Yachting Holidays- But What Do We Take?

image of Author with new Musto holdall in Brighton Marina
Author with new Musto holdall in Brighton Marina


Editor William Mills recounts a series of Mediterranean yachting holidays wondering how much luggage to take? Is it practicable  to take as little as possible, or pack everything ‘just is case.’

“Your scheduled flight doesn’t have a baggage allowance. You will either have to pay extra or leave your luggage behind.” Said the check in lady with a smile.

My two friends and I stared at one and another in dismay. Baltic Air was living up to its critics’ complaints.

As abandoning our cases was unrealistic as missing the flight we had to pay. It totalled £200 between the three of us. It was like being mugged at the cashpoint.

To cap it off we also had to leave check in and go to another counter to be robbed then queue up again in muggers’ alley.


Harken wet and dry cylinder-qualifies as cabin holdall
Harken wet and dry cylinder-qualifies as cabin holdall

My thoughts have since turned to my summer sailing holidays in the Mediterranean. It would be so much cheaper if my bag could go safely in the aeroplane’s overhead compartment as cabin luggage.

Airlines have different rules, and allowances may change, particularly if the price of aviation fuel increases in the future.

At present airline operator Easyjet, permits a cabin bag volume of 63 litres. However both luggage manufacturers Mustos and Samsonite recommend smaller sizes for cabin luggage.


Harken cylinder contents-45 litres of vital bits
Harken cylinder contents-45 litres of vital bits-wear everything else


My skipper recently complained of guests arriving with wheelies and rigid suitcases and the only place their could find to store them was the owners’ bathroom!

So maybe it would be prudent to get used to packing everything into the 40 litre size soft holdall. But what can we actually get into it?

My daughter regularly complains that most of my holiday clothes return home unused, inferring that the suitcase space could have been better allocated to carrying her things.

Sailing in the Mediterranean last September I was amazed that I didn’t use my Offshore jacket once even though we sailed overnight in rough wet weather. The rain felt warm.


 Gill's holdall-cabin size
Gill’s holdall-cabin size


The only real cold I experienced was at Gatwick Airport at 2.30 am.

So this year I’m considering wearing my jersey, jacket and deck shoes whilst travelling and pack a new 40 litre bag with 2nd pair of shoes, socks and wash bag etc, tracksuit bottoms for wearing under salopettes, spare tops and shorts, swimming trunks, and not forgetting, a copy of Yachting Monthly to read on the way.

My torch and lifejacket. A friend said all yachts carry lifejackets. But two things to remember, on a race or regatta day there may be more on board than lifejackets.

You will have checked your own prior to departure and replaced the gas cartridge and firing mechanism. Also the straps can be left adjusted to your size. It takes worry and responsibility off the skipper.

It should also have your name inside in indelible ink. This is because if you sink without trace or are eaten by a shark your next of kin have to wait seven years prior to getting probate and the pay out of any life insurance.

A half chewed life jacket identified as yours will go a long way to proving your demise.

Rumour has it that the underwriters insuring media proprietor Robert Maxell, who allegedly fell to his death from his super yacht, were never convinced and have yet to pay.

The skipper also pointed out that airport security may not permit the automatic inflation gas cartridges which some airlines will refuse as cabin luggage, so, as always, check prior to departure.

He did suggest bringing plenty of tee shirts, because although showers are usually available, access to launderettes was more problematic.

But he did ask for two donations. After checking in, it is possible to buy suntan creams from the Duty Free shopping area.

These can be carried with you and then left on board the yacht if over 100ml as they can’t be taken home again. The other was teabags, which can be as difficult to acquire as gold dust in some areas.

I also tried packing a selection of belongings into my 45 litres Harken Wet and Dry cylinder bag. It was a tight fit to stay within Easyjet’s 56 mm length limit.

Whether I decide to change to these new bags or stay with my conventional holdall remains to be seen. Paying for one item of hold luggage is still an option as I still needed to find room for a towel and more!

We will publish the next in our luggage series soon……



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