Where are we likely to go?
Where we go will depend on what direction the tide is going and what the wind is doing. We usually sail in the Solent which is the area between Portsmouth, Cowes, Lymington and Southampton. There are number of destinations - we have a pontoon on Cowes or a buoy on the Beaulieu River which are free for us to use, and lots of marinas where the cost will be shared out amongst the crews.
What do you eat and drink?
We have a basic food delivery from Waitrose that allows us to eat aboard - or sometimes we may choose to eat in a local cafe or pub (subject to everyone's budget). People often bring some extra treats (e.g. crisps/chocolate/cake) and drinks (beer, wine or coke). Breakfast tends to be cereal or bacon/egg sandwiches. Lunch is often sandwiches or jacket potatoes and dinner might be pasta or risotto if we're eating aboard.
We have tea/coffee and hot chocolate on board along with still and sparking water. If you have specific dietary requirements or allergies please talk to your skipper about what's on board and what you might want to bring along.
Where do you sleep?
We sleep on board. There's one cabin in the bow (pointy end) which sleeps two, bunks that can be made up in the saloon (including top bunks if it's a full crew) and a rear cabin that the skipper usually takes. We will usually try to keep the cabins single-gender wherever we can.
What if I'm seasick?
The Solent is generally quite sheltered so if your previous experience is on big ferries crossing the Channel, you might not be affected. If you think you might be seasick, it's a good idea to bring some seasickness pills along. Some need to be taken a few hours ahead, others can be taken later so check the pack. If you start to feel seasick, tell your skipper immediately. There are things they can do that might help - from distraction to sleep to getting back to port quicker.
What if I'm on medication?
It is important that you talk to your skipper before you sail if you have any important health or medication problems. If the medication you take needs to be kept for emergencies only, eg an asthma inhaler, please make sure that another member of the crew knows where you have left it. If seasickness could reduce the effectiveness of your medication it is important that you let your skipper know if you begin to feel unwell while sailing. And do make sure you've let the skipper and crew know about any specific food allergies or requirements.
Is there a toilet on board?
Yes - the 'heads' in boat parlance which we'll show you how to use. If we stop in a marina, there will be toilets ashore that we can use.
Is there a shower?
We usually use the showers on shore at marinas when we're out even though there's a small shower within the heads on board. There's hot water so you can have a wash in the heads or you might want to bring
along some wet wipes for a 'festival shower'.
Is there power on board?
When we're on our home pontoon - and usually in other marinas - you will be able to plug in with a normal plug. The signal isn't always great though in some of the smaller places we go to, so you may not use your
phone as much as usual. If you are a phone-junkie and you have a power-brick, it can be a useful piece of kit.
What do you do if it rains?
We get a little wet! But we do have all-weather gear that you can take on board with you that will help you stay dry. If the forecast is for rain, you might want to bring an extra pair of shoes or wellies and something dry to change into, just in case. The skipper will plan the weekend taking the weather into account so usually trying to avoid the worst of any rain as much as they can.