Sailing for Beginners: A Guide to Packing So You Have What You Need Aboard

If you have never sailed before then you might be mistaken in thinking it will take a long hard time to learn. It actually takes a few days of lessons to be able to shove off on your own, and as little as an afternoon to pick up the basics. So even though you are a beginner you could be sailing on the breeze in the Mediterranean somewhere. Taking time to learn on a sailing holiday will benefit you if you wish to take a more individual journey later on.

When planning a sailing holiday, you’ll need to make sure you pack your essentials but don’t bring too much along at the same time. A boat has limited space and a weight limit too so you really must be careful when considering what to bring with you. If you are looking for some tips on what to pack then check out the packing list below.

Your first sailing trip packing checklist

  • Two pairs of enclosed shoes – one pair for aboard the boat preferably with non-slip soles that you don’t mind getting wet. Then a dry comfortable pair for exploring the shore, suitable for walking long distances in the heat.
  • Day clothes – you will probably be wearing a t-shirt, shorts and swimsuit and flipflops for the most part whilst on board during the day. You will want to be comfortable and made from materials that dry relatively easily too. How many of each item depends on the duration of your trip.
  • A hat- to protect you from the sun and wind. Make sure it fits properly and won’t blow off your head whilst you are sailing.
  • Two towels – one for the shower and one for the beach. Keep them separate to keep the sand and sea water from your clean shower towel. There’s nothing worse than getting sand everywhere.
  • A jumper or sweatshirt – although the days may be warm and sunny, it can get chilly during the evening and overnight. Having a sweatshirt, you can pull over your clothes as night draws in will prevent you from feeling the cold and let you enjoy your evening on deck.
  • Toiletries – don’t bring full size as they will take up too much room. Maybe share with family or friends or try to bring travel size or decant larger items into smaller travel bottles.
  • One evening wear outfit – if you plan to have a night out on the coast, then you’ll need something appropriate to wear. As you are stopping off at different places, you won’t need more than one evening outfit
  • Sunglasses – the glare from the sun and sea together can be quite harsh on clear sunny days, so sunglasses are essential to protect your eyes and enable you to see what you are doing too.
  • Electrical chargers and adapters – as with any trip you need to make sure your electronics are charged and in working order. Find out what kind of travel adapter you need for your boat and pack your electronics in water proof bags to prevent them getting damaged.
  • Your camera – of course you want to take those amazing shots of the shoreline but you will need a waterproof camera or at least a waterproof case to protect it from sea water damage. Remember even if it doesn’t get wet, there’s a lot of moisture that might affect it.
  • A torch – although you will probably find one provided on board, having a personal torch will help you navigate your cabin in the dark. Keep it somewhere easily accessible.
  • First aid and medication – again a first aid kit should be provided however make sure you ring your own personal medication you require and any extra first aid items you might need. Bring enough prescription medication for the duration of your trip and a little more in case or delays.
  • Sun cream – Out on the water and in the hot sun it can be very easy to become sunburnt. A good sun cream is essential and a water and sand-proof type is a good idea. Sun protection should not be overlooked and remember to keep hydrated too by drinking plenty of water.
  • Keepsake – Why not make your trip memorable with some personalised garments for you and your family/team/crew. Check out Printsome who can personalise promotional clothing, such as t-shirts, hats, etc

How to pack for a for your first sailing trip

Less is more when it comes to packing for a sailing holiday. Check with your tour operator to find out any luggage and weight restrictions before you start to pack, so you don’t have to leave anything behind on shore. A soft, but waterproof bag or backpack is better than a large suitcase which can be difficult to store.

If you are wondering how to fit all of your essential items into a small bag, then follow the frequent traveller’s advice and use packing cubes. They are a great little invention which allows you to keep your clothes and other items separate in your luggage and also help to save space too. When sailing it’s a great idea to use waterproof packing cubes to separate and store your luggage items. Keep wet and dry clothes away from each other, keep electronics, cameras and other valuable items safe, clean and dry and compact your clothes and shoes into cubes that will fit better into your backpack.

Once you have planned what you are packing, make piles of similar items and then allocate a packing cube for each of the piles. Check the sizes of the cubes and how they will fit into your soft bag or backpack. By planning ahead, and using packing aides you will ensure you don’t overpack and keep your things organised, which is perfect when staying in close quarters.

What else do you need to know?

It can be an interesting experience when you spend your first hours aboard a yacht. A sailing holiday will earn you your sea legs, but when you first climb aboard take your time to familiarise yourself with the boat and how it moves on the water. It might be difficult at first but if you follow tips from the rest of the crew and your party, you can get used to it! Honest!

To combat seasickness there are a few tips you can follow. Don’t go down below to your cabin, stay on deck where you will get a nice sea breeze and a landscape to focus on. Avoid sailing on an empty stomach it can make your sickness feel worse. Eating will help to ease that rising feeling from your stomach and settle yourself for the motion. Also, if you know your sickness will be quite bad, there are medications or acupressure bands you can try to relieve the symptoms so you can get on with enjoying your trip.

Take time to enjoy the experience on the water, relax on deck and soak in the scenery, this is why you took this holiday after all.

Do you have any tips?

If you have tried sailing before, you must have some tips for those who are just beginning. Do you have any tips you would like to share about packing for your first sailing trip or any other tips to help others taking their first trip?

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