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First time sailing?

Sailing for the first time?

The most important questions, tips and tricks!

The first time on a sailing yacht at sea and spending a few days on the boat is one thing above all: unfamiliar! - And maybe a little scary too. Most rookies definitely have respect and a lot of questions. I have put together a few things that should support making your first steps from the safe mainland, via the narrow gangway, on board a sailboat.

Will you enjoy sailing and living on board?

To be able to estimate this a bit, I have put together a few questions:

  • Have you ever slept in a tent?
  • Do you feel comfortable on a camping site?
  • Do you like it when the wind blows?

"No" three times? - Then talk to your skipper again!

More food for thought:

  • How do you deal with changing weather conditions?
  • How much is it a challenge for you to accept things that you cannot change at that very moment?

What is behind these last two questions is, of course, how much weather affects you in your well-being and your drive going outdoors. You know best what type of person you are: do you prefer to stay at home when the weather changes, or do you proceed with your plan to go outside and take good care of your clothes / equipment? The same is true on a boat, were you will find quite sime external conditions that you cannot change: can you find a way to solve the problem in your head / or with yourself?

To go sailing means getting settled in the smallest space and to get by with very little privacy, marinas and anchorages generally offer very simple and mainly functional infrastructure. The main drive of a sailboat is wind, if you don't like air movements, you won't be happy on a sailboat. And finally the thing in your head: you can of course plan, you can prepare, you can practice, but when sailing it is like in life as usual: reality happens while you make other plans.

A few truths:

"Where there is a lot of light, there is also a lot of shadow," you could say. I don't know if this is perfectly true for sailing, but of course you have to be willing to accept certain things for all the adventure, the beauty, the fascination, the great experience and the ability for curious exploration:

  • Resources are scarce, especially water and electricity can be used consciously and sparingly
  • If it is sunny and warm, it is hot in the boat; if it is wet and cold outside, it is also reflected in the interior
  • One swims in the water, water is a moving medium, so boat movements are always part of it
  • Space is tight, everything has to have its place, otherwise a boat will go down in chaos
  • Safety is the top priority, but you have to be prepared to do without certain things
  • And, sorry guys, the skipper is the boss - a boat is not a democracy

But there is also an incredible amount of enrichment to be learned. But you also have to look and give nature time. Sailing is not comparable to a visit to the cinema where everything is preprogrammed and optimized, nature is not a zoo and a 49 foot boat is not a mega yacht in Monte Carlo with staff and water toys on board. Everything is half as bad, but I find expectations management and clear communication an important building block for a successful first step on board.

A few impressions are linked below: Video boat tour, departure maneuver and a 14-day sailing trip

Boattour

Undocking

Cruise

The most common two first questions:

1. Can the boat fall over?

In a nutshell: usually not. Each keel boat is equipped with a ballast on the bottom of the boat. Designers invest a lot of time and energy in calculating the forces generated by wind and waves, and the righting moment is part of this design. In total, the cast iron keel of the Five Senses weighs 3.6 tons. The inclination (= heeling) of the boat in the wind is factored in, improves the sailing characteristics and is not dangerous at all. Everything is designed to deal with the heel. For example, the steps of the companionway are bent precisely because of this and the helmsman is not standing on a level floor in the cockpit. There are grab handles everywhere and using them is highly recommended. In extreme situations, everything can of course "tip over", but this requires hurricane-strong wind and waves that do not occur in the Mediterranean. So: we will not capsize!

2. Do I get seasick?

Probably yes. Of course, a lot depends on the prevailing conditions: wind direction, wind strength, waves, etc.

But here too a lot is depending on your mental strength and there are a few tips to protect yourself from seasickness:

  • Have a good breakfast before starting the trip and always make sure that you do not get hungry
  • Avoid foods that strain the stomach (coffee, alcohol, orange juice, ...)
  • Stay up on deck, avoid staying below deck if safey and possible
  • Looking at the horizon, reading / playing on your mobile phone is only recommended for advanced sailors
  • Take the helm, look for other jobs
  • Vitamin C chewing gum
  • Dimenhydrinat chewing gum
  • Dimenhydrinat coated tablets

Stay positive! It is what it is - you need to deal with it. Seasickness is inherently harmless 😉

Packing considerations:

  • Space is scarce.
  • Basically: 1 sports bag per person
  • No suitcases please, foldable bags are ideal
  • Plan hygiene articles, medication etc. just like on a camping holiday
  • There are cushions, blankets, sailing gloves and personal equipment in the form of life jackets and seat belts for everyone on board
  • Wearing shoes on board is ideal as long as the sole doesn't ruin the deck and you have a good grip on it
  • We are delivered almost without protection to the elements, so pay attention to sun protection, rain protection and cold protection
  • Take time to have time for games, water sports, reading material, music, shore leave; plan any equipment
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Boat tax paid?

Seemingly out of nowhere was a small, grey speedboat popped up and it approached cautiously, but determined the five senses of aft. It was clear that we were being watched out of the cab. There was no inscription at the bow of the small boat, but the colour of the painting suggested that it was an official vehicle. Soon after, we had certainty Guardia di Finanza.
We were asked to stop and the three financial policemen went längseits. Very correctly we were told that it was a routine check and I was asked to hand over the boat papers. The Croatian coastal patent was inspected with suspicion and when I showed the Austrian patent, the official expresses his appreciation by a "ah, bene!"
What followed were some questions about the ownership of the boat, the purpose of the trip, the number of people on board, Liegplatz, and where we came from and where we drove. Some sailors already reported in forums and magazines that a confirmed crewlist was required in the course of the new entry and exit regulations. After moving only within the Italian maritime borders, this was not true.
The officials checked all the documents carefully, transferred some data to a list, and asked by radio whether something was against the five senses. A demand surprised me then; one wanted to see the insurance of the Dinghys. Luckily, I was able to explain that our insurance covers the entire ship, including equipment and dinghy. However, I had to show the appropriate position in the insurance documents.
IMG_2508. jpg
The entire review ran quietly, professionally, and highly correctly. We had no fear, because the full purchase price of the five senses was taxed correctly in Croatia and all the papers are clearly collected and in order. We were able to observe how all sailing yachts around us were also inspected and found such controls perfectly appropriate and gerechtgertigt. Well, because everything worked out well 😉
And away they were again...
[wpvideo nLxHvCHy]

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