Frequently Asked Questions
Sailing is to travel by water on a boat, yacht or ship by using the power of wind in the sails. This means anything from the smallest of lake dinghies like lasers and hobie-cats, leisurely cruising monohull or catamaran yachts, performance racing vessels as seen in the America’s Cup, and even the classical, mouth-watering square rigged tall ships of the old days.
Yes! Whether you are have never set foot on a yacht or you are an experienced, qualified sailor there are a huge variety of exciting options! As a novice, you would likely need to hire a Captain or, for the luxury holiday adventurer you could even look at a Chef as well. At Pristine Yachting, we can help you arrange everything from finding the right yacht and finding the perfect crew for you and your fellow travellers.
Throughout history sailing has helped civilizations to develop as people sailed across oceans to settle in new areas or trade with others. The earliest record of a ship under sail appears on an Egyptian vase from about 3500 BC. Vikings sailed to North America around 1000 years ago.
A good test to know whether you will get seasick – if you haven’t been on a boat – is to ask whether you’ve ever gotten carsick or motion-sick in a car, bus, train, or even airplane. … If you don’t tend to get sick in vehicles, then feel reassured that you probably won’t suffer terribly from seasickness.
Stugeron is our recommendation and an industry favourite, closely followed by Dramamine and Bonine. These are the most common seasickness remedies. These are available over-the-counter at most pharmaceutical stores and contain antihistamines which makes some people drowsy so, if your at sea to work, make sure to look for the non-drowsy versions.
– Don’t over eat!
– Don’t sail on an empty stomach!
– Try to avoid drinking and sailing with a hangover.
– Fight the mental game. Believe it or not, 99% of seasickness is psychological.
– Avoid unpleasant smells.
– Stop up on ginger! Ginger tea, ginger sucking sweets etc. The strong taste alone is distraction enough.
– Sleep through it – on your belly! Although, you won’t make a great crew.
– Scopolamine patches behind the ear.
– Look to the horizon. Stay outdoors, looking forwards, with the fresh air blowing on your face.
– Take the helm! Steer the yacht. Having something to focus on, a distraction, is one of the best cures!
– Make sure you get a good nights sleep the night before.
– Clean your ears out. Ears provide balance, and motion sickness is all to do with balance. Like a well oiled chain, keep it clean!
– Always puke downwind!
– Avoid going inside unless you absolutely have to! Get others to do things for you.
– Remember to always be nice to everybody else!
– Call NASA, ask them. They’ve got it figured out.
Although you should always keep tabs on the wind and never go out in a lightning storm, rain by itself can actually be a boon when sailing.
If you’re beginning, you can choose somewhere between 7 to 10 knots until you’re comfortable enough to handle the boat. You can then move on to moderate winds of 15 to 20 knots if you want fun, engaging, and challenging situations
Living aboard a sailboat is such a cool way to live. It’s a unique experience that many people feel immediately drawn to. The short answer is yes, you can absolutely live on a sailboat year round, and many people do so all over the world. We speculate that between 50,000 – 100,000 people liveaboard a sailboat
The sail “lifts,” or moves, toward the lower-pressure side of the sail causing the boat to move. This happens because the sail isn’t a flat sheet of cloth, it’s curved, like a wing and the air traveling over the topside of the curved portion travels faster than that traveling on the underside. Much like an aircraft wing, the sails generate lift but on a yacht these are vertical. So, rather than lifting up the sails are essentially getting pushed down towards 90 degrees at the water. The weighted keel on the underside of the yacht acts as a counter balance, to prevent capsizing, as does steering the rudder at the helm to use those opposing forces to drive the yacht in the direction you wish to go. Sail trim is vitally important, too little sail for the windspeed or indeed windspeed itself, and you won’t find enough power for momentum or steerage. Too much sail in stronger winds and you will lose control of the vessel, heeling too far and travelling at speeds beyond the capabilities of the yacht. This can be quite dangerous.
When an anchor penetrates the surface of the seabed, suction generates resistance, created by the bottom material plus the weight of the material above the anchor. As the boat pulls on the anchor rode, the anchor digs in deeper, creating additional resistance. The amount of chain deployed is almost as important as the anchor type deployed and how well it is dug in. Typically, you should lay a minimum of four times the water depth in chain. For example, for 10 metres of water you should lay 40 metres of chain. However, if you have space in the anchorage for more always try and achieve five or six times (50 or 60 metres). If it’s windy and you are planning on a good nights rest… 70 metres, 80… why not a 100 metres if you have it? Too much is rarely an issue. Too little is where the problems start.
- Before anchoring, check the charts for the anchorage and the weather. The weather may be good now but what about at midnight or the next morning?
- Using app based software such as Navionics you can check out the anchorage and any custom anchor markers or reviews other sailors have added.
- Pay attention but equally, take things with a pinch of salt.
- If all seems fair, find a large, open space with many boat lengths between you and others.
- Ensure you have enough swing room so as not to do a 180 degree turn in the night and hit the sand.
- Take the yacht directly into the wind, bring the yacht to a halt and start dropping the anchor.
- Slowly take the yacht astern, dropping at least four times the water depth in chain in as straight a line as possible.
- Then stick it in neutral, let the yacht settle and the chain stretch out.
- It’s good to have somebody always on the bow to monitor the chain, checking for obvious signs on dragging such as vibrations, shaking of the chain and scraping noises.
- If all seems well, stick it back in reverse and do the 500 RPM test.
- If the anchor is biting/not dragging, do the 1000 RPM test. All good? Why not 1500 RPM? If the chain can pass these tests, you can be fairly confident you’re solid and any moderate winds aren’t going to cause you trouble.
- If you can, lay another 10 or 20m for added comfort.
- If the anchor dragged during any of those tests, lay more chain, 10/20m and try the stress RPM tests again.
- If you’re still having problems, pull up your anchor and try again or find a different anchor spot with better holding.
Sand and mud are the best holding if you want to be safe and sleep well. These surfaces allow the anchor to dig deep and lock in, and are very resistant to your anchor dragging. Grass and weeds are typically bad for longer stays or windy conditions. It’s important to remember the weight of the anchor and chain alone can be enough to hold the yacht in position but this is only recommended in fair, easy conditions and I would still keep a close eye on things. Rocky surfaces can be good holdings, in the sense that the anchor will lock into or hook under a rock. You surely won’t move but you might struggle to free your anchor again. One technique to free yourself from this situation is to drive forward and over the anchor, or to either side of the rock. You should be able to release the anchor this way. If not… well, you might need to call a diving team for help or if its an emergency situation you could be saying goodbye to your anchor.
Sailing at night and particularly in a moonless sky is, for obvious reasons, more difficult and more dangerous. However, with the proper training and use of all onboard equipment as well as taking all other following precautions – you should be fine and night sailing is a spectacle on it’s own!
Up-to-date paper and electronic navigational charts are so detailed and accurate today that nearly all buoys, navigational features and even the tiniest of rocks and shallow patches are listed. Most likely, they will be fitted with a light sequence which visually should match what is detailed on the chart – so you know what to look out for! Some buoys and light sequences tell you there is danger ahead, and which side of the buoy to pass by to avoid any trouble. Others, such as port (red) and starboard (green) navigational buoys tell you where to steer your yacht to pass through a channel or enter a marina or anchorage. Yachts from the smallest 10m fishing boats to the largest ocean going ships all have a universal standard or navigational lights on their vessels. Using these lights you can distinguish the vessels size, type, direction of travel and which side of the vessel you are looking at. Even when yachts are at anchor, they have a specific white light at the top of the mast so you know they aren’t moving / are to be avoided. It’s important to keep the white lights onboard off and very dim, so you can build your night vision in the dark.
As you can see, with all these technology and detail in place, with a proper understanding of all these things through sailing training and certification and proper use of the GPS equipment… aswell as the use of proper lookouts at all times – it can be very safe, highly rewarding and incredibly enjoyable!
- A t-shirt a day is smart, quick-dry and UV protected is recommended.
- A waterproof / windproof jacket.
- Enough swimsuits for your time onboard.
- Sun cream and after-sun.
- Credit cards, travel currency cards are great and cash in the local currency.
- A hat/sun cap.
- A waterproof case or sleeve for your phone.
- 10 to 20L + waterproof drybag for protecting your gear whilst swimming or taking the dingy ashore.
- Soft duffel or holdall bag. Once unpacked, these can be squashed down and stored away easily. Hard, large suitcases take up a lot of space and aren’t easily stored.
- Sailing gloves, maybe… rarely used but handy when they are.
- Deck shoes if you want them or non-marking sports trainers.
- Nice evening wear. Light, airy.
- Travel documents, passports and make sure you have the proper visas. It’s good to have photocopies of all these incase something is lost.
- Write down your travel plans, directions and addresses incase you lose any documents or your electronic devices.
- Medication (particularly sea sickness remedies if you think you will need them).
- A pack of playing cards and other small, fun games. Have you heard of Dobble?
- Mosquito repellent.
- Portable speakers. Nearly all yachts have built in sound systems but there are parts of the yachts – usually sunbathing locations, where the sound struggles to reach.
- Don’t forget your country or local flag! Sail with pride.
- If you have a drone, take it. The footage you will capture can’t be beaten.
- GoPro’s and other waterproof cameras.
- Beach towels… check with the charter provider as they are not always included!
- Snorkelling equipment. Usually they are included in the price but better to make sure and if they do, give them your sizes ahead of time!
As seasoned drone flyers ourselves, we can tell you that with proper precautions and care whilst flying it is perfectly safe.
It’s important to check the local laws of drone flying according to the drone type/size you have and anymore localised restrictions, such as inner city and avoiding flight paths.
Be sure to set your return-to-home feature to return-to-remote as, if the boat is at anchor the home position will be moving and, take even more care to return home with plenty of battery is drone flying whilst the yacht is under way!
Take extra care to avoid the many masts and rigging components, particularly of the 20 to 30m + sailing yachts and, of course, your own whilst taking off and landing! Be conscious of and respect the privacy of others seeking relaxation and be careful not to collide with your fellow passengers in the confined spaces onboard.
If you can take water damage drone replacement insurance, I would strongly advise you do so.
It, of course, depends on the time of year and location you are sailing! If you’re sailing in tropical climates it’s safe to say the water will be warm and pleasant year round. In the Mediterranean, the sea is beautiful, warm and ideal for swimming in July and August. June and September are good too, but April, May, October, you might want to bring a swimming top, shortie or wet suit – particularly if you like to free dive, scuba or just dive down below the surface of the water.
Ha! Absolutely not. You simply will not see sharks in the Mediterranean unless you are extraordinarily lucky (or unlucky… depending on your perspective!). Even still, you would likely only see them closer to the Atlantic such as north of Africa and the south of Spain, such as the Balearic Islands.
The tropical climates are different. Here you will likely encounter reef sharks, nurse sharks and smaller sand sharks. People make a living out of swimming with sharks, diving and photographing them. A huge part of the fear and stigma around sharks is myth, and although there are shark attacks in places like Florida, Australia, they will leave you alone if you leave them alone and give them space. You’re not their food, after all.
Obviously, if you suffer an open wound and you’re in the water where sharks are known to be, actively approach them whilst they are feeding or spear-fishing, and swimming around with a fish caught on the line you are likely to attract unwanted attention from sharks. We recommend avoiding those situations or taking every precaution if you do.
Jellyfish numbers are rising are and for swimmers, ocean-lovers and marine balance this is an ever increasing problem.
Jellyfish thrive in warmer waters and with global sea temperatures rising, the conditions are improving for them. Jellyfish also fare better than many other sea creatures in polluted waters, as they don’t need much oxygen, which can give them the upper hand against predators.
Over-fishing and illegal fishing over generations and centuries is also a fundamental participant to the problem. Less fish, les sea turtles and the jellyfish have been able to enter new ecosystems and take over.
Thankfully, in the many dreamy, breath-taking and popular sailing destinations around the world you are only ever likely to encounter a handful. If you have seen one and are worried, fear not. Put on a mask so you can see underwater and keep a look out, giving them a wide berth. If you get stung, shaving cream/foam is a great alkaline and failing that, soaking the sting in warm vinegar water.
In almost every sailing destination around the world you can go scuba diving. You will need a PADI Open Water or equivalent scuba licence at minimum to join a dive through an accredited diving school or hire the equipment to dive off the yacht.
In certain countries, law stipulates you can only dive with a local divemaster. This is to protect their diving sites, to keep you safe and also, of course, to help the locals generate more vital tourism revenue. In some remote locations around the world, this may be their only income and you should take the opportunity with open arms to benefit from their local knowledge and expertise.
If you are interested in learning to dive, booking scuba diving equipment or a guided dive, please email email@example.com or send us a message via our simple contact form for more information.
The freedom to fish depends on the local laws from country to country. For example, in Greece you can fish to your hearts content, trailing lines behind your yacht as you sail and take up some spear-fishing when you anchor. Yet, in Croatia fishing is not permitted without a fishing permit unless you are line fishing with a hand reel.
In the Caribbean, on any French island such as Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barts there is no limit to what you can fish… and when. Yet, on the UK overseas territories each island has it’s own set of restrictions and guidelines. In the BVI, for example, you cannot fish without a permit, spearfishing is absolutely not allowed with or without a permit and certain areas you can’t eat the fish you have caught due to a dangerous coral fish disease – Ciguatera – which can make you very ill.
If you are interested in fishing on your sailing adventure and would like to hire some equipment, please let us know via our simple contact form or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to provide the correct information and arrange these for you.
- Predict Wind – This is the no.1 for worldwide weather forecasting, with many varies models and levels of data to be sought. You can access some basic forecasting, enough for daily coastal and inter-island sailing, for free. For anything more serious, you would want a paid subscription and to download the Grib files onto the downloadable PredictWind desktop app. This platform does have a mobile app but personally, I would stick to the desktop / tablet versions and use other mobile apps instead.
- WindFinder – Geared towards kite surfers and windsurfers alike but this is a cruising sailors favourite for quick forecasting. It’s easy to digest, simple to use and contains everything for text driven data such as tide, current, direction ,wind speeds and direction as well as colourful, chart based visual weather forecasting models. Pay attention to the ‘Superforecasts’ in WindFinder Pro for more accurate, localised 3-day forecasts.
- Windy – Another great, easy to use all around weather forecasting application and platform. Highly recommended.
- Download a good lightening tracker, particularly if you are sailing out of season in the Mediterranean such as April, May, September and October. There are many thunderstorms to be had, thrilling, exciting and beautiful, but you want to be able to see them coming.
- Always check the local weather reports provided specifically by the local weather stations or national forecast, which may take into consideration geographical instances or regional weather occurrences that a broader, larger scale weather model may not consider.
- Always check a selection of forecasting models and applications. Some may forecast weather much more severe than another and it is recommended to always work on the worst case scenario. If you are uncomfortable, don’t do it.
- Don’t forget to check the regular weather forecast! It’s easy to focus on the wind speeds, direction and sea state and then be totally caught by surprise when a heavy rainstorm or thunderstorm passes by.
These are just our recommendations and should never be solely relied upon. As the Captain, use your knowledge and intuition to make the most sensible and safe decision, ALWAYS. Don’t take unnecessary risks and don’t give in to pressure from other passengers who may be naïve or lack the level of understanding you have.
Don’t be afraid to ask the locals, fellow sailors or your charter providers. If you aren’t comfortable with the weather conditions outside the port, stay in the port. It’s not worth the risk and expense, be it financial or health, if something goes wrong.