Posted by: yachtcrewsing | December 7, 2011

Swapping Crew Roles

For the past few weeks, being as yard periods are the time when crew members take their vacations, I have periodically been called to fill in for deficiencies in the various departments. In addition to my stewardess duties, I have been re-installing side tables and lamps under the unofficial title of ‘third engineer,’ digging up caulking on deck as stand-in mate and most recently sharing the job of chef with my chief stewardess.

Onboard we are truly spoiled, insomuch that each member of our crew family fills a specific function in the operation of our bizarre little household, both in and outside of work obligations. We stewardesses ensure that laundry is done, the crew quarters are clean (with the help of the boys) and that the snack cupboard is full; the engineers fix anything we may damage in addition to what they regularly break (thus keeping themselves gainfully employed); the chef feeds our motley bunch and the captain organizes all of our departments. It works (nearly) flawlessly.

Last week the other stewardess and I were given the additional role of chef, a job which made the completion of our work significantly more challenging. At the time we were feeding 16 people- 7 crew, 5 riggers working on the mast, 3 day workers and the project manager for the refit. Due to our schedule, this regularly involved such elusive maneuvers as ordering pizza and sandwiches for lunch and going out as a crew for dinners. Beyond this, there were still some opportunities to cook.

One of the most wonderful features of living on a yacht is that there is practically everything imaginable at one’s disposal- from every size and shape of screwdriver, to a million types of tape and glue, to cleaning products for everything humanly imaginable (we have an entire bottle of liquid devoted to removing lipstick stains from clothing).

This extensive collection of tools extends to the pantry, where cooking is an absolute delight. There are cupboards full of spices, pots and pans of every dimension, bases for every form of ethnic food and absurdities such as 7 types of flour and 6 of sugar. Literally everything is at one’s disposal.

Due to this plethora of ingredients, cooking becomes a fun and wild venture! After living as a poor university student only able to use incredibly limited culinary resources for dishes, the element of choice is both enormously exciting and overwhelming. Admittedly, some of the foods I have cooked for the crew have been over-the-top with spices due to my inability to choose…

This interchanging of roles, although necessitate by absence, seems immensely beneficial and necessary. Only by participating in the other cogs in the grand machinery of our crew can we truly appreciate the other departments for their talents and vital contributions to the overall functioning of the yacht.

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