“You Make the Memories, We’ll Make the Arrangements”

Going sailing for the first time is very exciting but also daunting because there are so many things you need to be aware of before you set sail. This article offers you general information and the things you need to know, that will make your first sail a very enjoyable experience.

Firstly, you need to decide where you want to go sailing. My favorite destination is the Caribbean for many reasons. There’s a very large variety of yachts you can choose from, ranging from 39 ft to 344 ft.

The next thing you need to do is to decide on the type of charter. There are 3 types of charter you can choose from:

  • Bareboat charter – as the term suggests, you’re only hiring a yacht with no crew or any sort of provisions. You are responsible for everything that happens after you’ve rented the yacht.
  • Skippered charter – the yacht comes with a skipper/captain who is responsible for maneuvering the yacht.
  • Crewed charter – hiring a crewed yacht means you get a full crew that is responsible for everything. This normally includes a skipper/captain, engineers, chefs, and hostesses.

Since this is the first time you are going sailing, I would strongly advise you to pick a crewed charter.

You need a lot of sailing experience and knowledge in order to go bareboat sailing. You also need a valid skipper license.

Besides, a crewed charter gives you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the cruise. You need to keep in mind though that the crew members are not your servants. They are there to ensure your safety and offer you sailing advice.

The best thing about it is that no sailing experience is required! Anyone can go sailing on a crewed charter. You can bring your kids, normally there’s no age limit. However, some crewed charters do have age limits so make sure you do your research beforehand. Arguably, the Caribbean is the one of the most popular destinations.

Another important thing you need to consider before you set sail is what to bring with you. There’s not too much storage space available on board – less is more is the rule of thumb. Pack light and only what you strictly need. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Soft duffel bag rather than a hard suitcase.
  • Life jacket – although it’s the skipper’s responsibility to supply you with a life jacket, you should still bring one with you. Why? Because you’ll know it’s up to date, fully serviced and it fits. You’ll also know where to quickly find it in case of an emergency.
  • Waterproof gear and goggles are advisable.
  • Sailing shoes are preferred – street shoes are normally not allowed. Also, I wouldn’t bring shoes with dark soles because they can leave marks on the boat. Sandals and deck shoes are a safe bet.
  • Bring sunglasses, a hat and lots of sunscreens. If you’re sailing in places like the Caribbean, the sun is direct and hot and the temperatures can reach 90° F.
  • You’ll obviously need a swimsuit, a beach towel, and a pair or two of shorts. Everything must be lightweight and light colors.
  • A digital camera, I’m sure you’ll want to capture the best moments of your cruise!

If you get motion sickness, there are a few things you can do to relieve the symptoms:

  • Relax: focus on breathing while listening to music. Mental activity is key in relaxing, you can even try counting backwards from 100.
  • Fix your vision on something: avoid reading or playing games as it may worsen your symptoms.
  • Avoid eating too much food and drinking alcohol.
  • Get fresh air.

Finally, relax and enjoy your cruise. Life on a boat for a week or two is a very special experience so make sure to have fun!

Special Thanks to Patrick Jenkins for writing and submitting this article to BVI & Caribbean Yacht Charters

Written by Patrick Jenkins, a Sailing Adviser for the Sailing Clothing Store.

Patrick is a Sailing Adviser for the Sailing Clothing Store, a company based in Cowes, England. Patrick is very passionate about anything related to sailing and traveling and loves writing about these subjects.

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