What do I take with me? What do I leave at home? When packing, what is the subtle difference between too much, too little and just right?
Lynda Morris Childress, an experienced blue water sailor who cruises through the Aegean Sea with charter guests on her Atlantic 70 Stressbuster, has over the years taken a close look at what guests are lugging on board and created a list based on their observations that will help you, Only take with you what is necessary for a great holiday on the water and leave the rest on land, where superfluous ballast is best kept.
Basically, you are well advised who gets used to a packing order in which the clothes are folded and stacked in groups: T-shirts, underwear, pants, sweaters, etc., no matter how, everyone has their own logic and a special system, but they should be kept to make finding and keeping things in order easier. Vacuum packaging (plastic bags with zippers) or rolling up also help to save space. And even if you’ve packed a little too tightly and you are about to run out of clean clothes, don’t panic: there are coin laundries in many of the marinas and ports in the popular charter areas.
Travel documents: Even if you know that you have all the necessary IDs and certificates such as passport and visa for the travel destination, it is advisable to make sure that you have all of them in your luggage before you start your journey. Regarding credit cards: Let your bank know about your trip, because in the age of unchecked online crime, it can easily happen that the financial institution considers your credit card stolen and blocks if suddenly unannounced debits are made abroad.
Pocket size: Bulky suitcases have no place on board a boat, period. Especially not hard-shell cases, because they can damage the teak and paintwork and cannot be stored in the often limited storage space. Soft fabric bags or so-called duffel bags are ideal because they can be folded up and stowed away after unpacking. Large bags sometimes have wheels and telescopic handles. These are permitted to a limited extent, but in case of doubt, it is better to take two smaller pieces of luggage than one large one, even if you have to pay a few euros extra for it.
Packing strategy: fill your pockets with whatever you want to bring, then throw half back out. One of the most common mistakes is the pack frenzy, where too much is simply taken with you. Holidays on board are casual, especially in warm climates, and clothing should be chosen accordingly. Less is more and leaves more space for sailing clothes and other items.
Well-shod: Street shoes like those worn in the city are frowned upon on yachts because they are impractical and harmful to deck and cabin floors. On Stressbuster, as on many other yachts with a crew, there is separate storage space for street shoes. It’s best to walk barefoot or in light boat shoes (topsiders, sailing shoes) on board. Water sandals are also recommended, especially because they protect against foot injuries from sharp rocks or sea urchins when bathing. Flip-flops are okay for going ashore, but generally also with shoes: less is better.
Swimming trunks / swimsuit: This is actually the standard uniform on board, combined with a light-colored T-shirt as sun protection and simple shorts to pull on. This also fits when going ashore, e.g. at dinner in a tavern in the harbor.
Snorkeling equipment: Before embarking on a charter holiday, it is worthwhile to clarify whether there are snorkel equipment on board the boat. If not, bring your own. Small diving goggles, a snorkel and a pair of fins are the ticket to a large underwater cinema. If you are out early or late in the year when the water temperatures are a little fresher, you can use a wetsuit to extend your time in or under water.
To put it on: give your skin a break from the sun. T-shirts (especially with long sleeves), light tops, functional underwear, summer dresses, sarongs, blue jeans, light pants (short, long or with removable legs) everything is allowed. Practical over fashion. The English say “Come as you are”, but there are exceptions: When visiting churches and monasteries, decency calls for more conservative couture. In some places there are also clothes racks with “visitor clothes” to borrow, a simple and elegant solution with which the protocol is preserved.
Those who go sailing in midsummer are less concerned with thermal clothing, although a light fleece sweater and a rain jacket should be included. For the early and late season, we also recommend leggings, wool or fleece caps and a slightly warmer sweater for the cooler nights.
Sun protection: Avoid oily and greasy sunscreens that stain pillows and fabric covers. Also avoid toxic products and be wary of the fairy tale that a higher sun protection factor also offers more protection. Often there are also health risks associated with this (ask a doctor or pharmacist). Avoid too much exposure to the sun. Look for shade regularly and wear wide-brimmed hats or caps with an integrated neck scarf. Suspension lines with which hats are clamped to clothing and so cannot be blown off are useful when sailing. Also important: a good pair of sunglasses with polarizing lenses to prevent water reflections. For the particularly cautious, there are also sunglasses with integrated buoyancy. They can still go overboard, but they won’t sink.
Washcloths, bath towels: In order to be on the safe side, inquire with the charter company before you go on holiday. Many, but by no means all, companies make this kind of thing available to guests. If in doubt, just bring a bath towel yourself.
Sailing clothing: In summer you can make ends meet with a light sail. At least a jacket and light pants that can be stowed compactly in your luggage should not be missing. To have it or not to have it makes a huge difference, should there be one or the other rough sailing day.
Headphones / earplugs: It is essential to bring with you, because inconsiderate behavior with loud music and (often alcohol-induced) shouting or neighboring ships on which the generator continues to run unabashedly even late at night are unfortunately among the unpleasant sides of a holiday in the high season. Especially in the crowded harbors of the south, with many restaurants and bars close to the water, it is often noisy until the early hours of the morning. In order to still be able to close an eye, experienced charter sailors have a pack of ear plugs with them and thus create the necessary rest if necessary. Noise-filtering headphones are also a tried and tested means of combating loud noise.
Entertainment electronics / charging batteries: Gone are the days when a few clunky C90 compact cassettes were the only canned music on board, which were then played up and down every day ad nauseam. Today every charter guest with a telephone or MP3 player brings their own disco, often thousands of titles. But what does it help if the boat doesn’t have a Bluetooth-enabled stereo system or if the right cable for the AUX input is missing. So: ask the charter company beforehand and bring the appropriate accessories with you, if you don’t want to do without your personal hit parade even on vacation, or if you want to play them to the fellow sailors, come what may.
The starting position on board is also important for charging the batteries in the various gadgets. This too can and should be found out by the charter company before the start of the trip. Especially when traveling to distant territories, there can be surprises with local electrical voltages.
Seasickness: There are no patent remedies against mal de mer, and every body reacts differently. Acupressure bracelets, plasters for behind the ear, pills (e.g. Drammamine), ginger capsules, or recently also vitamin C chewable tablets: the variety of remedies and remedies is breathtaking. It is best to speak to a doctor or pharmacist about any side effects before you go on vacation. Even if you are not prone to seasickness, it is often not a bad idea to take a preventive dose at the beginning of the journey to allow yourself a period of getting used to without feeling unwell. In any case, it is advisable to avoid large portions of fatty foods and excessive consumption of alcohol if you want to be fit outside by the water the following day.
Medicines: If you need prescription medicine, you should bring it with you from home, because in many places foreign prescriptions are not recognized.