Now that the world has stopped spinning and I’ve gotten my landlegs back, I’ve had time to reflect on advice I could offer if you’re thinking of hiring a boat and sailing in Greece. As they’re in no particular order, feel free to assign your own importance to the listed items.
- Greece is NOT Croatia. If your friend who has been sailing in Croatia many times says that you’ll be able to have hot showers in the marinas, don’t believe them. In all our stops, I saw one offer of a hot shower and that was in a hotel in Paros.
- Greece is NOT Croatia. I’ve heard tell of mooring fees in excess of €100 a night in Croatia. We paid €6.47 one night, and that included electricity. I think the most we paid was €20. If you port, you pay. How much you pay is another story.
- Greece is NOT Croatia. There won’t be laundromats in every place you stay. It’s a rarity to find even a 24-hour laundry service (we found it in Poros) but it was only in Lavrio that I saw a self-serve laundry. Bring wooden clothespegs with you so that you can hang your unmentionables from the deck rails. Think about those undies and what they say about you 🙂
- Upsize – if the boat says it can sleep 11, read 7.
- Boats come with white towels. One white towel looks like any other white towel. You might get two towels per person. Bring a pin or a badge or something that you can attach to your towel so that you know it’s yours. Small nametags would work. If you read this and think it’s a quick way to make a million, don’t forget to send me my commission.
- Forget the hard-shell suitcase. You’ll spend two weeks tripping over it as there’s sod all storage space. Use a duffel bag that you can squish into a corner.
- Pack what you think you’ll need – and then reduce by half. You’re not going to need the heels, the make-up, the accessories. Mix and match. No one will care or remember if you wear the same outfit twice or three times. Comfort is key.
- Bring some small Tupperware containers so that you can SAFELY store food in the chest fridges.
- Bring extra teatowels – the two you’ll get won’t be enough.
- Earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones are a MUST if you are travelling with a group or even on your own. Greeks love to party. If it’s not the party boat next to you, it’ll be the disco that runs till 6 am. [I can recommend the audio recording of Sense and Sensibility as a sleep inducer.]
- If you’re going for longer than a week, consider booking a hotel for a night – take a break from your break.
- Learn how to tie a clove hitch BEFORE you go. The most basic job on board is to tie on the fenders as you get ready to dock. Being able to do this will give you some sense of contributing.
- The weather rules. You might not get to where you planned to go. Be flexible. Be forgiving. Life happens.
- Think before you drink – too much. It’s hard to get the bed to stop spinning when you’re on water.
- Obey the cardinal rule – one hand for you, the other hand for the boat.
- Learn the language. For example, know your port from your starboard and know that you go down below, not downstairs.
- Compliment your skipper – they’re the ones who know enough to worry about how much anchor you’ve laid out and how close you’ll come to bumping into the boat next door if the winds are high.
- Remember that sound carries over water.
- Bring wet shoes … you’ll be glad you did.
- Even if you don’t think you’ll need sea-sick tablets, bring some. If you don’t, someone else will.
- If you rely on your phone for photos, bring a power pack.
- Check out cost-sharing apps like Splid to make it easy to keep track of who owes what to whom at the end of the trip.
- If you’ve long hair, bring something to tie it back.
- Once you’re moving, or if it looks like rain, batten down ALL the hatches. You don’t want to sleep in a wet bed.
And most importantly
- If you’re going on a sailing holiday, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the boat is simply a means of getting from A to B. The boat IS the holiday. The clue is in the description.
Anything to add?
…and only ever shout out ‘Avast behind!’ if you are sure everyone present knows that it’s a nautical term and not a personal insult.
… don’t forget to use your sunscreen liberally and often.
… what about sunhats?
… use sunscreen liberally and often even if it’s cloudy.
… WDYT about sun hats?
Thought the sunscreen was a no-brainer but you’re right – very important, especially with the reflection on water
As for sunhats – ditto – but with the added note to be sure they fit – if they go overboard, they’re gone. I bought one on Day 2 that had a chin strap.