Hi Everyone, Azura will be crossing the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Antigua and then cruising on to the British Virgin Islands. Azura is a very well equipped Oyster 435 and I hold a master yachts 3000 tons as well as Ocean Yachtmaster with several hundred thousand miles experience. This will be a terrific opportunity to enjoy the Tradewinds passage and also learn sailing skills and crew skills. I have two places left on this passage for crew of either sex or a couple. Note I know Lovesail is also a dating website but this is for crew and friends not dating ! To learn more about my thoughts on sailing and an ocean passage please read my other blogs on this site . So what’s it like to cross an ocean and seamanship of the interpersonal variety. I will put extracts or these below. Crew are welcome to join before the passage and stay on after for some great sailing through the Windwards and Leewards. There will also be a later opportunity to sail down to Columbia and Panama in April. Crew costs are 40 Euro per day contribution to expenses which includes reasonable food but excludes alcohol .you are responsible for your own flights and medical expenses So how about it this is an amazing opportunity in a terrific boat with an awesome crew . Best regards Cappie So what’s it like to cross an ocean? This will be my 18th Transatlantic and I am very much looking forward to it and building a crew of like-minded individuals who will contribute to the fun aboard. So what's it like on the open ocean? For those of you who have not experienced this its hard to describe but let me have a go. The first few days are always a little uneasy as you settle into the boat and the boat settles into you. You bump into stuff get a few bruises and generally find out where you fit! The ocean seems troubled and uneasy and not quite in a rhythm. You're eating patterns are a little off and you feel somewhat unsettled. We always set off with a good forecast so this is not a problem with the weather. It is your body and soul adapting to a different life, a different way of being. You go to check your phone and realise there is no internet. What is happening in the world? Does it matter?. Bad news will wait and good news will find you. The first night is always a bit daunting for new crew, sailing into blackness and the unfamiliar sounds of the ocean as waves cross or follow astern. We don't leave anywhere into a headwind!. Sleep comes and you feel weary, your body and muscles have been moving and adapting to new situations, new tensions. You wake feeling like only a few minutes have passed as your fellow watch leader hands you a cuppa and says 10 minutes on deck for the watch. You're on 4- 8 and will see your first dawn at sea today. The light creeps up from a grey aura until suddenly it is bright sun. Unknowingly you have found your place in the cockpit, wedged and settled a little salt spray on your face. You remove some gear as the sun comes up and it's warm, nope its hot, warm breezes wash over your skin After three days your body has acclimatised and now moves with the ocean and the boat. The ocean swells creep up astern and then gently lift and move the boat forward. A gentle roll a swoosh of surf as you crest a wave and slide down the other side. You feel surrounded by nature and without knowing it probably better than you have in years. Each day is governed by the weather, by what you will eat, by the fish you catch and by the companionship of those you're with. You live in the moment and it's so different from life ashore it's profound. Days move forward and nights as we cross. You start to notice the procession of stars across the sky and how they change as we wend our way. You sense when something needs tuning in the sails or your fellow crew. You grow closer to each other and the ocean. You start to look forward to a night watch and seeing the stars and moon arc through the mast as you watch. A phosphorescent trail streams from the yacht behind. Soon we are celebrating halfway and soon you're feeling a little excited for landfall and sad that it marks the end of a passage. You learn to shoot the sun and plot your position from the stars. You meet our fellow travellers as they spout alongside... You cope with reefing in a blow and are so proud of what you have become an ocean sailor with the confidence to cross oceans afloat. Your first Ocean voyage is so very special and its something you will never forget. It is a gem in a lifetime and a time to unplug and engage with the world spiritually and emotionally whatever you're beliefs in a way that is so hard to do with the clutter of life ashore. Landfall approaches; A strange bird perhaps an odd fragrance on the breeze, some cross swells. A cloud high, detached and isolated on the horizon. Suddenly under the cloud you see a grey shadow of a mountain. We are on Soundings. Land Ho rings across the deck. A wahoo snags the line astern, fresh fish on the grill with some lime and hot sauce. You pick up local radio on FM. Reggae floods the cockpit. You spin a portable radio and the dipole tells you you're on course... Ok so you have a GPS, but why not enjoy the skills of seamanship and navigation & DF it! You make port together, clear in and then head for the first rum punch, quaffed and enjoyed, a second sits before you, ice glinting in the sun. Hug and enjoy the feeling of the ground beneath your feet as you look back at the yacht riding at anchor and new lifelong friends around you. Honour tradition and Salute Neptune with a tot of rum in the sea and a tot of Pusser's Rum or Mountgay for each at sunset with a fire engine chaser of iced water on the stern as we toast absent friends and those at sea. Morning comes and it's great to be ashore and get some fresh salads, meet new people and share stories. Reggae and calypso at Shirley heights as we dance to the rhythm of the steel drums. The bustle of St Johns and the market. The language of the West Indies as we slow to a new pace... Shared stories at happy hour. Paw Paw and Plantains, Ugly fruit and Custard Apple ice cream... A part of you though is sad the voyage is over. The same part is already thinking of the next voyage, yearning for the open ocean and freedom, which is our birthright. The crossing between Islands first North to the Virgin Islands and then south to the Grenadines and onwards to Columbia, the San Blas and Panama. Great ports and great passages, new horizons and seas to cross. The sea now runs in your veins and if it is for you then you will never be parted again. You plan the next voyage and wonder how many more you can enjoy in your lifetime. You are closer to natural rhythms of life than you will ever be ashore. You have returned to the womb of the Earth and been reborn an Ocean Sailor. Be proud, be happy and as a bonus you will be fitter and possible leaner than before..., your metabolic rate is running at optimum you have breathed in clean air and freed your mind of clutter and chaos... An ocean crossing is a very special thing to do and one you will never forget. I look forward to seeing you aboard. Safe sailing, Crewing aboard Azura Crewing aboard Azura Seamanship of the interpersonal variety, what makes a great trip is a great crew. I thought I would try and clarify some questions I have had about what it's like to be a crew member. Each yacht and captain are very different and having spent many years at sea both as a captain and manager of commercial yachts I have seen happy ships and unhappy ships... So what makes a happy ship. People need to want to be there. They need to have common goals and aspirations and be running to something of the same schedule or lack of... Everyone needs to want to help and be part of a team (Including the Captain). Unrealistic expectation of friendship or seamanship are uncomfortable in a small space. People need to be kind to themselves and to each other. Nothing makes someone feel worse who is feeling seasick or not confident than to think they are letting other people down. The best cure other than sitting under a palm tree is, to learn, to feel useful and valued. I have been very lucky over the years to have had some amazing crew who have become good friends. That doesn't mean we all agreed or got on well together all the time. I think if I were to codify what makes it work. Its give people a second, third and fourth chance. Look beneath a reaction to a reason and most of all start each day & watch as a new day without baggage. In terms of schedule, I turn the engine off and sail on passage, I love to sail zephry's. I enjoy the challenge of bring ing a yacht to port in harmony with wind and waves not fighting them. That means schedule and destination are not a fixed agenda but a fluid harmony. My ship is very well maintained and shipshape to ensure that the harmony is with the ocean (Mostly!) rather than with breakdowns. I don't sail hard. I avoid going to windward . If you are looking to race, fit into a fixed plan by motoring for endless miles you will find someone to do it with but do us both a favour and be honest with me and yourself. Food makes a happy ship, cooking together makes for great experiences, whether its a laugh about what went wrong or a genuine shock as to what went right. I have never had a meal I couldn't eat. The galley and barbecue are set up so everyone can contribute to the enjoyment of preparing food and eating it. Private space. We all need a space to go do, whatever you need to do. (I need to drink my first coffee in peace...)(Not easy on a sailboat or even a large yacht. It comes from two things, design and intent. In terms off design, Azura has two directors chairs on the after deck and a table. Great place for cocktails for two, an intimate dinner for two. or drinks for 6 or more or a book for one. She has a hammock that swings from the foredeck where you can reflect and loose some of life's stress and challenges. All that in addition to the salon and cockpit. (In both these areas it's harder to be alone as other crewmates walkthrough) . Space is also created with respect by leaving someone who needs a minute or 30 alone and by having the empathy to know when they want to chat. Space is an issue in port. At sea we live in the biggest space imaginable with both temporal and spatial separation of watches and cabins, truly the ocean is an amazing restoring place. Happy crew know how to respect personal space and also when to offer companionship. We all bring baggage (of two varieties). Personal, life baggage's best left at the dock so that you can fully live in the present moment developing new connections. Baggage of the clothes and shoes, devices kind has to live in your space. It's not much amongst a small sailboat so respect that. You will not endear yourselves to your shipmates if they trip over your stuff! So what do you need and can you travel with hand baggage?, Yes is most cases. If your sail with me is in the tropics or heading that way, If you need devices bring them, but know they don't respect salt water and the Internet is a fickle thing in port and there are better ways of spend hours than trying to connect to it!. You will have access to sail mail to keep loved ones in touch at sea (text only and not private as it's over radio) Smartphones or IPADS seem to work better than computers for most people these days and charge from a USB). I would leave the laptop at home! Shorts, tops (Light cotton easy to dry on the rail), bikinis, swimsuits and one going ashore outfit. (Jeans are a good standby for cold nights even if they are a swine to dry, nothing for me feels more comfortable although I suspect yoga pants may serve the same for others). Some water safe shoes, (Light and designed for walking on sand, rocks). Underwear or smalls. Don't forget we will be in port and shopping is easy. So what do I wear? In Port? Each year I print up some T-shirts (White for the sun and a few polo shirts), Some great shorts that are comfortable and dry easily. Two jumpers when one gets ratty I get another one. Some comfortable sneakers, trainers and some beach shoes, I keep a jacket and pair of pants in case... (I have Foul weather gear and never use it). I tend to pick up ashore going outfit if I am in a place for a while and then recycle it. At sea, depends on the crew and everyone's sensibilities but in the tropics not a lot, ie a shirt and shorts. I can arrange boat T-shirts for anyone joining if you wish let me know. Otherwise, just white or light shirts some with long sleeves are a great option. I don't mind if your clothing optional but I would ask that you respect others wishes in this department and show empathy. One rider on this is that many islands are very conservative and what may be acceptable in Italy is not in the BVI. As we respect each other so we respect the places we visit. So as in all things respect and empathy is the key ingredient. If you respect each other aboard and have low expectations you will always be pleasantly surprised! Whether you are coming sailing for the sailing the ports or good company I hope you will be happy and comfortable on Azura. Happy sailing Fair winds and calm seas Nigel