Here are some things I learned while bobbing up and down on a recent sailing trip around the Ionian Islands in Greece. Don't get me wrong, these are not lessons on how to sail (we hired an experienced skipper). These are tips on how to enjoy sailing to the fullest.
1. No clothes. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but let's say, pack light, then cut that in half. There is very little room on any sailboat and you'll quickly discover that you can basically live in your bathing suit. Just don't forget some wind/water proof outerwear for when it gets gusty.
2. No cosmetics (except for sunscreen). You don't need much really and most of your hygiene habits will take place in the sea.
3. No mirrors. You'll never feel more beautiful.
4. Stay low (when the sails are out). Probably the first thing your captain will tell you. The boom is aptly named.
5. Embrace being tipsy. Whether you enjoy plenty of alcohol or don't drink a drop, you will always feel pleasantly tipsy on a boat. In fact, you will have that feeling on land for days after too, so you might as well get into it.
6. Appreciate the sun and calm seas. They won't last forever.
7. Stormy sea = sleep. When the weather gods get angry the best thing you can do is hide. There is no better way to calm a sea-sick stomach than to take a nap down in the hull. The waves will rock you like a baby.
8. Make good use of port time. Stock up on fruit + veggies, splurge on a real shower (most ports offer facilities for a small fee) and sightsee as much as you can.
9. Make yourself useful. There's always something to do and learn on a boat. Tidy up, wrap up ropes, make snacks or drinks, steer the boat straight...
10. Be flexible It's not as easy to have a set itinerary when you're depending on good wind and good weather. Plans will change at a moment's notice. But that's part of the recipe for adventure.
And next time, some details on where we went and what we saw...