Why should you go sailing? It’s one of the most wonderful activities you can have on a lake or sea. The moment you leave the land, you will understand that you are starting a journey unlike any other, as the wind blows into the sails, you start relaxing and enjoying nature in its purest form. This may sound too spiritual, but many people say that sailing has helped them get into a peaceful mental state and made them reach balance.
You already have the boat, you’ve made sure it’s in top condition, now all you need is a little bit of courage to respond to the call of the water. If you are not the adventurous type, it’s understandable that it took you a while to plan your first sailing trip. But if you have always wanted to sail, now that you have your boat is the moment to start planning your first adventure.
Choose a destination you are familiar with
If you are passionate about sailing, then you have probably joined your friends on multiple trips, so chances are you are familiar with a few areas. You should try to put on paper the advantages and disadvantages of each destination and determine how they will influence your first experience on the sea. Do you want to head to a destination far away from home? Then it’s advisable to ask an experienced friend to join you because you may need assistance. Before you select the destination, you should check how the water is to make sure that you don’t put yourself at risk. Keep in mind this is your first sailing trip so you shouldn’t go wild.
If you have done this before, you already know the essentials you need to put in your bag, but if this is your first sailing adventure, you should be prepared. Your boat probably has limited space and you should not clutter it with things you will not need. You should pack some clean clothes, water, food, medicine, gadgets, tools and fishing utensils if you want to relax while sailing.
What should you wear?
Depending on the destination and duration of your trip, you will need certain clothing items. However, it’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions, so you should pack summer gear but also clothes that will protect you from wind and low temperatures. You shouldn’t leave the shore without a jacket in your luggage. Pay attention to the weather forecast because it can suddenly change and get you caught in a storm. Waterproof gear is necessary during boat trips.
Even if the temperatures are cold, you should always wear a hat because the sun tends to shine bright on the water and its rays and reflection can prevent you from properly manoeuvring the ship. When choosing the hat, you should opt for a model with a cord to keep it on your head when the wind blows. A pair of sunglasses is also essential to protect your eyes and to improve visibility. You’ll have to clean your glasses regularly because salt can accumulate when sailing.
Your shoes are as important as your clothes because the last thing you want is to slip on deck. It’s important to wear shoes made especially for on-board activities. The best pairs are the ones with rubber soles that protect your toes. Stay away from flip-flops and street shoes because they are of no help on a boat. Also, you should avoid wearing black-bottom shoes because they can leave marks on floors. During good weather conditions, you can navigate barefoot, but during a storm, it’s always advisable to wear shoes.
Bring a first aid kit on-board
Before leaving the shore you should make sure you have a first-aid kit installed somewhere at hand on the boat. It should contain antibiotic, Band-Aids, pain relievers, tape, different other drugs and antibacterial cream. You should also add some bug spray to keep insects away. The first-aid kit should be equipped to help if you are experiencing scrapes, broken bones, sickness or burns. Check a local store specialised in selling outdoor first-aid kits because they will help you save money. You should familiarize yourself with every item found in the kit, in case of emergency to know exactly what item you need.
Familiarize yourself with the basic notions of sailing
You should not set sail if you aren’t familiar with the basic sailing notions. You should read multiple books about boat operating and handling to find out how to sail in safety conditions. Once you know how to operate your ship, you should check the homeland security measures to ensure that you are sailing under the local regulations. You can check out a website specialised in sailing if you have questions regarding topics like boat docking and anchoring, advise the specialists at Boat Safe.
You should also learn the sailing vocabulary to make sure that you are not experiencing communication issues between you and other sailors, or between you and your crew. And do not forget to identify the main components of the sailboat because if one of them gets damaged you need to inform the coast guard to offer you support.
Join other people in sailing trips before leaving on your own
You should not adventure yourself in a sailing trip if you do not have experience. It’s highly recommended to ask a professional to join you on your first trip. No tutorials, books and websites can compensate for lack of experience. Sailing is a privilege for the ones who have their boat, but you should respect nature and guard yourself against the dangers it poses. Before setting sails on your own, you should join an experienced crew to gain experience on how to cruise a ship and how to handle emergencies.
It doesn’t matter if your journey is for recreational purposes or you are planning to transform sailing into a profession, you should not leave shore alone.
To summarise, you should ask a friend to join you on your first trip, and you should pack in your bag weatherproof clothes. It’s always better to be covered when you sail away.