The Essential Packing Guide for a Sailing Trip


The following is a guest post by Jennifer Doherty.

If you have recently booked a sailing trip you should be starting to get pretty excited already. But remembering the essential items can make the difference between a relaxing holiday and a tough trip. Whether you are going on your own vessel, a friend’s vessel or chartering a sailing yacht, the boat itself will be equipped with safety essentials such as lifejackets and navigating essentials such as a compass (but do check). Apart from those things there are a number of key items you must never forget on a sailing trip – without them you may be up the creek without a paddle as it were.

Torch, Watch and Radio

These three essential items are carried everywhere by sailors. The torch serves many purposes; finding your boat on a return from a meal in a pub or finding your pyjamas in your bag late at night are two main reasons to carry one. You also need a reliable watch and depending on where you are going, a list of tide times. If you are planning on sailing far an FM Radio may be your best friend, if nothing else to keep you slightly connected with the rest of world.

Deck clothing – but not too much

You need to pack clothes that are suitable for wearing on deck. These include deck shoes, or similar footwear and light, casual clothing. You need to be able to manoeuvre the boat in what you are wearing as well as not get too hot. Try to choose clothes which cover your skin as the sun can be harsh out at sea.

Hats, sunglasses and sun cream

A good sunhat and some reliable sunglasses will stop you suffering in the heat. Sun cream is absolutely essential; people regularly get burnt on board a sailing vessel. Even seasoned sailors sometimes forget how much the sun can still burn even when it’s cold and windy.


Spare glasses, spare batteries, spare pens and spare lifejackets. Once something falls in the water you won’t get it back and as for batteries, we all know how frustrating running out of those are – especially at sea.

Waterproof wash bag

Depending on the berth of your vessel it may well have a shower, but even so you might want to stop off at a hotel every now and then for a long hot soak. Take a waterproof wash bag with a good fastening complete with everything you need in it. You might also want to invest in a lightweight microfiber towel as these are much lighter and take a lot less time to dry.

Store cupboard food and water

Some charters have food already on board but even still you must pack some high energy store cupboard food. As long as you are careful and not too adventurous you should never be far from an eatery, but keeping some high energy snacks such as biscuits, dried fruit or crackers on board may just save your bacon. You will need plenty of bottled water too.

A sailing trip may be an unforgettable experience but you really won’t forget it if you end up sunburnt, hungry or stranded at sea. Just be sure to draw up a thorough list and when packing it all – check it off twice.

About the Author:
Jennifer writes blogs and articles on her many sailing adventures. She either charters a yacht with when holidaying with her family or takes her own humble sailing boat when going it alone.