Packing for sailing

Avoid rigid cases and travel light - it's going to be sunny!

Avoid rigid cases and travel light – it’s going to be sunny!

What to pack?  Not everything on the list below that’s for sure but hopefully it will be useful as a memory jogger.

The list is in rough order of priority – if you forget your favourite T shirt it’s not the end of the world. But forget your passport or sailing certificate and you’ll have a holiday to remember for all the wrong reasons.

Most people take too many clothes; you’ll spend many hours in swim wear. Get out what you think you need then just pack half of it. If you find you’re short, it’s a good excuse for some holiday shopping. Ideally, leave some space for the souvenirs you’ll want to bring back.

Note that good quality sailing gear can be surprisingly hard to find overseas and other items such as suncream are often much cheaper here than on the sea front.

Storage space is at a premium on a charter yacht and rigid suitcases are particularly difficult to store. Take holdalls or frameless rucksacks that can be scrunched up to fit in lockers.

  1. Passport – check it has sufficient validity
  2. Flight tickets / pre-printed boarding card / e-ticket number
  3. Sailing certificates – as important as your passport
  4. Travel Insurance details
  5. Your booking paperwork and travel directions
  6. Any medication and a copy of any prescriptions for long term medication.
  7. Copies of any eye prescriptions and spare specs/contact lenses
  8. Driving license (needed for any scooter or car hire).
  9. You might want to supplement the boat's first aid kit

    You might want to supplement the boat’s first aid kit

  10. Some local currency (except Croatia – can be hard to get in the UK, and easily changed at the airport).
  11. UK cash/debit cards/credit cards/prepaid cards
  12. Toiletries including sun cream, insect repellent, lip salve, sea sickness pills (if required).
  13. Lightweight waterproof jacket (so you don’t get wet on the way to the airport)!
  14. Deck shoes
  15. Sandals/Crocs/Beach Shoes – useful to prolong the life of deck shoes!
  16. Paddling shoes – as protection against sea anemones if paddling near rocks
  17. Swimwear
  18. Hats/caps.
  19. T-shirt/tops
  20. Long sleeve top/shirt – one at least useful for protection against sun & insects
  21. Shorts/skirts
  22. Lightweight Trousers -useful for protection against sun and insects
  23. Jumper/fleece – if sailing in spring/autumn.
    You may need to take life jackets for younger children

    You may need to take life jackets for younger children

  24. Socks – again handy for protection against sunburn and insects
  25. Underwear
  26. Towels – the very compact camping towels can save a lot of space.  They’re a bit like chamois leathers so less good for lying on. Some yachts include towels, some operators offer them as an optional extra.
  27. Children’s life jackets (often not supplied with the yacht for under 5’s)
  28. Sunglasses (with neck straps) – I recommend a good quality pair giving good UV protection, not just coloured plastic.
  29. Camera (with neck strap, film/memory cards & spare batteries) and associated 12v and/or mains chargers
  30. Mobile phone.
  31. Mobile phone water proof case/bag – the loss rate of phones is huge because most people don’t bother with these! Needs to be waterproof to several metres.
  32. Laptop/Tablet (if you must)!
  33. Chargers for phones, cameras, tablets etc: Yachts have 12v cigarette sockets for charging devices. Some yachts also have mains sockets but these often only work when attached to a shore supply which may be rare in some areas.
  34. UK 3 pin plug adaptors so you can plug chargers in to the mains and charge them at local restaurants (or on board if you have shore power)
  35. CD’s – virtually all yachts have a car radio style CD player.  Make copies of anything you really treasure.
  36. Ipod/walkman & earphones for the music you love that the rest of your crew hate! Some yachts now have Ipod inputs but if not you may want to take an FM transmitter that will enable you to play your Ipod through the boat stereo.
  37. DVD’s (some yachts are now fitted with DVD players)
  38. Kids games
  39. Playing cards
  40. Alarm clock (if you’re on a flotilla or course)
  41. Diving mask – handy for dealing with prop wraps as the ones supplied out there are not always great.
  42. Sailing books – handy for informal teaching sessions or to try out the latest theories on sail trimming!
  43. Books, magazines, DVD’s.
  44. Directions to airport!