How to Travel for Free on a Sailboat
Traveling on a sailboat is an interesting way to see the world. Sailboat travel can seem inaccessible and intimidating, however, because boats and slips are expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to travel on a sailboat without spending any money; learning how to find a volunteer opportunity on a sailboat is a just a matter of getting involved in your local sailing community. By following these steps, you can learn how to travel for free on a sailboat.
Take sailing classes if possible.While you may be able to find volunteer opportunities on sailboats requiring no experience and no money, gaining some sailing experience will greatly improve your chances. Sailing classes will be offered nearly everywhere where there is a harbor; check online to find classes offered by local boat clubs. If a nearby university has a sailing club, you can contact them to ask for help finding classes or other opportunities. In the United States, the American Sailing Association has a website full of helpful resources regarding classes and certifications.
Join a local yacht club.You don't need to own a boat to join a yacht club, and the fees can often be reasonable. Being part of a yacht club will provide you with opportunities to meet people who sail in your community. Employ your networking skills and make friends with some local boat owners. Volunteer your help on one of their boats in exchange for a bunk to sleep in; remember, sailing requires cooking, cleaning, operating the boat and more. You may be able to help more than you think.
Pick up copies of local sailing magazines.Many harbors will run a sailing magazine that can be picked up for free and can often be accessed online. These magazines will help you learn more about your sailing community, but more importantly, they will offer volunteer crew lists. Crew lists offer a place for prospective volunteers to state where they'd like to sail, and offers boat owners a place to post their crew needs. Volunteer crew lists offer one of the best ways to get your foot in the door on a sailboat.
Check the bulletin boards at your local harbor.If any boat captains are looking for additional crew members for a voyage, they will advertise at the harbor. The harbor's bulletin board will also be a good place to look for cheap sailing club opportunities.
Build references.Once you manage to get on a boat, make sure to establish a good rapport with the captain and crew members. Having a boat captain as a reference will greatly increase your chances of being able to sail again for free.
Crew Agencies.There are some great web based yacht crew agencies that advertise nonprofessional crew positions like extra hands needed for deliveries, it may be worth while checking these out, for example: look up the UK agency Crewseekers. Good luck, Fair winds and following seas.
- Remember that even when you are volunteering as a crew member on a boat, you will usually still be expected to split the cost of food and fuel.
- Be flexible with your desired date and destination. Being open to different sailing opportunities will increase your chances of getting on board.
Video: How to travel the world with almost no money | Tomislav Perko | TEDxTUHH
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