The Sailing Beginners - Complete Guide for First Time Sailors
Being a beginner in any form of sport, activity or any other everyday life situation is not easy. But the feeling when you overcome the initial obstacles and become good at what you do is invaluable. This is especially true when sailing!
Regardless of the fact that you are just a beginner sailor, once you get on a sailboat and feel a connection between the sea, wind and sails and the freedom that sailing gives you, you’ll become a sailor for the rest of your life. And that is a fact. As no beginning is easy, we bring you a guide on how to easily prepare for embarking on an amazing world - the world of sailing!
There are two types of people who decide to sail for the first time - sailing beginners who really want to learn to sail and master new skills and those who just want to enjoy this type of vacation led by their skipper who will give them vacation from their dreams.
Either way, both groups have to go through some basic tips to make their stay on board as safe, better and interesting as possible. A little extra knowledge didn’t hurt anyone! :)
Chartering a boat for a sailing holiday can be quite a project. Still, we hope that this Guide for Sailing Beginners will make the process far less complicated for you.
First things first - Choose your crew
As before any trip, you first need to define the crew with whom you will go sailing. It depends on your team which type of boat you will choose, but also the sailing route you will use.
Sailing with family and friends, team building, party while sailing - all these are the types of sailing holidays that a sailing beginner can encounter. That is why it is extremely important to know who you are going with and what kind of vacation you really want.
And before choosing a destination (either a country or a region), it is extremely important to determine the period in which you want to sail. Each time period has its own characteristics and not every one is suitable for every sailor - especially if you are sailing for the first time.
Choose a destination and sailing route
After you have chosen the time period of your vacation, it is necessary to determine the destination for sailing. However, the choice of destination largely depends on the type of vacation you want - whether you want to learn to sail or spend your vacation sailing with the help of a skipper.
Sailing beginners who want to learn to sail should start their sailing journey in calmer seas with suitable winds. Preferably, somewhere where it is not heavy traffic. Favorable weather conditions are extremely important for learning to sail - and wind is the alpha and omega of sailing. There's no sailing without it, is there?
For those sailing for the first time, there are a variety of routes made by experienced sailors to make it easier for you to plan your vacation. You do not have to stick to these routes - you can change them according to your wishes and weather conditions. The only rule you should follow are your own preferences. You can always discuss the route with your skipper, if you hire one.
If you still decide to arrange your sailing route by yourself, our route planner can make your job much easier. But keep in mind the duration of your yacht charter period and adjust your sailing activity accordingly. It is recommended to do three to six hours of sailing per day, which means 15 to 25 NM. Do keep in mind the fuel consumption which depends upon weather conditions and boat type and size. A sailboat consumes 5 to 12 litres of fuel, and a catamaran 7 to 12 litres per hour.
Different charter possibilities
After choosing your crew, time period and destination, it's time to get acquainted with charter possibilities. For those of you who want to develop sailing skills before chartering a sailing yacht, it is recommended to attend a sailing school. And for everyone else, according to your wishes, skills and experience, you can choose from bareboat, skippered, crewed, and cabin yacht charter.
Bareboat yacht charter comes without a crew and this is only possible if you or someone from your crew have a valid sailing license. If you do not have a valid license or just want to enjoy your vacation and relax, the best option is to hire a skipper in a skippered yacht charter.
For all those who want to raise the level of relaxation and enjoyment to a higher level, there is a crewed charter - in it you get a crew that will operate the boat, navigate, prepare food and drinks for you and keep the boat clean and tidy.
Read more about the yacht charter possibilities in order to find out which one suits you the best -->
Choose your yacht type
Once you are familiar with charter possibilities, it is time to learn more about the types of yachts and which one suits you best depending on your needs. There are four basic types of yacht to choose from when sailing for the first time: sailing boat, catamaran, gulet and motor yacht.
If you are new to sailing, want to learn more about it or want to attend sailing school, your most likely choice will be sailboat. They are the most common type of boat chartered, and are best known for their stability. Sailboats are quite appreciative because their sizes vary from those with one cabin for two people all the way to large spacious sailboats with as many as six cabins.
For those who want more space and comfort, there are catamarans - a vessel with two hulls joined by a frame that is known for its great stability. Due to their shallow draft, catamarans can get much closer to the coast and shallow beaches which is quite important for people who want to experience the area in which they sail to the maximum. For sailing beginners it is important to emphasize their greatest advantage - its double hull and great stability greatly reduce the seasickness that can occur when you sail for the first time.
Sailing beginners who want accommodation similar to that in a hotel, there are gulets - large and spacious wooden sailing boats designed for larger groups of people. Interestingly, although they have two or three sails, their propulsion is mostly on a boat engine.
Island hopping, shallow beaches, luxury and speed - all these are the characteristics that motor yachts have. Motor yachts are fast, which means that you can visit more places on your vacation and that you will reach them faster than you would on a sailing yacht, catamaran or a gulet.
Do not let the price be the only parameter when choosing your yacht. There are numerous criteria which need to be taken into account. The built year will suggest the level of safety and the type of equipment. The younger the yacht is, the better shape it will be in.
Costs of chartering a yacht
Sailing as a type of vacation is definitely not the most expensive, but neither is it the cheapest option. Like other types of tourism, nautical has some of its basic, but also additional costs that you must be aware of before chartering a boat.
A cheaper boat does not necessarily mean that the overall cost of your vacation will be less. When searching for boats and all its advantages and disadvantages, but also the price-quality ratio, you can always turn to experienced agents who will surely find the optimal option for you in accordance with your budget.
This is perhaps the best solution for anyone sailing for the first time because after the first vacation on the boat you will definitely get acquainted with the prices, boats and some basic rules that will make it easier for you to choose a boat for all the upcoming sailing holidays. Also, you need to keep in mind that the same type of boat does not necessarily mean the same price in different destinations. That is why choosing a destination is extremely important when we talk in the context of money for your sailing vacation.
We have now gone through the main categories that as a sailing beginner you need to know. The booking process may seem complicated, but it really isn’t. Experienced sailors gathered and answered all the additional questions you might have during the entire process, from choosing a crew, destination and boat, to the very final act - booking your sailing vacation.
The Sailing Beginners - Tips & Tricks from Experienced Sailors
Even though you have already booked your boat and your only task is to show up at the charter base, you still need to know some basic things before going on vacation. Experienced sailors have made an effort to point them out and make it easier for you to prepare for your dream vacation.
What to pack for your sailing holiday?
If you are used to traveling with a few suitcases and changing a few clothing combinations for each day, forget about it. Space on the vast majority of boats (except for the most luxurious and largest ones) is limited, and clothing combinations definitely don’t take first place on the packing priority list.
Moreover, when it comes to clothes, be as simple as possible. When sailing, it is extremely important that you are comfortable in your clothes, so make sure to carry light and breathable goods (assuming you are sailing in the summer months).
In addition to clothes, there are much more priority things to take with you - from various documents, medication, toiletries, gadgets to "banal" things like sunglasses or sunscreen.
What medications to take for a sailing trip?
If you are a sailing beginner, you must know that small medical problems that we are not used to can occur during sailing - from sunburn and animal bites to seasickness, which is the most common.
For this reason it is important to properly prepare and take basic medical supplies with you to make your vacation run in the best possible order.
When to arrive at charter base & how to do check-in?
Upon arrival at the charter base and before departure, it is necessary to do a check in procedure to check your boat and get acquainted with some basic laws that will be indicated by the charter worker who will hand over the boat.
Since boats are usually rented in weekly periods of seven days (Saturday to Saturday), keep in mind that your boat will be ready around 5pm as workers have to prepare it after the departure of the previous guests It is also possible to check in earlier, which takes place around 1 pm, but you must be aware that it is paid extra. On the other hand, that way you get at least half a day of sailing more.
If you want to sail for a shorter period, contact agents to help you find a boat as not all charters offer this option. Although it depends on the charter company, it is an unwritten rule that they expect their guests to return no later than Friday between 5 and 6 p.m.
Keep in mind that before leaving, you will have to do some paperwork, pay a deposit as insurance and any extras if you need them.
What to do during your sailing holiday?
Although sailing is fun and exciting for itself, it allows for some additional activities that you might not encounter in a normal type of coastal tourism.
Sailing allows you to spend literally every day of your vacation in a different location - another bay, island or town. It provides a special type of sightseeing that you should definitely take advantage of.
When sightseeing, one gets hungry - and that is why this activity is connected with another - tasting local cuisine. This is especially true for Mediterranean sites that have a specific food that is considered by many to be the best in the world.
Don’t forget to bring your cell phones, photos or GoPro cameras to immortalize your activities at sea and have wonderful memories forever.
What to cook on a yacht?
Let’s be real, wherever you go, food ranks high on your list of priorities during travel. But also in everyday life. It is clear that the vast majority of those who sail for the first time will try a variety of local specialties in restaurants, however, part of the meal you will definitely have to cook on your boat.
Good food organization is extremely important as there is not too much storage space on the boats. The amount of food you will initially take depends primarily on the number of people you will be sailing with.
Cook light food that you can prepare very quickly - no one is interested in spending the day in the kitchen when there are beautiful sea areas around you.
In addition to food, it is essential to be well supplied with fluid - you have constantly hydrate to avoid unwanted side effects. Some unwritten rule is that you must bring 1.5 liters of water per day per crew member. You can always replenish your groceries when visiting places with shops.
What to look for when sailing with children?
Sailing is definitely one of the activities that not only children but also adults easily fall in love with. However, when it comes to children, extra attention should always be paid around the organization of the trip, but also safety.
For example, if you plan to sail with children, one of the indispensable things you need is a safety net. It is paid extra, but it is necessary in order to provide a greater degree of security for your children and yourself. During sailing, all children must wear lifebelts in order to minimize the consequences in the event of an accident.
Of course, wearing lifebelts is also recommended for adult sailors. Children get bored very quickly and need to be entertained - for this very reason, bring their favorite toys, board games, but also equipment for diving, exploring, fishing. Take advantage of all the activities that the nautical type of tourism offers and allow your children to learn various things about nature, the sea, destinations, but also to acquire various new skills.
Is taking pets on a yacht a good idea?
All pet owners face the same problem before each trip they take - to take their furry friend with them or not. Even when it comes to the classic apartment or hotel type of accommodation, it is not the easiest thing to find those that allow pets.
The first question when you think in this context about your sailing vacation is: "Can I take my pet aboard a charter yacht? The answer to this question depends from agency to agency, from charter to charter, but in the vast majority of cases the answer is YES, you can take your pet with you.
But as is the case with children, you definitely need to prepare extra. In addition to safety challenges such as safety nets and life jackets, pet owners also face practical challenges, for example, where and how a pet will defecate.
There is a possibility that the animal will be very scared, but also like humans will get seasickness so you must be careful to bring with you sufficient medical supplies to solve potential problems as easily as possible.
How to do check-out?
After a week or two of your sailing vacation, it's time to check out. As we have learned before, most charter operators require their clients to return vessels to the charter base on Friday afternoon.
In extreme cases clients are allowes to return to base early Saturday morning as the check out is done before 9am in order to workers can prepare boats for the new tour of guests.
During the check-out procedure you need to pay attention to three important things: yacht examination, the amount of fuel (the client is obliged to return the refueled vessels) and finally collecting the deposit you left during the check-in.
Let's summarize some more advice from sailing experts!
1. Be informed and responsible - The most important thing and advice for a person sailing for the first time is to be well informed before reading, read articles, e-books and books on this topic, but also, if you decide to learn to sail, do it with an experienced sailing expert and practice sailing in ideal conditions of light winds and low traffic.
2. Always monitor weather conditions and wind changes - Check the weather forecast daily, never set sail before checking the conditions that will prevail on the scheduled route for that day and check the potential places where you could anchor if there is a large and sudden change in the weather.
3. Safety must always come first - Whether you are a beginner sailor or an experienced sailor, safety when sailing must always come first. Keep in mind that children and pets should always be kept in mind. Do not rush or sail if there is a potential danger.
4. Learn basic sailing terms - Make your life easier and learn basic expressions so that everything is clear to you when sailing. If you want, you can tease yourself with pirate sailing terms used in the past.
5. Practise makes it perfect - If some of the things you learn while sailing don’t go right away, don’t give up. As with most things in life, the more you sail, the better sailor you will be. Sailing is not just a sport, a pleasure, sailing is in a way a lifestyle.