Good Books to Read on a Sailing Holiday

Whether it’s been plain sailing or a little rough out there, once the hard work of reefing, tacking, navigating, and anchoring is over, and you are safely in port or anchored in a quiet bay; do you like to lounge around on deck with a good book?

Here’s our list of just a few of the many good sailing reads, for a variety of tastes.

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books to improve your sailing skills

If you are looking to improve your sailing game, or get technical, these books will help you on your way.

1. Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors by Nigel Calder

Nigel Calder is a respected marine author and authority on sailing. This comprehensive book gives solid information about the key technical and practical features of modern cruising systems and equipment. Boat handling skills such as core navigational know-how; anchoring techniques; understanding the weather; heavy weather skills; and specific skills for long-term and long-distance cruising.

2. The Morrow Guide to Knots by Mario Bigon and Guido Reganozzi

Knowing your knots is useful, even for the novice sailor. Also, it’s fun for the kids if you are on a family sailing holiday. This book offers clear and easy-to-follow diagrams of all the knots you’ll ever need.

3. Boat owner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual

Boat owner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, also by Nigel Calder, is the maintenance book for those interested in the inner workings of the engine and electrics. Although we’ll have you covered on a SailnDive trip, it’s useful knowledge to have if you want to learn more.

Sailing in the Cyclades

Adventure at Sea

If you prefer to read about intrepid adventurers at sea from the comfort of your fair-weather Greek-island boat charter, then these books will be sure to give you a thrill.

  1. Gypsy Moth Circles the World By Francis Chichester

Francis Chichester was 65 years old and alone when he set sail in his 54-foot ketch to circumnavigate the world. His 28,000-mile voyage, completed in May 1967, comes alive with his skillful writing.

2. Fastnet, Force 10 by John Rousmaniere

A fast-paced true story of the 1979 Fastnet Race, a 600-mile contest off the coast of Ireland in Force 10 conditions. A peek at the unrelenting power of the ocean and the devastation it can wreak.

3. Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft – Thor Heyerdahl

The famous story of some Scandinavians who built a balsa wood raft and sailed it from it 4000 miles from Peru to Tahiti tracing the original expedition. This book will pique the interest of any adventurous soul. A mad adventure of four men on a hand-made raft surviving this epic trip!

4. Circle of Bones by Christine Kling

A modern-day treasure hunt adventure book.  A former marine, Maggie Riley, and her 40-foot yacht lead us on an adventure-seeking for a submarine sunk in World War II. An exciting read for adventure lovers.

Humour at Sea

Seeing the funny side of all the possible things that can happen on a sailing trip, here are the books to make you laugh.

  1. Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: An Optimist Afloat by Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart’s hilarious memoir starts off with him landing his dream job as a skipper in the Greek Islands and continues with a number of madcap adventures making up the journey of a lifetime. This zesty book will have you laughing out loud.

2. Quality Time? by Mike Peyton.

Mike Peyton, ‘the world’s greatest yachting cartoonist’ , offers anecdotes of his sailing adventures along with 80 of his cartoons. With 50 years of sailing behind him, this book is as informative as it is funny.

sailing in Greece

Romance at Sea

For the heady combination of love, romance, and sailing with some grit – try these sailing romances.

1. Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi

Offered a choice between going to college and sailing the world, Tania hopped on a small sailing boat, knowing very little about sailing, and set off to find her destiny. A gripping book about sailing, boats, a young woman’s spiritual quest and finding love.

2. Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

A woman with a fear of water and zero sailing experienced finds herself aboard a small sailing boat with Ivan, a handsome Argentinean man with a dream to set off exploring the world. She gives up her suave city life, faces her fear of water, and joins her lover on a year-long voyage across the Pacific. A true-story memoir about taking a leap for love.

We hope you enjoy our selection of sailing-inspired books for your reading pleasure, as you go out and live your own sailing story.

Do like to read while sailing? Feel free to share some good sailing reads with us in the comments.

Adapted from an article originally written by Merryn for yacht-rent.com

How to Pack for a Sailing & Diving Holiday

After a stressful year of lockdown, Corona anxiety, and cabin fever, it’s time to break out in style on a SailnDive Trip in beautiful Greece!

Seven days on a boat. Sailing, diving, and island hopping.

You deserve it.

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Now, what to pack?

Having done a number of sailing and diving trips myself, and being somewhat of an expert packer, here are my top tips for how to pack for a sailing and diving holiday. There is even a checklist at the end.

Fortunately, boat life lends itself to simple living and there are just a few extra things needed that you might not take on a regular holiday. A duffel bag or backpack is the best bag to pack as it is soft and can be easily stowed onboard. Swim gear and simple clothes are the best whilst sailing and most people say they wear much less than they bring.

My number one rule for packing for anything is put out what you think you’ll need, then halve it!

Merryn

what NOT to bring

Although these days with volt inverters available on some boats for electric appliances, you may not want to bother with a hairdryer or hair straighteners. They are a drain on the main battery, so best to be conservative if you must bring them. 

Anyhow, the best look for a summer sailing holiday is the windswept-and-groovy sailboat look!

Heeled shoes can also be left behind as they damage the deck and also make entry and exit off the boat tricky and not very elegant! Dark-soled shoes can also be left behind, as these mark the deck.

Three pairs of shoes should be enough -a good pair of closed deck shoes, some flip-flops and a nicer pair of flats for dinner on the dock.

Valuables should be considered carefully. Boats tend to be left open in the evening and it is usually safe enough but ‘just in case’ anything happens, we don’t recommend bringing any irreplaceable family heirlooms!


start with the essentials

Important personal documents such as a Valid Passport, Flight tickets and itinerary, Health and Other Insurance Certificates, Driving Licence, and local currency and debit/credit card should be packed first.  Zip-lock bags are useful for storing these essentials. Don’t forget the negative PCR test for Covid or proof of vaccine!

Don’t forget your diving certifications and diving insurance papers too. (We recommend DAN)

Toiletries and medicine

Again, think small and convenient. A small, hanging toiletry bag with a built in mirror is useful for sailing trips where space is at a premium. It can be hung on the side of your bunk.

All the usual personal hygiene products should be packed, in small packaging. Natural shampoos, conditioners and shower gels that won’t damage marine life are recommended.

We will have a well-stocked medical aid kit on board, but a basic first-aid kit including is advisable to bring along, especially if you are on an medication.

Sea/travel sickness pills if you are worried about your sea-legs, Insect repellent and Anti-histamine (in case of insect bites/stings) and any regular prescription medicine –as many as you can (make sure they are not contraindicated for scuba diving) . Emergencies arise and you can go to a local chemist, but the language barrier may make things more difficult. Eye drops and lip balm may be useful after being in salt water all day and a sleep aid, if needed. Ear drops are great for any diving related ear issues. Rehydration salts are also recommended for the divers onboard.

Protection from the Elements

One of the first things to think about is your skin. A pair of good Sunglasses (with lanyard to avoid sunglasses overboard), a hat (that won’t blow off), a high factor sun-block and lip-balm and a sarong are musts on a sailing and diving holiday. A day of open-sea sailing, with not much shade, can take its toll on the skin, so an aloe cream or good after-sun in case of sunburn also goes on the list.

Waterproof gear in the event of a summer storm or shower is useful, plus a fleece and warm trousers for cooler evenings on deck.

Earplugs and eye mask may be useful if you are sensitive to sound and light.

Don’t forget your face masks!

Gadgets

Charging phones for all the crew can be tricky. Recommended is an extra phone battery, a 12 volt (car charger) for charging devices on board and, best of all, a solar charger. Power banks are handy too.
You wouldn’t want to forget a camera or Waterproof Camera (+ memory card & charger) or iPod or iPhone jack t to play music on board. Also useful is a two pin adaptor to charge batteries in port in the evening.

If you are a bookworm, an e-reader with a waterproof case is a convenient way to read onboard.

Dive gear

Our trips cater for experienced divers with their own equipment, so don’t forget the dive gear. We will have tanks, weights and weight belts onboard. Even if you are a non-diver, fins and masks are a great idea as there is plenty of snorkelling off the sailboat to do.

Keep your scuba diving equipment to a minimum.

The water temperature on our June SailnDive trips are about 21 to 23 Celsius with thermoclines starting at about 10m. A 5mm wetsuit with a hood is recommeneded.

On the September trips, the water will be warmer at 24 to 26 Celsius and the thermoclines starting much deeper at about 25m. A 3mm is recommended.

We dive quite a few wrecks on the trip, so a full body suit and gloves are preferred.

Scuba Equipment Checklist
  • Mask, Snorkel, Fins and Booties (if using)
  • BCD
  • Dive computer and extra battery
  • Surface Marker Bouy
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Dive Knife
  • Camera gear: If you’re planning on taking underwater photos, be sure to bring camera gear that is good down to at least 30 meters. You’ll want to make sure you have a couple of extra SD cards as well!

Ready, set, Sail

Remember that space is key and less is more on a boat charter. Sailing and diving holidays are casual and relaxing affairs, so pack accordingly and you with all these bases covered you will be ready to sail away!

Check List for Him
  • 5 T-shirts/tank tops
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 2 swimsuits / shorts
  • 1 pair trousers
  • 1 long-sleeved shirt
  • 5 sets underwear
  • 2 pairs socks
  • 1 pair deck shoes
  • 1 pair flip flops
  • 1 pair dressier shoes
  • 1 light jacket/ pullover
  • 1 fleece
  • 2 towels – microfiber are best
Check List for Her
  • 5 dresses
  • 2 swimsuits
  • 3 tank tops or t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 2 bras
  • 5 pairs of underwear
  • 1 pair of socks
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 light jacket
  • 1 fleece
  • 1 sarong or cover up
  • 2 towels – microfiber are best
  • 1 pair deck shoes
  • 1 pair flip-flops
  • 1 pair dressier sandals

Easter Sailing in the Ionian Sea

Have you ever thought of sailing in Greece in the Spring?

We are cautiously optimistic about our first sailing trip to the Ionian Islands over Greek Easter. Island hopping from Lefkada, home of poets, with its steep white cliffs after which it is named (The White One), to Kefalonia and Ithaca, the mythical island of Odysseus, that ancient sailor. Weather permitting, we will sail over to Zakynthos, known as the flower of the east by the Venetians. Famed for its music, sea-caves, and loggerhead turtles, which are protected in the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. These are the perfect places to explore by sailboat.

Spring Sailing in Greece

Springtime is one of the most delightful times to visit. The countryside is abloom with wildflowers, a multitude of vernal colours scattered through the bright green grass; the blood-red wild poppy beautifying the countryside. This is Greece at its greenest! 

sailing and diving in Greece
Spring in Greece

You can expect warm balmy days and chilly nights. If you find the sweltering heat of the summer overwhelming, it is ideal. The water is still cold from the melting snow runoff, and you won’t find the locals swimming yet, but swimming and diving is possible and sailing conditions in the Ionian Sea are ideal.

Sailing around the Ionian Islands

Located off the west coast of mainland Greece in the Ionian Sea, the Ionian Islands are a group of seven main islands, and 123 islets and rocky outcroppings. They stand apart from other island groups due to their accessible anchorage spots and easy sailing conditions. Over the centuries, they were occupied by various powers, but it was the Venetians, French, and English who seem to have left a lasting impression; this is apparent in the atmosphere, cuisine, and tastes of these lush isles.

📷Lloyd Dirks

Mostly sheltered from the summer ‘Meltemi’ winds, predictable and ideal sailing conditions make the Ionian Islands a popular destination for sailboats. Ports can get crowded in the summer and pre-Covid there were many flotillas. May to September sees wind from the North-West at Force 2-5. In spring and autumn, the wind is not as strong and usually blows from the South-West. Sailing in the Ionian is recommended for novice to competent sailors and is perfect for sailing with a family.

A well-visited location, there is excellent tourism infrastructure, great hotels, a variety of water sports and full service marinas.

Easter in Greece

The Greek year is a succession of festivities and events some of which are cultural and some of which are religious. By far the most important in the Orthodox calendar is Greek Easter, or Pascha, and if you are in the right place at the right time you will definitely be invited to join in the revelry.

Pascha is a joyous occasion as the emphasis of the celebration is on the Resurrection as opposed to the Crucifixion of Christ. Preparations start the week before with a general hustle and bustle of cleaning, pruning, and painting, baking and cooking in Greek homes across the country. The festival starts on Good Friday with the Perifora Ipotavios when a shrouded bier (representing the funeral bier of Christ) is carried through the streets to the local church and can be witnessed in towns and villages across the country. The religious celebrations culminate in the  Resurrection Mass, starting at 11pm on the Saturday night and the climax is when the chief priest brings the ‘holy light’ out into the darkness ( all the lights are switched off ) where the congregation waits; each with their own ornately decorated candle, to receive the light. This symbolizes Christ’s passing through the underworld. The light is passed on from candle to candle until the blackness is banished by the light of a hundred flickering candles. It is a poignant and beautiful ceremony; not to be missed!  Everyone then walks home trying to keep the light from their candles burning, to bring the holy light into their houses and prepare to break the Lenten fast with a traditional tripe and herb soup.

📷Steve Harris

Easter Sunday starts off with the cracking of the red Easter eggs which has the children excited to see who has the strongest egg. All over Greece, people can be found cooking whole lamb or goat, sometimes more than one, on a spit in the sunshine, drinking tsipouro and greeting neighbours, friends, and family with “Christos Anesti” (Christ has risen). Preparations occupy everyone and there is a mad rush until all are finally gathered at the table to feast on lamb and seasonal side dishes all washed down with plenty of wine, tsipouro, and beer. Music and dancing and a bit of plate-breaking are the order later on in the day. A real knees-up and a great experience for the passing sailor.

Each area of Greece has a particular way of celebrating with some of the islands having the most interesting and spectacular customs.

Red eggs for Greek Easter
Book a sailing holiday in the Ionian

Hopefully, if it’s safe and responsible to travel, we’ll get to see sail these beautiful Ionian isles and witness some of these Greek Easter traditions on our sailing trip at Greek Easter. After so many months in lockdown, a sailing adventure in the Ionian is just the ticket!

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Sailing in Greece

Adapted from articles written by Merryn for yacht-rent.com