Boat Hitch-hiking

Boat Hitch-hiking

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While hitch-hiking next kilometers the appetite grows, we set longer and more interesting routes and the only obstacles are seas and oceans. However it always seems impossible until its done. There is more and more popular way to travel between continents called hitch-hiking a boat. We asked Mariusz Czarnecki (fouder of SailArt Exclusive Cruises) how to plan and prepare to hitchhike a boat? He is 29-year old yacht captain, he sailed vast areas of of the Pacific, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic and Indian Ocean, he is also the founder of cruise company.

Who is the perfect crew member?

The ideal person is the one that doesn’t think through the prism of “I” and can cooperate with the group. In difficult situation it’s crucial to be able to rely on each other. People who can’t comply to the rules on the ship they won’t enjoyeable this kind of job. You must also remember that being a member of the crew is different than the cruise tourism. Someone who wants to become crew member must be strong and hardworking, because the watch is usually about 8-12 hours a day.

What is also important beside character traits you have mentioned?

At the beginning it’s a good idea to repeat first aid course. If you are planning a longer trip and you want to prepare a bit in advance, you might want to take the course of the STCW (The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers).

How does a typical day on a boat look?

The days during the trans-oceanic cruise looks more or less the same – watch, breakfast, time for yourself, lunch, watch, sleep, watch, breakfast etc. usually watch is from 8 to 12 hours per day.

What do sailors do in their free time?

They are reading, singing, listening to music, muse… everything and anything :)

Is it tough to live for a long time on a boat that have several square meters?

Definitely yes, but the question is just way too complex to really answer it. I am writing a PhD thesis on this topic, so I will let you know soon.

How does food on a boat differ from regular one?

Not that much if you think it’s over first you will not have to pull back on the meals you like. Check out my basic grocery shopping list (for a crew which consist of 9 people for 21 days). I made it for my transatlantic cruises.

Are there any diseases that would exclude a person from becoming crew member?

In general no, if you don’t have a chronic disease or you don’t need to see a doctor so frequently. There are no contraindications to become a crew member.

What about safety on a boat? Have you ever been in a dangerous situation?

Yes, sure. There has been a leak on a yacht, once our steering fails, we were woried when one of the crew member had high fever for a long time. Other time when we were heading to South America from Cabo Verde, our fresh water hose brokedown. We managed to stop the leak and then turned off the pressure in the system.

Does oceanic climat differ significantly from continental climat?

Definitely, but it’s quite a broad question. Eg. Humidity and the presence of salt water significantly impede the healing of all wounds. While sailing is also changing all the time and geogtraphical height before you know you’re in a different climate zone. This confuses the body and requires constant adaptation to new conditions.

How fast does a yacht go?

It all depends on the yacht. There are many design factors that determine how fast a yacht goes. The 20 meter yacht with wind speed exceeding 22 knots, with a boat at a speed of 7 knots will give an average about 160 miles /24h. For example cruise from the Canary Islands to Cabo Verde lasts seven days, and the cruise from Cabo Verde to the Caribbean takes 21 days. If the wind is too light it takes longer to sail, around 23 days.

Where and how hitch-hikers should look for a boat?

In the Internet there are websites which are specifically designed to look for the boat /crew. But there is also a method for those who are brave and daring. You can go directly to the port, eg. In Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. You walk around the harbor and ask the next captains, there is almost a hundred percent probability that you will find a boat.

Which harbours are the best to look for intercontinental cruises?

In Europe, he frequent connections run through Gibraltart to the Canary Islands, Madeira or less on the Azores. From the Canary Islands can be reached directly on the Caribbean or take a course in Cape Verde.

What website would you recommend for crew recruitment?

Personally, I did not use it, but I heard about Find a Crew and various groups on Facebook or Couchsurfing e.g. Couchsailing International.


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We've met each other during classes the least associated with our faculty at the university and it couldn't be an accident. Silly grinning at our English teacher telling about his hitch-hiking adventures, we haven't known yet that we will begin to travel together. The series of unfortunate events made us share a tent, a camera and memories. Now almost nothing can stop us from hitch-hiking.

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