The days are getting shorter, the weather is colder and the sun doesn’t seem to shine as bright. Well, it’s time to accept that the summer sailing season in many parts of Europe is over. So what is a sailor to do as the temperatures drop and the boats get put away for the winter? Guest blogger, Louise, of Sandy Toes and Writer Woes and Bailey Boat Cat explains what sailors do in winter and shares some nautical activities to take part in before your next summer sailing holiday with Zizoo.
by Louise Kennedy
Boat fun on land?
Sometimes, although we’ve left our hearts at sea, we find ourselves landlocked for a period. Here in Europe the winter is fast approaching and for many of us the sailing season is ending. You can still enjoy lots of boat fun from the static comfort of your land life though.
There are lots of ways that I like to remain feeling like a sailor when I’m stuck on land.
You could take an online theory course.
I studied for my Day Skipper theory qualification online. There are lots of different companies that offer the course and the study materials are generally very good now. The company I used had amazing graphics and multiple-choice answers that gradually got harder as the course progressed, leading to working with charts and calculating course variations. The course leader should also be available either by phone or email to help you with any issues or questions that you may have.
You can practice knots or even give splicing a go.
Even the most experienced of sailors can always learn a new knot or two. For learners, having the time to practice without pressure can be both fun and help commit that tricky knot to memory. You should aim to be able to tie essential knots, such as the bowline, quickly and efficiently and you could even practice the essentials with your eyes closed. The comfort of knowing that you’re not about to lose something overboard or ruin a docking manoeuver with your questionable knot skills makes playing with a bit of line much more relaxing and even enjoyable.
Splicing is an art form. It’s also a very useful skill to have on a boat. If your captain asks if anybody can splice, imagine how wonderful you’ll feel being able to volunteer to help. (I’m still imaging- this is something I will be attempting to learn this winter!)
Blogs, Books and Magazines
There’s no better way, in my opinion, of keeping in touch with your sailor side than reading about other sailors and their adventures. There are some fantastic sailing blogs (and vlogs) from sailors all around the world. Although the sailing season is cooling down in Europe, it’s only just beginning in other parts of the world.
As a female, I find reading books written about or by other women sailors very inspiring. There are plenty of great tales of women succeeding at sea that make me more determined to become a better sailor. I also personally only choose to read books about perils at sea, when my feet are firmly on land! There are also lots of technical sailing books that can educate and inform you, whilst also entertaining you.
Sailing magazine subscriptions are also a lovely way to stay up to date with new boats and products as well as reading about true-life stories at sea and getting inspiration for new cruising destinations.
There’s no better way to enjoy boat fun on land than by visiting a boat show. There are lots of boat shows across Europe (and the world) that cater to both novice sailors and experienced cruisers. They are a great place to product test, and buy new equipment and clothing, as well as seeing lots of boats and meeting lots of likeminded sailors.
Plan your next adventure
Planning your next trip can be almost as much fun as actually doing it. You can productively use your landlocked time to study charts and research anchorages and marinas.