I’m on a boat: the Intrepid guide to sailing like a pro

written by James Shackell December 19, 2017
An anchored boat in crystal waters

This blog was originally published on October 27, 2014. 

There are a lot of myths about sailing the high seas. Some people think you need to know the nautical names of every sheet (sorry, ropey thing) and smell of seaweed all day, others reckon you can only do it on a giant cruise ship with four cinemas, two casinos and a pants-exploding buffet station.

It turns out they’re both wrong. After reading obscure historical tomes, books of knots and googling some stuff, we’ve stumbled on another way. We like to call this way ‘Sailing adventures on a big yacht’ (it’s a working title).

Just picture it: kicking back on the deck, the waves of the Cote d’Azur lapping against the hull, a dog-eared copy of Treasure Island on your chest and a wedge of Camembert close at hand. Take that, Queen Mary II. It turns out the only thing you need to be an Intrepid sailor is, well, you.

Don’t believe us? Have a look at our in-depth guide to sailing:

 1.    Master your nautical jargon

A sailing boat at sunset

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

This is crucial. How can you be expected to sail around the Bahamas if you don’t know your Intrepid sailing lingo? But never fear, dear friends, we’ve got a little lexicon here that’s sure to turn any Cabin Boy or Girl into a Lord Admiral. Case in point:

Nautical jargon: ‘Splice the mainbrace!’
Intrepid speak: ‘Can I have another rum and coke please?’

Nautical jargon: ‘We’re tacking two sheets to the wind.’
Intrepid speak: ‘Let’s go enjoy the breeze in that secluded cove over there.’

Nautical jargon: ‘Hard to port’
Intrepid speak: ‘Shall we turn left?’

Nautical jargon: ‘Land ho!’
Intrepid speak: ‘Check out Capri. Is that Clooney’s yacht over there?’


2.    Learn the ropes

A sailing rope tied around a cleat

Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash

You know, if you want to. When you’re sailing through Thailand’s idyllic islands and waving to some free-diving sea gypsies off the starboard bow, it’s sometimes nice to do so while standing at the helm like a real life sea captain (I think we’ve all been there). Our sailing adventures can be as hands-on or hands-off as you like. Help the crew with the sails; practice tacking and reaching and all those other fancy nautical things; or just lie back on the deck with a cocktail and a good book – the choice is yours. Try getting that kind of flexibility on a big old floating resort.

 3.    Pack appropriately

Aerial view of boats in a harbour

Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash

For obvious space reasons, it’s best to leave the grand piano, pet llama and fold-out four-person mattress at home. Same goes for bulky suitcases, ten pairs of shoes and the surfboard. Pack light. A small rucksack with the basic essentials, some sunscreen, your favourite book and a drink bottle are the main things you’ll need each day. Don’t worry too much about snorkel gear and the rest – that’s all part of the service.


4.    Stretching your sea legs

A boat sails into SardiniaThe best thing about our sailing voyages? They’re not all sailing. This isn’t a Christopher Columbus-type mission. We’re not going to be testing to see if the world is flat or sailing into the big blue yonder in search of new land. All of our itineraries come with plenty of land-based adventure too, from sipping cocktails on the cliffs of Santorini and beach barbecues in Ko Tao to hiking through the forests of the Iles d’Hyeres Archipelago. So don’t worry about stretching those sea legs or getting cabin fever – it turns out variety is the spice of sailing, as well as life.

5.    Say no to scurvy

Passengers sit around a table laden with foodThis is good advice for us all: don’t get scurvy. Of course, the chances of this happening are about as high as training a talking parrot to sit on your shoulder during the voyage, especially with the menu we have planned. Spanish sailors in the 1600s didn’t have Grecian olives to snack on, nor did they pull in at St Tropez for some fresh seafood and a crisp Riesling. On many of our sailing trips, most meals are made on board, but there are also plenty of opportunities to fill up on the local fare during on-shore excursions. Each passenger puts in for a kitty and chips in for the communal fare, whether it’s a sizzling stir-fry on Ko Samui or barbecue on the white beaches of the British Virgin Islands.

Want to stretch your sea legs? Check out our full range of sailing adventures today. Yar!

Feature image by Matthew Wheeler on Unsplash.

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