10 Things to Know Before you Plan a Sailing Holiday

‘There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in a storm’, said Willa Cather. If you are all set to hoist the sails and embark on a sailing holiday, there are a few things you really ought to know beforehand to ensure that you have a fabulous vacation. For starters, you must know how to sail and must have the right destination in mind. You can always take professional help to learn sailing and plan your holiday at https://www.oceanelements.com/sailing-holidays. Sail prepared, for the mettle of an able sailor is tested by how he handles the waves.

Know the destination and its weather conditions

Your sailing itinerary will give you a detailed map of your sailing routes but you must know what to expect on those routes. Good knowledge of the weather in those parts at the time of your travel will help you pack weather appropriate clothes. You must check the weather forecast for the entire duration of your sailing holiday so that you know when to expect choppy waters or an overcast sky. Knowing about the tide and wind conditions for your sailing route is also important before you set off for your holiday.

Know the A, B, and S of sailing

Unless you are a professional sailor who has been sailing for many years, you should familiarise yourself with sailing jargon. The terms used for the sides and components of a sailboat are among the keywords to know. Research, study and memorize these terms so that you don’t waste precious time knowing what to do when someone tells you to ‘furl’ which means folding the sails or asks you to do ‘tackling’ which requires the bow to be changed due to the wind shifting. These terms might throw you off in the beginning and you might end up feeling muddled but knowledge of sailing terminology will help you comprehend what the crew is talking about if you book a sailing tour.

Know how to read the map

GPS is a sailor’s best aid when it comes to navigation and knowing how to read the nautical map is a skill set one must have when going sailing. Beginners’ knowledge in this area will help in charting alternative courses and keeping a track of the time you would take to reach the next harbor or port. Though a GPS is the go-to navigation guide, one must also know how to fall back on the good old map and compass in case of GPS malfunctions due to a technical difficulty.

Know your boat

Once you have finalized your destination and the kind of boat you wish to book for your sailing holiday, you need to know your boat. Novice sailors need to understand that sailing is not only the work of the wind but that of the sailor as well. It is you who must navigate not just the waters but also wind currents while keeping full control over the sailboat. Even if you are taking a crewed sailboat, it is important to know more about the boat you have chartered.

Know the basics of sailing

Even if you are sailing in a group with experienced sailors, you must know the basics of sailing beforehand and not wait to learn it on deck. Be it a dinghy sailing, flotilla sailing or a sailboat, you must know a little about sailing unless you are going on a crewed charter. A good idea would be to take a course under a certified instructor to learn the safety techniques. These sailing courses teach you how to handle the boat in varied weather and wind conditions and how to tackle an emergency situation.

Know what to pack

Apart from the essentials like sunglasses, sunscreen, warm clothes, raincoats, waterproof luggage, moisture-wicking and quick-dry sailing clothes (like these from https://westcoastsailing.net/apparel), you must also carry the right kind of footwear for your sailing holiday. More often than not you would find your feet soaked and slipping on the deck. Toe covering sandals and rubber-soled boat shoes are ideal for a sailing holiday. On the technical front, you must be armed with a satellite phone, GPS, map, emergency lighting and a compass.

Know the basics of first-aid

Not only must you carry a well-stocked first-aid kit, you must also know how to use it. Medications like that for motion sickness must be in the box along with basic medicines like antibiotics, band-aids and pain relievers. A sailing holiday is an adventure where you may have to handle everything from minor cuts and burns to broken bones on open waters. You can opt for the first-aid kits meant for sailors and available at all adventure sports stores rather than making one of your own. If anyone in your group has any specific allergies, carry medications for it.

Know the cuisine of your destinations and pack well

You must also carry sufficient food and water to last you till the next restocking point or harbor on your route. However, there must also be a buffer of rations onboard for emergencies and to last you on detours. Stock the food after taking into account the number of people and their food allergies. Carry food items that last long and can sustain the humid weather. Foods like ginger that alleviate motion sickness must be a part of the ration.  Since you will be spending a lot of time on the deck, staying hydrated is very important, so pack plenty of water. Research well to find out the best places to eat at all your stops during the holiday.

Know the currency and documents

Ensure that your passport, visa and insurance papers are in order before you set sail. Mail yourself digital copies of all documents and keep all the documents in a waterproof bag.  Carry enough local currency and cards in case you need more currency. The charter paperwork must be in order too. Moreover, do not forget to carry the contact information of your charter company.

Know how to enjoy the sailing holiday

Even though you will be sailing, you are going on a holiday and need to carry your supplies for the downtime. These include some bottles of wine or champagne for nights when you want to enjoy a luxury dinner on board, books for reading when basking in the sun, games, and good music to set the mood when enjoying a calm sunset. You will be away from the digital world and will have a lot of time on hand to unwind. So while you pack your guilty pleasures, don’t go overboard lest you take away from the holiday spirit.

While the aforesaid points are pivotal to ensure you enjoy a great sailing holiday, the most important thing to know before you give yourself to the winds is how to pack light for your holiday. Not to forget, the essentials and your sailor spirit are what matter most so you can make the most of your holiday.

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