What Price Safety at Sea?
Planning to return safely?
The summer is approaching and with it, that dream of making your holiday with friends on a sailboat is close. Paradise islands and beautiful cities await you on your voyage, pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, endless blue and on the edge of the Mediterranean, the Aegean islands in sunny Greece.
Can you imagine that there are more than 6000 islands, waiting to be discovered?
Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, mostly cosmopolitan islands but also smaller and more picturesque ones, all a breath from one another to the most beautiful waters of Southern Europe.
And this trip will surely be one that you will never forget, but if it is your first sailing adventure, there are a few important things to look out for first.
Planning Your Route
When chartering a private sailboat, you have the absolute freedom to design your trip however you want – from dawn to dark. You can cruise from island to island, sailing to whatever destination takes your fancy at that point in time. The freedom that comes with chartering a boat is an incredible gift, but while you now have the choice to sail wherever you want, you also have to plan where you want to go.
If you have no knowledge of the area you’re sailing in, the charter company can plan a route for you.
You can decide to sail with a skipper, they will even take care of the entire itinerary or you may be a qualified skipper yourself. Whatever your skill level, sensible precautions should be taken, especially if other people’s lives depend on you.
Some points to check before getting on the boat,
Dress for cold weather, you can always take clothing off if the weather is hot. Nights on board are mostly several degrees lower and the breeze of night air is always chilly.
Keep in mind that you’ll probably be wearing the same outfit every day, which will essentially consist of shorts, a t-shirt, a swimsuit and flip-flops.
Take a hat, sunglasses and Sunscreen. Protecting yourself from the sun is essential. Bear in mind that the power of the burning rays of sunshine reflected off the water is magnified significantly. Dehydration is one common problem during summer, so drink plenty of fluids (no alcohol please)!
Chargers and adapters for your mobile devices and camera are some of the things you should always take with you!
What is the perfect weather for sailing locally?
Check it out. A lot of free apps out there are available for weather. Be aware that still, the weather models used for predicting the weather are having always a percentage of failure in the predictions. So, you always need to know the current weather conditions in the area of interest!
Who will be your Skipper?
Before you set sail, is the person in charge competent? Do they speak your language? Have they completed a course of training and become qualified? Is their boat properly equipped?
If no to the above, do not travel in the boat.
Do you or the person in charge know the area, the climate and where are the safe and unsafe areas to sail?
Do you or the person in charge know the local tides, water state at the time of sailing, weather predictions for the duration, locations of safe landing places in case of trouble?
Is the boat in good condition? Can you wear a life vest, is it in good condition?
Tell someone you trust where you are going and who with, your departure time and estimated time of return.
However, you’ve chosen a specific destination and so you’ve probably got some idea of where you want to sail to, so start doing some research about the coastline, islands, bays, coves and local harbours where you can sail to and anchor.
This can be a lot of work, but also very important and rewarding.
There will most likely always be some issues of the sea you’re not aware of, such as particular sailing routes and restricted zones, so sailing with a skipper is the easiest way to cruise from place to place while still taking advantage of the freedom you have.
There are a lot of sailing guides and websites to read about it, but you can always use handy apps, to get information about local Ports, Marinas, Gas Stations, etc. You will need to learn about the weather forecast, current weather conditions, tides, depths in the area of sailing. Those apps will be your sail buddies, helping you around, find your way through and in case everything else is down those apps will assist you in case of emergency.
While it may seem like there are a lot of things to consider when planning your dream sailing holiday, once you get going we promise things will fall quickly into place.
And plus, planning is half the fun! You’ll begin to grow more and more excited as the image of cruising through clear blue water past stunning coastal islands grows closer and closer.
Fair winds & Following Seas!