Here is a list of the most important things to take along, a few explanations and sometimes recommendations.
Headlamp (with a red light)
Replacement batteries for the headlamp
A fleece jacket or similar
Hat or equivalent
Sunscreen (the sun beats down hard!)
Any Personal medications
1 goblet, such as a festival-type eco cup 0.25L to 0.5L (plastic)
1 or more swimsuits
A soft flexible bag that folds well when emptied
If possible with optional red light. At night, when there are several of us in the cockpit, the red light prevents blinding other people.
For example a Black Diamond Spot 325lm (Max CHF 40.-). No need for more.
The headlamp is very important on board, but it is useless when the batteries are dead. Batteries are not always easy to get a hold on, you will need to have spare ones in advance. Make sure they are the right model. Especially if the lamp is new.
During night sailing, it can get chilly, so it’s important to keep warm. A sweater can also do the trick. It is important to be able to wear it under your rain jacket in case of bad or heavy weather.
In bad weather, it is imperative to stay dry as long as possible. This is all the more relevant at night. As the Icelanders say; “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”.
Polarized sunglasses if possible. If they can give a certain style to sunbathing, they are mandatory on a boat. The polarization makes it possible to see the seabed better, which is essential in some cases.
Headgear can certainly give a certain style. On a boat, you are much less aware of the harshness of the sun because the wind makes you think that everything is actually okay. It’s in the evening that we realize that in fact everything is not right at all! Bandanas with UV protection also work. And they do give you a bit of a pirate look, I have to admit!
Protection from the sun! It’s so important. Protection index: 20 is a minimum, 30 recommended. 50 is fine too. The sun is harsh. All the more so on the water. Even better if the product you choose protects the marine environment.
We will often be far from any shops. It will not be easy to obtain that special antibiotic cream you have a prescription for… If there are any medicines that need to be kept cool, we will find a specific place for them in the fridge.
We all have our cupboards full of them, those festival cups that we forgot to return or that we secretly collect. In order to avoid using glass cups AND getting everybody’s cups all mixed up, everyone shall have their own, for the duration of the trip. Between 0.25L and 0.5L max.
It’s almost the uniform on the sailboat. There will not be a single day we don’t go in the water. However, seasalt tends to stiffen everything and it is recommended to bring along two anyway. Or even three, so as to tan in different ways.
Soft travel bag
In order to travel light, a North face max 50L type bag is more than enough for most of us. Once installed in the cabin, the bag can be flattened and stowed away without taking up too much space. Space is a rare commodity on a sailboat.
Here are the things we recommend you take along if you already have them.
Fast drying microfibre towel
USB battery (to charge a phone)
solar panel (to charge the battery)
closed shoes to use in the water
mask, snorkel & fins
earplugs (if needed)
waterproof bag (min 4L)
Fast drying towel
Shower towels are provided, but a small super-absorbent towel (microfiber type) for after swimming in the sea allows you to keep your shower linen free of salt. Which is always nice.
Energy is the second scarcest commodity on a boat. It must therefore be used sparingly, or be stored. A 10,000 mAh (milliampere) battery can charge your phone 2-3 times. That is certainly better than nothing.
If you are an avid energy user and your USB battery is empty after a few days, you will need to recharge it. Energy on board is used first and foremost for navigation and safety instruments. A small solar panel can recharge your battery in a few hours.
Shoes adapted for water
The stones on the seabed can be very sharp and sometimes it will be necessary to go and tie the boat to the shore. It is therefore important to protect your feet, not only from rocks but also from sea urchins. Flip flops or “crocs” are not adequate, as they don’t hold onto the foot and you can’t swim with them.
Mask, Snorkel & Fins
In that order. The scenery in which we operate is magnificent. The seabed too. It would be a shame to miss all that. A mask seems necessary. A snorkel as well, in order to be able to observe underwater for a longer period of time… and the fins to go further.
In the evening, we will be rocked by the waves and the swell will help us fall asleep. It is not always quiet, sometimes the wind or water can annoy the light sleeper. This is not the case for everyone but earplugs can be an option.
A small bag of 4 to 8 liters is enough to keep whatever should not get wet. Phone, camera, small towel, wallet, etc. It is not uncommon to see someone swimming with such a bag to the shore. Sea To Summit has some great models for under 20.-CHF
While payment cards are popular in cities, on remote islands they may not be accepted. A little cash is always good for a postcard or a local souvenir.
Here is the list of things you don’t need during the trip
electrical appliances on 220v (hair dryer, iron, etc.)
foam life jacket
speakers (the boat is equipped)
anything that fears moisture and salt
120 / 230v devices
Energy on the boat is invaluable, and practically the only time there is 220v on board is when the boat is in port. Which happens very rarely. So you have to be careful not to bring aboard unnecessary appliances that need a lot of electricity.
A foam life-vest
They are fine. But the boat is already well equipped; you don’t need to bring your own. In contrast, self-inflating vests are recommended for those who really want to invest. But they are still too expensive to make them compulsory for everyone.
A sleeping bag
It will be quite warm enough. The boat is equipped with sheets for everyone, no worries. And for those who are really sensitive to cold, there are blankets. We save space for everyone.
The boat is well equipped, no problem. Even the pillowcases are provided and washed at the end of the trip for those passengers coming for the next trip; no really, we will save luggage space.
It’s good to relax a little while on vacation, right? Alright; for those who really can’t, there will always be the energy concern. A tablet, if you cannot do without it, can be recharged on a USB battery but beware, it consumes a lot of energy.
Very fashionable, often waterproof, they are great! Even so, the boat is equipped with them and there will be two or three speakers available if a party is organized in a cabin.
A hard suitcase
It’s handy when traveling to a hotel, it becomes hell on a sailboat. Space is sorely lacking, so it is important to be able to fold your travel bag and store it at the bottom of a trunk, cupboard or under a bed.
2018 .. painful memories… backgammon players everywhere, games hanging around. Then all of a sudden – emergency! You have to get the vests out quickly .. and there’s backgammon popping up all over the place. A good backgammon is a backgammon in the bin!
The inflatable unicorn
2018 .. toilets off limits for 2 days because the unicorn was in there. At each departure, everyone tries to stash it somewhere to “avoid inflating it later”. The Unicorn suspended here, tied there, hindering port maneuvers, etc. A good unicorn is a blown-up unicorn.
Everything that fears water
The latest Canon 5D and its gazillion lenses … Your favorite book .. A state-of-the-art phone .. Little moccasins in bat leather .. A silk blouse from Bhutan .. In short, anything and everything that water is Bad for, that may perhaps endure a little fresh water, but for which salt water is surely a risk. Let that be said!
Alright; we can no longer stand them! But above all, don’t bring any because they pollute. Recyclable, certified efficient fabric masks will be distributed. You might just need one or two for the plane trip, but that’s it. No need to bring a supply of 50.