Everyone starts their traditional sailing journey somewhere, and in a lot of ways every voyage is the first time for everyone, even if they’ve been to sea before. Each ship is different, with a distinct rig, its own unique procedures and systems, and the locations of all of those lines to learn! On a familiar ship, the sailing grounds and voyage routes all have their own special differences, and even if you’re sailing on the same ship, on the same route, the conditions are never the same twice.
This is part of the joy of sailing: every person on board learns something new every time, so there’s no need to worry about it being your first trip.
Having a wide variety of experience on board is also fantastic for the atmosphere- everyone has something to learn and something to teach, whether directly related to sailing or not. Don’t be daunted by all the things you don’t know yet -there’ll be a lot of things you do know that may be more useful than you expect!
The professional crew love to teach. Speaking from experience, when you’re sailing day in day out the job can start to drag unless there are new folk on board, fascinated by the ship and keen to learn. It reignites the passion for what we do and lets us share the intricacies of the ship we’re so proud of.
A great sailing voyage isn’t just about the destinations and scenery, but about feeling part of the crew, and the sense of achievement that comes from working the ship well. Your role within the crew for any given task will be assigned to you based on your experience, your strengths and your eagerness. Wherever your personal ‘edge’ (that exciting place where you push yourself just beyond your comfort zone), the professional crew will find it and help you explore it. That might be getting your sea legs, helming the ship, hauling up the mainsail, leading a maneuver or climbing the rigging. It will be different for everyone, and you can feel confident that you won’t be pushed further or harder than you want to be. Confidence is built slowly, doing slightly more each day until you’re scampering round the deck, getting your hands to the lines before you know it.
You were on your own, not any more!
Given that everyone on board is part of the team, it also doesn’t matter if you go sailing on your own, with a partner or a friend. By the end of day one you’ve all gotten to know each other, and sailing forges friendships incredibly quickly. A week on board and you’ll feel you’ve known everyone for years. This comes from not just living together, but working together, supporting each other and having a giggle while you’re at it.
Most people who come sailing on the Classic Sailing fleet are solo travellers, and in some ways I think this is the best way. While its fun to have adventures with friends, signing on to a new ship on your own makes you much more open to connecting with the rest of the crew. There’s also the added advantage that when nobody knows you, there are no expectations upon you- you can be whoever you like! Sometimes this allows us to be more confident than we might be in our ‘normal’ lives, and explore sides of ourselves that don’t often get to come out and play.
The only question now is… which trip to pick!
Day trips are a fantastic way to get the feel of life on board without making too big a commitment. Many of the ships in the fleet offer day trips as well as longer voyages, so you could get to know the boat a bit before taking the plunge with a bigger booking. Day sails are also great to ask lots of questions and get your head around what kind of voyage might be for you. Talk to the crew, find out about their favourite sailing adventures and ask their advice.
Enjoy a long weekend or a mid-week getaway and get a taste for waking up in your bunk with the sound of the sea flowing past the hull. Watch the phenomenal sunsets and sunrises, and see the night sky reflected on the water. Often these trips are a chain of day sails, with a different secluded anchorage or lively port stop each night. They offer a great mixture of cracking sailing and shoreside exploration, and each trip will be unique as the crew plans the itinerary to make the most of the conditions at the time.
JUMP STRAIGHT IN TO THE VOYAGE OF A LIFETIME
If you’ve got the time and the inclination, there’s no reason why an trans-ocean epic shouldn’t be your first seafaring adventure. Check the voyage pages to see if a particular trip is suitable for beginners (most are) and if you’re unsure we can talk you through the options. The best thing about a longer trip is that you get right into the rhythm of life on board, and you have time to get to know the ship (and yourself) inside and out. Your body can adjust, any seasickness has time to fade away, and you can experience a whole variety of sailing conditions, challenges and achievements.