Captain Geoff Evans has been in the yachting industry for 40 years, and captain of 31m S/Y Shadow for the past two. Here, we hear from Captain Evans about his biggest challenge today: the growing problem of sourcing new crew. 

“It’s becoming more and more difficult to find the right crew. The ‘zero to hero’ training courses mean that everyone is coming out with their Yachtmaster and every single piece of paper under the sun, but with no experience. I think the training industry is creating an illusion for them,” Captain Geoff Evans tells The Crew Report.

The 31m fully-carbon sloop is looking for a new deckhand, and her captain hopes to solve the problem of sourcing a suitable crewmember by giving three candidates a trial period on board the yacht’s next trip to Greece. “They know there is only one job. Just like people are coming out of universities with the same degrees, these new kids have exactly the same qualifications and identical CVs, so it’s very difficult to select just one. Taking them out for a few weeks means we can see what they can do and how they fit in with the rest of the crew and the yacht,” the captain explains.

Out of a plethora of CVs, Captain Evans has managed to shortlist three potential deckhands. How? “Of all the CVs we received for the deckhand position, the three people we are all trialing offered to be on the boat at 6am and work for nothing. One is an ex-policeman who wanted a career change, and he’s also a chef which is very helpful; the other two are dockwalkers who are very keen and that makes a difference,” explains Captain Evans.

"Once the crew is all organised and established, we’ll be able to explore her some more. We have to break in the crew so that the boat doesn’t get broken.”

Finding the right crew for S/Y Shadow is crucial at this stage in her yachting lifespan – she is looking at entering races in the upcoming regatta seasons. “The plan is to enter some races to get her some exposure. Her cruising speeds are 17 to 18 knots, so she’s quite powerful, although we haven’t really explored her full potential yet. We are looking forward to pushing her a little bit and seeing what she can really do this season,” explains Captain Evans. “The crew is the important factor,” he adds. “Once the crew is all organised and established, we’ll be able to explore her some more. We have to break in the crew so that the boat doesn’t get broken.”

Captain Evans shares the attitude of many captains when it comes to the crew on board a sailing yacht – there is a different crew atmosphere on board a sailing yacht. “There’s less space, so the crews are smaller which means we all lend a hand and multitask. We all take our turn cooking and there’s no pretention of the chefs and stewardesses. While there’s obviously a hierarchy, we have to trust each other implicitly. There’s a romance involved with sailing yachts that the crew appreciate, and that makes all the difference.”

With thanks to Chrissie McClatchie, Relevance Web Marketing

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