Sailing is a fun, educational, and a stress-reducing activity that most people can participate in and enjoy after a few basic trials. Whether you want to become a professional or just learn the basics, you have to start somewhere. Here is a simple guide for first timers when taking their first sailing holiday.
How do you learn to sail as a beginner?
Before you go out to sea you need to learn the basics especially if you are going to sail on your own. For a flotilla holiday you need less experience than for bare boat sailing but you still need to learn a thing or two. When you book your trip, you will find out from your tour operator whether you need a formal sailing qualification or not. You may need to hire your own skipper if you don’t want to take a course but if you do there are a few options you can choose from.
The Royal Yachting Association offer day skipper courses costing between £400 and £600 depending on when and where you take it. You could also try the International Certificate of Competence and the Competent Crew Certificate.
You can also take a learn to sail holiday where you are taught during your holiday, letting you do more and more as the days go by. The whole family can even learn altogether at the same time. This is especially interesting for older kids who may be missing their home comforts
How to prepare for a sailing holiday?
Before you embark on a sailing holiday you need to prepare. If you have never been sailing before planning before you go is key. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a sailing holiday.
- Pack Light, you don’t need a large suitcase just a small backpack containing the essentials. There isn’t much room in the cabin on the yacht so you will want to keep luggage to a minimum.
- Also pack well, make the most of minimum space by using packing aids and having separate bags for laundry and wet clothes.
- Make sure you bring along plenty of sun cream as it can get very hot and you might not notice the suns rays due to the cooling breeze. and a first aid kit.
- Keep passports and any important documents in a sealed waterproof bag. Everything could get wet on a yacht so seal any items that can’t afford to be water damaged!
- Bring a book, you’ll have plenty of time on the boat to relax and read.
- Plan your yacht clothes and don’t bring too many, all you’ll need is a t-shirt shorts and flip flops!
- Take along a separate pair of comfortable shoes for walking when at shore. You might want to make sure these remain dry and keep them away from your yacht clothes.
- Like checking your progress? Bring along a smart watch such as one of these best smart watches.
What kinds of sailing holidays can you take?
There are a few different types of sailing holiday you can take depending on how involved you want to get and how much experience you have.
Flotilla sailing holidays
A flotilla is a group of between ten and twelve yachts which are guided by a lead yacht which holds an experienced skipper and full crew. These flotillas have up to fifty people in total on the trip depending on the size of boats. The course and itinerary pre-set for you and you will be given a full briefing on the workings of the boat as well as daily briefings on the route and every day weather conditions.
On the first morning you will be given a full and comprehensive briefing covering all the working parts of the boat and give you confidence to sail on your own. Flotilla holidays give you an amazing sense of freedom but also with the peace of mind knowing that help is at hand if or when you need it.
A Yacht Charter holiday
A yacht charter gives you complete freedom on your sailing holiday. If you have taken your lessons, got your qualifications and are confident you are with sailing then you are ready to sail yourself. If you are not so confident then you can hire a skipper, or even a full crew. The best thing about this type of holiday is that you can make up your own itinerary. Going where you want and if you like a destination spend a little more time there.
One of the most popular things about a yacht charter is that you can drop anchor in the middle of nowhere and enjoy the peace of the ocean with no one else around. The peace and freedom on a charter is different from sailing with others on a flotilla.
The best destinations for a beginner sailing holidays?
The Mediterranean is the perfect place when it comes to beginner sailing holidays. The seas are calm and there are plenty of little coves, sandy beaches and beautiful scenery to explore. It covers a wide area and each destination is unique in its own way. Leaving you plenty of choice to find a region to suit you.
The Ionian, Saronic and Sporades in the Greek Islands are a popular choice for both flotilla and yacht charter holidays. The island groups have plenty of different stops you can make and relatively short distances between each of the small islands. Itineraries are varied and some can be tailored for you to suit your needs. Greece is also a popular choice for those who want to try some excellent food and wine at local tavernas and explore the Greek history too.
Croatia is becoming an ever increasingly popular destination choice for sailing holidays. You can choose to stop in quiet bays or to enjoy some lively nightlife and beach parties. Each island and small coastal town has its own charm. There are local markets and gorgeous old towns and villages to explore and plenty of lovely places to eat and drink.
The Spanish Balearic Islands have always been a very popular spot for sailing holidays. Mallorca is an excellent choice for family sailing holidays. Explore the rugged cliffs and shoreline of the western shore and the white sandy beaches of the south. All around you’ll find turquoise blue waters and lots of tourist friendly places to stop and taste some local food.
On the southern coast of Italy, you’ll find a very upmarket sailing route. Sardinia, Elba and Sicily will greet you with modern and stylish marinas, traditional harbours and sandy beaches. Classic Italian style mixed with authentic tradition is what it is all about here. The food is amazing too!
Are you ready to try a sailing holiday for the first time?
Has this inspired you even more to get out on the water and try a sailing holiday? There are so many destinations in the Mediterranean that are just so much better seen by boat. A truly unique and freeing way to see a few fantastic destinations from your very own yacht. Where will you sail to first?