You’ve booked your first summer sailing trip and you’re super excited! A week (or more if you’re lucky) of sunbathing, swimming, drinking and sightseeing awaits. When we sailed with Medsailors in June we had no idea what to expect, so what follows are a few helpful tips from our seven days of sailing.
Find Your Sea Legs
Some people have been around boats and the ocean all their lives – they walk the plank with ease, climbing up and down the ladder comes naturally and they’re rocked to sleep by the gentle (or not so gentle) roll of the waves. Others, are like me – clumsy and clueless, so try to take it slow. You’ll bump into things, trip over things and step on things. By the end of the week I was covered in bruises but I’d mastered walking the plank, climbing over rails, keeping an eye on the boom and standing up under full sail.
Tip: It’s not always smooth sailing, so take some anti-nausea tablets just in case – sea sickness is not fun. If not for you, maybe you’ll end up saving one of your shipmates from a queasy stomach and end up with a friend for life!
Think Small, Pack Small
Sailing boats are small, so your luggage should reflect this, even more so if you’re sharing a cabin. Nobody wants your massive 30 kg wheelie bag taking over their space for 7 days, or worse yet, banging into your boat buddies every time you set sail (see below about securing stuff). Besides, how many dresses, t-shirts, hats, shoes do you really need when you’re going to spend most of your time in your swimsuit anyway?
Tip: If you’re sailing between May and September you won’t need much in the way of clothing. We took a weekend bag and a backpack between us with a couple of swimsuits, towels, t-shirts, hat, sunglasses, shorts, a light jacket, toiletries and a couple of pairs or shoes (one pair of jandals and one a bit fancier in case we went to a bar with a dress code – which we didn’t). If you’re really stuck, check out this packing list (for girls) by Caroline at Her Packing List.
When the wind gets up and the sails come out, everything starts to move around. Most things that are meant to be on the boat can be secured – yes, that’s what those special lock handle cabinet doors are for, so make sure you keep your belongings packed away or at least your room door closed so the movement is a little bit contained. The same goes for things on deck, you don’t want to lose your book/sunglasses/jandals/hat/beer overboard, so tie it down or keep a hold of it if you can.
Eating, sleeping and hanging out for 7 days with the same 10 people has its ups and downs. When it’s up you’ve got a permanent party crowd, when it’s down everyone’s trying to keep out of each others way. The great thing about the Medsailors trips are that once you dock you can spend as little or as much of your time with your shipmates as you like. Group dinner or dinner for two, it’s up to you.
Try and remember to be considerate of both your shipmates and your skipper. Pitch in with the dishes, figure out how the toilet works, fetch ice for the bar fridge, keep the boat clean, chuck the fenders over- board when you dock etc. Every little bit helps.
Unless you’re chilling in your cabin you’ll be upstairs on the deck and exposed to the elements. Wear sunscreen, cover up or stay in the shade. Keep hydrated (I’m sure beer counts) and watch where you step, those little horn cleats are out to get you. When under sail watch out for things moving around above and below deck, keep an eye on the boom and try not to obstruct the helmsman’s view.
You’re on holiday, there’s sunshine, great food, cheap beer and swimming. Have fun!
Hopefully our tips above will help you enjoy your summer sailing trip that little bit more. We certainly enjoyed our experience and wish we could do it every summer.
Any tips to add to the above list? Add your insight in the comments below.