If you are new to yacht sailing and are considering joining us in Greece this year, I thought I’d write a post to give you an idea of what to expect of the accommodation on board an average 40-foot yacht.

As you might expect, life is more spartan than on land, but we still have quite a few creature comforts.

saloon webThis photo shows a typical saloon. As you can see, there is a dining table that easily seats 6+ people, more if you’re friendly. On many boats, the table also often converts into an extra berth.

chart table webIn my view, a key area of the saloon is the chart table. This is where you will find the instrument panel and switches for the interior and navigation lights, water pump, fridge, bilge pump etc. You will also find the primary VHF radio here, along with a chart plotter if fitted. Alternatively, the chart plotter might be fitted in the cockpit.

galley webThe final area of the saloon is the galley (kitchen). You will normally find a two-burner gas stove with oven, one or two sinks, a fridge (possibly with a freezer compartment) and maybe even a microwave. Cooking on board can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it, providing you only need two rings. In fact, there are cookery books available written specifically for cooking on board.

The biggest thing to get used to is that our supplies of electricity and above all water are limited. This means that we can only use a standard 220V power supply when we are moored up at a quay that has power pillars available, to which we are connected. The rest of the time, power is via 12V outlets running off domestic batteries which are charged when we are on shore power, from the engine when we are running on motor or, if we are lucky enough to have them fitted, from solar panels. Private boats will almost always have both solar panels and a wind generator fitted, and maybe also a diesel generator or even a hydrogen fuel cell.

As you can gather, power management is a big issue, so we need to be careful to turn the fridge off while we are under sail, only to charge devices when on shore power or under motor, and not to leave lights on when not in use.

Again, we can often (but not always) top up our water supplies when we are moored at a quay. However, you will be surprised how much water 4 – 6 people will use.

heads webIn the heads (bathroom) we have (typically rather good) showers on the boat, but we need to switch off the tap while using soap and shampoo, and only use the water for getting wet in the first place, and for rinsing off. Likewise, we are sparing with water when cleaning our teeth.

The rest of the interior space is taken up by the cabins, our overnight accommodation. On most of the boats we use, we have three cabins (one forward, two aft) and two heads.

The distribution of the overall space between the cabins and the saloon/living area varies from boat to boat, and from manufacturer to manufacturer. A very common layout is to have one forward cabin under the foredeck, forward of the saloon:

forward cabin weband two aft cabins either side of the companionway steps, under the cockpit:

aft cabin web

If the boat is not fully occupied, an aft cabin can also make a useful extra storage area.

Given that we are sailing in sunny climes, the cockpit itself also forms another living area. It usually has a folding table and is often where we eat on board. It’s rather nice having your first cuppa of the day and breakfast in the open air.

cockpit3Although maybe better not to follow the ship’s dog’s demonstration 😉

So there you have it. We look forward to welcoming you on board!