A sailing trip is a breathtaking adventure. The waves, the wind, the nature around you and the crew can make this sea voyage a life-changing experience.
The emotions you get from your first sailing trip are unique indeed. Admiring the shades of blue on the horizon, between sky and sea, creates a sense of inner peace that is almost impossible to describe. On sailing holiday, many aspects of everyday life, often very stressful and hectic, disappear. Instead, our senses connect with nature, Mother Earth, and the God Neptune.
Life at sea is very different from life on land. Sometimes, this ‘other lifestyle’ can help us become more conscious of ourselves and our body needs. But, most of all, it makes us think of the Other and of Nature. But, how can we be so attentive? By respecting.
So, to live this new experience to the fullest, it’s good to follow a few tips and rules that will help your crew and you enjoy every moment of your sailing.
Read this list of sailing trip tips and take them with you: a strong bond of sharing and team spirit will be established between your fellow travellers and you, whether they are strangers or not!
1. Listen to the Skippers!
In the movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Jack Sparrow is the captain; similarly, on your sailing trip your captains will be the skippers. In fact, whether you book a boat with a skipper, or whether you choose to take part in a trip organised by an association, skippers are the ones responsible for both the boat and the crew. Therefore, it is their words and rules that apply on the boat!
To quote my skipper’s joke: ‘Democracy runs on this boat: a democracy in which I am in command!‘
2. Space on boat is tight
Whether you are in the cockpit, sleeping in the cabin, opening a galley door or walking towards the foremast, you must always remember: ‘On a boat, space is little‘. Every action you make, whether above or below deck, should be coordinated with the movements of the rest of the crew.
Keep in mind that space is at a premium, especially when it comes to the galley. As a first-time sailor, you could ask yourself what it is about. We could describe it in a few words as ‘the provisions, the larder on board‘. The galley is a fundamental aspect of a boat trip; great attention must be given not only to the choice of products that go into it, but also to its arrangement in the various lockers.
Before going on board and setting sail, it is extremely important to have in mind the number of meals you’ll have and a clear idea of which dishes you want to prepare during the trip period. This will allow you to avoid buying useless products, and it will prevent any waste.
When it comes to the arrangement of groceries in the lockers, rule No. 1 comes back into play: Listen to the skipper! He knows which products go into the fridge and which ones in the lockers. He knows the boat, so he will suggest to you how to optimize the use of space and balance weights.
3. Respect for the crew and mutual help
On your sailing trip, you will not be alone. And thanks, God!
There will be a crew to keep you company, to share new experiences with, to laugh with, and tell your adventures too. Before you know it, the crew will become a kind of new family. Respect and mutual help will be extremely important.
For example, if a traveling companion has volunteered to prepare dinner the day before and cook breakfast the next morning, be proactive and offer to prepare lunch yourself. If a companion gets seasick while setting the table, go below deck to complete the job for him. They will certainly return the favor at the earliest need help!
4. Drop by drop the sea is made…
On your first sailing trip, everything is new: you are eager to find out how the various components of the boat work; you have thousands of questions to ask; you can hardly contain yourself from the curiosity of the day to come.
Certainly, this is a positive indicator that you are enjoying the experience. On the other hand, remember to keep these two sayings in mind:
Drop by drop the sea is made …
Slow and steady wins the race.
Both sayings highlight how small steps bring us to achieve great goals and feats. Therefore, avoid the western’s man frenzy attitude on the boat: stay in the present, be with what you have, and appreciate the unique moment you are living. In fact, on a boat, plans can easily change in a few hours for a variety of reasons: first and foremost, because of marine weather conditions.
5. Use of water on a sailing trip
A sailing trip without water? Impossible! Water makes up seas, oceans, and, above all, 60% of the human body: our lives depend on it. If we want to make a sustainable sailing trip for both the environment and ourselves, we need to pay attention to a few things.
First of all, it is good to know that there is fresh water on board, and it is contained in tanks located in the lower part of the boat, usually in lockers or under berths. Precisely because it is contained in tanks, which capacity varies according to the size of the boat, fresh water is limited. This means that it is well worth weighing up its use and considering filtered salt water as an alternative.
For example, you can use salt water to wash the dishes rather than wasting freshwater. When showering, on the other hand, it is better to use fresh water to remove salt residues from your skin. But always remember to limit its waste: it is a good idea to take very short showers or to limit the number of them during your holiday.
6. Seasickness: better safe than sorry
You may have, like me, taken several sailing courses on dinghies, always been comfortable in and on water and you may even have a boat license or driving license. Well, don’t be like me: don’t think you are invincible and untouchable by seasickness!
So, my advice is: prevent it! There are natural methods to help, such as ginger. Otherwise, anti-nausea bracelets and TrevelGum chewing gum are a good alternative to soothe the first mild symptoms.
As no one is completely immune to a ‘force 6 sea’ and waves of up to 3 meters, if the skippers are predicting similar or worse weather conditions, take a tablet of Xamine for safety: it will cause a slight feeling of sleepiness, but the feeling of nausea will completely disappear.
7. Enjoy your sailing trip!
Worrying about any little formality can also be an obstacle to good sailing. Skippers want to see you happy and relaxed. This way, they will be sure to have succeeded in their job!
So let yourself enjoy every view, every sunrise, and every sunset. Inhale and exhale the crisp air and feel the saltiness.
And remember, it’s always worth sailing!
Front picture by Fabio Castelli