allow smooth and problem free actions.

7. Stick with your decisions. Every action on board while sailing and maneuvering should be announced and instructed. Explain to everybody what you intend to do before you act. Think your maneuvers through before you announce them and instruct accordingly. A constant change in plans in the middle of a maneuver will confuse your crew. Once things go wrong out of confusion, it will be difficult to straighten them up.


8. Compliment your crew once you complete a maneuvre and things went well. Everybody needs a bit of praise, especially when they are in the progress of learning new things. This will really motivate them. And if things do go wrong….take it with equanimity, everybody can make a mistake. It is your responsibility as a skipper to expect mistakes and to invest enough time to avoid them by explaining the things again. Sit down with your crew and go through the errors and analyse what went wrong. Find a solution together how to avoid it next time.

9. Be aware of using technical terms. Not everybody onboard has been to sailing school and many people struggle with sailing terms. Everything on the boat can be explained in “normal” language. Don’t expect your crew to turn into a expert on sailing terms after the first day of sailing.

10. Last but not least .. as difficult it might seem.. admit your own mistakes when the happen. Even though the skipper, you are a human being and don’t need to be omniscient. If you can have a laugh about mistakes you made, and others, an evening in the cockpit can turn into a funny conversation. What is more entertaining than some funny sailing anecdotes ?


Another good way to prepare your crew for the upcoming sailing holiday is our technical bareboat charter video on The occasional meeting before beginning the sailing charter can increase the excitement and the film gives your crew a clear idea what to expect, how life on board can be and how to use the equipment. It will make your life as a skipper easier….

Watch the movie together and answer questions before you step on to the boat with your crew and you already will get an idea how your friends will react to life on board.

Read the first part of the article here.

The photos in the article were shot during the Champagne Race of the Helsinki Classic Yacht Week 2013.