Top sailing tips for beginners

The time you were dreaming for such a long time is here...you are going on a holiday on a sailing boat..but are things as easy as they seem? The Sail the Ionian Sea team is giving you some tips for a successful beginning of your sailing trip.

 

Be flexible.

 If you are someone who likes things precisely your way, you are probably going to have a hard time on the water. Things in the sea just don't happen like they do on land. Get ready to 'go with the flow' - I mean, you're living on a boat, right?

Don't try to adhere to strict schedules.

 If you like to make "plans" and have a well-detailed itinerary of your future cruising agenda complete with dates and ports of call, you are in for disappointment. On the water you must always be prepared to change tacks and you need to be okay with that. A loose itinerary is a good thing for guidance, but if you plan to rigidly stick to it, you're going to be one frustrated cruiser. The beauty of this life is the uncertainty and spontaneity of it all, so embrace it! Along the same vein - never ever try to 'beat' weather. You (and perhaps your boat) will be the only things that get 'beat' if you play that game.

Enjoy moments of solitude. 

Can't sit by yourself in peace and quiet for an hour or two? Well start meditating or else you will probably not enjoy passage-making. You can pass your time dreaming, sketching product ideas, reading or writing. Even if you plan on "coastal cruising" you will have to spend many days at sea.

Find pleasure in sailing.

 I think it goes without saying that if you dislike sailing, you will most likely dislike cruising. Sailing requires work and patience - but it's fun!

Enjoy the locals. 

Even if you aren't usually drawn to the mass throngs of 'cruiser' activities that are often available in certain ports, enjoying the local culture is an interesting thing to do. You should explore by yourselves or with a couple friends and have found that you meet and interact with more locals that way. Some of our best memories are those random, authentic moments with locals, so we seek those out.

Be comfortable. 

Your boat is your home. Make it livable; make it cozy, pretty and comfortable. This is particularly important for everyone that is a crew on a sailing boat either their trip is one week or more. The space is small and people need to cope with each other for some time. That doesn't mean you have to go out and choose a top of the line boat, but make sure the boat you chose is comfortable and nice.

Be confident in your abilities and your boat. 

No, you don't need to leave with all sorts of boating certifications and you don't need to be a pro. But you should know enough to be dangerous. Understand the basics of sail trim, have a firm grasp on navigation and safety - but don't fret if you've never sailed 'offshore' before. Everyone has to start somewhere!

Have realistic expectations. 

I think this is the most important of all. Ever go to an over-hyped movie expecting you were going to see the best film of the year, only to be sorely disappointed? Having inflated or unrealistic expectations is the quickest way to kill your cruising dream. Be ready for the highest highs...and the lowest lows. Be prepared for beautiful sunsets, raging storms and everything in between. If your picture of cruising was formed by listening to a Jimmy Buffett album, you're in for a big surprise!
While we are not the experts - if you keep these things in check we think you'll have an easier time adjusting to a gypsy life at sea!