Everything you need to know before sailing with MedSailors
Want to sail the high seas on your own MedSailors yacht, but not quite sure what’s involved? From how much things cost and what to pack, the boat rules, and how to beat seasickness - this is everything you need to know before your MedSailors trip (aka the best week of your life!)
When we first signed up to spend a week floating on the med, the thought initially filled us with apprehension rather than excitement.
We know, we know. Looking back, we’d call ourselves weirdos too.
But we’d never been the ‘package tour’ type of travellers, and the sight of cruise ships in harbours had made our skin crawl for a long time. Add the fact that we both prefer (or so we thought) to have our feet firmly on dry land, exploring very much at our own pace.
So as the departure date for our Turkey adventure with MedSailors approached, our minds began to fill with a million questions pre-departure: are sea legs really a thing? what if our boat ended up being the party boat? would we be able to shower on board? Or eat? And what if we spent the whole time on board a not-so-pleasant shade of ‘seasick green’?
We also had a super busy schedule leading up to our departure that didn’t allow for our usual Google searches that would accompany any normal pre-travel questions, so it’s safe to say we finally arrived at the Göcek harbour on a sunny day in September totally clueless about the week ahead, but ready to give it a good shot.
Well. After what will go down possibly as one of our favourite trips EVER (yeah, you read that right), we're now total converts to sailing (you can read all about that here!).
Now that we’re both such old, wise seadogs, we figured there might be a few of you out there with your own reservations or questions about the sailing life – so we’ve put together this post on everything you need to know before sailing with MedSailors.
Think of this as your one-stop tips and hacks guide to having the best bloody sailing (and lazing) week on the Med you could imagine.
sailing the mediterranean with medsailors: our best tips and hacks
YOU'LL PROBABLY HAVE THE BEST WEEK OF YOUR LIFE
But seriously, you probably will. We did.
In hindsight, we laugh (a lot) about the ‘old us’ and our fears about what a sailing holiday would really involve. I mean, what’s not to love?!
For a start: you're sailing the freaking Med, stopping at and swimming in some of the most beautiful turquoise bays, all under the most glorious sunshine. On shore, you’ll get to experience some of that famous European hospitality, and feast upon delicious coastal Mediterranean food.
The itinerary is also a perfect balance of boaty days, swimming stops, and onshore adventures, so there’s never a dull moment. But for us, the best part of our MedSailors trip was switching off from everything and doing something we've not done in three years; relaxing (we even managed to refrain from checking emails). In between all the swims and meals all we really could do is nap, read, write, or just chill and watch the day go by. It was pure bliss.
MEDSAILORS MATCH YOU WITH LIKEMINDED LEGENDS
One of our biggest fears about spending a week on a boat with a bunch of people we’d never met before, was whether we’d all get along okay.
We’re by no means old and past it, but our days of heavy partying while travelling are gradually moving further and further away from us, and we definitely did not want to be stuck on a party boat for 7 nights straight.
So imagine our delight when we arrived to find that MedSailors actually take the time to match every one of their guests with our like-minded, similar-aged travellers on board, via a little survey about your interests that you fill in pre-trip. Keen to chill? They’ll pop you on a boat with an equally relaxed crew. Likewise, if you’re all about tearing up the d-floor and recovering during the day, there’s a fair chance your fellow guests will have the same aim too.
They do a bloody good job of pairing people up too – everyone on our boat was super chilled out, but also really fun, and we knew straight away that we were in for an awesome week with lots of laughs. The number of Aperol Spritzes drunk and inside jokes shared with them all by the end of the week is a true testament to that!
What’s more, some of our sailing buddies actually met on a MedSailors trip a couple of years ago, and have reunited for an annual trip ever since.
only PACK THE ESSENTIALS
When packing for your week on the water, a less is more approach is definitely the key – space is limited, cabins are small, and truthfully, the only real outfit change you’ll need is from one swimming suit to the next. That said, there are still a couple of boat essentials you should have with you once you’ve sorted out your outfits:
Reusable water bottle. This should be a given on any of your travels, but particularly on the boats where the water is guaranteed clean and fresh, and you can fill up on board rather than buy single-use plastic on shore
Bio-friendly toiletries: everything you use in the bathroom is immediately washed into the sea, which means you should try to avoid damaging and chemical-heavy products and facial scrubs with micro-beads altogether. We recommend:
Lush solid shampoo, conditioner and bodywash bars (these are also great for saving space in your toiletries bag!)
Ocean-friendly sunscreen (Stream2Sea)
For the ladies: a mooncup is a great investment for “that” week, as it totally eliminates awkward bathroom waste.
Lip balm - warm weather and ocean breeze can wreak havoc on your kisser
A nicer change of clothes for heading into town of an evening
A light jumper for cooler evenings
Closed toe shoes for adventure days - you’ll need these for hikes, when you go paragliding, or for exploring the volcanoes in Italy!
International travel adapter - you’ll need a European plug to keep your gear going!
Waterproof camera - we used our Go Pro for a few hours every single day to capture all our underwater fun! DEFINITELY BUY ONE OF THESE!
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH ARE INCLUDED, AND THE FOOD IS AWESOME
Breakfasts and lunchtimes are when your skipper will reveal their true identity as a superhero of the seas.
Somehow, while still managing to keep the boat afloat and steadily on course, they also whip up your first two meals of the day - in the tiniest kitchen you ever did see. And these aren’t just any old meals either, it’s seriously good nosh, and a lot of it.
Our skipper, Hector, served up delicious eggy bread, scrambled eggs, Mediterranean veg pastas, risottos, fresh salads, and a cheesy garlic bread sent straight from the heavens. We can safely say we never went hungry – which is saying something!
It's also important to know that drinking water is also included, so don't go buying dirty bottled water (plastic is bad, okay!) - just fill up your own bottle instead.
YOU'LL EAT OUT AT RESTAURANTS EVERY NIGHT
Although breakfast and lunch are included, dinner is not, which in our opinion is a good thing as it allows you to sample the incredible local cuisine.
Each evening our Group Experience Leader (GEL) would arrange dinner at a local restaurant close to where we'd dock. Sometimes we’d be picked up by dinghy and transferred to a rustic beach restaurant on an otherwise empty stretch of coast, other times we wandered to a fairy-lit rooftop bar in a little fishing town. Each restaurant we ate at over the week was delicious, and was general quite cheap at around £10 pp.
Food tended to be a selection of traditional meat, fish, or veggie dishes as well as the droolworthy mezze selection – and fellow vegetarians, never fear: there are plentyyy of suitable veggie options available!
If you're not keen on a group dinner, you’re obviously welcome to do your own thing, however we'd recommend joining the group dinners as they're a great way to get to know your fellow sailing buddies.
pack lots of SNACKS
Who can live without them? We certainly can't, especially when we travel, so we made a point of stocking up before we left the harbour.
Snacks came in super handy each evening around 5pm, when we'd all settle down for an Aperol Spritz and some crisps and nuts, or during mid-morning when that craving for chocolate just wouldn't go away.
Although it's unlikely you'll go hungry, we definitely recommend grabbing the following snacks:
Don’t let seasickness beat you
Thankfully, seasickness isn’t really something that either one of us have battled on short boat rides in the past, but weren’t too sure how we’d fare spending a whole week on one.
We also weren’t overly prepared for that likelihood, only realising when we arrived at the marina that we hadn’t brought any seasickness medication with us! Thankfully, we only had one morning of feeling pretty green early on and it passed us by pretty quickly once we’d found our sealegs.
If you’re worried about feeling ill on your trip, be sure to visit your doctor for some anti-nausea medication, let your skipper know if you’re not feeling well (they have all the tips for beating it!), and spend some time chilling out in the fresh air at the front of your boat. You’ll feel right as rain in no time!
BRING YOUR OWN ALCOHOL
Although it may seem obvious, alcohol isn't included as part of your MedSailors package, nor sold on board your boat.
The good news is you can bring alcohol aboard, so we recommend stocking up (if you're that way inclined) before you set sail. If you didn't plan ahead, don't fret - there are plenty of opportunities to purchase alcohol throughout your journey, especially when docking at a town with a harbour.
Although we're not big drinkers, we did buy enough beers to get us through the week, as well as Aperol, Prosecco, and soda to make our daily Aperol Spritz sundowners. Fortunately, there's also a refrigerator on board to keep your alcohol of choice nice and chilled (although it's very small, so don't fill it with all your alcohol straight away; keep some in your room and replace as needed!).
We did find alcohol to be quite expensive at restaurants or bars that we visited during our trip, so if you're on a budget, this is the best way to keep costs down without missing out on the fun.
BRING ENOUGH MONEY FOR THE WEEK
Although it's 2018 and you can get money just about anywhere in the world, we recommend planning ahead and bringing enough cash for the week before you board. This will save any uncomfortable moments where you may need to borrow money off a boat mate.
We spent around £170 (€190) each during the week, which covered all food, alcohol and any optional activities we wanted to enjoy, as well as a tip for our wonderful skipper, Hector. We were on a pretty strict budget, so £200-£300 for the week would should cover those who wish to party a little harder, or enjoy every optional activity.
YOU'LL NEED TO PAY A 'LOCAL PAYMENT' FEE
Before setting sail, you'll need to pay your skipper or GEL a 'local payment fee'. This fee covers off your tourist taxes, marina and port fees, and fuel for the week. The fee generally amounts to around £75 - £85 pp.
Why isn’t this included in your overall fee at the time of booking? Because the local payments differ from country to country – and it often needs to be paid in cash by the skipper as they leave the harbour.
THERE ARE PLENTY OF OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES
Although spending a week aboard a yacht was dreamy, there were times when we needed to get off the boat and stretch our legs a little.
Thankfully, MedSailors had an exciting array of optional activities which we got involved with. For our Sail Turkey route, we visited the incredible Saklikent Gorge and went tubing down it's quick yet abso-bloody-lutely freezing river, before enjoying the best sunset of the trip at Patara beach. Unfortunately, the weather gods were not on our side so we were unable to paraglide over Ölüdeniz beach, which was shame!
Although the activities are optional, almost everyone on our MedSailors flotilla joined in, which made each of them a whole more fun.
For our Sail Turkey route, we had the option of the following activities:
Paragliding over Oludeniz beach
Saklikent gorge hike and tubing
Kayakoy ghost town tour
Optional activities are obviously not included in your overall trip cost, so you'll need to budget accordingly. Most activities were pretty reasonably priced (especially the paragliding option!) at between £30 - £100.
YOUR SKIPPER WILL BE YOUR BEST FRIEND
Hector, our MedSailors skipper for our Turkey trip, wasn't just a great seaman, he was also our knight in shining armour.
Want to stay safe? Hector's got you covered. Toilet is blocked? Hector will fix it. Shower head's broken? Hector's on it. Breakfast and lunch? Hector's cooking it.
Your Medsailors skipper pretty much does everything on board your boat, and they do it very well. So be kind to your skipper and treat them with respect, listen to what they say, and in turn you'll have a wonderful, safe MedSailors trip. And at the end of your trip, be sure to leave them a little tip (or big!) to say thanks for giving you the best week ever.
It's worth noting that every skipper we met on our trip was friendly, knowledgable, and most of all fun, making our week so much better.
planning your dream trip? use our comprehensive Airbnb guide to find that perfect accommodation!
YOUR GROUP EXPERIENCE LEADER WILL LOOK AFTER YOU
A what now? That was our reaction when first introduced to our Group Experience Leader (GEL), Lydia, in Göcek Harbour.
The GEL’s role is all about putting your experience at the heart of the week and making sure you have the best. week. ever. It’s something we’ve never experienced on a group tour before, and Lydia ended up being our bubbly MedSailors flotilla guardian angel; organising everything from our dinners, group acticities, social events, and addressing any issues passengers might have had during the week.
Turns out Lydia was our MedSailors flotilla guardian angel, organising everything from our dinners, group activities, social events and any other issues passengers may have. We also never saw her without a huge smile on her face, and made everyone feel at ease and excited for the week ahead straight away.
BE A GOOD CREW MEMBER AND REMEMBER TO RESPECT OTHERS
The boat is your home for the week, so treat it as such.
Although our boat mates were pretty clean and tidy, there were many occasions where the common areas got very messy. Due to the confined spaces, the mess was noticeable straight away, so try to keep on top of it before it gets out of hand.
Here's a few boat rules to live by in order to have the best week possible:
The skipper cooks, guests clean
Clean up after yourself, and help out when others are cleaning communal areas
Keep the common areas clean and tidy to avoid any safety issues
Respect the toilet and shower spaces - if you make a mess, clean it up before the next person uses it
If there are eight people on the boat, you'll likely only need to help out once. So do it early in the week!
Another thing to remember is to respect fellow boats - those in the MedSailors flotilla cruising with you to each destination, or those moored in harbours at night. It's important to have fun while on your trip, but it's also important to not be a jerk.
CHARGING YOUR ELECTRONICS + THE WI-FI SITUATION
We really hate to be these people – but before we boarded the Double Vies, we were a little worried that we’d also be embarking on a week without our phones or electronics as we didn’t know what the charging sitch would look like. That might sound like the dream, but when your business is pretty reliant on being connected, it’s a valid concern for pretty much every trip we take!
Never fear – a week without being able to snap endless #boatselfies isn’t likely here, as there are electrical sockets in your room. These can only be used when the boat is docked with mains power, but for small devices (phones, camera batteries etc), there’s a charging board up in the main cabin that can be used when the boat’s at full sail.
We never had an issue with charging our electronics, including phones, laptops and camera gear, so we doubt you will, too.
Wi-Fi isn't available on board MedSailors boats, and to be honest, this is a good thing as it allows guests to interact, or chill out.
Wi-Fi is freely available at restaurants and marinas throughout your trip, so you won't go without, and if you’re really feeling stressed about not being connected, you can purchase super cheap data sims from the newsagency in Göcek (remember to bring your passport!).
STORING YOUR VALUABLES
We joined our MedSailors Sail Turkey trip while in the middle of a six-week stretch of back-to-back jobs, so we had an absolute mountain of stuff with us, including cold weather hiking gear, all of our camera gear, laptops, tablets etc.
We have to admit, we were a little concerned pre-trip for the security of our valuables (it's our livelihood after all). Fortunately, we were able to store our valuables in our bedroom, and while we weren't able to lock them up completely, we had absolutely no issues with security.
So if you’re a backpacker in the middle of your trip, you’ll be fine!
It's important to note there is no safe on board the boat, so if you do decide to bring valuables aboard, you'll need to get creative to keep them safe, such as hiding in them in various areas of your room, or taking them with you when heading out. That being said, when the boats are moored in a bay, you don't need to worry, while when they're docked in a harbour, they're generally very safe.
In our opinion, just bring the essentials such as your phone, wallet and passport on board and leave the rest (laptops, tablets etc.) at home. You won’t really have any need for them on board anyway!
YOU CAN SHOWER (AND SH*T!) ON BOARD
We were such sailing newbies that we truly did not know whether we'd be able to shower (or poop) on board. Turns out you absolutely can, albeit with a few rules.
If you're planning a shower, there are a few rules you need to follow:
Make it short - water isn't endless on the boat. Go for the taps off while soaping/shampooing up approach!
Drain the water. There's a little button at the top of the shower to drain the water
Clean up any water around the bathroom when you're done (they get muddy quickly!)
If you're planning a number two, follow these rules:
Poo on the way, not in the bay. Basically, when the boat is in motion, it's the perfect time to visit the toilet as the tanks are open to release waste water. In the beautiful bays, they're closed
Learn the flush system and apply it. Boat toilets are slightly different to conventional toilets, with a complicated pump flush system. Learn it, otherwise your boat will end up blocked/smelling very bad!
Pop your toilet paper in the bin
If you're after a more luxurious shower and toilet stop, many of the marinas that you stop at will have paid facilities to utilise. They're usually not expensive, and well worth it if you're planning to wash your hair, or aren't feeling 100%.
ALL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS ARE CATERED FOR
On our boat we had two vegetarians, a gluten-free, and a peanut allergy – and no one ever went hungry! All our breakfast and lunch meals on board were vegetarian, and separate versions were made where necessary to accommodate any one else’s dietary requirements.
MedSailors are very accommodating when it comes to dietary requirements, just make sure you notify them prior to your departure so your skipper has time to prepare appropriately.
YOUR MOMENTS WILL BE CAPTURED
We kinda feel like Ryan (@lostboymemoirs... GO FOLLOW!), our MedSailors photographer, had the dream job. Each week during European season, he jumps from boat to boat, photographing MedSailors guests enjoying themselves, all while enjoying himself too.
The good news is, your week will be captured (whether you want it to be is another story all together) so you can put your phone or camera away, and just enjoy yourself. Photos will then be posted to the MedSailors Facebook page trip, for you to peruse (or cringe) to your hearts content.
SAIL WITH GOOD INSURANCE
Look, at no point on our trip did we feel unsafe, or like we’d suddenly sink or break a leg.
But that said, some of the optional activities are a little riskier or adrenalin-fuelled (like paragliding over Ölüdeniz), plus you’re travelling by sea with things like your camera and phone (hello, soggy electronics risk), so it’s imperative that you have adequate insurance for any unexpected moments.
We travel with World Nomads insurance – purchase yours here.
all the details for sail turkey with medsailors
THE MEDSAILORS SAIL TURKEY ITINERARY
The MedSailors Sail Turkey route is a 7 day sailing trip along the Turkish coastline on board your own yacht. Your breakfast and lunch is prepared fresh each day, and dinners are usually on shore at beach restaurants and traditional tavernas.
In 2019, the route will operate between May - June, and September - October. We highly recommend mid-May and mid-September, when temperatures are still a beautiful 30c each day, but the nights are infinitely cooler than the summer months.
The week starts and ends at Göcek harbour, and takes in a number of key stops along the coastline, including: Fethiye, Kalkan, Kas, the pristine 12km Patara beach, and many more.
You can check out the full trip itinerary on the MedSailors website here.
HOW TO GET TO TURKEY’S TURQUOISE COAST
We’d absolutely recommend spending the night before your trip in Göcek to give you some extra breathing space (and relaxation time!) to organise your snacks + drinks for the week ahead with plenty of time.
*Taxi prices used to be around £22 from Dalaman to Göcek, but recent drops in the Lira meant that ours was actually closer to £11 - so its worth keeping an eye on your exchange rate!
explore more of turkey with these posts
DISCLAIMER: We were hosted by MedSailors on their Sail Turkey itinerary. A big thank you to the team for making our trip memorable. As always, all views are our own.