Your family definitely needs to have an interest in boats, particularly sailing and be prepared to work onboard…and if they do you will have an absolutely amazing experience! So many adventures and new destinations await….
Research locations as not all are suitable for inexperience sailors! Be sure to also compare the various charter companies that are available, though many are networked and will offer the same boats. We found after lots of research that the Adriatic was one of the safest placed to learn to sail, with the Greek Ionians Islands coming in as a close second. We chose to go with Sails of Croatia in the end as they were very good at responding to my many questions and also had local knowledge and were a small family business. They were also super understanding about the Covid 19 situation and accommodated a late check in, discussed changing dates …. but we got away roughly on the dates we had planned!
Check out criteria that is required if you are keen to gain an RYA qualification – Day Skipper requires the theory test to be taken in advance.
What to pack?
- Well firstly, as you will be on a boat keep the clothing to a minimum and I would advise foldable bags rather that suitcases.
- Usual holidays clothes, but bring long sleeved tops and warm outer clothing in-case the weather changes or you need to do a night passage. Evenings on the water are cooler than inland. A cap is important if you don’t want to get burnt. Lightweight towels for swimming and the beach, there should be towels onboard for showers.
- Essentials – plug adapters ( recommend bringing an extension lead), torches, bug cream and candles .. flip we were all bitten!
So how do you learn and become qualified?
A 1 week course is enough to gain Day Skipper and Competent Crew. My partner had completed his Day Skipper Theory so he did the Day Skipper, my 14 year old and I did the Competent Crew course and my 12 year did his Start Yachting.
You will have a skipper on board for 6 days who will carry out an initial brief (including COVID 19 measures), take you through all the main sailing terms, sections of the boat, and practically show you how to raise the sails, sail according to the direction of the wind, tack, bring the sails in, moor, knot tying and for the Day Skipper route plan and log each journey – and of course learn how to effectively retrieve a ‘Man Overboard’ and a fender that has become loose. Should also say the Competent Crew also had to be able to bring the boat into a marina or shore is the Skipper was incapacitated …
Check out the RYA website for full details on all courses available.
Though it is hard work, you are in some of the most stunning locations as you learn! In the evenings you are able to relax with a beer or wine and explore where you have arrived. The skipper will eat all meals with you – even when you choose to eat out.
We were very lucky with our skipper, not only was he the Chief Instructor but he lived at one of the marinas we visited, so had lots of local knowledge – and only stayed onboard 2 nights out of the 6. Though I would assume your skipper will be onboard with you for the duration of the course. They do need their own cabin and separate toilet.
You are being assessed as the week goes by and there is no guarantee that you will pass, so my advice is to listen to all the advice you are given and show you are keen and ask lots of questions if you are not sure about something! Thankfully we all passed – whoo hoo!
Week 1 Itinerary
Worth noting that every itinerary is different and dependent on the weather and winds.
Night 1 – Late check in to Marina Mandalina, Sibenik
- Day 1 – Around Sibenik
- Day 2 – Sibenik – Skradin
- Day 3 – Skradin – high winds so no sailing, explored Krka National Park
- Day 4 – Skradin – Primosten
- Day 5 – Primosten – Marina Mandalina, with a night passage from Krapije
- Day 6 – Marina Mandalina – certificates issues – Zlarin (as we had a second week on our own booked).
Week 2 Itinerary
So we were given the go ahead to charter our boat for the second week – phew! So the holiday really started and we had a ball! Our skipper had asked about our plans and gave us tips for the best mooring spots and marinas – valuable info! Though onboard you will also have a book which will give you detailed into about the area you are sailing in regarding anchorages, moorings, marinas etc.
- Day 7 – Zlarin – Solta
- Day 8 – Solta – Vis
- Day 9 – Vis – again very high winds so stayed an extra night
- Day 10 – Vis – Pakleni Islands (Hvar)
- Day 11 – Pakleni Islands (Hvar)
- Day 12 – Hvar – Rogoznica
- Day 13 – Rogoznica – Prvic Luka – Marina Madalina, Sibenik
- Day 14 – Checked out of boat and head to Trogir in a taxi
Fabulous holiday, memories made that will last forever and locations visited that only a boating holiday would take you too!