Wednesday, July 3, 2013

what to expect when you're expecting to be an overnight guest on a sailboat.

So you've been invited to stay over on your friend's sailboat. Congratulations! If you like water and adventure, you're going to have a memorable weekend.  We love entertaining and this weekend we hosted our first overnight guests. It got me to thinking about how hosting someone at our home is different than hosting someone either at the dock or on the anchor. There are at least a few differences so, I thought I'd post a guide for all future guests. 

First off, pack thoughtfully. We spend the majority of our time on the boat outside. Sunscreen, bug spray, hat and sunglasses if you wear them are absolute musts. We try to have at least an extra hat laying around as well as plenty of sunscreen and bug repellent but if you're particular or sensitive to particular ingredients, it's best to bring your own. 

We keep an extra set of towels and sheets but no extra pillows or blankets. Space is limited and we try not to carry more than we need. A good host will let you know if you need to bring any unusual extras so keep that in mind. 

Toiletries. Yes, you probably always bring them but if you're like me, sometimes you forget something and ask your host to borrow some of theirs. The problem with this is that since we live at the dock, we use the wonderful bath house our slip fees afford us.  Pack every item you'll need together so you're not stuck in a shower stall in the bath house cursing your misfortune of leaving your shampoo sitting on your berth. This is not so much an issue while anchored but keep in mind that if you're in a foreign port, your favorite toothpaste may not be easily acquired and you'll want to bring enough so that you won't have to impose on your live-aboard friends' limited supplies either. 

Nonskid, comfy shoes and maybe some flip flops. Comfort and utility are the name of the game here.  

If you have long hair, I will always suggest some means of keeping your hair tied back. Pony tail, at the very least. A windy day even just at the docks will leave your free-flowing mane in the worst tangle. 

And now a word about motion sickness. Even if we are docked, we are moving. Yep. When the wind blows, we roll slightly. Mostly the marina is protected from any real rough motion, but if you visit an anchored boat in a harbor, the weather is less predictable. I've read of cruising boats that are tossed relentlessly about, rocking and rolling on the hook. So. You should prepare yourself if you a person who is sensitive to that sort of thing. I sometimes feel queasy and have found that Ginger Chews (by Ginger People) are quite helpful, as is a full tummy. Sea bands or Dramamine are also options if your discomfort is the more severe bent. 

Now that I've covered what to bring, let's just have a quick "how to" have an easy, enjoyable visit aboard. 

If you're at a boat that is docked, keep your shoes and bath house key close to your berth. If you're like me and frequent the bathroom in the wee small hours of the morning, you'll want these items close enough you can stumble into them and to the bathroom without incident. 

There is very little, if any, privacy on a sailboat. On our boat, quarters are tight and your berth is next to ours. And the floor creaks/squeaks. Not much to be done about it but just something to keep in mind. We try to be mindful of that but unfortunately the guest quarters are not doored from the main cabin. 

Storage is always a top concern. If your visit will be an extended one, a duffle or some sort of collapsible bag is best. It's stowed in a small space and won't interfere with foot traffic on board. Hopefully your host can clear you a bit of space to stow your clothes and belongings. 

Power and water conservation are not a major concern at a marina, as most docks include these utilities in the slip fee but an anchored or buoyed boat is a different story. The boat has a finite amount of water to be drawn from the on-board tankage and the electricity is a self-contained system relying on a battery bank on board. It's an easy courtesy to the hosts to not let the water run an endless stream while you're brushing your teeth. 

 Questions? Still confounded? Drop me an email or leave a comment!

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