Meet the Crew
Updated: Jun 8
With any passage such as this, one can expect months of planning. In addition to meal planning, acquisition of spare boat parts, stocking medical supplies, servicing the boat's systems, and weather routing, it is important to have a solid and reliable crew. Ian and I are very fortunate that our family and friends have been very interested and supportive of our plans to bring Whiffle home to Maine. We have been sailing with our two children, Blair (23) and Emma (turning 20 during the passage) since they were infants. We are blessed that they are able to spend this time with us on Whiffle, and they are both competent sailors who we can rely on. And, luckily the four of us have spent much time cruising on a 40 foot boat over the years so we have learned how to be a team on the water.
We are also fortunate to have Joan and Brian Hopkins with us on this adventure. They are our siblings and have enjoyed many escapades with us over the years, and rounding out our crew is Carly Craig who is a very close family friend and an adventurer who has traveled the world. Sailing experience varies greatly among our crew members but all of us have spent hours recreating on the water in one way or another. In my opinion, it is not the knowledge of the crew or their prior experience, but their commitment to the success of the voyage. Without a doubt each and everyone aboard Whiffle is ready and able to pitch in with any task. We all share the night watch equally and regardless of sailing experience everyone is reliable at the helm and knows when to check in with the captain should there be a wind shift or a 900 foot tanker heading towards us. Being able to trust and rely on one another is the key to a successful passage, and Whiffle's crew is the best that I could imagine.
Some may also wonder why such a large crew. We certainly do not need 7 people to sail Whiffle home to Maine, but it has been nice to have extra hands on deck when many things are happening at once. The hardest part of the trip thus far was getting off the dock. We spent three days in Tortolla preparing the boat for this voyage. I am very thankful for the work our crew did on shore. I think voted as the worst task thus far was bailing buckets of water out of a space in the boat that should not have water, and it was about 90 degrees while doing it. While underway, it has also been great to have us all working together when Brian is trying to land a Wahoo or tuna. One of us jumps to the helm to slow the boat down, another is ready to assist bringing the fish aboard, while others may be dealing with the sails. Whatever the situation is, all of us are ready to divide and conquer.
Other important attributes of a crew, based on our experience thus far, include positivity, commitment to teamwork, and having fun. We all genuinely enjoy each other's company and have maintained a very relaxed, happy environment on Whiffle. Please keep in mind, not all days are easy or fun. We were tested a bit earlier this week with rough sea conditions overnight. In the morning I was concerned about how everyone might be feeling, but everyone was happy and doing well, even though there was not much sleep happening. Ian and I do not take for granted that we have an excellent crew. In fact, I try each day to find something special for us all to enjoy. Whether it is fresh baked bread, baking a cake, or stopping for 10 minutes when we have calm seas for a quick dip, it is the little things aboard Whiffle that make a difference. In fact, when asked whether one would do this again, each and every one of us responded with an enthusiastic "yes." Of course we are only 7 days in, but so far, so good.