Let’s pretend you’ve persuaded a half-dozen colleagues to join you on a fantastic week-long cruise trip to one of those tropical paradise destinations we all fantasize about – like Croatia.
Prepare for your first sailing adventure with our definitive first-timer sailing checklist:
- Get rid of sail legs and shake them off.
- Prepare your sailing itinerary ahead of time.
- Prepare to deal with motion sickness.
- Bring the required baggage.
- Sun protection is important.
- Prepare your travel papers for boat events.
- Have your groceries up.
Now that you’re well on your way to your first sailing adventure around this island paradise – pristine beaches, beautiful coastal cities, and sparkling blue waters all beckon – it’s time to start preparing with our detailed sailing checklist for first-time sailors.
This journey will undoubtedly be one to remember, but if this is your first time chartering a sailboat, there are a few things you should consider first.
Prepare your sailing checklist for your first boat vacation with this guide.
Get Rid of The Sea Legs
It’s an exciting experience the first time on a yacht – or any ships, for that matter. It will take some time for you to adapt to your new surroundings, especially your shaky sea legs.
Take the time getting to know the boat, like how it sways on the water, how the sails swing, and how to navigate the short stepladders and corridors. For the first day or two, adjusting to your new home on the water entails sleeping, relaxing, and doing it slowly.
There are also things you’ll need to be mindful of and read about on the first day, such as safety precautions and the general running of the cruise, so take it easy on the rakia for the first night while you’re still adapting.
Creating an Itinerary for Your Sailing Trip
When you charter a private sailboat, you have complete control of your itinerary, from the moment you wake up to the time you lay down at night. You will cruise from island to island, sailing to whichever location appeals to you at the moment.
The flexibility that comes with chartering a boat or catamaran is fantastic, but while you now have the choice to travel anywhere you wish, you must always schedule your path.
The charter company will arrange an itinerary for you if you have no prior experience of the region you’ll be sailing in. If you want to sail with a skipper, they will also plan the whole itinerary for you.
However, because you’ve selected Croatia as your destination, you already have an idea of where you’d like to go, so start looking up the beaches, coasts, bays, coves, and nearby harbors where you can sail to and anchor.
This may be a lot of work, but it’s still a lot of fun.
However, there will almost certainly be certain aspects of the sea that you are unaware of, such as specific sailing routes and restricted areas, so sailing with a skipper is the most convenient way to cruise from place to place while always enjoying your freedom.
Prepare to Battle Motion Sickness on a Boat Trip
Many first-time sailors have this fear: “What if I get seasick?”
It’s frightening to think of spending a whole holiday sick in your cabin’s shower, but that shouldn’t deter you from going sailing. If seasickness unexpectedly shows up, there are some things you can do to help heal it:
- Avoid going below – Do not descend into your cabin. While it will seem to be a safe haven, without the open countryside and fresh air, this confined rocking room is sure to make you feel much worse.
- Lay down – Find a secure, convenient place to lie down on deck.
When in question, keep an eye out – Set your eyes out to sea and lock your gaze on a solid vantage point.
- Preventive medicine – If you suspect you could feel seasick, stock up on over-the-counter medications or see the doctor before your vacation to make sure. If you’ve ever been seasick before, consider taking medication as soon as possible. It’s likely that once you’ve gotten used to the cruise, you won’t need to take any more medication.
- Wristbands for acupressure – While their effectiveness is debatable, it never hurts to give them a shot.
- Eat – Avoid sailing on an empty stomach by eating something. You’ll be more likely to get seasick, and if you do, you’ll probably feel much worse.
Bring the Correct Luggage for Your Boat Vacation
Because of the restricted cabin space and small access areas, you’ll want to carry a backpack or duffel bag that suits your needs.
You can’t possibly wheel an enormous suitcase around a yacht’s narrow deck, and you have to be considerate of the people you’ll be sharing this room with for the next week.
Trying to drag a giant suitcase up and down a small stepladder is also a tremendous pain.
Check out our boat holiday checklist made just for you to make sure you pack anything you can!
Use Ultimate Sailing Trip Checklist to plan your trip.
When sailing, it’s important to put as few as possible, which is why you should use our comprehensive sailing checklist. “Pack half the amount of clothes and double the amount of money,” as the saying goes.
While the second half of this might not be feasible, the first is unquestionably so. And you’ll praise yourself profusely for it. Don’t know what to bring?
The Ultimate Packing Checklist is a free eBook that you can download.
Remember that you’ll most likely be wearing the same outfit every day, which will consist of jeans, a t-shirt, a swimsuit, and flip-flops.
However, as mentioned above in our sailing packing list, you must also carry the following items:
- Enclosed shoes – You’ll need non-slip footwear for walking around the boat, as well as a good pair for exploring local cities, visiting National Parks, and participating in outdoor activities.
- A cap – one that suits well.
- A scarf – While the days on the water can be lovely, the evenings can be chilly, so wear something to keep you warm.
- One evening-wear outfit – You’ll most likely be visiting at least one coastal town on your sailing journey, so bring something nice to change into.
- A towel for the pool and one for the showers (unless the charter has one).
- Things for the bathroom
- Your camera – however bear in mind that there will be salt water everywhere. So make sure you have a good case or, better yet, an underwater case!
- Adapters and chargers
- Prescription medicine – Make sure your medicine is in its original, clearly labeled bottle to prevent any complications at customs, and have plenty on hand to last a few more days in case of travel delays or missing baggage.
- A little torch – You’ll thank us later when you’re scrambling around a dim, cramped cabin looking for your pajamas at 12 a.m.
- Although most chartered sailing vessels have a professionally loaded first aid package on board, carry a small pouch with all of the essentials, including bandages, antibacterial cream, aspirin, seasickness treatments, and a small can of bug spray.
- Sunscreen – This leads us to the next step…
Sunscreen is a must-have for anybody who wants to avoid being sunburned
The sun on vacation is unlike anything you’ve ever seen at home. Not only is the sun generally brighter in these tropical locales, but the power of the sun’s scorching rays reflecting off the water is often amplified.
Plus, if you’ve eaten a couple too many mojitos during the day, you’re just not paying attention to what’s going on around you. With that lovely cool wind caressing your warm skin, you do not notice, but the sun is burning your skin cells and severely dehydrating you.
Bear these things in mind:
- Stay hydrated,
- apply sunscreen,
- wear shades,
- wear a tight-fitting hat.
What to Pack for a Day on the Water
Almost all of our sailing destinations have the opportunity to visit beautiful underwater reefs as well as pristine bays, beaches, and coves.
You’ll almost always be able to go snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, wake boarding, paddle boarding, and a long list of other exciting water sports.
Don’t panic if you can’t bring your oxygen tank with you because most sailing charters have some water equipment on board or can place you in contact with a local company that can.
On a boat trip, here’s how to unwind.
You’ll have plenty of spare time to rest, unwind, and escape as you lie back on the deck of your yacht as you cruise past the beautiful coastline ahead.
Although there is always something fun to do on a sailing vacation, don’t forget to pack small things to help you relax and keep you busy while commuting between islands or while anchored.
You’ll be shocked by how much spare time you now have and how many fantastic books you can read now that you’re away from distractions like laptops and televisions. Playing cards, musical instruments, and board games are among the other things to carry.
On your sailing tour, what documents and currency would you require?
This are most likely the most important things to think about before departing for your journey. Is your passport and/or visa valid?
Always carry a photocopy of your passport in case it is lost or stolen, and if you are not an EU resident, search the country’s government website to see if you need a visitor’s visa. Also, don’t forget to carry your travel insurance documents.
Be sure you have ample cash and credit cards in the currency of your choosing when it comes to local currency.
Remember to carry the charter kit and papers as well. Bring any confirmations and contact addresses for the charter company’s staff with you.
What Do You Have on the Boat in the Way of Food and Drinks?
You’re well into organizing your trip at this stage, and you’ve learned that you’ll have to feed your crew at least three times a day.
You’ll have to figure out how to do that. The meals on board are an important part of the experience for those of us who have chartered sailboats. One of the most enjoyable facets of a sailing vacation is sampling local food while relaxing on your yacht under a starry night sky.
For a premium, certain charter companies can pack your boat with food and drinks. Some companies provide complete provisioning, in which they load the boat with all the food and beverages you’ll need for any meal, or’split’ provisioning, in which they have breakfasts and lunches but just two or three meals, allowing you to taste the local cuisine at restaurants along the way.
You should even employ a chef to take care of it for you if you want to spend all of your days relaxing in the sun and visiting nearby towns and waterways.
Alternatively, you should schedule, shop for, and prepare all of your meals on your own.
You’ll need to spend time organizing your meals, making a grocery list, investigating and finding nearby markets, assigning galley duties to your crew, and working all of this into your sailing itinerary, just as it takes meticulous planning to make the sailing experience safe and enjoyable.
This can seem to be a lot of work, but it can be a lot of fun, really satisfying, and normally a lot less expensive.
Although there will seem to be a lot to think about when planning your dream boat vacation, we guarantee that once you get started, everything will fall into place.
Plus, half the fun is in the prep! If the sight of driving through bright blue water past breathtaking coastal islands gets closer, you’ll get more and more excited.