Destination decided. Check. Friends and Family confirmed. Check. Sailing charter researched and booked. Check. Now, what to pack?
Packing for a sailing holiday is easy. Fortunately, boat life lends itself to simple living and there are just a few extra things needed that you might not take on a regular holiday. A Duffel Bag is the best bag to pack as it is soft and can be easily stowed onboard.
What NOT to bring
Although these days with volt inverters available on some boats (check with your charter company) for electric appliances, you may not want to bother with a hairdryer or hair straighteners. They are a drain on the main battery, so best to be conservative if you must bring them. Anyhow, the best look for a summer sailing holiday is the windswept-and-groovy look- the natural blow dry, salt and all, is the way to go!
Heeled shoes can also be left behind as they damage the deck and also make entry and exit off the boat tricky and not very elegant! Dark-soled shoes can also be left behind, as these mark the deck. Two pairs of shoes should be enough -a good pair of closed deck shoes and some flip-flops.
Valuables should be considered carefully. Boats tend to be left open in the evening and it is usually safe enough but 'just in case' anything happens, we don't recommend bringing any irreplaceable family heirlooms!
Swim gear and simple clothes are the best whilst sailing and most people say they wear much less than they bring, so put out what you think you’ll need, then halve it!
The important personal documents such as a Valid Passport, Flight tickets and itinerary, Health and Other Insurance Certificates, Driving Licence, and local currency and debit/credit card should be packed first. Zip-lock bags are useful for storing these essentials.
Toiletries and pharmaceuticals
Again, think small and convenient. A small, hanging toiletry bag with a built in mirror is useful for sailing trips where space is at a premium. It can be hung on the side of your bunk.
All the usual personal hygiene products should be packed, in small packaging. Natural shampoos, conditioners and shower gels that won't damage marine life are recommended.
Essential is a basic first-aid kit including: Sea/travel sickness pills if you are worried about your sea-legs, Insect repellent and Anti-histamine (in case of insect bites/stings) and any regular prescription medicine –as many as you can. Emergencies arise and you can go to a local chemist, but the language barrier may make things more difficult. Eye drops and lip balm may be useful after being in salt water all day and a sleep aid, if needed.
Protection from the Elements
One of the first things to think about is your skin. A pair of good Sunglasses (with lanyard to avoid sunglasses overboard), a hat (that won’t blow off), a high factor sun-block and lip-balm and a sarong are musts on a sailing holiday. A day of open-sea sailing, with not much shade, can take its toll on the skin, so an aloe cream or good after-sun in case of sunburn also goes on the list.
Waterproof gear in the event of a summer storm or shower is useful, plus a fleece and warm trousers for cooler evenings.
Earplugs and eye mask may be useful if you are sensitive to sound and light.
Charging phones for all the crew can be tricky. Recommended is an extra phone battery, a 12 volt (car charger) for charging devices on board and, best of all, a solar charger.
You wouldn’t want to forget a camera or Waterproof Camera (+ memory card & charger) or iPod or iPhone & jack to jack lead to play music on board. Also useful is a two pin adaptor to charge batteries in port in the evening.
If you are a bookworm, an e-reader with a waterproof case is a convenient way to read onboard.
Having booked your charter boat, you will need to bring along your skipper’s licence, a Log book (if you're recording sea miles) and a Yacht Manual & Harbour Guide. All other sailing necessities should be provided by the charter boat.
Ready to set sail
Remember that space is key and less is more on a boat charter. Sailing holidays are casual and relaxing affairs, so pack accordingly and you with all these bases covered you will be ready to sail away!
Check List for Him
- 5 T-shirts/tank tops
- 3 pairs of shorts
- 2 swimsuits / shorts
- 1 pair trousers
- 1 long-sleeved shirt
- 5 sets underwear
- 2 pairs socks
- deck shoes
- flip flops
- light jacket/ pullover
- 2 towels – microfiber are best
Check List for Her
- 5 dresses
- 2 swimsuits
- 3 tank tops or t-shirts
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 1 pair of leggings
- 2 bras
- 5 pairs of underwear
- 1 pair of socks
- 1 scarf
- 1 light jacket
- 1 sarong or cover up
- 2 towels – microfiber are best
- 1 pair deck shoes
- 1 pair flip-flops
- 1 pair dressier sandals
By Merryn Wainwright