If you come sailing with us...
When we purchased Seas The Day, we set her up so that one person can sail her. Most of the lines all come back to the cockpit and coupled with the autopilot, an experienced skipper can handle her pretty well (not to say that I am one...). Sailing singlehanded (alone) is a great way to relax, live in the moment and enjoy the sea, but to us, sailing is a social activity. It's best enjoyed with friends, and all during the winter we've had lots of conversations that included the phrase "you should come sailing with us". So we wanted to put together a post giving guidance for those who might want to join us.
First: Are you ready to sail?
Think about this... are you physically ready to try it? Do you like being on the water? We're generally on the water for about four hours (though it could be longer). If you're worried about being out for so long, we can pick an itinerary that allows us to get back quickly if needed, but if we sail away from Keyport for two - three hours, then it's going to take us that long to get back.
To me, sailing is much more calm and pleasant that being bounced around in a motorboat. But sailboats heel (lean over). The lean is kept to about 10 to 12 degrees on calm days, but in a gust, it can get to be 20 degrees or more. This is perfectly normal - just the effect of the forces of wind and water - but it can be disconcerting for some people.
Here is a video of a typical day on the water. It starts with a few minutes of getting ready, switches to sailing about 1/3 of the way in and finishes with coming back to port. Note that the video is at 10x speed... the experience is much more calm than it appears at 10x.
That being said, there are exceptions to every rule. I personally know a young girl who has (and will always have) more sea time than I do (I expect she might be a better boat handler than me as well), but she started sailing with her family at 6 months of age. I waited until I was almost 50 to start.
Below, are a few things to think about to make your day on the water more comfortable.
We all think about a day of summer sailing as something like this...
The fact is that being out on the water can be both warm and cold... sometimes on the same day. So dress in layers. Go ahead and put on that swimsuit... the wind might die down and we all decide our best bet is to just anchor and catch some rays in the warm sun. But put on some other layers as well. Generally in July and August we are comfortable in shorts and a polo shirt. However, do bring along a windbreaker (and maybe even some sweats if you're prone to getting chilled).
About shoes... Vicky spends an inordinate amount of time cleaning Seas The Day. We're not asking everyone to go out and get boat shoes (with white soles that don't scuff the decks), but please don't wear sneakers (or anything) with black soles. Most shoes with the tan polymer soles are OK and so are most flip flops. If you don't have anything else, then just throw the black sneakers below once you get on board and go barefoot on the boat!
Safety & Sun Protection
Safety first... All Children under the age of 13 MUST wear a life jacket from the time they set foot on the yacht club dock until they are off it. This is a Federal law and is not negotiable. Some children are OK with this (like the girl above)... others are not... (it doesn't matter... kids still have to wear them until we get back on land).
I strongly recommend that adults wear them as well. (You might be able to swim well, but can you swim long enough for me to figure out how to get back to you?) Along the lines of safety, expect that we'll spend 10 minutes talking about safety basics as we get the boat ready to depart.
The other essential safety items are sun protection. We keep a little sunscreen on Seas The Day in case you forget, but we buy the cheap stuff. You might want something better (or more natural, etc., etc.). Don't forget sunglasses... remember that the sun hits you from the normal direction (from above) but also reflects off the the water as well.
Food, Drink and Seasickness
First, I'm not a licensed Captain and therefore I would never dream of charging you for a day of sailing with us. I would like to point out, however, that a well-fed skipper is a happy skipper and a happy skipper is a safer skipper.
Relax... I'm kidding. We'll figure out food options depending on the trip. And we've had some seriously kick-a$$ spreads.
Sushi & Champagne (just a little for the Skipper - see below) while underway!
Seas The Day has a complete galley with oven, stove and refrigerator. But most of the time we just bring something in a cooler. Should you choose that route, remember that mayonnaise and summer don't mix well unless you're planning on eating right away. Besides, I find that ham and Swiss on rye sandwiches (with lettuce, onions and tomatoes... with salt, pepper and oregano) go better with spicy mustard (Grey Poupon, please... you're on a yacht after all).
Seriously, you do expend more calories sailing, even though you're mostly sitting or standing (think of it as a 4 hour low-impact core workout). Realize that the wind blowing past you all day WILL dehydrate you. Plan to drink a lot of water. We keep a bunch of snacks - mostly granola and protein bars - on Seas The Day along with lots of water, so just ask if you're hungry or thirsty.
Which leads to... we have a head (boat speak for "toilet") if you need it... we just ask that you aim well, and don't put anything in the head that you haven't eaten first. (Yes, ladies, that means... um... well... ah... "carry in, carry out". We have a garbage can just behind the hatch above the galley counter.)
We don't drink alcohol while underway. Period. I don't want "drunk boater" listed as my cause of death (or anyone I'm responsible for). If we tie up to the mooring ball just before sunset, we "might" have a little wine on board for just that occasion as we wait for the launch. However, all boat trips end at the yacht club bar, so we usually have our drinks afterward.
That leaves seasickness... the only time I've been queasy on Seas The Day was during the delivery trip when we were out on the ocean for many hours. We mostly sail on the bay and won't usually go out if the bay is rough. Still, I keep a few natural remedies on board and you're free to bring your own protection if you wish. (Only a few guests have gotten queasy and that usually happens when they go below to use the head if we're underway at the time.)
So... a quick summary
1. Dress in layers
2. Please, no black shoes
3. Kids MUST wear life jackets (and I recommend them for everyone).
4. Bring sun protection (sunscreen and sunglasses).
5. Plan for food and drink (but no alcohol please).
Finally, for more information, here a great link to an online course that will tell you more than you want to know about your first sailing experience.
ASA's "Your First Sail" online course
I hope you join us!