Croatia sailing, Turkey sailing, Greek island sailing – all of these are incredibly popular right now and conjure up images of clear, glass-like aqua water, wearing a glamorous broad-brimmed hat with a bow whilst drinking a glass of wine, and awesome parties with a bunch of new friends. And whilst all of these images are rightly so, there are also a few more things to consider, like the fact that depending on which trip you choose you’ll be spending between 60-100 per cent of your time completely out in the middle of the ocean, warm water is sparing, weather is unpredictable and the toilet and shower conditions can be much, much different to what you’re used to!
Here are a few tips and observations I have come up with, having done Turkey, Croatia and Whitsundays – three completely different ways to sail.
· Where possible, upgrade to a ‘my own room’ option. I know it sounds pretentious, but if you’re lucky enough to have an ensuite, it will literally be the size of about three of you. The rooms are not huge, unless you’re incredibly rich and on a huge-ass yacht with old English retirees. Those boats are incredible, and probably cost my year’s wage.
When you don’t feel like drinking at night and need some alone time, having your own room to escape to is a little creature comfort out at sea, and while it may not be an option for everyone, I found it helps if you can. Unless of course you’re with a friend or lover, then you’ll be fine!
· Halve the clothes you’ve packed. You seriously will not need what you think you need – trust me. Make sure you have a few dresses, a pair of shorts, a jumper, pyjamas and some t-shirts.
Things to pack: a power adaptor and chargers, your own towel (usually provided, but quite small), a few pairs of bathers, comfortable walking shoes, baby wipes, a jumper/hoodie (especially for the off-season – even if it hits 35+ during the day, it gets cold from 6-7 p.m. onwards), toiletries including soap, shampoo and conditioner (your hair will take a beating) and sunscreen! And, of course, the one thing I always forget – a toothbrush.
· Travel before or after peak season, while the weather is still nice but there are less people. The towns along the way are small, and so much better to check out with a smaller group of people and not thousands doing the same thing. June/July in Europe is peak, so travel in May/August/September is best. It makes the towns so much nicer when you’re listening to the actual language of the country, instead of English the whole time!
· Most of all, have an awesome time and be open-minded that the living situation might be primitive, but you’ll have the absolute best time! There is nothing quite like waking up and your boat is already steaming across the middle of an ocean or sea, far away from home, with the most breathtaking backdrops of mountains, islands and more. You’ll meet the most amazing bunch of people, from the others on the trip, to the onboard crew.
Written by Madelin Baldwin