What do alcohol, people from all over the world, the ocean, forgetting what day it is, more alcohol, floaties, cute skippers, insane parties, arguably the most fun you will ever have in your life & alcohol have in common? The Yacht Week. Get your livers ready for next summer gang, because this is a bucket list item you are certainly going to be adding to your list.
I have wanted to attend Yacht Week since I saw a horrible quality YouTube video of it about four years ago now. Finishing that video was one of those moments you sit at your computer or see a photo of a place and say to yourself, "I'm doing that." And here we are, 2018 and I can truthfully say I had one of the most fun weeks of my life.
To simply say I had fun at Yacht Week would be a complete understatement of what I actually accomplished.. I truly cannot express how much I loved this experience, although my liver can probably say otherwise. As incredibly enthralling as this is, knowledge and research was key before leaving for this trip. I religiously studied blogs and spoke with people who had attended before, and now have complied my own list of do's and don't's. Scroll down to see more debaucherous photos my mom wouldn't be proud of on the internet and planning the best week of your life!
Amazon is Your BFF, Plan Accordingly
I read this from other bloggers (forever indebted to The Blonde Abroad), but Yacht Week is a balls to the walls zone: BRING ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING. I witnessed the distribution of beads and water guns, body paint, glitter, you name it. Anything goes for this week! However, I found some items to be integral to the party:
+FLAGS! - This is not only fun, but literally the way your drunk ass will identify your boat at 4am. I decided to go "NBA Finals" large with our California and American flag and we had the biggest flags of anyone on our trip. But don't limit yourself to your country or state! Other examples include "Saturdays are for the Boys", this fun Dilly Dilly flag, or simply a lobster (inside joke).
+Lights - So fun to have on your boat and wish we would have utilized ours from the very beginning. Do yourself a favor and just put up the lights the second you get on your boat. I recommend these solar powered ones so you don't have to worry about plugging shit in. It's mostly fun at night when you're drinking on the back of your boat. Plus easier to see so..
+Floaties - Okay, difference of opinion here, but i'm going to suggest bringing your own floaties and checking them in a bag. We had a separate bag dedicated to props that we utilized for that reason only, and i'm so happy we did. Floaties get "donated" after previous yacht weeks, but I found that most of them were either damaged or tarnished from a week of partying on them. Do yourself a favor and just bring your own from home with the intention of potentially losing it. The bigger, the better! But I can say it was fun to have individual floaties. Especially when you have to utilize one to swim of shame yourself back to your boat in the morning...what. We also lost all of ours by the end of the week, RIP.
+Speakers/Aux: Okay this is incredibly important as you will be listening to music all day every day. If you can manage somehow to bring a huge speaker or maybe have a friend that's an aspiring DJ, I would utilize them. The loudest music usually is the most fun boat, fact. Bring a waterproof speaker for the rafting days and an aux cord to plug into your boat's speaker system you should be golden. OTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: bring a cigarette aux plug in in so you can charge your phone! Some boats don't have actual european outlets in their boats so having one of these is key to being able to communicate with the outside world.
+External Charger: So key for keeping your phone charged and not losing everyone.
Kuna is King
IF YOU TAKE ANYTHING FROM THIS POST: take out as much Kuna as humanly possible before you step foot on that boat. Kuna is the currency native to Croatia and most of the split ports will have ATMS. When you enter the boat, you'll be asked to start a kitty, which is a pot of money essentially input by each person to pay for gas, port fees, and other expenses. At minimum, I would take out 3,000-5,000 Kuna to cover things like your kitty, (about 1200 Kuna for the kitty per person dependent on skipper), drinks out at bars (the first couple we went to were cash only!), and other expenses. Nobody likes to be at a group dinner without cash, which happened to me on this trip. Do yourself a favor and be prepped for a cash only lifestyle, although bars and restaurants toward the end had abilities to swipe cards.
**Have to give a shoutout to our skipper here for the title of this section. Also all the skippers are cute so let that sink in.
Hire a Hostess
I include this section where most folks did not because of how integral it was to our overall health that we hired a hostess beforehand. I will be writing a separate post about the booking experience of Yacht Week, but hiring our hostess before our trip was probably one of the smartest things we could have done.
First and foremost, our hostess was more like another girl we added to our boat as she was SO COOL and they come out and party with you as well. The primary responsibilities of a hostess include making breakfast, lunch and a couple dinners throughout the week (they also take into account dietary restrictions), and also general cleaning around the cabins including trash pick up. If you book a smaller cabin, it is KEY to have someone taking responsibility for this. The last thing you'll want to do during the day is clean up or cook for yourself, so it's nice to have that taken care of. Plus they cook amazing, hearty meals and let's be honest I probably would not have eaten during the week if not for our hostess.
Hey speaking of: guess what? You can't shit on the boats unless they are moving. When they aren't moving, you have one designated bathroom you can go in or your shit is going in the ocean, visibly. Guess what again? You can't flush any toilet paper down the toilets. Let that sink in a sec. Do I need to say more? Needless to say, hiring someone to help with that "situation" was probably the most ideal part of the trip honestly..
In the end, the extra cost of the hostess is not much (for 7 of us, an additional $65-$70 pp) and you will be thankful you did.
Bring Your Tribe to Grocery Shop
As you can see above, 4 people weren't doing this successfully. I'll talk more about food packages in my booking post, but your hostess has a menu and snack list he/she prepares beforehand to get ready for the week of meals and snacks. This usually includes a lot of fresh fruit, cured meats, and meals include tacos, pasta, stirfries, etc. but you do have to pay for this. If you want your own snacks or have group members that have a pickier diet, it is suggested that they come along for the shopping excursion.
My advice? Bring 3x the amount of alcohol and water you think you need (think of how much you can drink as an individual and times that by every member of your group, woof) and drunk snacks. See the cart above? All we had left by the end of the week was a shitty, tiny PoPov like bottle of vodka and soda. OUT OF THAT ENTIRE CART. And we ended up buying more when we would port (ladies, buy more shitty champagne then you think for day parties/circle raft day). Bring at least 5-6 members of your crew just in case you really do fill 3 carts like we did. The grocery store is walking distance, but account for the weight of the carts you'll definitely need more people helping out.
And speaking of water, DRINK A LOT OF IT. Seriously just keep a trusty Jana (the name of Croatian water) next to your bed at night and try to drink the entire thing by morning. Europe is nothing but efficient when it comes to stuffing as much water in their giant bottles as possible. Stay hydrated! it's a long week.
Croatia is actually pretty affordable, and we ended up paying around $125 per person for all our groceries.
Tipper the Skipper
(Deleting my blog after posting that title) But something I didn't read much in other blogs and incredibly notable: Tip your skipper and hostess well! They ensure the overall "fun" of your entire week and are not paid nearly as much as one would think for everything they do. If you are lucky enough to get a skipper as awesome as we did, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about by the end of the trip!
I recommend tipping in euro as it is more universal (most skippers are not from Croatia) and would say depending on the number of people in your crew, 1,000-2,000 USD or 800ish euro EACH (skipper/hostess) is acceptable. If you have more people on your boat, a larger boat, or had any type of extra special circumstances, take this into consideration whilst tipping. These people are incredible and it is important to reward them for their hard work!
Every single blog and person I spoke with or read about before Yacht Week said the same thing: You will LIVE in bathing suits. I found this to be fairly true, but am here to tell you that there is no need to fret regarding packing.
First of all, you will need to bring soft luggage. What does this mean exactly? Nothing with wheels. I highly suggest investing in a comfortable, roomy backpack that you can put all your clothing in. Depending on the boat you chose, and by that i mean if it's not a catamaran, you will have little to no clothing storage while on board. I'm going to be honest, your shit will be everywhere and so will your bunkmates. Bulky suitcases just don't fly for small quarters. Ospry makes some great backpacks that have carry on friendly sizes for your trip! I own a 55 and have used it more than I ever thought possible. The colors are not that cute, but manageable and nobody likes a humpback alla Mr. Deeds.
Traveling before or after? So is everyone. if you can't stuff it all in, bring a separate bag that you can store at the port for the week and switch everything out before you check in! More information on this can be found at the Yacht Week Website or by simply emailing their team.
I have too much to say in realm of what to pack, but will be doing a separate post on it soon!
Meet as Many New People as Humanly Possible
(^^^Cool feature of my pastie above) Yacht Week brings together people from all over the world, and truly what setting do you really have the opportunity to mingle with people that way in adulthood? This week is honestly the time to break out 20 questions any chance you can and what better way to fuel your outgoing side than with alcohol? I saw a lot of naked people, met more Americans than I ever thought possible, got a gold chain flash tattoo on my chest from the gal in the photo above, met British folk with black eyes, & even a German. Prost!
You're going to be meeting new people every day, and Instagram is a beautiful thing for that if you're not exchanging phone numbers or have spotty service. By the end of the week, you'll be able to look at a boat (and their flags ^^^) and know who is who//can go hang out with others. Embrace it! This part of Yacht week was truly my favorite and is more "advice" then an actual tip. Meet some strange, fun, slightly insane, amazing people experiencing this with you! And hey, you may come back with some new friends all over the globe. Or a hell of a story.
Okay, i'm convinced us girls are just peaches that are constantly being dropped on hard surfaces. You're going to bruise, scrape, and potentially (but hopefully not) break something during this lovely week.
WEIRD CONCEPT: boats and alcohol just really don't mix. Be CAREFUL when consuming all the booze. Additionally, you'll be hopping from boat to boat almost every day, and boats have weird lines, barriers, and overall just things I think are there purely to stub your toe on. My advice? Bring all the Rx items, bandaids (MANY we ran out), neosporin, gauze, literally a first aid kit would be great. To premise: our first day a girl on our boat fell BETWEEN the boats and had terrible road rash on both of her legs, as well as a different girl on our boat who had a less life threatening experience blacked out and falling into bushes. BUT STILL all things that require band aids.
As for the alcohol, you're going to be hungover every single day (see a wild Kath at the bars in Hvar featured above). I wish I was kidding, but that's the deal you make with Croatia. If you are prone to bad hangovers, bring Pedialyte packets that you can carry on, extra grade amoxicillin if you really want to get the job done, and extra strength advil. I also weirdly suggest bringing Vitamin C, just to stay healthy. I get sick EVERY TIME i'm in Europe. I'm literally 3/3 in the last 6 years, so this is key.
In conclusion, RAGE, have the time of your life, don't die. Do yourself a favor, get your crew together, and book the most epic week of your life. More posts on Yacht Week to come!