How to Make the Most of Your Summer Sailing Holiday

When we think of sailing holidays, most people think of sunshine, warm winds, crystal clear waters, beautiful scenery and delicious local food. You wouldn’t be far wrong, especially in the summer around the Mediterranean. So how do you improve on this?

The beginning of holidays are always stressful and for some, usually the mums or wives, the holiday begins weeks in advance with what to take. Whether it’s for a week or two or for the lucky few, even longer, here’s an example of what would be in my soft, foldable luggage…

underwear for 10 days – you can do a quick hand wash at some point
4 pairs of shorts
7 t-shirts
1 jumper
4 evening outfits that mix and match
flip flops, deck shoes and evening shoes
rain coat
towels if needed
hat, sunglasses, sun screen
Most people will spend most of the day in swimwear and shorts and t-shirt. Children especially are quite happy in swimsuits whether they’re on the beach or boat and in the Med everything dries so quickly there’s no harm doing a quick wash if needed.

Once on board, look after yourself but keep a good look out for others too. Problems such as sun stroke and heat stroke sneak up on people and can ruin a holiday for the suffering and others on board. How can you avoid these illnesses?

Drink lots of water each day and evening. Have a beer or a glass of wine but always with a glass of water. Even if you drink tea and coffee, you still need to drink at least 2 litres of water, if not more, to replace the fluids your body looses through sweating in stronger heat than you’re used to.
Wear a hat. An Aussie style hat with a 2 inch brim is best to help keep you cool as well as protecting your eyes from the sun’s glare.
Wear sunglasses. Choose wrap around style sunglasses with UV protection to protect your eyes.
Use sunscreen. Choose a high factor sun screen to protect you from sun burn, UVA and UVB damage as well as skin cancer.
Wear cool clothing – if you’re not in your swimwear keep cool with cotton and natural fibres.
If you do start to feel unwell, you need to rehydrate yourself. Electrolyte rehydration packs are available in most pharmacies but drinking water will help too. Lie somewhere cool with a gentle breeze and take small sips of water – drinking lots too fast can harm you more.

It won’t be long before attention turns to food. Generally on sunny holidays people don’t eat a lot in the day when it’s hot. Breakfast is best kept simple with pastries from the local bakery, cereal, tea and coffee, orange juice and fresh fruit – remember it’s important to make sure you’re getting all your vitamins and minerals!

Lunch is best eaten under the bimini out of the heat of the midday sun. Again, keep it simple and enjoy light, fresh salads, cold meats, cheeses, bread from the bakery, pasta and pesto, perhaps a special treat from the patisserie, and if you have a freezer an ice cream will go down extremely well!

As for dinner, having spent all day on board, it’s usually nice to take a wander ashore and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant – even if it’s just pizza! Sit down, relax, stop bobbing for a while! Although waterfront restaurants often look the most appealing, they are also usually the most expensive. In France and Italy, try having an aperitif on the waterfront and then moving a street back for dinner. You won’t necessarily get the best views but you can bet you’ll find a much better value and tasty meal.

For the best nights sleep, if you don’t want to pay marina fees, make sure you choose a spot that’s quiet. Whether you like quiet in the form of no noise from others or quiet as in no swell rocking the boat, it’s up to you, but it’s a very lucky sailor that gets both in close proximity to facilities ashore.

Something I’ve learnt from sailing with numerous people is that you must all agree who is the captain for the trip, the day or the manoeuvre. There can only be one captain at any time to avoid confusion, misunderstanding and arguments. It is also the responsibility of the said captain to brief the crew, whether as a whole or individually, in what they would like to be done. With clear communication between everyone on board, many arguments and disagreements can be avoided and a happy group maintained.

Keeping the boat clean inside and out is important and it’s also important that everybody helps. A general list of daily cleaning is useful and if everyone chips in it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes each day. The list doesn’t need to be long either:

clean toilets
sweep through
take rubbish ashore
keep personal possessions tidy and in your own cabin/space
rinse decks and hull with fresh water
tidy lines, ropes, sails
Remember: A tidy ship is a happy ship!

With all these tips followed, hopefully you’ll have an even more fabulous summer sailing holiday!

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