Preparing for life on board!
Think of living on a yacht as camping on the water and you won't be far wrong! With the odd exception of the occasional black tie ball or formal sailing awards dinner (always advised in advance) there is little need to pack a lot for a week or two on the water...and if you're joining us for longer, you'll only need a few extra items and can normally buy anything you've forgotten locally!
What to pack
As little as possible is the message! Dress is very informal in the sailing environment - whatever the location. Jeans, shorts or denim skirts with flipflops are pretty much all you'll see shoreside in yachtie hotspots - and high heels play havoc with boat decks so best avoided unless heading to a yacht club 'do'!
During the day there will be a mix of bursts of activity (when you will warm up) and periods of sitting (where you will cool down). Aim to wear layers that you can add/remove as necessary and the 3-layer rule is a good guide:
- Wicking base layer - tops like merino wool base layers, technical skiing or jogging base layers are perfect, avoid cotton which makes you feel cold and damp) and jeans are a bad idea on board as they won't keep you warm and take forever to dry if you get them wet.
- Warm, fleecy mid-layer or jumper
- Wind-proof, waterproof shell
- Layers including a fleece and 2 or 3 long sleeve tops to keep you warm
- Shower-proof jacket
- Shower-proof trousers
- Lightweight walking or cotton type trouser and a pair of shorts, not jeans, for sailing in. Leggings are great!
- Casual gear for evenings - jeans, sweatshirt/t-shirt
- Sailing shoes- ideally leather deck shoes or trainers with non-slip and non-marking soles
- Sailing boots – in case it rains or if you are on the rail in rough weather
- Flip flops for the showers (floors can get dirty quickly)
- Underwear and socks
- Wet weather gear (available for hire @£10 per set per day, subject to availability, order at booking stage)
- A pair of sailing gloves - always a great asset and pretty essential if you plan to do more than a weekend
- Woolly hat and warm gloves if sailing in the spring/winter - or overnight even in summer in the UK. Neck warmers (or Buffs) are brilliant and double up as sun protection in warmer months.
- Bikini or swimsuit in case you fancy a dip in the sea!
- If attending a regatta you could bring a crease-free dress or smart trousers if you like for evening wear, just in case we get an invite to a party!
We find that thermals are essential any time of year in the UK. They are excellent worn under wet weather gear. If you ski or run/hike/walk then outdoor clothing works just as well and doesn’t cost the earth, so bring those items if you have them.
Other essential on board items to include
To help keep your luggage to a minimum we have listed some basic requirements:
- Sleeping bag with inner sheet (if preferred) - keeps your sleeping bag clean, adds warmth when it's chilly and you can use it on it's own if it's too warm for a full sleeping bag.
- Small pillow (if you require one, as they’re not provided)
- Towel and toiletries (a quick drying travel towel is a must when it's chilly or your towel will not dry!)
- Sun block – cream, not oil please as it’s slippery (even if it’s not sunny it will protect against windburn). Make sure you have plenty of high factor sunscreen, at least factor 30. DO take sunburn seriously!
- Sunglasses (polarised to minimise glare) and a cap – with a strap to keep it tied on!
- Camera to record your experience!
- Waterproof jacket & trousers (unless you have opted to hire these from us at the booking stage - £10 per set per day if booked in advance)
- Medicines - There will be a well-stocked first aid kit on board the yacht, however please bring your own seasickness tablets* and pain killers and antiseptic cream and any prescription drugs you require.
- Earplugs are an excellent idea if you're a light sleeper or bothered by unfamiliar noises!
- A headtorch can be jolly handy (especially if it has a red light option for night sailing) though certainly not essential.
- A refillable drinking bottle is a very good idea - it's easy to forget to drink enough when you're sailing so this will help you monitor your intake throughout the day and is easy to drink from on the go.
NB If you have never sailed before, it’s a good idea to take a sea sickness tablet before you set off and then again in the morning and repeat the following night and morning (refer to the dosage instructions of the product you have purchased. We advise this initially unless you know you don’t get sea sick. We are not licensed to administer drugs so unfortunately you need to bring your own. It is not unusual to feel seasick, it happens to the most experienced of sailors: Ellen MacArthur and Robin Knox-Johnson still suffer and look at the voyages they’ve been on! It’s just your body’s way of adjusting its balance and it will pass, trust us!
Crew kit for racing
If you are sailing in a regatta, we’ll provide you with a much coveted Girls For Sail team t-shirt. These are exclusive: only people that sail/race with us can have one and you will be expected to wear it as crew kit during the race. We will also have crew t-shirts available to buy to wear out in the evenings. Please bring a black pair of shorts/trousers and a swimsuit/bikini (we are feeling hopeful) should the weather be amazing!! This is our attempt at looking like a crew should the sun come out!
Your allowance on any airplane is 20 kilos per person, so we use this as a standard for most trips. I know, it doesn’t sound a lot but it is enough, honestly! It is advisable to pack very lightly as there is always a limited amount of storage space on the yachts. PLEASE DO NOT BRING A HARD-BACKED CASE. You should bring a soft/folding hold-all, not a hard suitcase so that storage of your bag will be easy, and we limit the number of bags to one per person.