Are you planning to spend your next holidays on a yacht, but are at a loss what clothes and gear you will need for the big adventure?

Your choice of sailing wear will, of course, depend on the season and location. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to be prepared for a range of different temperatures and weather conditions, as the weather tends to change suddenly offshore, whatever the season.

The type of holiday will also influence how much you need to pack: perhaps you are planning an active, sporty holiday, or you need elegant evening wear when stepping ashore in certain locations.

It is always best to bring a soft bag or a backpack that can be easily stowed away, as every inch of space counts onboard. Do not even think of using a hard shell, wheeled suitcase! Far better a waterproof, moisture resistant holdall.

This article covers:

  1. What gear you will need for your next sailing holiday.
  2. Morning and afternoon wear
  3. Evening wear
  4. A few practical tips

What clothes should I pack?

The clothes you bring with you will have a huge impact on your holiday... Go for comfort and quality, because they will be your travelling companions throughout your time onboard with friends and family. You want to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Storage space will be limited, so you need to restrict your wardrobe: T-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts, bermuda shorts, sailing jackets and trousers. Make sure they are easy to mix and match, are not bulky, and are made from breathable, easy-dry fabrics. Even better if the fabrics are non wrinkle.

WAVE garments made from polyamide and elastane micro-fibre fabrics and so will be excellent companions on this new adventure. These fabrics also incorporate Sun Block protection, an important detail, given that you will be spending many hours in the sun, with UV radiation reflecting off the water.

Read the article on Polyamide and Elastan.

Make sure you pack enough underwear to last the trip, or, if you intend to be out at sea for some time, pack an ecological detergent so you can wash as you go.

A packable showerproof wind jacket is a must. Better still, take a waxed jacket no matter what the season, as this will ensure maximum protection, even in heavy rain.

Although specific sailing footwear is best, comfortable trainers are fine, provided they have white soles to avoid leaving marks on the decks. A fair amount of elbow grease is needed to remove any dark marks.

The right choice of footwear is important, as you need a good grip to avoid slipping or protection should you trip over bitts, bollards or blocks.

If a yachting holiday, make sure you pack a pair of boat gloves to protect your hands should you want to try your hand at the sheets.

The right clothes for onshore will depend a lot on the marinas and harbours, and your personal style. Simple quality sportswear is generally suitable everywhere.

Women: no heels or platforms! Go for flat or low heel sandals and sports shoes. Sailing wear for a typical day, June - September.

Morning and afternoon wear

Sun and brine will be the order of the day. A fantastic dip in the sea and a good coffee, the sun shining above and the wind in your hair: what could be closer to paradise?

Never underestimate the strength of the sun. Always use a high SPF sun cream. Pack:

  1. swimsuit;
  2. hat, best if with a brim/visor;
  3. sunglasses, with a neck cord so you do not lose them;
  4. collared polo shirts(men's polo shirt or woman's polo shirt) to protect your neck from sunburn, or T-shirts in light colours;
  5. cargo trousers and Bermuda shorts with plenty of pockets.

Evening wear

Temperatures generally drop in the evening: the heat of the day gives way to welcome cooler temperatures.

Nights can also be quite humid on a boat. So remember to bring along:

  1. a sweatshirt (men's sweatshirt or women's sweatshirt);
  2. a long-sleeved shirt;
  3. light, full length trousers or Bermuda shorts;
  4. a showerproof wind jacket (summer weight);
  5. a tracksuit, ideal for the evening at anchor and perfect for lying on the deck to gaze up at the (falling) stars;
  6. spare pair of shoes for onshore use.

What else to pack?

Depending on the type of sailing holiday, perhaps on a friend's boat or on an all-inclusive chartered yacht, you might be expected to bring your own bedlinen. Again, go for lightweight, quick drying fabrics. Most boats will provide blankets, but if this is not the case, we recommend taking a sleeping bag.

As well as bedlinen, remember to pack a beach towel, a bath towel and all your toiletries. Biodegradable soaps and shampoos are best. Some are even formulated to work with seawater!

Even though modern boats have capacious water tanks, remember that fresh water is always a valuable resource at sea and so avoid taking frequent showers and generally wasting water.

You are almost ready for your next sailing holiday. Just a few last tips on boat etiquette:

  1. Minimise waste and garbage: best to use stiff rigid plates and wash with a biodegradable liquid in seawater when sailing in clean seas; then quickly rinse with fresh water.
  2. Although every boat will carry a first-aid kit, pack some extra painkillers, antipyretics, anti-inflammatory creams, sea-sickness tablets and your usual prescription medicines.
  3. Bring a pair of binoculars, a torch and a penknife.

So, having packed the right stuff, relax, connect with nature and enjoy the freedom of the seas.