First Time Sailing

One of the most enjoyable things about owning a sailboat is taking guests out on it and sharing your love of sailing. The quiet power, the trimming of the sails, the bow slapping spray back to the cockpit – all things that keep you coming back.

But if you’re not used to the motion of a small boat, what may be an enjoyable day sail could be an uncomfortable and even sickening experience that could cause a first timer to never want to sail again. It’s your job as host and captain to make sure those aboard are comfortable and get the most out of the trip without becoming sick.

Rule number one, make sure they wear proper cloting. Hats and sunscreen are a must and there’s nothing worse than looking down at your skin after an hour on board and seeing a lobster red arm.

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Rule two, hydrate. You should provide plenty of water to your guest. Inform them that they should drink plenty even though they don’t feel thirsty.

Rule three, provide protein snacks. You don’t want to serve a full egg breakfast but fresh fruit and protein bars should be made available.

Rule three, if they know they might get sick ahead of time, suggest to them some form of over the counter seasick preventative. Patches work well and are cheap.

Rule four, don’t allow them to spend a lot of time below especially at first if they’re not sure if they’ll get sick or not. Have them stay out in the cockpit helping with sailing the boat. Keeping your mind off of your not feeling well helps.

When my girlfriend (now wife) went out with me on my Bahama 30 for the first time, the lake we were on was really choppy and had a decent swell that caused the boat to have an uncomfortable motion.

Though she was hydrated and stayed out in the cockpit she still started to feel pretty green around the gills. As soon as she informed of this I immediately put her at the helm. Her concentrating on driving the boat and the need to keep her eyes ahead all but eliminated her queeziness.

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For first-timers, the trip is a one time shot that they’ll judge as either a blast and want to go back again soon or, a horrible experience that they wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

It’s your job to make it positive and with a little upfront planning and understanding, you’ll have that first mate chomping at the bit to return and share your love of sailing.

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