When Jodie and Thom planned a visit to Greece to stay on the sailboat we jumped at the chance, thinking it would be all beach BBQs and sunshine. Unfortunately the sea and wind had other ideas, and instead they got to experience an unfair proportion of sailing dramas and some rather stressed out skippers! Jodie kindly agreed to share her take on crewing on a sailboat with you all, just in case you’re ever tempted to try it yourself.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi! I’m Jodie from London. Libra. Like long walks on the sandy beach.
But really, I’m a graphic designer designing clothes and I’ve been working from home since Covid so when my husband and I had the opportunity to join Emily and Adam on board Hot Chocolate we jumped at the chance! We’ve known Adam since university and he introduced us to Emily when they got together 3 years ago. Since then we’ve got really close, going on holidays together and watching silly scary movies with all day hangovers! Emily was my best woman at our wedding last year so we have a lot of special memories together already!
What were your main worries about crewing on a sailboat before you came?
I was worried about whether or not I’d packed the right things! I thought I wouldn’t have enough clothes, or that I’d bring too many, or that they’d all get ruined! I wasn’t actually worried at all about the sailing – maybe I trust Emily and Adam too much!
What were you most looking forward to?
I was so excited about turquoise seas and warm weather! Emily and Adam had warned us not to get too excited about seeing certain places, as you have no idea what the weather will be doing and whether you’ll even get to leave safe harbour, but Emily could promise me turquoise seas and I wasn’t disappointed! I’ve never seen the sea so blue and clear.
What was the biggest difference between sailboat life and your life back home?
My floor stays still and I don’t feel like I’m walking around drunk – unless I am drunk!
I don’t have to worry about having access to safe, clean water to drink and going to the toilet doesn’t involve any kind of exercise! I won’t miss pumping the toilet 20 times to flush it!
What was the scariest moment of crewing on a sailboat?
There wasn’t really a scary moment, though Emily and Adam would probably say it was when the engine stopped working. They stayed really calm and made a plan straight away so I didn’t actually feel at all worried. The worst moment for me was seeing Emily so upset about the dinghy being lost. It’s hard watching your friend worry and get upset about something like that. Money is such a big worry for them and factoring in a lost dinghy wasn’t part of the plan!
Was there anything you wish you’d known before you came that could have prepared you better?
I think Emily and Adam were really upfront about the water situation (and not really having any!) so I felt pretty prepared for that. Luckily we had been to visit them last year while they were still in the marina so although it was quite different we knew a little about the space on board and how a few different systems worked. That helped me prepare better.
I would have spent more time learning knots with my husband so we could have helped out more there!
What essential item are you glad you packed/wish you had packed?
Packing cubes were amazing to have. I knew the cabin we would be staying in so I bought several little hooks to put over the shelf and hung packing cubes from them which was perfect for storing all our clothes in an organised way. It meant I could keep our cabin really organised and grab stuff easily when we were in rough seas.
I also lived in baggy lightweight shirts which kept the sun off while we were sailing. Although Hot Chocolate has a bimini for shade, when you’re sailing it doesn’t always create that much so it was vital to have something to cover up with that wasn’t too hot!
Did you learn anything from crewing on a sailboat?
I learnt not to stay below deck when sailing, not to trust my husbands knot tying skills and that the stars in Greece are incredible! You don’t always have to have a holiday where you’re running around seeing all the tourist hot spots and different sights. Being on a sailboat forced me to slow down and spend more time relaxing, reading and just listening to music and taking in the views. I feel a lot more rested than I usually would!
Do you think you could live on a sailboat full time?
I could, but I wouldn’t. It was really exciting and a great way to visit lots of different places, but I’m so bruised I don’t think my body could take it full time!
I’d also be more keen if it was easier to find water!
It’s definitely been a fun experience but not one I want full time.
Rock, stick and leaf….What rocked? What memory will stick with you? What will you happily ‘leaf’ behind?
The turquoise sea rocked. Jumping into crystal clear blue water from the sailboat and seeing the anchor dig in from 10m is something you just wouldn’t get in the UK! Watching the stars and the bio luminescence and the eeriness of the empty ocean was something that I’ll always remember. It was a pretty special experience. I’d leaf behind falling over in Lindos – make sure you wear grippy shoes if you ever visit!
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions Jodie, and thanks even more to you and Thom for your enthusiasm, encouragement, patience and for keeping Tiny cat entertained! We loved having you and you’re welcome back any time – though we can’t promise things will go any smoother!
If you want to learn more about crewing on a sailboat check out Rachel’s experiences here!