Gliding silently over the sea with a yacht. Following picturesque coastlines. Stay at an anchorage for the night, having a swim and watch the sunset with a drink. Explore countries and their people, stay every night in a different harbour and start a new adventure the next day. May it be only for a week or sailing around the whole world.
A good starting point to let this dream come true is to go sailing with others. May be you are lucky and there are some friends or family members that are already sailing a yacht. Ask them if you are can join them. But even for beginners who do not know other sailors there are possibilities to try out yacht sailing. Many sailing schools and sailing clubs offer bunk charter. This is intended for beginners as well as for certificated sailors who are looking for a challenge or who want to practice.
So you do not charter a whole boat but a place to sleep on board. The skipper is the person in command. You can participate alone, with a friend, with your partner or your family. Groups can charter a whole boat including the skipper. If you want to sail on the North Sea, on the Baltic Sea, on the Mediterranean or in the Caribbean depends on your preferences. May be it should not be the rounding of Cape Horn the first time. But actually there are no limits. But still read the conditions carefully to see what the exact requirements are and ensure that you can fulfil them. And you have to inform yourself about the right equipment and clothing for the journey.
You mostly arrive at the port of departure under your own direction. You are welcomed by the skipper. He gives you an introduction of the yacht and shows you your bunk. Bit by bit the rest of the crew arrives and introduce each other. Together you make a shopping list and go to buy the food for the next days. When everything is on-board the skipper starts a detailed safety briefing and after that the yacht finally leaves the harbour.
A sailing trip is not a cruise with all its comforts. Everybody has to lend a hand, but this is what makes it attractive. The skipper assigns the tasks depending on ability. Underway it depends on you if you want to learn something new or if you just want to enjoy the trip and lend a hand if necessary. If you like you are allowed to steer the boat and can learn something about navigation and the on-board equipment. Maybe you have the chance to practice docking and undocking the boat. After an eventful day you arrive at a nice harbour late afternoon. The crew cooks a delicious meal or you visit a restaurant that is typical for the country or region. To anchor in a cosy bay is the highlight of every sailing trip.
In other words: You enjoy your holidays, the nice companionship and the sea. At the end of the trip you are now sure that yacht sailing is the right sport for you. You do not want to be an unskilled deckhand anymore next time? Then you can decide if you want to join a “Start Yachting” course or a “Competent Crew” course. After collecting miles and experience you can start your career as “Day Skipper” and “Costal Skipper”. Later you can be certificated as “Yachtmaster Offshore” or “Yachtmaster Ocean” or be a captain licensed by the US Coastguard.
If you want to know more about the life on a yacht read my reports about my Sailing Trips →
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