I’m sure the first-time sailor find a number of things to learn about sailing a little overwhelming. So why not start with a shorter list of things you’re not supposed to do?
Do Not Come Unprepared
We all have our preconceptions about sailing and yachts, so it is very important to verify them before leaving for a sailing holiday. You can do that in several ways: maybe the most convenient, and also the most effective is to watch some videos on YouTube about the on board experience. It’s your last chance to have a good laugh at other people’s expense!
It can also be extremely useful to learn a couple of basic words and expressions of sailing. Knowing the boom from the mast will make you look a little less miserable, even with some ropes tangled around your feet.
Do Not Pack Your Whole House
Let common sense refrain you from packing your gala gear, or suit and tie first. Chances are you go sailing in the summer, so you can leave your ski stuff where it is. Then, for the advanced beginner: you want to stay comfortable and dry most of the time (for the rest, bring your swimsuit collection).
Some basic pieces of clothing of a natural material, and some of wind- and water-resisting ones will do just fine, together with shoes or sandals that have a good grip. Remember, you go sailing, not skating. As for non-clothing related items, make sure the sunscreen is in, all the rest is optional.
Do Not Underestimate the Professional Training
Sailing is not something you can learn by yourself. Learn by doing, yes, but with the supervision of a certified professional. You need to invest in a sailing course, but since most of them mean that, after a little theory, you’re out on a boat on the sea, you can already call it a holiday, don’t you think?
Do Not Think Insurance is for Fools
You are a good swimmer, and you can take care of yourself anyway – we understand that. Without being pessimistic, though, let’s suppose sailing is an unfamiliar activity to you, and as such, can present unique challenges. Some of which you might not overcome. Some of which might even make you interrupt your holiday. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the costs of it covered by the insurance company?
Do Not Think About the Weather As Your Friend
Be familiar with the weather forecasts. The sunny weather, mild winds, and lazy waves are never guaranteed by the law. You’re less likely to experience a shaky ride if you respect the forces of Mother Nature and sail to a safe shelter whenever the outlooks are less than ideal.
Do Not Ignore the Person in Command
The first rule is to ask for permission before you step on board. After that, carefully follow instructions of your skipper, and don’t do anything you haven’t been asked to. The skipper has the full command over anyone on board, and disrespecting him or her is not just a matter of coolness, but it can also highly effect safety.
Do Not Get Totally Drunk
Quite easy to explain: being drunk doesn’t help when you expect to learn something new, avoid nausea or sunburn and get to know new people. Or simply just staying alive while the boat is rocking you on the open seas. Test exercise: drunken squats challenge, to see how prepared you are to tuck when the boom comes from an unexpected direction.
Do Not Sink the Boat
We saved the best for last: contrary to popular belief, boats do sink quite often. It can be a question of bad maintenance of its parts, or a complete fool running right into your vessel full speed, in which cases you can’t be blamed.
But it can also be a personal negligence on the part of the temporary crew. Frequent mistakes include improper use of the toilets and inadequate selection of anchoring spots (especially in low tide.) Also, drain plugs are on the boats for a reason -try to find that out before it’s too late!