So you're going cruising - not just for the day, but for a few weeks or a few years - that break you've promised yourself, with like-minded people, be it the family or friends, not because they're the greatest sailors, but because you like their company. Now it's time to think...what extras can you take to make the experience not just great, but SUPERB!?
What can make that lazy sailing holiday better still?
1. Sufficient awnings:
Sun is marvelous on a sailing boat - when you want it. You will find that shade can end up the most vital commodity on a boat if there is insufficient for the number of people and the jobs they do. Removable awnings are easy to make a rig, and can be put anywhere on the boat as a temporary measure while at anchor. If you use good Sunbrella fabric and attach it strongly you can even make awnings that stay on while you're sailing.
2. Folding bicycles:
These can be purchased quite inexpensively these days. Put a basket on the handle bars or take back packs, and the shopping becomes a breeze in ports that you visit. Bicycles not only opens up a world of possibility on shore, but a bike ride is a great way to stretch out those legs after a long passage.
There’s nothing like swinging at ease in a hammock, and it's something that is often forgotten in the haste of getting away to go cruising - comfortable, decadent even, what better than with frosty glass in hand and the sun kissing the horizon at the end of another great day on the water. They pack away to almost nothing, and can really contribute to that feeling of bliss while reading your favourite book
If your boat has the space on deck for a lightweight rotomolded kayak, that's great, but if you can fit two, it's a boon, as two people can enjoy the experience together. A kayak is just the thing for exploring shallow shorelines and rivers. Inflatable kayaks are the other option, which can be stowed away below decks when sailing. One important aspect of using kayaks is the advisability of taking a hand-held VHF with you if you are out of sight of the yacht.
6. The Barbecue:
This might seem obvious, but without a barbecue, much fun of the sunset can be missed, and it keeps the mess and smells out of the galley, particularly if there are a crowd on board. Make sure that's it's a good quality stainless steel version.
7. A sail for the dinghy or kayak, depending on which is suitable:
Going for a sail on a lazy afternoon can spread the fun around. Explore the options - the kayak is the most likely option, particularly if your dinghy is an inflated one.
8. A blow-up boogie or paddle board:
These are not only fun, they are good exercise. If your dinghy is powerful enough, you can even use them for 'waterskiing', if you remember to take a suitable line for the purpose.
9. A floating hot tub:
Ah, now this is the height of decadence. Ask at your local marine store. If the water is going to be less than warm where you go sailing, or you have a squeamish sailor or two on board, this is the answer. They can be deployed in less than five minutes, and take about an hour to heat to a beautiful warm temperature.
10. the Kindle:
Finally, and this is not meant to be a commercial article, but take a Kindle! You can then take an almost unlimited supply of your favourite authors' books, and never, never run out of reading matter!