Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Ultimate Yacht Week Guide

I always pack for extended trips with this question in mind: “If there was going to be a zombie apocalypse announced any day, would I have all my sartorial necessities with me?” In a nutshell, I overpack. I brought a pretty hefty (but smooshy!) Adidas gym bag with me, but ended up using about 1/3 of the boy’s bag space in order to bring everything I needed with me on this trip. Here is a list of everything I brought:

CLOTHES
  • 9 swimsuits. You'll be living in them all week. They may also function as your underwear. Enough said.
  • 5+ hats. Aging visibly on your face is not a souvenir you’ll want from this trip. I find snapbacks to be very good at covering wet locks that are still salty from the ocean.
  • 8 sundresses. Suitable as both beachwear coverups and party attire.
  • 7 shorts. These range from jean material to Adidas gym shorts, which did double duty as quick coverups and sleeping attire.
  • 9 shirts. I had croptops, bandeaus, loosely-fitting sheer, sleeveless- think summery!
  • 1 wedge, 2 flat sandals, 1 pair of tennis shoes (bought flip-flops in Croatia, Havaianas are the way to go!)
  • 2 sunglasses (Ray-Ban Wayfarers, natch)
  • Loads of neon bracelets to offset my soon-to-be-amazing tan.
TOILETRIES
A list of the necessary beauty essentials can be found in my “I’m On A Yacht Series” here, but here is a quick list with corresponding links to my review of the products:
So now that the technical stuff is out of the way, I present to you: 

15 Tips You Need For Yacht Week 

1. Get a large yacht.


If you can, splurge on a larger yacht. We were fortunate to reserve a yacht made to fit 12 people. The luxurious “Victory” had 4 bathrooms, 2 large bedrooms, and 3 smaller bedrooms. We had a fully equipped kitchen with all the pots, pans, plates and utensils needed, and a refrigerator as well as a freezer. Additionally, we had a table topside, which fit the 8 of us perfectly. You’ll want to get a boat with a table upstairs, as well as the sun shade. Too much sun can be killer. As I wrote before in my Yacht Week Day 1 review here, when you're living aboard a boat with 7 other people and have to be around them 24/7, a little personal space is very psychologically soothing, so try to get the boat with that extra space!

2. Fly your flags loud and proud. 

To the untrained eye, all yachts look the same. In the dark, all yachts look the same. To the drunken eye, all yachts look the same. You don't want to spoil a boozy night by accidentally crawling into the wrong boat, do you? Plus, how else can you tell that dishy boy what boat you're on if you describe it as "the boat with the... sails"?

3. Go grocery shopping beforehand.





Doing your own grocery shopping at the beginning of the trip is vital. We made sure to stock up on necessities like water!!!, alcohol, carbonated beverages, condiments, some canned foods, pesto, pasta, etc, in order to be able to make breakfast and lunch, and in some cases, dinner. There will be grocery stores and open-air markets along the route to restock, but sometimes you don’t want to make a journey all the way to the markets. You will have to restock on ice, fruits, and fresh bread at nearly every stop.

HOWEVER, remember that this is a vacation! You're not in Croatia to run a household, so don't get too focused on preparing elaborate dinners and washing dishes after every meal. On my crew, there was some SERIOUS shrew-like nagging by some people who thought that the most important aspect of this trip was to wake up at 7AM, clean the entire boat spick and span, and wash dishes immediately after every meal. While cleanliness is important, don't be obsessed with it to the point of guilt-tripping everyone on the boat! If you'll be on the boat with people who cannot grasp the concept of what a vacation is, buy paper cutlery and divide chores beforehand so that there is no finger-pointing about who is supposed to do what. Or... hire a hostess.

Also, don't get too caught up in making food every day. You're not there to eat meats, cheeses, and pasta that you can make at home. Instead, soak in a bit of Croatian culture and eat out about half the week, enjoying the fresh seafood and local cuisine.

4. Pop a bottle of champagne before, during, and after the voyage.


Bring cheap (champagne showers) as well as tasty (for human consumption) champagne in addition to all the booze you should be purchasing. We had a good mixture of hard liquor (vodka, Jagermeister, gin), beer, and rosé for the chickies. Don't forget that water, though!

5. Bring a warm sweater or a windbreaker. BRING IT. 
On the promotional photos, Yacht Week looks like nothing but sun, sun, and more sun. While yes, this is the case, the nights in Croatia turn a bit chilly. Maybe it was because I went the first week of Croatia Route, but I found that the first few nights were ridiculously cold, and had to steal the skipper's jackets to keep from shivering on the (usually) long walks back to the boat from the clubs. You'll want to bring a heavy-duty sweater or a few light cardigans, just in case. 

6. Bring a hat. Or 5. 




The idea of aging gracefully may be sweet, but no one, and I mean NO ONE, wants wrinkles and sun spots on their face. Snapbacks are also delightfully hip while covering up your locks. Don't bring a hair dryer or straightener- you'll just end up annoying everyone when you're sucking up all the electricity, and you can only use those when you're in a harbor plugged in, anyhow. Just run some MoroccanOil Styling Cream into your wet locks, let airdry, and throw on a hat. Or wear your hair in braids- you'll get mermaid waves the next day when you wear your hair down- bonus!

7. Wear sunscreen.
 Remember that you are a) on water, which attracts more sun rays, and b) usually in the sun during all daylight hours, which means that inadvertent tanning will occur. Control the level of golden brown you become by applying sunscreen first thing in the morning (I swear by Riemann P20 SPF 10, as seen above). Get your fellow crew members to help apply to the hard areas. You'll want an even, all-around application because, if not, you'll get a wicked farmer's tan. And we don't want that, do we. 

Adrian agrees.

8. Bring floaties.

You can opt to purchase your floaties and pool noodles either online and schlep them to Croatia, or you can also visit the massive mall in Split and buy them at Mueller or other stores. We got a floating bar complete with floating chairs, inflatable palm tree and monkey, and floating flamingo cup holders in case it becomes too difficult to hold your drink while lazily floating in the ocean (it's a hard life!). I developed a little crush on Ollie the Orca, and honestly, pictures like these are priceless. 

9. Go to all the day parties on the beaches. GO TO THEM.



The day parties tend to be so much better than the night parties because who doesn't love champagne showers while the sun is setting?! Get a table at some of the more crowded places (Hula-Hula, Carpe Diem)- NOT to avoid getting sprayed in the eye by the champagne but to be right in the thick of the champagne shower warzone. 

10. In line with the previous tip, go to Hula-Hula Beach Club in Hvar and try their strawberry margaritas and sample platter.

This sugary goodness has bits of strawberries blended with your alcohol, and since I'm a lightweight, I only needed one pitcher (technically, half a pitcher) to be giggly all throughout the night. The pitchers are worth 178 kunas each (about €24). Try to guard the straws from randoms if you don't want to swap saliva- or share one, share all with everyone to be the life of the party.

Hula-Hula offers two sample platters- the snack tower (pictured above) has chicken wings, flautas, satays, taco chips, veggie skewers, and various dips. The seafood tower has fried prawns, calamari, fish filet skewers, veggie skewers, and special accompanying dips. Totally perfect for munching on with fellow crew while sipping on the aforementioned strawberry margaritas! 

Try to grab a day bed and spend morning and afternoon of your Day 5 (Croatia Black Route) here before the day party at Carpe Diem. The view alone is worth it!

11. Have a slice of pizza in Hvar with your feet dangling over the ocean.
There is the most amazing little shop right on the waterfront of Hvar in the main plaza that sells these super-thin pizzas by the slice or whole. Grab a slice with your favorite toppings and walk three steps to the waterfront. Eat while watching the sun set. Marvel at how perfect life can be. 

12. Go swinging over the ocean in the yacht while it's in sail.


The water is freezing and it's a bit terrifying to be swinging back and forth over a fast-moving ocean relying on a few bits of string to make sure you don't get swept away, but the free fall experience is one you will not want to miss!

13. Climb the mast. Go to the tippity top. At least once. 


Unless you're deathly afraid of heights, you should attempt this at least once. Find a crew with a sail seat (or bring one yourself!) and have someone PROFESSIONAL attach it to the mast. Climb. Be amazed. How else are you going to be able to see this view?

14. Bring fancy dress for the regatta.




Initially we looked into buying animal suits but decided that we would rather not die of suffocation and heatstroke, thankyouverymuch, so we put together a costume based on our boat name of Château Bateau and came up with capes, crowns, and personalized shirts. 

Don't take this too seriously and spend a fortune on getting your team outfits together! For example, our personalized shirts were €20, disco capes were from the fabric store for approximately €5 a cape, and the crowns were ordered online for €3 a piece (we did have the option to filch a whole bunch of crowns from Burger King, too, but decided that these plastic ones would hold together better). 

The personalized shirts are nice because when you're old and gray 50 years from now, you can put on your shirt and reminisce about that time you went on Yacht Week in Croatia ^_~

15. Take photos of the sunsets. 






The novelty of being on a yacht lasts only the first couple of days for most people. Beyond the shots that you take at the beginning while you're still anchored in Marina Frapa, busting out your camera may not be a priority over boozing, snoozing, sunning, and sailing. Additionally, when you're surrounded by beauty 24 hours in a day, you tend to become desensitized to the sensational views around you. Keep your camera always at hand, taking photos of everything around you. This way, you have a tangible way of fondly remembering your Yacht Week experience. But whatever you do, DON'T take your camera to the night parties. Champagne (and to a low-brow extent, beer) showers are par for the course, so there is a high likelihood of you damaging or losing your camera. Just hope that the official Yacht Week photographers are on hand to capture your boozy moments!

Everyone should experience Yacht Week at least once in their lifetimes. The magical beauty of Croatia was bolstered by the unique experience of living on a yacht for a week. Additionally, how else would you get 30 other like-minded yachts and crew on one fun-filled adventure together besides through Yacht Week?! I can only imagine that the other routes (Greece, Italy, British Virgin Islands, and newly made Thailand) are just as amazing as Croatia was for me. So what are you waiting for?! Cross this off your bucket list, pick your destination, and have the time of your life! If you go, promise me one thing: tell me ALL about your adventures!
  
I think either the Thailand or BVI route is next for me!

12 comments:

  1. Awesome blog, just put our deposit down for July 5 - 12, 2014 with Ultra Music Festical at the end. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. Hey...how was it??? Can i contact you via email? M planning this year.

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    2. Hey...how was it??? Can i contact you via email? M planning this year.

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  2. Sara - where did you get that orange and black bikini?! It's gorg!!

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  3. Ooh I'm regretting not booking that weekend! You'll have a blast Shaun!

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  4. What a handy article Sarah - I'm going sailing in Croatia in two weeks and this fantastic guide is just what I needed! :)

    www.girlvsglobe.com

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  5. I hope you have a fantastic time Sabina! I want to go again- maybe next summer!

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  6. Oh thanks! I hope so too :) It'll be my first time, so I don't know exactly what to expect but from your post I'm guessing a lot of fabulous craziness!!! Would you recommend bringing a professional camera on board?

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  7. I brought my pseudo-DSLR camera on board, the sleeping berths are like mini rooms so totally waterproof. I would be careful with it when taking it out on deck and always keep the strap on! And GO TO THE DAY PARTIES- they are always filled with loads of crazy fun!

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  8. Thanks a lot Sarah! :) Oh, I'll DEFINITELY be going to the day parties - so excited for them, too!!! Crazy fun is exactly what I'm looking for this summer :) x

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  9. Thanks for the article! Very informative. What kind of camera did you take with you?
    Thank you.

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