What actually happens on the sailing week?
Before going on the sailing week, I had never sailed before, done solo-traveling or visited Sardinia and Corsica. As fun as an idea was in theory and as awesome as the videos on YouTube looked, for me – this was a huge unknown, and I had a bunch of concerns that others could have as well. Here, I give my personal account of what actually happens on the sailing week and whether any of these concerns are worth stopping you from going.
Is it just a mad partying and drinking week?
Probably my greatest fear was that the trip would be just an Ultra Festival on catamarans – with 24/7 drinking, partying and everything that comes with that. To my relief, there was so much more to the sailing week than just partying. While most nights did have a party of some sort organised, they were the kind where you dance and socialise, rather than have a mad rave you need a day to recover from.
Tip: make sure the itinerary you get has a variety of activities you are interested in.
What will the people be like?
This brings me to my second concern – would I be able to enjoy the company of people on the boat outside of the drinking and dancing settings? I have arrived knowing only the organiser but left with many new friends I still keep in touch with. We all barely knew each other, but by the end of the sailing week decided to make this a solid yearly thing and keep the Whatsapp group open for future trip planning. The crew was international, mostly in their late 20’s, early 30’s, all very good-looking, successful, yet humble people.
As one of the few crew members without an MBA at first I was concerned whether I would be able to find anything in common with the rest. I was surprised by how everyone was genuinely eager to make effort and find things in common with me, without trying to prove anything. While at first, we needed some Prosecco for social lubrication, at the end we felt like a big family.
Tip: choose the travel company that understands the value of putting the right group together and takes care of that aspect. Alternatively, go on a trip with a friend or add you crew on social media prior to the trip.
What will I actually be doing on the boat?
So what does actually happen on the boat? Do I take a book? A laptop? A nap? This is how a typical day on the boat goes:
Morning: wake up, breakfast with the crew and the recap of the previous night/what’s to come during the day.
Early morning: chilled sunbathing on the catamaran, music, a swim, relaxed conversations.
Afternoon: depending on the itinerary that is either exploring the city where we dock, or doing water sports, enjoying the beautiful beaches or staying on the boat and going for an occasional swim for those in need of an extra recovery. You are free to have some alone time and go on walks, naps, explorations. If anyone asks – just say you need to get some video/photographic footage or souvenirs for your cat.
Late afternoon: normally socialising with another boat – either they come over or you hop on theirs with snacks and drinks. More relaxed Prosecco conversations. Naps for those still recovering from last night. More water sports. City explorations and shopping.
Early evening: getting yourself in a semi-presentable state, helping out with making dinner if staying for dinner on the boat.
Evening: either going out for dinner on the shore or going straight to the party. Parties and locations vary every day in terms of their vibe from sophisticated to relaxed beach ones to dressed – up Coachella inspired ones.
Will I actually have to know how to sail the boat/read the charts/stir the wheel?
There is a professional skipper who navigates the boat from one location to another and makes sure you dock properly. Saying that the crew will be expected to help out – but this is just a fun addition to the trip, rather than work. You’d be tying the dinghy to the boat, helping drop the anchor, assist with the docking. These are all awesome picture opportunities at the very least, and also activities to make you feel that you are part of the crew, rather than just a tourist/guest.
Tip: read at least 5 books on how to sail a catamaran and take a nautical chart reading course. Just kidding – simply be ready to help out when needed.
How different is life on a boat?
They say that it’s an experience like no other – but in what way, exactly?
Firstly, it’s not your typical luxury hotel – the space is limited, the bathrooms are small and the storage space is minimal. You can’t contemplate on life while in the shower because the water is scarce. There will also be no room service, no cleaners, no pizza delivery – it’s part of the deal to keep the boat clean, cook and ration resources properly. For someone who gets stressed when the bed sheets are not tucked perfectly, I got used to such conditions by day 2. It is important to tell yourself – this level of comfort is temporary and well worth the authenticity of the experience.
How safe is the sailing week and who is accountable for it?
I fully realised that if I get drunk or reckless or both – I can make even central London be a dangerous place with hazards. Yet, I wanted to know whether there are factors outside my control that I should be cautious about. The locations we have explored are in Mediterranean sea, which was safe in terms of the climate/waters and people.
Saying that, what really helped me put my mind at ease was the Captain, whose sole responsibility is to figuratively ‘take care of laundry’. Rather than giving orders left right and centre, the captain was acting like the rest of the crew, while still taking care of everyone’s well-being. Having a good captain as a point of contact 24/7 made me feel like I could enjoy myself and not worry about whether we have everything sorted.
Having all these concerns, I have nevertheless gone on the trip to find that all of them were thought through and covered by Follow Alice, resulting in me immensely enjoying the trip.
It is also important to prepare appropriately and my previous post goes into detail on how to do that. Meanwhile, share your concerns (if you had any) before going on a trip and any helpful tips for the first time sailors!
#SaintJamesMaritima 2018 – Anniversary Edition
This years boats are filling up fast! Check out the complete itinerary and be sure to book your spot on the yacht
Dates: 28th July until the 4th of August 2018