When choosing a sailing holiday in Scotland, the next consideration should be to maximise the enjoyment and minimise any of the issues that anyone would potentially experience holidaying on a yacht. The SAS quote on their survival manuals “Any fool can be uncomfortable” and often when sailing with our guests on Lord Jim in Scotland or The Canary Islands, I am keen to help them identify any potential discomforting factors that are wholly avoidable.
Prior to guests joining us for a luxury sailing holiday, I make them aware of the three component factors of a good sailing holiday, namely wind, water and motion. We are blessed on a sailing yacht that we can use all of these component factors to maximise our enjoyment and take us places, courtesy of Mother Nature. However, for every advantage there is potentially a disadvantage. The wind is our friend as it propels the boat, but it also propels the sea, follows pressure systems and of course brings with it in many cases a weather pattern of rain.
The biggest issue with wind (from a guest’s viewpoint) is not its strength, but its chill factor. When standing on the bridge of Lord Jim, having come outside on deck from a warm cosy, comfortable saloon, the first thing you notice is mother wind and at times her chill like grip. Having the appropriate warm weather gear (even in sunnier climes) can make the difference between comfort and misery.
Water is the giver of life, but definitely not salt water, unless you are a yacht heading somewhere nice using every ounce of your energy and majesty to get to those far flung places in the Scottish Islands or The Canary Islands that guests desire. Salt water is that most corrosive of substances that support many tonnes of luxury yacht and yet, at every point, is keen to eat away and destroy even the toughest of materials. The sea is stirred into a frenzy at times by its close ally, the wind and when the seas stir and the wind blows, spray can cut through the unprepared or complacent on board. Yet, with a little consideration and prior planning you can stand on the bridge and enjoy the majesty of these two dancing partners and amaze at how they can drive your yacht effortlessly within their midst. The key is to ensure that all your wind and waterproof gear is adorned and secure prior to leaving the comfort of the wheelhouse. This will possibly only require a small amount of adjustment when on deck, minimising any discomfort or water ingress, thereby allowing you be part of this powerful spectacle.
As you would expect as the wind blow and the sea dances, your yacht will resist to a point and will find her safe and comfortable way through the often opposing forces, maximising the opportunity and with the experience of a good skipper, making good way. Very much likened to a Judo expert, she rolls with the punches, never wasting an ounce of energy, to fight the elements, merely weaving and dancing in a spell binding way which is exhilarating to say the least. To those who are unaccustomed to the angle of the boat and her natural movement, the inner ear can complain, causing a form of motion sickness. This motion sickness to most can (and will) pass quickly by being outside on deck, warm and comfortable, however should this persist, then the best course of action is to go back down below and lay down immediately, finding that the nausea usually quickly passes. As part of our safety briefing aboard Lord Jim we check carefully for those who have either have never sailed or have suffered from motion sickness in the past, issuing them with magic wristbands which place pressure on the wrist pulse and effortlessly remove the symptoms. This band method works in 70% of cases and for those who still have signs of motion sickness, we can, after consultation, administer a seasickness tablet which in most cases does the trick.
My 10 tips to maximise the pleasure of your sailing holiday in Scotland are:
- Prior discussion with your Captain ahead of your trip to discuss your sailing experience and/or potential motion sickness.
- Equipping yourself with the correct waterproof and windproof clothing.
- Kitting up prior to coming up on deck.
- Drinking plenty of water from day one.
- Moving to a deck position from the comfort of the cabins as soon as you feel nauseous and focus on the horizon.
- Discuss you feelings and fears openly with the Captain and crew as fear can exacerbate motion sickness.
- Make sure you have plenty of thin layers (layering) to keep body warmth.
- Should you become wet, do not prolong your stay on deck.
- In the event of feeling sick, seek medication from the Captain and retire to your bunk.
- Warm and dry feet are the perfect antidote to inclement weather.
Although my 10 tips for comfort and safety have looked at the downside of the wind and weather (which can happen in Scottish waters as well as tropical waters) it must be said that the weather should not be treated as the demon, as it is the power and the mechanism which inspires all others elements to conspire to make your yacht do what it does best, which is sail safely and efficiently in whatever direction you choose. 2014 was a brilliant season in Scotland for weather, with only a handful of days requiring input from my 10 points above and I expect (with the changing weather patterns) that 2015 will be even better.
I look forward to sailing with you. Yours aye. Michael”