Ah, the allure of offshore yacht racing! The blend of raw nature’s might, human endurance, and engineering marvels. But amid the race’s challenges, many often wonder: how do sailors find comfort on these lean, mean, racing machines?
While every kilogram aboard counts, and race yachts aren’t exactly synonymous with the word ‘comfort’, the human spirit’s resilience shines through even in such circumstances. Some of our most seasoned racers have shared the one luxury item they never cross a start line without.
Pillow & Headphones
Tanya swears by her pillow and headphones. "After a hard stint on deck, nothing comforts like your own pillow and a good podcast to whisk you away."
Johan might seem a tad possessive, but he’s got a reason. He never sails without his personal phone charging cable. “You’d be surprised how many have ruined theirs with wet sockets,” he chuckles.
Water bottle & Fan
Nemo is all about adapting to the elements. In the biting cold, he has his trusty small hot water bottle. But if the sun's blazing? Out comes a tiny fan.
Grace has a versatile pick: a bandana. "It's multifunctional," she explains. "During night shifts, it keeps my head warm and hair away from my face. But its real magic happens off-watch. With the constant noise and movement on board, pulling it over my eyes gives me that much-needed darkness. It’s as if my body instantly recognises the signal to rest."
The "Brian Thompson Special"
Miles is an enigma. He brings very little. But if the race stretches beyond 10 days, a spare pair of boxers and socks are his salvation. Plus, he's got a trick up his sleeve - the 'Brian Thompson Special'. "Steam a piece of kitchen roll with the Jetboil. It’s like a spa hot towel experience out at sea!"
SPF 50 Face Oil
Oksy can’t do without her luxurious SPF 50 face oil. It's not just sun protection; it's a sensory experience. "The aroma, the feel... it’s a brief escape," she shares.
Hand Cream & Sweets
Konst has a two-pronged approach: Hand cream for those chapped hands and a secret stash of sweets for when spirits (or blood sugar) run low.
Wool-covered Hot Water Bottle
Lance keeps warm with a thick wool-covered hot water bottle, ingeniously hung around his neck. "It’s both comfort and warmth in the cold night watches."
Sue might seem simple in her choice, but she swears by her own tube of toothpaste. "It's a small pleasure, but oh, how it matters!"
Charcoal Burner Hand Warmer
Tony, ever the pragmatist, brings along a charcoal burner hand warmer for the cold offshore nights. But when he's racing in tropical waters? It's all about the barrier cream for that pesky 'gunnel-bum'.
Chris leans on a fizzy ally: full-fat coke. "It's not so much about luxury," he clarifies, "but that burst of caffeine is invaluable. When you're truly digging deep, pushing through fatigue, it's the perfect pick-me-up to keep me alert and energised."
Skin Care & Warmth
April prioritises skincare and warmth. "Baby wipes, especially the ones like face wipes," she starts off with a chuckle. "Then there's the essential lip balm and face cream. Oh, and I never forget those hand and feet warmers. A little warmth goes a long way out at sea!"
Now, why these specific luxuries? For some, it’s a personal solace, a tether to normality amidst the roaring waves. For others, it’s about boosting the crew’s morale, reminding everyone that amidst the gruelling challenge, small joys can still be found. For me, I don’t start without my own pillow and a pocket full of Haribo!
So, the next time you find yourself amidst a grand adventure, be it at sea or on land, ask yourself: what’s your little luxury?
Intrigued? We’d love to hear what you cherish during offshore adventures. Drop us a line and share your sailor’s secret comfort!