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Close your eyes and envision yourself on a yacht, the wind swooshing through your hair, the water slowly rocking the yacht, and the smell of the sea surrounding you. Imagine being surrounded by nothing but sweeping vistas of an ever so blue ocean, a drink in your hand, and absolutely no worries on your mind….
That sense of utter freedom, the raw connection to nature, that childlike sense of wonder – these are feelings invoked by a sailing trip. Sailing means many things to many people – some view it as an extreme sport, other do it for fun, and others spend the rest of their lives living on yachts, floating aimlessly around the world.
No matter what type of traveler you want to be and what kind of sailing trip you want, there is always a first. The first trip you take, the first day you spend on the yacht, the first uncomfortable night’s sleep, and the first time you wake up a little bit disoriented. And those firsts, ah those firsts, they will bring back that guileless kid inside of you, in awe at everything they see around them.So, let’s say you’re done daydreaming about sailing and you’re absolutely done sitting at your cubicle wishing your surroundings would suddenly change into a tropical island…What next?
You book your sailing trip of course. And you do. But now, then what? You realize you just booked your first sailing trip and then you end up frantically panicking because you have absolutely no clue what a sailing trip feels like and you don’t even know where to start with the planning.
That’s all understandable, and expected even, and in this article, I’ll try to give you a few tips you should always keep in mind before your sailing trip, specifically your first. These tips will give you a simple guideline that you can use further to guide your own research, and have a benchmark for the things you need.
Most Essential Tips
There are so many benefits to sailing, and the majority of people who come back from sailing trips come back satisfied, re-energized, and of course dreading every second they’re going to spend in their “real lives.”
Even though sailing does have its benefits and is one of the most loved means of travel, there are certain precautions and tips you need to keep in mind to make sure you have an overall fun experience.
Choose your location wisely.
If this is your first time sailing, try choosing your location wisely, doing extensive research about the place and the things you can do there. Make sure that the activities match your preferences, the place is your cup of tea, and that this is somewhere you want to spend a week or more in.
Also, always try to make your first trip a little bit less “wild”, and by that I mean try not choosing a boating holiday right in the middle of the ocean. Choose a location that’s near islands, or between coasts.
Each set of attractions has its advantages and disadvantages, and every minor inconvenience might impact your experience, therefore, try to make sure you know everything about the destination beforehand..
Check the weather forecast.
It might seem like the most basic thing to do, but you really need to be checking previous weather forecasts, and check for any patterns in the weather. If you can, also make sure you read the latest news and updates of the weather near the destination before you go.
Select the right people for your journey.
That is technically a no-brainer, but so many people don’t choose the company before going on their trip, and they end up being confined in tiny spaces in the middle of the sea with people they hate.
There are many types of cruises, some where you can go on one yacht with a few people you may or may not know, or be a part of one of those flotilla holidays.
For the first option, if you have the chance to make a choice, make it wisely. For the second option, you don’t really get to choose who or who doesn’t come along, but you do get to choose who you socialize with!
Make Sure you Have All Your Documents
Having all your documents and copies is extremely important. Get your passport, credit cards, ATM cards, visas, any bookings…etc and get their photocopies in case anything gets lost. Make sure you also have cash in the local currency of the place you’re going since machines don’t always work and some places don’t even accept cards!
There is often very little space on yachts and sailing boats, so you will have to resort to bringing not only a small bag, but one that’s flexible enough to be tucked in a corner.
Bring either duffel bags or backpacks, and stray away from hard luggage.
Don’t bring your entire wardrobe with you, you won’t need that much when packing for a sailing trip and you’ll just be carrying unnecessary extra weight.
Bring a lot of sun protection
You may think you can brave the sun, or that you need small amounts of sun protection and in both cases you’re absolutely wrong.
Your mind cannot fathom the amount of time you will spending in the sun, and how hard it will be to avoid it at times, and you will regret not bringing enough sun protection when you’re already burnt and forced to sit in the sun.
Bring SPF lotion, wide-brimmed hats, baseball hats, very light cover-ups, and after-sun along with moisturizers.
First aid and Medications
You need to check if first aid kits are provided in the yacht trip you’re taking or not, and if they are not then make your own. Also, make sure you have your own medications that you take regularly, and sea-sickness medications. Do not underestimate sea sickness!
Bring something to read/board games/things to keep you entertained
Being on a sail boat is all about relaxation, and you won’t be spending the entirety of the time swimming or on islands. You’ll find that you’ll have plenty of free times when the boat is moving, so bring a book or a few games to play with your fellow travelers!
Wear light, easy to dry clothes.
You probably will be wearing your swimsuit most of the time so bring plenty of them, but also make sure that the clothes you get don’t take forever to dry or they’ll be a major pain!
Listen carefully to the safety instructions
A lot of people snooze through the safety instructions of flights, and that is a terribly unadvisable thing to do on a sailing boat. Make sure you know where the life jackets are, where the first aid kit is, and what to do in case of an emergency.
Try to do a little bit of research on the main boating issues and how to fix them, and try learning the basic boat lingo!
Act like a local
If you are going to disembark on any of the islands, try as much as you can to blend in and act like a local. This way, you avoid the risk of being ripped off!
Wear the right footwear
People often brush off the footwear part, but it’s essential to have footwear that is suitable for yachts. Rubber sole shoes are perfect for that extra grip and will prevent you from slipping and will not ruin the boat either.
The only worry you should have before sailing is the post-vacation blues, other than that; there really isn’t much to freak out about! As long as you’ve done your research, you know where and how you’re going and you’ve got the right company, things should turn out quite fine! Make sure you follow all instructions, pack well, and most importantly – enjoy the absolute sense of freedom and bliss while you’re at it!