I’ve been struggling to find words to encompass my experience with The Yacht Week. It’s not real life. It’s nothing like real life. It’s a fantasyland of rainbows and abdominal muscles and beers and inflatable devices. It was the best week of my life.
For one week I put aside all insecurities, all troubles, all deadlines, and escaped from reality. Nothing could interrupt such bliss. Every day kept getting better and better, and somehow we kept on truckin’. We’d wake up feeling like garbage but within an hour of sailing we’d be right back on top of things. Swimming in the Adriatic, cold beers on deck, inflatable dinghies prepped and ready to go. I find it hard to believe it all happened. Water guns and inner tubes and guys dressed as bananas riding dragons. Everything was just…perfect.
1. Don’t be a stingy bastard
Our biggest mistake of all time was picking the cheapest boat we could get our hands on. It was a small racing yacht for six people, including our skipper. It was a fine yacht, but everyday the cabin area looked like a hurricane blew through, and sleeping arrangements occurred on a first-come-first-serve basis. Our toilet was small and smelly.
Meanwhile, we made a friend named Mete who happened to be skippering for a catamaran. I was given the grand tour one evening. Their upper room was bigger than our freaking yacht, and they had two bathrooms and a handful of bedrooms. I’ve never dreamt of such luxury. Never again will we take the cheapest option; I can assure you of this.
2. Don’t bring tuna (plan a grocery list)
I don’t know why we let Nick think tuna was a good idea for food. When it’s 30 degrees outside and you’re hungover, the last thing you want is tuna.
For the love of all things sacred, plan a grocery list in advance. On our last day we had plain pasta with chopped carrots because we literally had no other food left. We might not have even eaten if it wasn’t for the fact we had to feed our poor skip. I’m sure he’s had better meals.
Even better, hire a hostess. We’re doing it next year. They cook AND clean, because few things are more hellish than being stuck below deck cooking dinner in the sweltering heat while a party rages above you. They’re not even a terribly expensive extra cost.
3. Put all your money in a money pot
Our wonderfully responsible and perfect skipper, Josh, had advised us beforehand to arrange a sort of “money pot” – everyone tosses in an equal amount to buy booze and food, and when resources get depleted, we simply fill it back up with an equal amount.
Except we didn’t do this. We paid for our group purchases at random and were too careless to record things properly. I ended up paying for docking fees, someone else paid for groceries, etc. We figured we’d worry about it later, but believe me when I say that on the final day of The Yacht Week when you’re scrambling to get everything off your yacht the last thing you want to do is sit down and sort out every last item you purchased. It was a nightmare and I’m sure at least one of us got stiffed.
4. Have fun, but for the love of god, mind your safety
Getting blackout drunk during The Yacht Week is about as smart as not keeping track of your expenses properly. Do you know how easy it is to injure yourself hopping from yacht to yacht when you’re sober, never mind drunk? I literally fell off a boat that was moored next to the sidewalk. I smashed my face into the pavement so hard that my tooth drove through my lip and bled EVERYWHERE. My knees looked like hamburger meat. I’m glad that’s all that happened. I later saw a guy with a sprained foot using one of his crutches as a chin-up bar.
For the love of god GET TRAVEL INSURANCE!!!!!! You’d be crazy not to buy travel insurance for a week-long boozy Mediterannean cruise. I always go with World Nomads and they’ve never failed me yet.
I’ve had to file claims with World Nomads several times and they’re always fantastic to work with.
Speaking of footing, invest in some Sperry shoes (or similar). Your feet can get pretty nasty if you’re hopping from yacht to yacht barefoot. Same goes for your inner thighs if you’re clinging to the lines to keep from falling in. Bruises and cuts galore.
And really, I mean don’t get blackout drunk. You’re kinda screwed if you pass out somewhere on a boat, because how the hell are we supposed to get you home?
5. There is no such thing as too crazy
We had a pretty weird boat. I mean, our sign literally said, “let’s get weird.” One day Nick shaved half his beard. We had an awesome array of inflatables that everyone loved, and we had t-shirts. But now I wish we had put a little bit of extra work into everything: more costumes, more glow sticks, more weirdness. This is literally your moment to do whatever the hell you want. Let your freak flags fly.