Sailing to the Azores islands

Sailing as part of the crew of a
sailing yacht

What is a sailing and how to change the common perception of how a vacation should be like or the basic training for a newbie(Part 1).
We dedicate this article to those who would love to, but for some reason can't overcome the prejudice and finally decide upon "nonstandard" holiday-time.
We are not going to discuss sailing as a kind of sport or sailing competitions, but we will talk about short-distance sailing trips.
Many of us automatically associate a yacht with of champagne in the morning, with a captain dressed in a white costume, as well as with young and pretty hosts and hostesses sliding around the deck with full trays offering refreshments at any given time. Such a luxurious ship is not a yacht but a big cruise liner made of steel, exclusively engine-powered with not a single sail on board, devouring an insane amount of diesel and leaving the smell of recycled fuel behind. This image of something posh and expensive has nothing to do with an affordable, comfortable and entertaining vacation with adventures on light and maneuverable yacht with a sail.
The yacht in the common meaning is a sailing ship using the power of wind and the skills of the crew while her engine is just a supplementary device (turned on only in a case when you have to get on moving in no-wind conditions).
Yacht "MARTA"
First, let's talk about the yacht itself. Let me introduce it – her name is Marta.
Yacht named "MARTA"
This vessel is 13 meters long while her maximum width is 4 meters. There are 4 two-bed cabins here (the smallest one is equipped with a double-decker style bed and normally is taken by the captain during the sailing trip).
The guests are accommodated in the two astern and one bow cabin.
The bow cabin is the largest one but the bow part swings stronger than the rest of the boat during open-water sailing.
In general, the cabins are used for sleeping or resting after the duty – all the life happens either in the salon or up in the cockpit. The salon is located right in the middle of the yacht and is equipped with a large table, sofas and a cockhouse stretched along the left side.
The cockhouse has all the essential items – a fridge, a stove and a sink with both sea and fresh water and all the kitchenware necessary for cooking. This is the main place for the crew members interaction (stepping onto the board you immediately turn from a regular tourist into a crew-member).
The cockpit is a place at the top of the deck, where all the equipment for controlling the boat is located – benches placed along the both sides of the yacht, and a foldable table. All the life is happening here if the weather conditions are fine. It's here where you can admire the beauty of nature, enjoy the breeze and watch the dolphins or even whales (if you are lucky enough)!
There are three restrooms on the boat – "heads", so to say in sailor slang — combining in one small room all the devices required: a shower, a toilet and a washbasin. We try to be very economical when it comes to fresh water usage even despite our tanks being filled with as many as 600 liters of water. It would be better to shower "just like you do at home" upon arrival to each of the ports (marinas) especially considering the availability of comfortable shower cabins, washing and drying machines at every marina on our way. Though if the weather allows you can always dry your clothes right on the deck.
There are some tricks when it comes to using the toilet - you will get all the necessary instructions at the spot.
The stern is equipped with a bathing platform with a ladder as well as with a fresh-water shower.
OUR CREW
All the participants together form one team, the sailing crew. The crew always acts together. The captain as a rule is responsible for watch&duty schedule. As a newbie you will be taught and instructed about how to moor and control the boat, how to set and to lower the sails and how to cook in lurching conditions
It's worth noticing that there is no cleaning and cooking service on a sailing boat, the only crew is yourself and the other guests. You are responsible for purchasing provision for the period of sailing for cooking simplest breakfasts, cleaning the boat after each sailing trip which is not difficult at all and even pleasant. The yacht is not an all-inclusive vacation venue. Here you rest from your daily routine learning something new.
Captain is the person whose orders should meet nothing but obedience on board. He has special knowledge and experience enabling him to pilot the boat safe and sound to the next marina destination. He is responsible for your own safety and you should know that not a single fault will be left with no consequences in open water sailing conditions. That is why captain is NOT a service staff member on the boat and should not be treated like one.
You must be helping him by doing your duties thus letting him rest and mind the navigation and the route, plan daily activities and keep everything safe. His orders must be followed on board with no questioning. Arguing and disputing won't lead to anything positive. Once you're told to put on your safety vests and to get yourself attached to the storm guard rails first thing you do is obey and only then you can start questioning "why?". You also have to keep in mind that the Captain can fire any crew member at any given time leaving him or her at the nearest port in case if his behavior is safety- and life threatening.
HOW DO WE EAT AND WHAT DO WE PAY FOR?
As a rule, at the day of arrival or the next day the crew-members equally fill in the overall cash-fund and assign a responsible person for keeping the cash and cash expenditure. The fund is used as a cash source for food purchasing at the nearest supermarket in accordance with what the nearest sailing trip requires. The amount of food depends on the trip duration. In our case when the trips aren't too long and would not exceed 10-16 hour time-limit the major amount of food purchased is used for cooking breakfasts and snacks. But there are some rules to be followed: planning a day-trip? get prepared for a three-day one!
During the sailing trips the crew-members cook in the order of turn or agreement. Upon arrival to a port you can always have a dinner in a local café or cook your meal onboard depending on what the crew or any of its members prefer. Do as you wish – it's completely up to you.
Another fund expenditure matter is the fuel which is paid for in accordance with the rule: stepped onboard – the tank is full, stepped on the ground – the tank is full. As they say the way you ride depends on the way you pay! But after all, here on the boat we "walk" under the sails that's why first of all we use the opportunities of wind while the engine power is a supplementary feature!
In the end of the journey the cash leftovers are distributed among the crew or simply spent for celebration drinks at the local bar!
By the way when it comes to alcohol – judging by our experience we suggest the guests not to use the cash fund for alcohol needs. Everybody has his own preferences and habits. Moreover, we are strictly against any alcohol intake during the sailing trips considering that we are surrounded by the open sea or, as in our case, the Ocean. We should avoid any unnecessary risks. Once we're at the port – then you're welcome! But you should always keep in mind that even a moored boat can swing.
SEA SICKNESS
It takes one day for most people to overcome the predisposition to sea sickness, even without taking medicines. The most effective ways to get over it is to get behind the sailboat wheel, to look at the horizon (the horizon line is motionless), to lie on a back without a pillow or to simply lie down for a while, or finally just to convince yourself that everything is fine! You should start convincing yourself once you get on the plane and fly towards adventures, and then everything will be truly great!
Of course, in some extreme cases you can start taking pills and use medical patches for motion sickness, but it is much better to still try to overcome it by means of self-control enriching your own precious life experience!
AND A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE AGE
Here as they say – "love knows no age or bounds"!
If you are active, not overly focused on posh hotel facilities and if you love travelling – this kind of vacation will suit you just right!
Talking about children — sailing with little kids is a luxury affordable only for "most active and advanced users" ????. We recommend trying your first time on your own just to be able to share your precious experience with your little ones.
Children beginning from 8 years old will definitely enjoy their time onboard but in this case, you need to bring your own personal safety vest fitting your child!
And we can assure you that his school essay themed "how I spent my summertime" will be the best in class! And then he will most probably ask you to sign him up for a yachtsmen school!
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT?
Sea sailing trips are the best time of vacation especially when we are lucky with the weather – then it's just perfect! But even sailing in wind strengthening conditions gives you that thrilling joy that you will be willing to feel again and again!
Sunsets and sunrises, incredible colours of water, dolphins accompanying you on the way and birds sitting on the masts anticipating treats, or even the real whales that you might see in waters – all of this makes your vacation truly unforgettable and gives you the feeling of freedom. You move from one place to another and the landscapes are constantly changing – your home location keeps changing on, but at the same time you don't need to pack or move any luggage.
You find yourself in a new place within a couple of hours - exploring the neighborhood of a beautiful island on foot or by rented car or by scooter. Or sitting in a cozy café enjoying your cup of aromatic coffee or looking for treasures of pirates… What about tomorrow? There will be a new island - even more gorgeous than the previous one…
You are always on a go and as we know the life itself is in moving on!

Come over to Azores — an amazing natural reserve in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, join our crew and get this amazing experience!
We are waiting for you onboard of our yacht Martha!
Flight search
It is important to understand that the Azores archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Azores anticyclone controls the weather in this region. Therefore, a specific route is selected based on weather conditions just before the exit. Due to the successful location of the base of Yacht.Azores on the island Terceira (the central group of the archipelago), under favorable weather conditions, we will visit 4 islands in 10 days and return to Terceira.

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