Preparing for Your Sailing and Yachting Trip
Sailing / Yachting Training
If you plan to sail your own boat or join a crew you will need the necessary skills and know-how. This means knowing every inch of your boat and how to handle her, understanding the importance of safety and preparing for all emergencies, reading the weather, learning to navigate and knowing essential boat maintenance. A lot of clubs and charters offer sailing courses to get you underway or tighten up your skills. If you join a club there will be regular activities to keep your skills honed throughout the year.
You don’t need a lot of fitness to man a boat but it can be more challenging than you think. Particularly if you’re climbing to fix sails, tying ropes, making repair jobs or battling rough seas. The more agile and fit you are will make the tasks easier. Plus the additional activities such as swimming, snorkeling, hiking ashore, diving or kayaking can also take their toll.
Sailing / Yachting Gear
Wet Weather Gear
You are guaranteed wet weather if you’re at sea whether it’s simply water spray, rogue waves or a full on storm. You will need waterproofs, rubber-soled shoes for wet decks and eyeglasses that don’t fall off. Gloves are also handy for handling ropes.
Ultimately your destination will determine exactly what personal effects to bring. If the weather is good you can usually get by during the day in light beachwear, shorts and t-shirts. Sometimes linen and towels are provided on the yachts. Space on board is limited so pack light and use things that can double up or go without washing for a few days eg. dark clothing. Early mornings and evenings can be particularly cool on the water wherever you are in the world, so pack a fleece.
Dry bags are essential companions for keeping valuables dry like keys, wallets, cameras and books. Pack insect repellent, snorkeling equipment, footwear to use walking ashore, cameras and film and reading material. Throw in a few packets of seasickness tablets as well to save you hours of discomfort.
If you’re hiring a yacht and out for more than a day you will need to stock the kitchen before you leave. Think about the kind of easy meals you can make out to sea and don’t rely on catching fish as you go. If there are villages and markets on route you can replenish your supplies but on some trips you will need to take everything. In more remote locations the local supermarkets are more costly.