Connecting skippers and sailing crew and building a sailing community
Floatplan was started in 1996, but I can not claim to be the ‘founder’ because it was well established as the 'The Cruisers' Companion' before I came along. It was only after talking with Jim in April 2013 that he decided to pass on the helm to me.
I was 17 years old when I first stepped onto a yacht. I was part of the race crew on Kukri, a Joint Services Training Yacht and we were taking part in the first leg of The Tall Ships 2000 race our leg was from England, Southampton to Spain, Cadiz. The new terminology, the talk of tactics and the need for endurance was a welcomed challenge to me. I knew I loved sailing before we left the dock on the first day.
Over the next 10 years of sailing and traveling I left a Boat Wanted notice on every notice board in every port I passed. Along the way I took notes on how I found boats, what got me onboard and what questions skippers would ask me before letting me onboard to try and learn what the best way to find a boat was, but being in the same place at the same time a boat was leaving didn’t happen very often and I soon became frustrated with having to return home by plane. I knew I needed to be more efficient with my time so I started using other crew finding websites where I had to pay to see hidden email address only to find out the boats were full or the dates had changed, even more frustrating!
I eventually gave up on all the crew finding websites apart from one. The website only had a few pages and my favorite was of course the Crew Wanted one. It was a long list of short paragraphs sent in by skippers from all over the world looking for crew and their email address right there! That website was Floatplan, and admittedly some things have changed. We stopped showing email addresses to stop your email inbox being filled with spam and we ask for a login so we can build trust by reputation, but the idea is the same, anyone can join and scroll through the list and dream of sailing until they are ready to start their own adventure
I was lucky to be the one to take over the website after Jim and I am now working hard to tick off the ideas in my notebook to build a community that will always be free to join and eliminate the risk of spending money to find a boat or a new crew member, make traveling by sail safe and secure and ultimately make sailing accessible to more people.
I have met the most amazing people while helping sail their beloved boats around the world. Sometimes I did it for free and sometimes I paid them to be part of their journey, but I always stepped off the boat with more than I stepped on with. I hope you find the same journey on Floatplan.
Thank you for being part of the Floatplan community.
If you want to help the Floatplan community grow please get in touch with us share your thoughts.