The Scarlett Guide To… Packing For A Sailing Trip

Initially I wanted to write a post on some of the ways to combat seasickness, but thanks to my natural pirating abilityand the fact I have undiagnosed, adult ADD and tend to drift between ideas effortlessly – I somehow ended up writing a patronising “how to pack a bag” guide instead. 

Now I know what you’re thinking; “You went on one sailing trip and now your suddenly a fucking expert?” – well talk to me after a few drinks and you would be right. But on this occasion, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that I’m not the only person in the world who prepares for a sailing trip by drinking rum, watching pirates of the Caribbean and throwing 4 sparkly jumpers and an adorable panda hat into a laptop bag. So for those of you who are as dense as I was when it comes to what to take on a boat, welcome to…

The Scarlett Guide To… Packing For A Sailing Trip

Waterproof Gloves

As well as the obvious benefit of keeping your fingers from freezing, gloves will help to stop any painful burns you get from pulling ropes for hours on end – not to mention helping to keep sickness at bay. Oh, did I forget to mention… one of the first things our Skipper told us was to wash our hands each time we touched the ropes, as the deck of the ship often attracts rats when moored up. Nothing like the threat of bubonic plague to make those ‘practical’ gloves you were bought last Christmas suddenly look appealing is there?

Good Shoes

Those cute, rhinestone encrusted high tops might look gorgeous, but when the boat is on it’s side in the middle of a storm, they’re not going to give you any grip whatsoever. Whilst the safety harness around your waist will help to stop you from drownin, when you slip over in your pumps, it won’t stop you from flying into the ice-cold sea like a sack of potatoes and have to be dragged out arse-first, (as one of our poor crew members very nearly found out!) Instead, it’s best to go with some standard trainers with a good grip or walking shoes.

Baby Wipes

As I climbed aboard the Prolific, I was ecstatic to find that it had a shower – of course, it wasn’t until I’d already smashed through the cabin like a baby rhino to claim nearest bunk as my own, that I was told that the ship didn’t actually hold enough water to power it. Luckily, thanks to the two industrial-sized packs of baby wipes my Mum gave to me just before I left, I didn’t have to spend an entire week stinking – and I even got to take my make-up off of a night (standards girls, standards).

Plastic Bags

One thing that they don’t tell you before you get out at sea, is that you can’t flush any paper down the toilet. Instead, all used toilet roll is put in the bins to be collected by the person on cleaning duty that day. This can be awkward, especially for us ladies at particular times of the month, (sorry lads) so it’s always best to take a few sanitary bags with you to save any embarrassment.


Those night shifts can get really cold, and there’s nothing worse than adding a head cold to the horror of having to get up at 4am. Not to mention the fact that, dry shampooo or no dry shampoo, your hair is going to look completely shit after a few days in the sea air with no shower.

Ginger Biscuits

Ginger is one of the best natural remedies for seasickness, as well as being a great breakfast if you can’t make the 8am wake-up call after a night-shift.

A Big Dose of “Man the fuck up”

My first sailing trip was full of little moments that, quite literally, threw me out of my comfort zone! As long as you keep an open mind and are prepared to get your hands dirty, I promise it’ll be one of the most amazing, exciting and memorable experiences of your life!

8 comments… read them below or add one

Leigh-Ann | A Little Bit Fabulous October 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Good advice here Scarlet. The rat thing is a bit scary though, I’m sure I’d forget to wash my hands and go and eat all my ginger biscuits haha!


Scarlett October 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I think I actually did a few times! I almost didn’t believe the Skipper when he told us! xx


ShimonZ October 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

Another marvelous article, with great information (if it doesn’t help me… at least it helps to get to know you better). Having spent some time on the sea, these instructions were even more amusing than usual. But then, I was never ‘under sails’. The illlustration was as good as ever, and even better because it was a water color. Thanks for a wonderful post.


Scarlett October 10, 2012 at 9:56 am

Ahh, Thankyou Shimon – What a lovely comment to wake up to :) xx


snowbird October 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Hahahaha….I can just imagine you loose at sea! xxxxx


Antoinette | love.antoinette October 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Love the last one – “A Big dose of Man-the-Fuck Up”! hahaha Amen sista!


Jess @UsedYorkCity October 16, 2012 at 1:12 am

Ohh, the shoes! I’m obsessed with my Sperry boat shoes and have always wanted to try sailing JUST so I have an excuse to wear them like a pro! A little nautical outfit would be nice, too;-)


Scarlett October 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

Nautical outfits are ALWAYS cute :) xx


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