Episode 3 of The Sailing Podcast is an interview with Kylie Gretener of www.findacrew.net on how to crew on a sailboat
I wanted to interview Kylie because I have used FindaCrew myself when I wanted to get some blue water sailing experience.
The best thing about my experiences through FindaCrew is that not only did I get to do some great sailing, I also made some fantastic friendships with the skippers, they were so generous in sharing both their yacht and their knowledge about sailing. This is not a paid endorsement for FindaCrew, I really just wanted to let everyone know that if you have a passion for sailing, you don’t need to own a yacht to get out there and have an amazing sailing journey. All you usually need to know is how to crew on a sailboat. Mostly crew pay for their own food and then be a reliable crew member for a boat or yacht owner.
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How to crew on a sailboat, yacht or boat
This is the Sailing Podcast with David and Carina Anderson – Episode 3. We would love you to come and join us on our journey. This interview covers how to crew on a sailboat, yacht or boat.
Hello everybody and welcome to the third episode of The Sailing Podcast. Thank you for joining us on our journey. The episode today is an interview with Kylie Gretener from findacrew.net. I wanted to interview Kylie because I’ve used FindaCrew myself when I wanted to get some blue water sailing experience. The best thing about my experiences through www.findacrew.net is not only did I get to do some great sailing, I also made some fantastic friendships with the skippers. They were just so generous in sharing both their yacht and their knowledge about sailing. This is not a paid endorsement for www.findacrew.net, I really just wanted to let everyone know that if you have got a passion for sailing, you don’t need to own a yacht to get out there and have an amazing sailing journey. All you need to do as crew is pay for your own food and be a reliable crew member and you can find a position on a great boat.
Just before we start the interview, I want to again say thanks to Allan Breckall for his participation in the first couple of episodes and also I’d like to thank a couple of people, first of all John at www.jonathannation.com as well Alan Sparks and they both gave me some great feedback about the Podcast. Now don’t forget to go and subscribe to the show in iTunes and if you’ve got a chance, please leave us a review in iTunes. I think upon leaving a review, you’ll help us get the word out about the show.
Now, back to our interview today, we picked up the interview just after I asked Kylie to explain what is FindaCrew. We were at a yacht club in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. There is a little bit of background noise and I hope you don’t mind that coming through. Anyway, here we go and here’s Kylie.
Kylie: FindaCrew is an online boat and crew matching network. It’s sort of a database of people where they can list their profiles, all the details be matched up and it becomes a point of contact. So people can contact each other, find out if anyone is interested, and take up communication further outside of a website. So, to sum it up, the site is a point of introduction for anyone around the world, any type of boat, any size, and any type of crew position.
David: And it’s awesome because it is all over the world, isn’t it?
Kylie: It is.
David: I mean, people just registering…
Kylie: From everywhere.
David: I have been on the search functions and things and you can look in oceaniana by which ocean or you can look in all the categories but it’s just everywhere.
Kylie: That’s right. From when we went live, we knew we have something fairly global as our first member registered from Lithuania and we were pretty excited sitting in Australia and our first registration comes from Lithuania so we knew that was already something that would have a global reach. From there, it really has grown in every country; we get payments from over about 140 countries around the world every month now.
David: I was going to ask you, whatever gave you the idea for the website?
Kylie: Sure. Where it all began, my husband Rafael was a skipper, a delivery skipper.
He worked in Europe, Africa, and then Australia, delivering private yachts for many years and back then, the only way to really find your crew was to get someone local, put a sign up on the boat when you pulled into a Marina that said “Crew Wanted” and you’re restricted to the people who will pass your boat, pretty much, or just a bit of networking once you got to a yacht club. In between, he thought there must be a better way. Technology changed. He went on to do other things and did a Masters in Technology Management and it all sort of came together once the internet became more accessible to the marine world as well. When we first launched it, the internet wasn’t even something that many boats had on board. There was a little bit of wireless internet coming into some of the marinas and it was a little bit ahead of its time but he still thought that this business model was there. He had the fishing industry in mind because it’s something that is very transient with crew but we made sure that we opened it up to every type of category of boat right from the beginning.
David: What year did you start?
Kylie: 2004. First of December.
David: 2004. Did you have the same format when you originally started?
Kylie: Yes. It had exactly the same system.
David: That’s amazing.
Kylie: We got it up and running within about six weeks from the original “let’s do it” idea and went online and we decided on the format of how we would structure the membership and that’s never changed.
David: Do you feel like you almost invented Facebook with the way you have a timeline of log ins and a flowing sort of page of who’s doing what. It just flows through. I mean, Facebook was invented after your website.
Kylie: Sometimes, we have sort of thought that “Well, maybe they copied that from us.” We were a little bit of ahead of our time, I think, quite often with some of our features and sometimes that provided challenges as far as people didn’t know how to use it. Now you find that there are not as many questions of “how do I do this?” or “how do I do that?” on the website. People are developing a certain online logic now. We did have some features in the beginning which were quite advanced. We made it quite complex behind the scenes but we try and keep it simple and useful on the front end.
David: Well, in my opinion, it definitely comes through that way but as you can see, it must be complicated. I mean, I love the system. I think I’ve got it right, if you don’t log in for 45 days and you don’t show up as an active member…
Kylie: That’s right. Yeah. We did that right from the beginning as well…
David: And that’s a great feature because I think if you’re a skipper, you don’t want to come on and look at the site and there’s a crew member who logged in three months ago looking for a job.
Kylie: Or three years, yeah.
David: I mean, who knows where they are now?
David: It’s a waste of your time.
Kylie: Especially in an industry where people are going out to sea and they are in and out so you need to know that they’re still looking. There are, unfortunately, a lot of other sites around who don’t have that timeline and they do have a lot of really old people who are still on their sites who haven’t logged in for years, some of them.
David: And I find it so clean – like you probably get the most hits on your first page.
Kylie: Yes! Yes!
David: And if you’ve been active, if you’re an active skipper, then the crew know that you really are looking for someone.
Kylie: That’s right!
David: If you have logged on in the last two hours, you’re really looking for someone.
Kylie: You can see exactly when they were online. That’s right. I think that’s really important to know that they’ve just been there. They’ve just logged on. They’ve been within the last 24 hours and if you scroll through like the first 50 or 60 profiles, these have just been online very recently.
David: Yeah. That’s an amazing feature.
Kylie: So yeah, it is good. And we’re always impressed by how many people still sign in regularly and keep up to date with what’s happening on a daily basis.
David: I just went to the website a couple of days ago and the stats that came up. You’ve got it on your home page, anybody can go and have a look at www.findacrew.net. It said, you’ve got: 808 boats and 4,943 crew members who signed-in in the last 45 days.
Kylie: That’s right.
David: And out of that, I’ll just go through it again, there were 961 who are in the last 24 hours…
Kylie: That’s members.
David: That’s members… Plus visitors were over 5,000 in the last 24 hours. So, that’s a lot of eyes on the site. There would be a lot of websites who would be really jealous at that traffic. I can tell you now.
Kylie: Yeah! Yeah! It’s fantastic and we’re really happy with the uptake at how many people using it but at the same time, if you go on to Google Earth and you look at marinas and yacht clubs and boating capitals around the world, we still think, “Ahh, it’s a drop in the ocean still what we’re doing. There are still so much more potential for us to get the word out there and more people to make the most of our network for sure.
Carina: When I looked on the website, you’ve also got phone numbers in other countries, so do you have agents in other countries as well that’s working for you?
Kylie: The way that it works is: we have about 60 phone numbers around the world and they are virtual offices as far as they’re not a physical address someone can go along to but it provides our members a local point of contact so they can just call the local phone number and it will divert to the closest people. We have somebody in Europe, we have someone in South America and then here in Australia. And most of the calls will be diverted through to the head office in Australia. So we have a message system and I just call them back the next morning (if I’m asleep when they call). I cannot be awake for 24 hours but we do our best to get back to people within a few hours of them calling.
David: You have people call up in other languages? “Ola, it’s Carlos, I am here!”
Kylie: Yeah! That’s right. Yeah, we do. I get some. Lucky we have the Italian number because the website is in English and Italian and then for the Italian side, they can ring the Italian number and they get customer support in Italian which is fantastic. We used to have it in German and Danish but we didn’t have the support people to follow that through. That will come back online later.
David: I will give you Carina’s number. You can divert all the German ones to her. She will talk to them for you.
Kylie: Fantastic! I speak German too? I’ve just been dealing with a member in Austria and he says “Oh you speak to us?” I learned a long time ago but I can still speak it.
So yeah, we do plan to bring in more languages, French and Spanish probably would be two of our next major ones we want to bring in. So yeah, the language thing hasn’t been a big issue because most of the people who are using are the website so far, they have to enter their details in English to register – so they can usually communicate with us. But yes, so they call us on our local number.
When we first started, people weren’t calling us obviously because they weren’t going to call Australia if they needed help. Once we set this international phone network in place, then people will call their local number and we can help them. And that’s something we’re really focused on is our customer support. There is nothing worse like going to a website, trying to do something, getting stuck and going “Ahhh, I don’t know what to do. I don’t want do it anymore,” but if you can I see I can just call someone…, and they do. I get calls and e-mail along with that support.
David: So, that’s good too.
David: Because if people talk to you and ask you a question, you know there is something you can go and probably fix on your website.
Kylie: That’s right. Absolutely!
David: You don’t want all those phone calls. You don’t want to have 100 phone calls a day. You’d rather just find out what the customer want.
Kylie: We have found that over the years we got a lot less e-mails now than we used to because most of the things have been member-driven and the development. We do all our own development in house and that’s why we can do exactly what we want to do. There is no prewritten software. We design every feature and built everything ourselves.
David: You said your husband’s Rafael, is that right?
David: Is he a sailor? You said he was delivering?
Kylie: Yes, sailing.
David: He is delivering and sailing?
Kylie: Yes, he is an international yacht master.
David: Wow! And what about these days, do you guys go sailing?
Kylie: Not so much. We are busy with family and other businesses at the moment but he has delivered a few yachts in the last couple of years that he picked out through FindaCrew actually.
David: Ahh! You guys get the cream of the crop. You go, “Oh look, there is one guy sailing from the Med to the Med! That would be nice.”
Kylie: Yeah, that would be nice. Well, we do look at them all and think “Oh, that’s tempting,” Actually the boat he has helped just once came to Mooloolaba, into our local port so they had called us up and ask to help or something like that and it just came about that he had the time…
David: He probably likes to keep his hand in as well.
Kylie: Yeah, absolutely!
David: If he doesn’t sail, he is probably like itching to get out there and do a little bit here and there.
Kylie: Yeah! Yeah! He looks forward to doing more of it.
Carina: And Kylie, are you an avid sailor as well?
Kylie: Haven’t done a lot myself, no. We had our honeymoon on a sailing boat though. It was straight away. My husband put me on a sailing boat once we got married. We did 10 days in the Whitsundays. And I’ve sailed a few times with him before we got married as well, but no, I haven’t done a lot recently, but it’s in the future plan for sure as the kids get older. They’re already having sailing lessons…
David: You were mentioning some of the experiences and the things that come through the website but what would you say is the best crewing position you’ve ever seen? Do you sometimes watch a position on a yacht go through and go “Ahhh, somebody is going to get paid to do that…”
Kylie: Yeah. Well, that’s probably a tough question because there are just so many. The professional side on the bigger boats, of course they’re beautiful. You get some of the really, really, mega yachts coming through the site.
David: These are mega yacht, they’re not sailing yachts. They’re mega hotels with things like helipads?
Kylie: Yes, we do ones with the helicopters and the basketball courts and cinemas, and all the different things. You can get some quite amazing size boats and its amazing size boats and see what they have onboard. It’s always fun to look at those ones. A lot of those, the bigger yachts, often use our site because there’s a lot of privacy and security on the site and they can make their listing silent, so they’re not being bombarded by applicants. People don’t know they are looking, they keep their listing silent. The only people that can see the profile would be the ones they contact. So, that’s a security feature in place and why we’d attracted those super yachts – which was certainly another bonus in our business when we set up the concept in the way that we did. So, we could really cater for anybody. Sure, those jobs are amazing, but the yachting industry in that regard is of course a bit of a fantasy world for a lot of people. You know, it’s easy to dream about “If I had the money I’ll do that.” It’s still a lot of work. It’s not all about champagnes and sunsets. Anyone that actually does sail of course knows that.
There’s a lot of the other side of yachting as well and I think that people who really love it and take it on with a realistic approach. They are the ones that you see go far and they really have an amazing time. They move from one job to another. Some of them find amazing jobs in Fort Lauderdale in one season and then you see them go across to the Mediterranean for the other season. I’ve one skipper that I know, I have spoken to a few times and he just does amazing deliveries all over the place and gets all his crew through us as well. So, he has both boat and crew profiles and he is always off doing something and having an adventure.
David: Of course, that’s going to be great for a delivery skipper.
Kylie: Exactly! Yes. And once you’ve paid for the membership, you’ve got access to any number of crew that you want. So, you can just keep a bit of a record to yourself and start building up your own little database of people that you like and just want to get in touch with.
For dream jobs on the recreational side, I have to say that personally I met a guy that came from Mooloolaba sailing a 53’, sorry if that’s wrong, I think it was about a 53-foot ocean ‘Selene’ trawler and it was amazing sort of different style of boat he had for the purpose built for circumnavigation and he was just taking inexperienced crew members to go with him and I followed his blog along the way and the adventures they’re having are amazing. They just share the cost of food and he is getting young people on board and he is taking about five years to go around the world. So when you see that – well people would just jump on board for the time that they are available. He takes couples, singles, whoever – whoever just wants to fit in with his plans. So, those are the stories I just love because that’s like a holiday.
David: I’ve seen a lot of listings like that.
David: It looks like he is a really nice skipper, a really nice boat. He is only asking the people put in money for their food and he is not charging them rent. He is just saying “Just contribute to the cost of food” and you’re up and away on a yacht that could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
David: Just amazing.
Kylie: It’s great. So it works from both sides. And this particular skipper, he said that he anticipated having a lot of adventures and see a lot of great places, but he did not anticipate that the relationships you build with crew members actually are making the journey what it is. Because it is about people at the end of the day and you’re in a small environment so you need to be compatible and that was great.
Carina: David used your website twice to crew yachts and he remained friends with both of the skippers.
Kylie: That’s right!
Carina: Really close friends.
David: Really, really close friends.
Carina: The connections that he has made through FindaCrew –
David: We’ve shared interest as well.
Carina: I mean I’ve become involved now. I am friends with their spouses and we go and have dinner, they come to our place.
Kylie: It’s a point of introduction to a whole new world isn’t it?
Carina: Yes, exactly!
Kylie: It becomes a social network as well as. It’s not just a job site, it’s very social as well.
David: I was going to ask you, because I sailed out from Vanuatu back to Australia and I picked up a crew member myself and he was a South African and he had basically hitchhiked from South Africa and he had gotten as far as Vanuatu, then came with us to Australia (and that’s a big story in itself), but he was planning to hitchhike the whole way around the globe.
David: I mean, have you heard stories of that?
Kylie: A lot. A lot.
David: What was the longest journey you’ve heard of?
Kylie: I’ve seen many people go that far. A lot of people who wanted to leave a minimal carbon footprint, for example. We have quite a large following in that area – they just do sailing and cycling for example. So when on land, they cycle. When they get to the next place, they can get on a boat and then they sail. So, there have been a lot of people who use it for that and I’m sure, there are amazing stories of what they’ve seen and where they’ve gone along the way. It’s essentially backpacking and hitchhiking on water.
David: And the luxury is out there as well.
David: There are some beautiful boats.
Carina: This leads us to the next point: – How do you screen the customers on your website, how do you know they’re not some crazy murderer or something like that. Is there a process?
Kylie: Right from the beginning there has basically been an open space where people or anyone could register. We didn’t have any security checks or anything like that in place. We always preferred if people, if they wanted, to do any background checking, to go to an agent who does all of those sorts of things or make sure that you really understand the concept yourself and can do it. So, basically FindaCrew was really established for the people who are proactive, who like to go on their gut instincts, who would meet someone in a yatch club and say “Yeah, I’ll come sailing with you.” It’s just the same. It’s actually not any different to meeting anyone anywhere.
Carina: To make that connection, to meet that person beforehand, well we usually use our first instinct, our gut instinct when we meet somebody…
Kylie: Yeah. And that’s why we encourage them to put as much information in profiles as you can, photos, all those sorts of things. They all help you to get an overall picture of a person. And even if you relocate to the other side of the world for a new job, you might get there and work in an office and actually not get along with any of the people in the office. Then you’ve got to come up with a plan B. It’s actually no different meeting someone online from FindaCrew. Sure, we had stories of that haven’t worked out. There’s no secret in that. Often, it’s been a personality clash and the next person that goes on board said it was the best trip ever! So, what’s one person’s nightmare is another person’s total dream come true, because we’re all different and we’re looking for something different.
David: That’s just life, isn’t it?
Kylie: It’s just life.
David: I like what you said – you can walk into a work place that looks like a dream job but if there’s a personality clash…well
Kylie: That’s right.
David: You might find somebody who doesn’t sort of have the same, I don’t know, goals or ideals, if it doesn’t match, it doesn’t match and no matter what you do…
Kylie: That’s right and obviously if you’re on a boat, it’s really important. We have suggestions on our questions and answers page, we have list of whole section on security and meeting people online so members can have a look for more information about that and there’s a list of sample questions to ask each other so it’s just to get your thoughts going and be really, really as honest and open as you can from the beginning.
Sure, there are some people out there I wouldn’t sail with, but like I said, maybe someone else would do so perfectly. Recently, we have just introduced a personal identity verification system and that now means that we do have somebody manually checking ID and photos and their credit card payments so that we have a trace if we need to. That gives us an extra level of security on those people who have been checked and we know that they’re real. There has sometimes been feedback that says “we got on board, and he said he was 50 and he was actually 80 year old” and things like that. In this system that does not happened very often.
David: Worse case scenario.
Kylie: Yeah. Not that it really is a problem. Some people feel 50 when they’re 80 and that’s why they do it. That’s what they say and that’s okay but some people really like to know that we know who we are dealing with. That’s why we’ve introduced this as an option in the system. Some people don’t want to do it, they don’t want to have that extra level of security for them but most people have welcomed it, that it is an extra thing. Perhaps a little bit ahead of its time – I think that you’ll see it more and more online coming up. It is on some networking sites where you do have to verify who you are. I think that will come but we have reference systems that people can give you reference when you’ve sailed with them and we try and encourage members to do that because obviously that will help.
David: It’s not that abnormal really because we just went through the process of renting a house..
David: And I couldn’t believe the information they asked us for.
Kylie: They want to know a lot of personal information.
David: I was offended and Carina knows what I’m like when it comes to stuff like that, but they’re going “Oh, send us your payslips…”
Kylie: And your bank statements and everything…
David: But anyway, on the other side, they were asking for things like driver’s license, make sure you’re a real person. That’s not unusual.
Kylie: It is! It is! And we’ve often found that over the years. Often people have emailed us CVs or said “Where can I upload my CV onto the website?” Right from the beginning, again, from day 1, we said “Don’t upload your CV online” because it has got so much private information in it. It also has all your date of birth and your name and everything. It has got numbers and contact information of other people who may not want you to have it online. Outside of your references, you often have scanned documents, like it’s really giving yourself up so we’ve always say “No, don’t do it.” Once you’ve made contact with somebody directly and you’re feeling comfortable and you’ve established that relationship, when you can email to that one person. You know where it’s going, you got to try to who to send it to. If you just have it online, everyone can see it.
So safety internet security and safety in privacy has been a massive focus of FindaCrew. And it’s something that you pay for. There are a lot of other sites that are free and they love to say how free they are – but if you go and look on them, you’ll see that some of their boat owners are absolute known scammers. It’s very easy to pick up and they try this all the time. We’ve got so many systems in place to stop the scammers but they are constantly still trying… The Nigerian boats are trying to get you to pay the money to process your documents and things like that.
David: Am I right in saying that basically, there are two sorts of memberships on the site because I’m pretty sure when I signed on as crew, the skipper was a member? Was he like a premium member?
Kylie: Premium member
David: A premium member at that stage?
David: And then people can just go on the site for free?
Kylie: Yes! Yes! Anybody can register for free, you can make a profile, and you can then search through the criteria. You can actually search even as a visitor and have a look at who’s there. You don’t need to register to do that – again something different to a lot of other websites.
David: At the start, I said you have what? 5,000 visitors? It’s because they could access everything basically in the last 24 hours.
Kylie: Twenty-hour hours. That’s right! Because again, if you go to a website and you think, “Should I register or should I extend my time?” or “wow, I have to sign in to even look to see if there is anyone there.” Well, I would personally go to somewhere else. I would just keep going to the next website. So, we thought right from the beginning, it’s better if people can see exactly what we do. We made everything as transparent as we could. If there’s no one online, you know there’s no one online. You can see how everybody does there. So yes, you can see everything – except contact details. So, as a free member, once your profile was registered, you can send a wave to anyone that you’re interested in that just says “Hi! Have a look at my profile” and that is still a free thing. The other members can send you a reply “Yes,” “no” or “maybe” and that is still all free and that way you establish interest so you can see “Oh, look, there are four people you’ve sent me a yes wave that said ‘Yeah, I’m interested in what you’re doing’” then you can decide whether you want to become a premium member which is a paying member and that gives you the access to the contact information.
David: So, if Carina was trying to escape from me, she could go on, and she’ll just create a profile which wouldn’t cost her anything.
Kylie: That’s right.
David: Then she could go out and start sending waves to all…
Kylie: Straight away, yeah.
David: …to all these single rich men with big yachts?
Kylie: That’s right. (all laugh) Actually, Rafael said to me just a few days ago, “This could be like a back-up plan for you, couldn’t it, when I go?
David: Yeah. (all laugh)
Kylie: You’ll know exactly where to go.
David: There are a lot of people out there. I mean, it seems to me like there’s a lot of males, there’s a lot of men out there…
Kylie: Yeah, there is.
David: I guess who have dream of finishing work, and buying a yacht. Some of them retire young. I mean, they could be any age…
Kylie: I know.
David: They are out there and they have a yacht, they might have taken off with crew but they were sort of halfway through the journey and they’re looking for people and a lot are saying “Oh, if you’re a female out there, I’d love to have somebody aboard.”
Kylie: That’s right. Actually, I had some good feedback from someone the other day who said why they want females on board and it’s not all about just getting them into your bunk, that’s certainly sometimes a perception and a bonus if it works that way for them sometimes.
However, they said that some of them choose to have female crew on board from a social point of view so that when they pull up in a marina, people are more welcoming and the females often go and chit chatter and they meet more people that way so there’s a lot of different reasons why men want the female crew on board. It’s not just the very cliché thing, the first thing that pops the people’s mind for sure. There are a lot of different reasons and those men are often happy to take a couple. It’s just that they like that female influence on board and it’s just natural. It’s like in anything in life, certainly we like companionship and company, and again from the beginning, with FindaCrew, in anticipation all of this happening, we set it up that at certain times, we have relationship, platonic friendship, or companion partner. We have all those in a romantic relationship so people can be upfront about what they’re looking for and we found that in most cases, the men who are looking for love they just say so, “I’m looking for love” and so it’s easy to go through and yes, you’ll find that they’re there but it’s a great resource for them to do that and it’s not always the only motivation.
David: That’s just amazing, isn’t it? It’s almost look like a dating site.
Kylie: The most popular set of people – successful perhaps, are women aged between maybe 45 to 55. So the other thing is – it’s not really just the men that are looking.
David: Carina – this is a great chance…
Kylie: That’s right. It’s not really that the men are actually looking for the young bikini babe eye candy on the boat either, which we thought might be something that happened. They’re looking for real people and at the end of the day, you don’t want someone who will just lie in a bikini on your deck – You want someone who you can rely on as a crew member, if you hit some trouble or anything, you need real people who are ready to do what they need to do.
David: I think you just need to get that message out. There must be so many single women out there who are just not aware of this fantastic opportunity to get out and meet, no I’m not trying to say just to get out and meet someone but just to have an experience.
Kylie: Just to have adventures.
David: Just to have adventures. Exactly! They are sitting in their little town out in the country, they’re going “Oh, what has happened with my life. I’ve ended up here in the back of wherever” and they could be out in the ocean.
Kylie: And they are. I remember when I got the first person that registered from Ayers Rock, I thought “You go girl. You get out of Ayers Rock.” (laughs) And she did. She was on a boat. It didn’t take long to find someone. Yeah, people, they do that. They throw it all in and they say “let’s go” and even reading the profiles of the people who are actually already in the industry, not even newcomers to the industry but the people who have done it when they’re younger. There are people who have gone back to sailing and there are ones who will continue. Sailing has been their career and you read their profiles where they say “We’ve tried to come back to land, it’s just not working. We do try. We just want to get back out in the water” and so they usually, you know, it’s a great way for them to do this because they can pick any country, any type of boat, any people that they get on with.
So, just going to back to the premium membership side though, I mean, only one of the people needs to be a premium member in order to exchange contact details. As you said, when you went on as a free member, the boat was a premium member, they could see your details, and you don’t need to pay. So, that’s really important. And that gave everybody that choice from the beginning. You can use FindaCrew completely, 100% free, in that regard, restricted to the people who contact you who are premium members. So, if you contact a premium member, your phone number and details will go to them and that you’re in control. You’ll say “I’m going to contact you; I know you’re a premium member, you’re going to get my details, and I’d love you to call me back”. You’re fully in control at all times of who gets your information. They just can’t go on and randomly look at everybody’s things and see your email address and everything unless you said “Okay, I know what’s out there.” You can hide your phone number. There are so many security things in place. You can make your profile visible just to your shortlist members. So the people that you like, they are the only ones that can see you. You can make it fully silent. You can do lots of different things and make it exactly work for you.
Carina: So really by becoming a premium member, you can be proactive and let your dream become a reality.
Kylie: That’s right. Yeah!
Carina: You can say a lot like that…
Kylie: That’s right. I mean what you have to remember is that people or boat members, as you said, the statistics, 809 boats, nearly 5,000 crews. That doesn’t add up obviously. Not everyone’s going to find the boat because there are not enough boats there. So the boats do get a lot of applications, especially in the professional side, they can get up to 300 applications once we get a new fantastic boat registered. Within 24 to 36 hours, they get 100s of applications because the emails go out every day to say there are new boats registered. All the crew that match them because all the data were cross referenced and checked and matched and automatically calculated and so the people that matched will get notified, a lot of them go great and they apply. So this way, the boats can often have a shortlist together within a couple of days and then they started reviewing emails and send their profile. So, it happens very quickly. Being a premium member, when that boat comes on that you’re really after, you can pick up the phone and call them straight away and if they’re interested, you can just take that step further.
David: If you get a match, you guys are going to email that match to you as well…
Kylie: Yeah, that’s right.
David: And update you.
Kylie: Exactly! So everyday everything’s checked off and cross referenced automatically and all those emails go out to anybody. If you have more than 60% match, you’ll get an email notification about them, not on any members but if anyone has come back and updated their profile…
David: And even free members are going to get that?
Kylie: Everybody gets that, yeah! So, we’ve that again since the very beginning and we have members that have been with us since the beginning of January 2005. Really, in that first few months that we’ve still got those members, those members who still use FindaCrew and of course they go and do a trip and they come back and then they change all the dates which puts them back into the matching system again and email us again so it’s not just a one off thing, it’s everytime you change a profile, you go back into the pool of the data matching which is great because we don’t want anyone to miss out opportunities and you can also filters those emails. If get in too many emails, you can turn the daily notifications off and just use it through the website. You can raise the percentages if you need. You can make it to anyone to notify me if it’s higher than 90% match.
David: I think you can tell because when you get those emails from the website, you might go on come getting these ones for an area, I really not that interested in that setting too many, I’m getting eight or six boats in Croatia.
David: That’s happening and you go “Oh, I should have filtered that thing a little bit more.
Kylie: Or just change that on my profile. Yeah! That’s right, exactly!
David: Nothing’s wrong with Croatia.
Kylie: No, they have beautiful and massive sailing community in Croatia.
David: In Croatia, yeah.
Kylie: And Poland, that’s another place. I’d love to go to Poland.
David: I’m looking something on the Internet about Croatia.
Kylie: Yeah! You know, that’s a big sailing community in Croatia. And Poland – that’s a great area.
David: Yeah, obviously I love the site. In think I’ve mentioned the website, its www.findacrew.net.
Kylie: That’s right!
David: Is there any other way that people can contact you or do you guys run things like a Facebook page?
Kylie: We do have a Facebook page; you can ‘like’ FindaCrew straight from our website. We’ve got Facebook and Google + and I think the links are on the front of our website. You can, if want to, ‘like’ us there, then you get the Facebook updates as we put them through. We haven’t focused a lot on that probably until when we’ve got more things to put through. We just don’t want to overload people with all that (social media) because again, in sailing, if people are out on boats, they don’t want us to take up all their bandwidth with downloads. It used to be more of an issue than it is now, but we are pretty careful with making sure that the information that comes from FindaCrew to you is relevant. It’s not just about marketing and everything like that. So, we want to make sure that people know about us. Probably about 80% of our new members come through word of mouth.
Kylie: So, that’s a fantastic referral right.
David: And I guess you’ve get a fine line between spamming people with too much info or if people are going to your website and they’ve said “I want to find a yatch” that’s sort of what they’d rather you send them an email about.
Kylie: Yeah! That’s right.
David: Like, they don’t want messages saying “we have a picture of a boat sailing” and you don’t always want to have to look at someone’s Facebook page.
Kylie: That’s right! Yeah, yeah! And there is. There’s a lot out there and I follow quite a lot of stuff on Facebook in the yachting community and there’s certainly a lot of stuff if you want to be spending all your time on the Internet following everybody else, it’s all there, that’s for sure. But yeah, I mean, with got to be a little more interactive as time goes on.
David: Where there any other questions which we’d ask you about with FindaCrew?
Kylie: No. I can probably say that there are some more websites coming through in the marine industry that we will be launching over the next hopefully six months. Most of them actually are already online and they’re going to be, not networks, more like service directories of different facets of the marine industry and you’ll interact with FindaCrew. You’ll have a log in, if you use it for FindaCrew, you can use it for the other ones.
David: So many we can come back and see you again in that six months time.
Kylie: We will. So we will let you know how that progresses. It’s just about providing more and more information to everybody within this industry and we want to make sure that FindaCrew does stay as more community I guess. It’s definitely a fantastic service. It’s where people can connect. It’s a point of introduction for all over the world but it’s also a community. And yes we do have amazing stories of friendships that come out of it and long-term things. We only heard of one wedding, we have heard of one though.
David: We were going to ask you that. Any good romance stories?
Kylie: We’ve heard of a wedding. We’ve heard some good and scary romance stories but actually the guy that was doing the circumnavigation we spoke about earlier, he met some people in Indonesia who had met on FindaCrew and being married in between. So, that was fantastic.
David: I love that.
Kylie: We don’t have a baby yet though. So, we’re waiting for our first FindaCrew baby.
David: And they probably don’t know about it yet either.
Kylie: No, maybe not, maybe not but yeah, I mean, it is something that can really change people’s lives and make a difference and that’s was so fun about the business. It really puts people out into a new environment and they just seem to love it.
David: Oh, that’s right. Like Carina said, it enriched our lives just because we met some people who had a passion for the same thing that I have a passion for and that I dragged Carina along too.
Kylie: Yeah! Yeah!
David: But yeah, it was about relationships.
Kylie: It is. It is about meeting people and having confidence…
David: Of the same interest and getting out there. That’s awesome.
Kylie: Yeah, that’s right! So, it’s fun in our professional side too like getting those exact jobs you want to share, masseur, and nannies and teachers and some of those on the bigger boats. I mean, that’s a dream job for a lot of people. Again, like I said, a lot of hard work but if it’s the carrier you wanted to head in, that’s a great way to start…
David: And it’s a great industry as well.
Kylie: It’s a fun industry. It seems that I have somebody, one member once called the ocean, the big blue Berocca and I thought that’s pretty well what it is. Yeah, it really sorts of gets into your blood and makes you want more.
David: That’s great! Thanks Kylie! Thanks for everything. We really enjoyed it.
Well, I’d like to thank Kylie for taking the time to have a chat with us about FindaCrew. I think that any website that’s got the goal of helping people connect to each other and make the world a better place is going to do well. And there’s definitely great skippers looking for crew as well as great crew looking for a chance to get out there and sail.
If you are like me and you sit around dreaming of a sailing trip while you’re at work or reading a book or walking the dog, I challenged you to go find a yacht and take a chance of meeting someone new because like they say “Every good friend is once a stranger.” Just go to somewhere like FindaCrew, have a look around, make a profile, you never know, you might find someone who wants to take you with them on a sailing adventure.
How to crew on a sailboat.
If you’ve got a story to share from being a crew or having a crewing job or thoughts on how to get into sailing, just go to our Facebook page and leave us a comment there. That’s at facebook.com/thesailingpodcast. If you can’t remember that, you can just search on Facebook for “The Sailing Podcast.” I also added a post to our website www.thesailingpodcast.com designed to help anyone thinking about crewing on a yacht and they’re not sure what they should bring with them and I just written my list of the top 10 things that you might want to bring as crew just using my experience to give you some ideas. You’ll find that post on the website www.thesailingpodcast.com/sailinggear . You can add your thoughts there as well. I mean, what do you think someone needs to bring with them. I put up some show notes on the website. That would be at http://thesailingpodcast/findacrew and I invite you to add a comment and let us know how you enjoy this episode. Of course, you can always just email me email@example.com. Let me know what you’re up to. You might help me with some ideas for future interviews.
You’ve been listening to David and Carina Anderson of The Sailing Podcast. Have a great day and thank you for joining us on our journey.
Well I would like to thank Kylie for taking the time to have a chat about FindaCrew. I think that any website that has the goal to help people connect with each other will make world a better place will do well and there are loads of skippers looking for crew as well as great crew looking for a chance to get out there and sail.
If you are like me and you sit around dreaming of a sailing trip while at work or while reading a book or walking the dog, I challenge you to go and find a yacht and take a chance on meeting someone new because like they say, every friend was once a stranger… Just go to FindaCrew,or one of the many other crew sites and have a look around. Even if you have to make a profile, you never know – you might find someone who wants to take you with them on a sailing adventure.
If you want to share a story from a crew job you had or your thoughts on how to get into sailing just go to our facebook page and leave us a comment there – www.facebook.com/thesailingpodcast . If you can’t remember that you can just search on Facebook for “The Sailing Podcast”.
I have also added a post to our website designed to help anyone thinking about crewing on a yacht and it has a list of the top 10 things you might want to bring as crew – using my experiences to help give you some ideas. You can find that post on the website at the www.thesailingpodcast.com/sailinggear – you can add your thoughts there as well – what do think crew need to bring with them?
Come and join David and Carina on their journey
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