Sailing is a beautiful way to get out on the water and see your city or town from a different point of view. When the engine turns off, and the wind and the sails move you forward, it is a freeing feeling. Like any other water sport, you need to be prepared for anything while sailing, including a quick change in weather.
When preparing for a day out on the water, there are a few steps that will put you ahead before you leave the house:
Check the weather. The weather is the first place to start planning your sailing trip. It will give you an excellent base to make decisions. Any local weather outlet will be a good resource to check what is in store for the day.
Organize your gear into one bag. Once you have your belongings together and organized, put everything into a backpack or bag that closes. Sailboats tend to lean over with the wind in their sails, and your things can fall out of an open bag.
Some items are necessary to pack when you plan to go sailing. Having them in your bag and easily accessible will make sure you enjoy your day:
Lifejacket. If you don’t own a lifejacket, ask the owner/skipper of the boat to ensure there is one designated for you and fits you correctly. Lifejackets are not one-size-fits-all. There are different sizes for height and weight, ranging from infants to adults.
Sun protection. Between the direct sun rays and the reflection off of the water, it is surprisingly easy to get sunburnt while sailing. Applying a high SPF sunscreen before getting on the boat and reapplying a few hours later is the biggest step to protecting yourself from the sun. Additionally, sunglasses, hats, and long-sleeved shirts are great tools for blocking the sun. Keep a sunscreen that you know works for you in your bag!
Hydration. While you’re enjoying the day, your body is always working on a sailboat, even when you don’t notice! Pulling sails up and down, in and out, and simply balancing on the boat as it rocks works your body. Staying hydrated is very important to keep you feeling your best during and after your sail. Having a reusable water bottle with you before leaving the dock is one of the most important parts of looking after yourself while sailing. Packing extra water is even better!
Water bottle tip: attach a carabiner onto your water bottle so you can hang it anywhere on the boat to grab a drink whenever and wherever you need it!
Clothing. It is important to enjoy yourself and be comfortable on your day on the water, but make sure you’ve brought something that will keep you warm and dry. It is safe to say you will probably get wet at one point or another, whether you want to or not! It could be from water spray, rain, or maybe you went for a swim off the back of the boat!
Having a wind and water-resistant jacket is a must when sailing. Rain clouds can pop up, and having a jacket will keep you warm and dry from the wind and rain!
Layers are the way to go when deciding what to wear on a sailboat. A base, mid, and outer layer will ensure you’re good to go in any weather. A good base layer is a quick-drying shirt that keeps the water off your body. On top of that, an excellent mid layer is a warm fleece top, and your wind and water-resistant jacket is the perfect outer layer! On the bottom, quick-drying shorts or pants are ideal. Jeans are not suitable sailboat attire as they are heavy when wet and do not dry quickly.
There are many things to kick while on a sailboat, particularly if things get rocky! Close-toed shoes are the best way to avoid stubbing your toe or cutting your foot on any sailing gear.
Safety, sun protection, proper clothing, and hydration are the most important things to look for when preparing for a sail! Once those are ticked off, you can think outside the box and pack the fun things:
Swimming essentials. There is nothing like jumping off a boat into beautiful blue water! If that is the plan, make sure to bring a towel and change of clothes, so you don’t get cold after getting out of the water. Make sure there is a safe way to get back onto the boat before jumping in.
Cooler. Keep your drinks cold by ensuring your cooler is packed full of ice and water bottles! Tie it down somewhere safe so it doesn’t slide around when you're sailing.
Snacks. Pack your favorite lunch that is easy to eat on the go! Great boat snacks are something you can eat with your fingers and don't make a mess if dropped, for example, your favorite Pounamu Protein shake or our puffs and bars that are coming soon….watch this space!
Speakers. If you are looking for a soundtrack to your summer sail, grabbing a waterproof bluetooth speaker is a great way to enjoy the day.
Dry bag. Dry bags are made specifically for wet conditions. If you want to protect your gear from the water, packing everything into a dry bag is the best solution!
Sailing clothing. If you know you will be pulling ropes on the boat, you could pack your sailing gloves to protect your hands. Dry weather gear, or foul weather gear, is gear made specifically for wet conditions on a boat. If you know you will be in rough conditions or will be rained on; it’s smart to bring that along.
Sailing is a beautiful, unique experience that all ages can enjoy! When prepared properly, a day on a sailboat is one of the best ways to spend time on the water.
Two of our Pounamu staffers are avid sailors (pictured below) and have sailed in countless inshore and offshore races worldwide! Naomi has sailed in Hong Kong, Europe, Australia and has raced in the TP52 Super Series, Hong Kong to Vietnam Race, Rolex China Sea Race, just to name a few! Alison has sailed in regattas from New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Sweden, the USA, and China and has been a part of The Magenta Project, which focuses on creating pathways for women in sailing.
Our love for the sport goes beyond racing, it is a great way to introduce people to another challenge, hobby, and lifestyle. We hope you enjoy your day sailing as much as we do. See you on the water!