Going Off-grid: The Rise of Adventure Sailing

Take a boat holiday off-grid and experience a whole new way of sailing.

Adventure sailors.

We’ve all heard of them, those legendary sailors who etched their names in history with tales of great adventures exploring our oceans. Joshua Slocum, Francis Chichester, Donald Crowhurst, Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, Bernard Moitessier, the list is endless and the adventures are great.

So why the fascination with these voyages? Why did they do it, what was the appeal of the unknown, navigating the uncharted and going off-grid? Whatever the lure of adventure sailing was it seems it is once again on the rise. More sailors are chartering yachts or signing up to adventure holidays with the intention of sailing away from polished restaurants and crowded beaches and harbours in search of more secluded gems. Hunting those rare untouched locations where you feel as though you and your boat are completely alone.

Sailing can take you to some of the most untouched places on earth and show you things you never thought you’d see.

Today, cheaper air travel is making sailing more accessible to a global audience. So what makes people want to chase adventure over their lovely comfortable summer cruise? In all honesty who knows? But with the rise of celebrity explorers and the increasing dislike of being stuck in an office all day, more and more people are looking to challenge themselves through adventure charter holidays to scratch that itch and visit places never previously thought possible.

Croatia: A Favourite Destination for Adventure Sailors

These holidays enable people to travel to the far reaches of the globe. Whether it’s chasing the stories of Shackleton and being on ice burg watch in Antarctica or finding a secluded cove in the crystal blue waters of Croatia, the appeal of smaller crowds and untouched sceneries is apparent. 

Croatia, in particular, appears to have become the adventure sailor’s destination favourite for 2019, with people in search of remote coves, clear water, silent bays and untouched nature. With stunning islands in the Adriatic sea, such as Lastovo and Dugi Otok, with their many islets forming a secluded retreat for sailors looking to get away from the crowds and enjoy breathtaking scenery, cultural heritage and the peace and quiet.

On your boat holiday, make sure to anchor and explore the beautiful land around you.

Advances in Navigation Technology

The early adventure sailors, such as those who competed in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, were faced with challenging conditions. They sailed without the use of modern technology, no computers, GPS, satellite phones and water makers, EPIRBs or AIS systems. With no external assistance or modern day shore-side weather routing support, these sailors were truly alone. Back in the ’60s this really was a test for the most resilient.

Thankfully unlike those hardy sailors of yonder year, modern-day yachtsmen and women benefit from great advances in marine technology. The use of GPS, satellite phones and highly accurate weather forecasting has changed the game for modern-day sailors.

Electronic navigation, such as savvy navvy’s marine navigation app, now mean you can calculate your route in seconds taking into account wind and chart data. From there you can export your waypoints to your boat chart plotter. The rise of apps such as these are also going a long way towards making the process of passage planning and navigation safer and faster than ever thought possible by those explorers before us.  

A Helpful Checklist Before Setting Off

No matter how good a sailor you are, if you’re going off-grid to get away from it all, your navigation preparation is more essential than ever. Here’s our checklist to help you on your way.

Your navigation planning checklist:

  • Establish your shoreside contact and ensure they know of your route and ETA. Make sure they know what to do in the event you do not arrive on time.
  • Check the weather forecast for the best departure window
  • Decide what time you would like to arrive
  • Draw your route on a paper chart
  • Write your course and waypoints on the chart
  • Note tidal information on the chart
  • Write down distances and times to each waypoint, ensure this aligns with your ETA
  • Export the waypoints to your electronic chart plotter
  • Highlight hazards such as TSS zones and other obstructions to avoid
  • Ensure you are familiar with all the marker buoys throughout your passage, especially any that are local to the area where you are sailing
  • Make contingency plans for alternative ports of interest in case of emergency
  • Ensure you have local VHF channels are written down and easily accessible
  • Create a comprehensive pilotage plan to ensure you know how to safely navigate into the marina or bay of your final destination
  • Check the safety and navigation equipment onboard is suitable for the passage planned and ensure all crew know how to use it
  • Assess the capabilities of your boat and crew for the passage proposed

Article by Hannah Cotterell, Community Manager at savvy navvy.

Ready to plan your own sailing adventure? Take a look at our boat rental offers at Zizoo and start planning your trip today!