We get asked a lot of questions. Here are some of the most recurring ones.
In case you do not find answers do not hesitate to contact us
We take safety very seriously, and will spend a full day going over the safety routines and practices we put in place. We expect our crew to follow our safety rules and will not tolerate if they don't. Some of the basics include: • Wearing PFD's (life jacket) by default, when the yacht is underway. • Being clipped onto the yacht at all the time during the night and, when instructed to, by the skipper or 1st mate • Following the 'standing orders' or when to wake up the skipper. • Paying attention below decks, where statistically you're more likely to get hurt! • Understanding where all thru-hulls and fire extinguishers are down below. • Etc. - You'll learn the rest onboard. NO... • Smoking (anytime on the boat) • Drinking alcohol (during passage) • Drugs • Yelling • Complaining (!)
All of our sailing adventures are divided into COASTAL – OFFSHORE – OCEAN adventures. They are all working passages, so whatever your previous experience, you will be fully involved from the very start in running the yacht and receive high-quality training. COASTAL adventures These are sailing adventures, where we mainly day sail close to shore and have no multi day passages. There may be 1-2 longer days sail or an overnight passage. We sail to somewhere new just about every day and there is some time built in to the planning to enable you to head ashore and explore. Apart from sailing (helming, tacking, Gybe & reefing), there will be lots of opportunities to practice passage planning, pilotage and anchoring. OFFSHORE adventures Each of these adventure usually begins with a few days of coastal sailing and training, while the crew as a whole get up to speed. Timings are very weather dependant. On our offshore adventures, you can expect to have one main offshore passage of between 3-6 days, with the remainder of the time being coastal cruising at either end. OCEAN adventures Very similar to our offshore adventures, but includes an ocean crossing, like a TransAtlantic or TransPacific or similar. The ocean crossing may be done using Celestial navigation. Most of our Ocean adventures are a qualifying passage (600NM +) for the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certification.
We sometimes get a couple joining us, who have plans of their own to sail over the horizon together. This may provide a dilemma - on one hand, we like to split couples up on the watch schedule, so they can get independent experience sailing the boat. Other times we do pair couples together, depending on their goals. As a couple, you may sail double-handed in the future, so you won’t be on watch together then either. Hence, you might as well get used to it ;)
Our adventures are scheduled based on an average speed of 5 knots VMG (that’s ‘velocity made good.’). This is a conservative estimate for SY SAGA, our classic Swan 47, as we are usually averaging over 6 knots VMG. The conservative estimate, however, ensures that we’ll get to our destination with time to spare before the last day of the trip. We still encourage crew not to book return air travel until we know for sure when we’re departing (Trade wind passages are relatively easy to predict weather-wise than others - for adventures like a Bay of Biscay crossing or an offshore passage to the Faroe Islands, we may have to wait a few days for the right weather window. Normally, if you book ahead, booking a ticket out on the final scheduled day of the passage, we will ensure you make your flight. Crew normally book a few days later and spend some time ashore before they depart.
Unless stated otherwise on our website page for your adventure “ then you must join the boat at 1500 hrs (local time) on the start day (Day 1). It is important you are not late as the pre-trip briefing will start shortly after that time. You will disembark at 1200hrs on the end day (last day), after we have cleaned the yacht. Due to scheduled crew rest and maintenance periods, it is not possible to stay on the boat outside of the proscribed times.
Saga is not a “charter boat” - it’s a sail training yacht, not a luxury cruise - and the adventure sailing & Sail training trips we do are closer in spirit to trekking Kilimanjaro than they are to a typical summer cruise in the Mediterranean Sea. On most offshore passages, there will also be a 1st mate onboard in addition to the skipper, to safely sail the boat, but we expect crew on all adventure to, with guidance from the skipper, to take care of themselves for the most part when it comes to eating, sleeping & living on the boat.
It's a Working Passage - We share all tasks on-board: cleaning, cooking, standing watch and navigating. We are very good at making everyone feel at 'home' onboard. Which means, aside from our one hot meal per day ritual, you're on your own for food & snacks. If you're hungry, make a sandwich, and ask your watch partner if he/she wants one - take care of each other & don't expect the captain or crew to wait on you! You’ll be expected to do some or all of the following - don't know how to do it? We'll teach you! Also note that there will be equal opportunity for all crew members to get equal time on the boat helming, navigating, sail work, etc. DUTIES (AMONG OTHERS): • Wash dishes • Cleaning (heads included!) • Cooking • Standing Watch (alone or with a partner) • Recording in the logbook • Navigating • Going forward to reef / set the spinnaker • Hand-steering`
Crew on Saga47swan Sailing eat super healthy food, made as much from natural, whole ingredients as possible. We've created some awesome boat meals during our sea time. However, there is no way we can make individual meals for everyone - but we’ll honor any allergies of course. One hot, communal meal per day in the late-afternoon (so we can be cleaned up with dishes before dark). Breakfast, lunch & snacks are on your own – though it’s nice to ask if others are awake. Feel free to use the stove and galley anytime, and all food is up for grabs. We’ll share the washing-up duties and make a galley rotation before we leave port. Meals & snacks should be consumed in the galley, cockpit or saloon area. No eating or drinking anything, under any circumstances, in your bunk or at the chart table & Navigation station!
SY SAGA is a big yacht, but not that big! You won’t have much privacy onboard, and will be living in close quarters in challenging conditions. But you’ll have the time of your life! Each crew will be assigned a single berth. This is yours. At sea, in certain extreme conditions, we may rotate where people sleep ('hot-bunking'), but your bunk remains yours for your stuff. No snacking or eating in your bunk under any circumstances! Each crew will get their own ‘stuff’ locker adjacent to their bunk (about the size of a carry-on suitcase on an airplane). When you sleep, most all your stuff will be stored outside of your sea bag in the storage locker, as there is no storage for a seabag on the floor or in the vee-berth. Keep this in mind when packing. There is shared space available for hanging your foul weather gear (wet gear) and storing your boots in the “wet locker”
We choose our routes based on seasons (ie not sailing in hurricane season where there are hurricanes!), but once we head offshore, we get what we get. Sometimes it’ll be wet and uncomfortable and even downright scary! You may encounter heavy weather, uncomfortable and possibly frightening conditions, seasickness, sleep deprivation and constant motion. This is all part of the emotional roller coaster that is ocean & offshore sailing. Ports visited on route depends on weather and tide and is subject to change. The best plans are drawn in the sand at low tide – be prepared for the skipper to make changes based on wind, tide and anything else that can affect the passage.
Whether at sea or alongside, all crew are in a rotation for cooking and cleaning to ensure we have lovely food to eat and a constantly high standard of hygiene. There are also daily jobs of navigating, skippering and engineering, allowing everyone to try their hand at every aspect of running a yacht. With no set itinerary, we will have a look at the weather and tides as a crew and decide where we’d like to go. With the kettle on at 07:00 for breakfast - we are normally ready to sail by 9ish. Some days, if the weather is crappy or we’re at a wonderful place, we can just decide to stay there and explore some more, relax, do some training, get the fishing rods out, explore in the dingy - the time is ours and we can decide as we go! Night sailing is nearly always limited to the Ocean and Offshore passages If you are on an offshore sailing trip, you will likely spend the first few days sailing and training in coastal waters while the crew builds its competence, both individually and as a team. On our two week sailing trips, you can then expect to do one long passage of about 500-1000NM, which takes 4-8 days. You will normally be on one of 3 watches, allowing you to do 3 hours on and then have 6 hours off. This keeps you fresh and having a good time rather than sitting in a state of continual tiredness. Get ready for life at an angle, being up at strange hours, being hundreds of miles offshore and living the dream!
The crew that sail with us come from all walks of life, and are of all ages and nationalities. Some have had years of experience on their own boats, whilst others have never been to sea before in their life. But differences aside, what does unify them all is their adventurous mindset and the call of the ocean. Lots of crew joins solo, but we get many couples too. We get a full age range joining, with plenty of people in their 20s, 30s, 40, 50s and 60s. We are happy to have close to a 50:50 mix of men and women. The crew join from all around the world and are a wonderful mix of cultures, professions and backgrounds - many time, we had 6 different nationalities onboard, all brought together with the same desire to take part in one of these adventures.
Yes – We recommend all crew to get trip insurance ( Trip, travel, Cancellation, Medical ). If you are getting travel insurance, make sure that sailing is covered by your policy. Some companies consider it an 'extreme' sport requiring a policy beyond standard travel insurance. All crew will also have to sign the “Assumption of Risk” form, which can be also be found in “The Fine Print” section. Please read our section “The Fine Print” for further information on insurance requirements.
The Contribution per crew includes food onboard, diesel, marina fees and sail training (No Hidden fees). What is NOT included in crew contribution: Any onshore costs are not included. These are generally optional purchases such as alcoholic drinks or restaurant meals, or they may be costs outside of the scope of the sailing trip or training such as visa cost, Covid testing, sightseeing, car rental, transportation to/from the boat or accommodation on shore. Your own trip insurance is also not included, we recommend crew to have a medical & trip cancellation insurance at a minimum.
No. There is a fully stocked ditch bag/grab bag on SY SAGA with flares, water and survival gear, available for all crew. The boat is also equipped with an EPIRB, satellite tracker and communication device, allowing communication to emergency responders at all times. SY SAGA is equipped with an Offshore 6 person inflatable life raft equipped with additional flares, water, environmental protection, safety lines, anchor and rescue horseshoes.
Yes! We want you to share the experience with them. We will provide you with the link to our YB satellite tracker that you can share with friends, family or even on social media so they can follow along vicariously from shore. Warning: They may become extremely jealous and beg you to make another trip when they can come too. On most offshore passages and the ocean crossings we offer text and email services via the Iridium satellite network.
Whatever you can fit in your Duffel-style bag that will make the trip comfortable for you. A good pair of deck shoes is a must as well as a form of identification, Credit card, currency and your passport. If you will be bringing medications, please bring a copy of your prescription as well. GEAR LIST: • Foul weather gear (wet gear) • Layered cold weather gear (fleeces, flannels, long sleeves, light wind breakers, etc.) • Wool socks • Gloves • Deck shoes (sneakers will work) • Sailing Boots • Hat (toboggan and visor) • Sunglasses • Sunscreen • Books, magazines, entertainment (anything you like to peruse at your leisure) • Camera (capture and share your awesome voyage!) • Sailing gloves • Head lamp • Leatherman tool (but check your airline regulations for the flight home) • Waterproof bags/cases for phones, iPads and other electronic devices • Sleeping Bag as per season • Quick dry Towel What Not to Bring: • Sheets
Everybody who’s not been offshore, even the experienced coastal or inshore sailors, underestimates the physical toll just living on the boat at sea takes, Everybody! The boat is constantly in motion, even on the nice days. Things like brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, just putting on socks take time and physical effort. To make it more difficult, you’ll be sleep-deprived during most of it, especially before you fully adjust to the rhythm. Offshore sailing is closer to living like an astronaut than coastal sailing where you get to stop and anchor for the night! Bottom line, the fitter you are to begin with, the easier time you’ll have at sea. Eat right and exercise.
Our watch schedule is flexible and based on the experience and comfort level of the crew. Normally, crew members are paired off in groups of two and do 4 hours on & 4 hours off or 3 hours on & 6 hours off on a offshore passage with a 1st mate onboard. The skipper sometimes ‘floats’ - meaning he doesn’t take any formal watch, but rather helps out when needed on all watches and makes sure to spend time sailing with all the crew.
Yes, everyone on-board will be assigned a watch schedule and watch partner. Holding watch is also a very rewarding experience, especially at night when the moon lights the chop on the water and the sounds of the water on the hull, dolphins breath and the wind in the sails is amplified. For many crew, night watches are the most memorable moments of the adventure sail.
Not too many! Saga47swan Sailing offers a very safe and simple offshore sailing platform. Beds are proper sea bunks, and we provide sheets. You'll need a sleeping bag as per the season. The yacht has heating, which is making colder passages a lot more enjoyable. SY SAGA is a well-stocked and wisely-rigged yacht for offshore sail training, but it is still a boat. Water, power and gas are limited but, when used in moderation, there is plenty for every crew to cook, clean, write & read every day. Each bunk is supplied with a separate USB port for charging electronics and reading lights. There are two heads (sink, toilet and shower) on the boat for light showering underway. The main shower is in the cockpit, so it's bikini and board shorts for showering time. The Captain and the 1st mate will stock the boat with plenty of snacks and drinks as well as provisions for one hot meal each day on passage. Please feel free to send along a few of your favourite food items as a request when you book your voyage. Plan to spend your days and nights sailing, cooking, reading and looking at the stars. If you have any questions about certain amenities on board, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The short answer - NONE! We have had several crew who have never even set foot on a sailboat before, but they have the dream, and that’s what’s important. Come with a desire for adventure and a personality to match. You’ll of course understand more of what’s going on the more experience you have, but it’s not in fact required. That said, we DO require a certain level of physical fitness to join us an offshore passage. Regardless of how much we emphasize it, most people still underestimate how difficult it is simply to LIVE on the boat offshore, even on a nice day.
What to Expect
The Fine Print
How to Join