When planning a holiday, one of the most important things you have to decide is where to go and how to get there. Some people hop in the car; some take a plane or train. Others, the fortunate few, go by boat. Not just any boat, their own.
Being the skipper of your own boat with your own crew, or sailing on someone else’s as part of their crew, is one of the most fascinating adventures and beautiful ways to get to know new places. If you choose to take to the sea at the coldest time of year, when temperatures can even dip below zero, you have to take the following things into account:
Wear proper clothing
In winter, it can be windy and rainy as well as cold. This makes it important to wear the right clothes to stay dry, warm and comfortable. On long voyages or regattas, is always important to wear several layers and take spare clothing; thermal shirts, waterproof jackets and windbreakers are three essential items to protect you from the cold. Plus, for your time on deck it is important to take a sailing suit and rubber boots. It is also important to keep your head and extremities warm. Pay attention to where you feel the cold the most (hands and feet, for example) and try to keep these areas warm and dry at all times.
Drinking warm liquids, like tea, and eating hearty foods (carbohydrates) is one of the best ways to fight dampness in a boat, which is even worse than the cold. In cases like these, when liquids are essential, one of the best options is to have an on-board watermaker.
Limit dampness inside
To keep the boat at a good temperature, warm and without damp, it is important to have an electric heater and good electrical installation that can handle this type of device. Propane, alcohol and kerosene stoves can end up making it even damper can also be quite dangerous.
Once you’ve overcome the main logistical hurdles and are ready to set out sailing in the dead of winter, it’s time to choose a destination. Of all the possibilities, there are 5 places any skipper would recommend. Which ones haven’t you seen yet?
1. Ibiza (Spain)
Even though it is an extremely classical destination, it is still one of the most popular, above all in summer. This Mediterranean paradise has numerous sailing routes between the island and Formentera, and you can drop anchor in the best coves.
2. Sardinia (Italy)
Northern Sardinia is one of the greatest sailing destinations. Although there are many different routes in the area, one of the best starts in the port of Alghero and heads towards Cape Caccia and Stintino. At Cape Caccia, you have to drop anchor near the caves and have a look at the curious Isola Foradada.
3. Split (Croacia)
Located 380 kilometres from Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and opposite the Italian coast, Split is a strategic location. It is the heart of the Dalmatian coast, in the region of Dalmatia, which has loads to see when visited aboard a sailboat.
4. Kos (Greece)
This Greek island in the Dodecanese archipelago is known for its paradisiacal beaches. It is easy to sail around, as it is only 40 km by 8 km. If you’re left wanting more, Greece has many other islands, each with its own special charm.
5. Bay of Islands (New Zealand)
Our final recommendation is truly a voyage, for the most experienced captains. Located in northern New Zealand, this region is considered one of the most popular marine parks in the country. It has roughly 144 independent islands, where visitors can do all sorts of water sports. For long trips, when access to drinking water is complicated, the best option is to install a watermaker, like the Splash-25 that skipper Dídac Costa has on board the One Planet One Ocean for the Vendée Globe. Coincidentally, after leaving 4 days behind the pack, Dídac is now in 15th place, crossing the sea to the south of New Zealand.
If you’ve made up your mind, wrap up warm and we wish you fair winds and following seas!