Question and Answers for Boat Owners Looking for Crew.

Free Crew Networking Service for Boat Owners – If you ever need crew to help deliver your boat a company called Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO) can help you get experienced offshore crew that will sail with you or your captain for free.

How does this work?

OPO is a crew networking organization whose niche is offering offshore sailing opportunities to members. Over 2000 people have joined and sailed offshore through OPO since 1993.

Why do they crew for free?

OPO members sail for free for a variety of reason. Some are getting sea time towards a captain’s license and a new career. Many have sailed for years, but do not live near the water or have a spouse that shares their enthusiasm for sailing. Many can not afford to purchase a seaworthy offshore boat, but do have the time, the experience and the means to sail other people’s boats and get their sailing fix through us. The owner pays for all boat expenses and on-board food; the crew sails for free and pays their transportation to and from the boat.

How do we know the crew will be any good?

OPO has over 500 active members, many of them members for several years. They have offshore miles (many of them on Swans having sailed in our Offshore Swan Sailing). They have owned boat in the past or are looking to learn more before buying a boat. They are the smart group that looks before leaping. We also have OPO crewmember resumes on file, and we also have members sign a “Code of Conduct” form.

What is my liability?

No money changes hands which limits many problems. For overseas trips make sure the crew has a return ticket. There is also a “Crew Waiver” form on our web site that you can print for free and have crew sign before they come aboard.

How do I get crew?

If you or your captain is looking for delivery crew for an offshore passage, simply contact OPO at 1-800-4-PASSAGe (800-472-7724) (631-423-4988) or e-mail us. We will need the details on when and where you want crew to show up. How many?

Where are you going?

How long the trip will take and a few details about the boat and make up of the crew. We also need to know how to contact you. Once we have the information we need, we will send out a notice to our Gold Card member’s and they will get in touch with you. The more lead time the better to give crew a chance to respond and make travel arrangements.

What does the service cost?

The service is free to Boat owners and their captains. If you plan to use us in the future and become repeat customers and you like our service, then we ask boat owners to join for the same price as the crew. The initial fees and annual dues are how we pay for our overhead.

What if I like the crew and want to adopt them as a son to put to work on my boat more often for free?

If you meet one or more OPO members that you like and enjoy having aboard, by all means call them up directly for your next passage or Regatta where you may need many crew. One Swan owner once told us “It is much easier to meet new friends that sail than it is to teach my friends how to sail." Matching good crew with boat owners and captains is what we do.

What if I am looking to hire crew?

We are not a crew finder agency. However some owners like to hire a responsible person to help run the boat or “Boat Sit” while the boat is in port. What better way interview someone than have them come and crew for you first for free.

What if I need to hire a skipper?

If you are looking to move your boat to another location or to a regatta and do not have a skipper, we have a handful of skippers that have captained in our Offshore Swan Programand that we trust and recommend. Once you hire the skipper he can take care of organizing the OPO crew that will sail for free and pay their own way to and from the boat. This way you only pay for the skippers wages, his transportation to and from the boat. You save not having to pay crew and pay for crew airfare.

What if I want to crew with others?

We will be happy to help any Swan owner who wishes to get more sea time the same opportunity to sail as our members. Just give us a call.

I saw paid sailing opportunities on Swans. Are there a lot of opportunities where crew need to pay?

No there are not many sailing opportunities where crew need to pay. In the spring and fall there are several to many opportunities a week. They are all free. In the middle of the winter I can not think of many boats underway for Christmas and New Year, and for that matter, many offshore the months of January or February. Lead time on offshore passage opportunities is usually 2 to 6 weeks, so no one is worrying about signing up crew in the middle of winter.

The paid opportunities we offer to our members through our Swan and the Swan Program is something we can offer our members at a great discount so they can get some guaranteed quality seatime, race experience, or fun-in-the-sun, aboard a boat any winter. Some members want to meet us and others to start their networking. Most members, in two to four years, make enough contacts and friends (or they buy a boat) and do not need to be active anymore. Or they call us for crew for an offshore passage. We call that a success story.

Many members started and got their first offshore sail in on one of the Swan Passages Opportunities. We have had a special relationship with Swan since 1998 when we started delivering their charter fleet. Several years ago we bought our own Swan 48 and began offering a unique racing experience in the Caribbean. Some crew have gone on to race with others.

We started a special Gold Card Membership to assure the programs success and to help create more free quality opportunities for our members. In this way we can share the Swan experience with others. We soon will offer, what we think, is an even better way to join in Swan experience even more.

Others OPO members with experience, but who maybe want to start delivering boats or sailing offshore more, realized we can't recommend captains we do not know, so they make the effort to meet us at a regatta or on a long passage, or week of charter on a Swan. So we can get to know each other. This is part of the OPO experience that turns OPO into something more special than just a web site crew matching service.

Who runs OPO?

Hank Schmitt first started delivering Swans in 1998 for the French Swan Charter Company that used to charter out of ?


Newport in the summer and St. Martin in the winter. For several years Hank was in charge of putting the crews together to move the fleet twice a year. In 2004 Hank bought the Swan 48 Avocation along with a partner. Since then they have participated in many off the Swan Events and Regatta’s and the Caribbean Big Boat Race Weeks as well as the annual migration between New England and the Caribbean.