Packing for A Week’s Offshore Sailing

A few people have messaged since my last sailing trip, asking what I took for a week away.

These people are going through their RYA quals at the moment, and whilst I’m sure most centres will eventually provide them with a kit list, I thought it would be a handy thing to post for those who perhaps are off sailing with friends/family, not through a sailing school.

There are plenty of kit lists for TransAts, day sails and the like online already, but this is what I took with me for a week’s sailing from Gibraltar to A Coruña.

  • Duffle/Dry Bag
  • Rucksack
  • Boots/Shoes – I took my Henri Lloyd racing shoes as I knew the forecast wasn’t bad
  • 2 x Musto baselayers (breathable)
  • 1 x mid layer (breathable) – Norrona fleece
  • 1 set of Helly Hansen thermals, in case
  • 1 x linen shirt – quick drying but also kept the sun off in the heat of Gibraltar/Coruña
  • Heavy weather gear
  • Lifejacket
  • Shorts
  • My Fjallraven Abisko trekking tights, as the reinforced knees are perfect for sailing!
  • Gloves
  • Baseball cap with jacket attachment and wool hat
  • Towel
  • Wraparound sunglasses and sunglasses strap
  • Swimsuit
  • Underwear/socks x 3 & clean as you go. I also took a pair of Sealskinz socks
  • Sunscreen & personal wash kit, including tea tree & lavender oil as they’re useful for everything!
  • Coffee bags (lifesaver) & insulated mug for warm drinks on watch
  • GoPro & Floaty Back
  • Alarm (I used my phone) so you know what time you’re on watch again
  • Eye mask & ear plugs, because inevitably you’ll need to get your head down during the day
  • Sleeping bag liner, though I didn’t need this in the end as we had bedding on the boat
  • Head torch with red lens for getting changed/moving about
  • Water bottle – I took my Water to Go bottle as it made the desalinated water on the boat taste better
  • Kindle

Your main concern is that on the water it can get bloody cold. After we rounded Cape St. Vincent, the wind was north easterly and bitter, despite the sunshine. I spent most of my time on deck wrapped up in my HL Freedom Jacket to stay cosy!

Much like mountaineering, sailing is all about saving space and layering effectively.

Crack that and you’ll be fine!