AM I REALLY DOING THIS ALONE?
I was travelling Europe alone which can be scary for a girl and SailWeek was something I always wanted to do after some friends did it a few years before and said it was the best week of their lives. I was unable to join them before but now my time has come and there was no way I wanted to miss out. I thought YOLO and booked as a solo traveller for the end of July and thought I'd deal with the nerves when the time comes.
I arrived for the check in around 12PM. As I walked there I was very nervous hoping I wouldn't be the only person alone or the only solo traveller on my boat. When I got to check in, the staff were so friendly and greeted me with big smiles and jokes about the size of my bag. Tip - take a smaller bag for the week. Trust me! If you have a big bag, put everything you need for the week (swimwear, sunblock, tops etc) into a smaller soft bag and can leave the rest in storage with the team for the week.
They gave me the details of my boat, the name of the skipper, phone number and where I needed to go. They told me that another solo traveller was allocated on my boat and checked in 5 minutes before me. One of the staff took me over and introduced me and already my nerves were gone. Okay maybe I was lucky to meet someone from my boat so soon but events after this proved to me that going alone was one of the best things I did.
MEETING THE CREW
After spending the rest of the day exploring Split with my new friend Lauren, we come back to the Marina to board our boat. When we arrived to the boat our Skipper Goran (a real life Viking) was already waiting for us. He was so nice. We boarded the boat to our allocated rooms. Lauren was my roommate. After our safety briefing, we sailed out towards Supetar. We began to get to know each other over a few drinks. As it turned out we had two more solo travellers on our boat; two guys from New Zealand and two sets of couples.
We were all similar ages, in our early 20s and got on very well straight away. My nerves turned to a feeling of great enthusiasm and eagerness. Also, I was very excited to meet others across the big flotilla of SailWeek yachts sailing together.
LET THE PARTY BEGIN
On arrival to our first port: Supetar, our skipper asked if we wanted to do a crew dinner which we were all keen to do. Great way to get to know each other a bit more before our first party. Ashley the photographer joined us. He came and introduced himself, was very friendly and had us all laughing. We went for a beautiful dinner and while we were waiting for our table, Ashley introduced us to another boat with more solo travellers.
After the most yummy island meal we headed back to the yacht and by then I felt had known my crew for years rather than hours. Hard to explain but on the boat, you bond easily. By this point, I had become a bit tipsy and a lot less shy than my usual self and a lot more chatty (lightweight alert/cheap date). After a "quick" drink we headed out.
We headed to the SailWeek beach party with 300 odd people. In no time, everybody was intermingling with a really good vibe. The beach party went on till early morning, dancing and making new friends. Amazing start of the amazing week.
The next morning we woke up and the sun was shining. I was hangover free and feeling fresh (key tip - try not to get too smashed as you lose out on great morning opportunities to explore).
Took a stroll around the small town and had a coffee bumping into some of the other friendly guests. We left the port around 9 am and sailed for around 2 hours. Our Skipper put the sails up and it was such a cool experience. I never knew sailing would feel like that. I was mesmerised and I even got to pull one of the ropes... go me!
We arrived at the small bay and all the boats rafted up in a long row. Everyone got in the water with their inflatables and swam around all talking about the antics of the night before. As there were so many boats I was seeing people I hadn't met before. The feeling of being alone was long gone. Everyone was so nice that I didn't feel like a "solo" traveller, I felt part of a big group, all with the same aim of having a great time. We made a big spaghetti dish for lunch then headed to our next stop, Makarska. That night we went to a cave party in a real cave.
Beforehand I was pre drinking on a boat full of friends who all together booked a full yacht. This just proved to me once more even that solo travellers don't feel "solo" on a SailWeek.
After one hell of a night, we all got up eager for what was to be the best Monday of my life so far. Today Ashley joined our boat and had us all singing to an Australian classic "the horses". Even our Viking Skipper Goran joined in which I couldn't stop laughing at. Only two nights and our boat felt like a little family. Hard to describe, we were on an unbelievable natural high of emotions combined with happiness that you really could not avoid.
I'm not going to disclose why that Monday on SailWeek was the best day for me. You can go and see for yourself.
My honest advice
Don't be scared to go solo on SailWeek!
The whole experience was incredible and I only wish I could do it all again. I made so so many new friends, one who I ended up travelling to Oktoberfest with. While we were at Oktoberfest we even met up with a couple from SailWeek.
Forget about the nerves. The SailWeek team has you covered and will do their best to make you feel at home and put you with other solo travellers and people of similar age.
Don't miss an experience like this just because you are scared to be alone.
Throw yourself at it and have the time of your life. I know I did.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.