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Kraken Travel Sailing Holidays

How Physically Fit Do I Need to Be to Go Sailing?

You don’t need to be as fit as you think to enjoy the joy and freedom of sailing.

A question we often get asked is how physically fit you need to be to go sailing. The good news is, sailing is a very inclusive activity that people of all abilities can experience.

What type of sailing you want to do and how involved you’d like to get with things like hoisting sails will determine how much fitness you need. However, people don’t often realise that even on working passages, there are a variety of tasks that need to be completed and they don’t always involve physical exertion.

From cooking in the galley to navigating, keeping watch and planning game nights. Everyone’s individual strengths are encouraged, and their contribution is valued.

Tall Ships and Cruises

If you’re going on an all-inclusive sailing trip or tall ship experience, say cruising around the Caribbean, Indonesia or the Mediterranean coast all the sailing and cooking is taken care of for you. Unless you want to get involved of course.

If you’d like to feel like a sailor of yore and help hoisting sails and other duties on board, then a baseline fitness will help. Typically, we would say if you can walk for thirty minutes without getting significantly winded you are fit for these trips.

Working Passages

Working passages come in all shapes and sizes, from hands-on coastal expeditions to mile builders and ocean passages. These working passages will require participation in daily duties but the level and tasks will vary from boat to boat.

While you don’t need to be an elite athlete, being in generally good health and having the willingness to engage in physical activities like hoisting sails, handling lines, and maintaining the vessel will enhance your overall experience during a working passage sailing trip.

People of all ages, even well into their golden years, often have no trouble with the tasks onboard. Check each trip page or get in touch if you have any questions about the physical or participation expectations of any of our trips.

As working passages tend to be on smaller vessels, good coordination and balance are always helpful when underway. Use handrails and keep your centre of gravity low by bending your knees slightly and distributing your weight evenly. This helps you stay more stable as the boat moves.

Active Adventures

Our active adventures combine sailing with physical activities like hiking, climbing, skiing or diving. For these trips, you should be physically fit enough to sail as part of a working passage (in most cases) but also have baseline fitness to hike, climb, ski or dive – depending on the trip.

These adventures will typically require you to have some experience in each type of activity, or a willingness to learn. For example, for our ski and sail we require some experience with randonnée/alpine touring/backcountry skiing so you can get the most out of the trip. On the other hand, our free diving trips often require no prior experience, only a desire to learn.

Performance and Racing

When it comes to performance and racing trips, physical fitness expectations will vary from trip to trip. For example, blasting across the Atlantic on a Volvo 60 will require a degree of sailing fitness and some prior sailing experience. Whereas, joining Team Kraken for Antigua Sailing Week is a good introduction to racing and will only require a thirst for adventure.

Performance sailing fitness encompasses a combination of cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, coordination, and mental resilience. Sailing often involves repetitive and dynamic movements, such as grinding winches, trimming sails, and navigating the deck, requiring a strong foundation to endure long hours at sea.

These skills are often acquired over time from frequent sails. So, if it is your first time on a boat, our performance and racing trips might not be the right trip for you.

Trips for People With Disabilities

At Kraken Travel, we are passionate about getting people of all abilities out on the water, including people with disabilities. We have sailed with people with physical disabilities including individuals with severe vision impairments and those in wheelchairs. Get in touch to learn more about which trip is right for you or someone you know who has a physical disability.

Sailing is a great way to explore the world and you don’t need to be a triathlete to experience the joy and freedom that it brings. There are many types of sailing trips that cater to all levels of fitness levels. Should you have any questions, we are always available to chat about whether a sailing trip is right for you.

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