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Downwind Marine
2804 Cañon Street, Point Loma
(619) 224-2733

www.downwindmarine.com

Every year, around the fourth of November, Chris Frost throws a party. He calls it his "Cruisers Kick-Off Party." Skippers turn up looking for crew, as the cruising season's about to get underway, and wanna-be crew members arrive with placards or hat signs reading "New Zealand!" "Hawaii!" "Mexico!" "Tahiti!" "Bali!" Because that's where they want to sail to this season. It's like singles night at Hooters. From November through January, cruisers call in to seek Frost's help with everything from wind generators to hand-operated washing machines to finding crew. "April's a good month too, if you're sailing west," says Frost's assistant, Gigi Johnson, who has crewed all over the Pacific. "The seasonal storms are pretty well over by then." She says Downwind holds regular seminars on all aspects of ocean cruising, and, if you miss the Cruisers Kick-off Party, there's always Downwind's regular donuts and coffee get-togethers Wednesday mornings around 10:00.

To crew, you don't need experience, but you do have to be fit, adaptable, and ready to learn. Johnson also warns: get to know your skipper. He or she may be charming on shore and then turn into a Captain Bligh as soon as you weigh anchor. Or worse, prove to be a neophyte.

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