It was the beginning of our first sailing adventure and we were all full of excitement, trepidation and nervous energy! Taking a 3 year old on a yacht, sleeping onboard for 3 nights and navigating the waters on our own was all part of what attracted us to this challenge, yet as we pulled into the dock I could feel a tidal wave of anxious energy overwhelming me. I felt like a kid getting dropped off by my parents on my first school camp. Massively excited but nervous as hell!
After checking the jetty map and locating our yacht – the almighty ‘Catalina 28’, we both broke out in a huge grin. Seeing the yacht bobbing away tied up to the Metung jetty in all its glory provided us both with a huge sense of escapism. Soon we would hoist the main sail and hit the high seas (well, ahem, it’s actually the Gippsland Lakes but that’s purely semantics). Soon we would be on our own little family adventure!
Loading our bags onboard it was clearly apparent that we had yet again overpacked and underestimated the amount of ‘stuff’ we had with us. So, here’s a tip for those of you heading on a private chartered yacht…space means everything! After a few days of living in a cabin you will soon learn to appreciate the luxury of space and the less cluttered it is the more enjoyable the ride. We learnt this the hard way after loading all of our bags in (including groceries, clothes, books, camera gear, fishing rods etc). The yachts are very compact and it pays to be highly organised to prevent you from losing things on your trip as well as climbing over tables and bunks to find things. Once we unpacked and worked out a place for everything we actually felt more settled. Next was the sleeping arrangements which provided many a giggle!
‘Which cupboard am I sleeping in?’ said our 3 yr old girl, Daisy. She wasn’t wrong. It was a choice between what looked like a pantry and then what resembled an underground bunker beneath the main cockpit. Both of which required climbing in and doing a kamikaze roll, backwards somersault crossed with the limbo! I was all of a sudden overcome with a huge sense of claustrophobia. Was this for real? Mind you, this may have also had something to do with the fact it was about 36 degrees outside and because we were stationary at the main jetty, the cabin felt incredibly sticky, humid and albeit stifling!
Nevertheless this was all part of the adventure I reminded myself! On the flipside of this, the yacht was immaculate and shiny and so enchanting. The mere thought of sailing away in the morning into unchartered waters and new territory had me positively beaming!
Falling asleep that night I’ll never forget the feeling of gently swaying, looking up at the stars through the cabin porthole, hearing a gentle breeze overhead and knowing that my little family were all about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime!
Top 10 practical tips:
– Don’t overpack. Comfy, casual clothes that can be layered as one minute the sun will be beaming down on you and the next it will be cloudy.
– Don’t forget the aeroguard and sunscreen! Two most used items onboard.
– Don’t forget good coffee as they have a gas stove so byo percolator
– Only bring one pair of thongs to wear onshore as most of the time you’ll live barefoot onboard.
– BYO rain jacket and Sunhat
– BYO games and books (no TV or wifi)
– Try not to bring too many loose belongings as that’s when it feels cramped onboard. Better to bring large soft bags (not suitcases) that fit in all your toiletries, books, games etc.
– BYO lots of snacks as for some unknown reason you get really hungry when sailing in the sun!
– BYO quality wine, cider and Prosecco as you are on holidays remember!