Helpful Sailing Tips
To ensure an memorable experience
What to Bring
Bring the right stuff – but not too much. BIG MAMA is a sailing yacht – not the QE2. You won’t need the stilettos or steamer trunk. Nor the pearls, Tiaras, Armani or Versace. They can all be left at home. All jokes aside, you really DON’T want a lot of stuff. But you DO want the RIGHT stuff. NO Suitcase. YES duffle bag or small backpack.
Footwear: BARE FEET are the uniform of the day. However, good deck shoes come in handy in rough weather & exploring on land. Daggy old tennis shoes will do. But the best footwear are water sport shoes that can be secured to your foot. A shoe your foot can slip out of can be dangerous on a moving yacht.
Clothing: This is the tropics, so it is warm to hot most of the time. Mostly shorts and bathers, with one long sleeved top for sun protection/or the odd cool evening. Please bring a TOWEL.
Keep in mind: The sun at sea is constant in daylight. The clouds do nothing to protect you. And the UVs go right through thin cotton. If you are really sensitive, or even concerned, invest in a long sleeved UVB/UVA resistant shirt for on-deck. You’ll be glad you did.. We do have UV suits available when snorkelling.
Wet weather: We have plenty of ‘el cheapo’ rain jackets. These are fine for the occasional squall, where you may not even mind getting wet. But if you want to hang out on deck or stay top-side during serious funky weather, proper rain gear is recommended. It doesn’t need to be heavy (this isn’t Alaska), just water-proof. REMEMBER we do experience 300 plus days a year of SUNSHINE!
The Sun: Far North Queensland is the skin cancer capital of the world. Whether your skin is fair or not, you need sun screen – plenty of it. 50+ UVB/UVA minimum. Water proof for 4 hours minimum. And plan to lather up every 2 – 3 hours during the day, especially when snorkelling.If we are hanging around the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, you’ll be in & out of the water like a Yo-Yo.
Hat: You’ve got to have one. And it might blow overboard.We suggest a full brim hat with a chord to prevent losing it!
Sunglasses: You will damage your eyes without them.The best are ‘polarised.’A $30 pair of cheap polarised are better than the $300 non-polarised Carreras. Polarised eliminate most of the glare and vastly improve visibility around the reef and when fishing.
Motion sickness: "I don’t get seasick." Famous last words.Once you get seasick on a constantly moving vessel, it is very hard to recover, because you can’t keep the pills down long enough to work. Expect 2 – 3 days of misery, unless we can get you to hard ground somewhere for a couple of hours (which is not always possible). We cannot give medical advice. But we can tell you what we have observed. We have not seen the pressure point bracelets or ginger to be very effective. A product called Quell or Travel Calm is popular and readily available over the counter in Australia and seems to work well without drowsiness. Be sure to consult a doctor or the chemist. Count on a dry mouth but we have plenty of icy cold water.
Camera: Bring extra memory and batteries. There are no shops at sea. We do have means to charge your electronics on board.If you plan on charging, make sure you have an Australian plug adapter and that the charger can handle Australian current – 240 volts. A large zip lock bag or other means of keeping it dry is a good investment.
Mobile: It will get reception & we have a BOOSTER which helps with service in normal difficult range areas-but put it away and enjoy the natural environment and being on board Big Mama.
A book: Preferably a trash novel. It is a favourite pass time while sailing and relaxing on board Big Mama. We have a variety of books on board that you are welcome to read.
Feel free to ask any questions when you book as it is important to us that we ensure all our guests have a memorable Big Mama Sailing experience.
Big Mama Sailing does not take responsibility for loss of personal items, theft or minor injury while participating in any of our cruises.
Our duty & safety to our guests is both important to us and acknowledged as conscientious operators of a boating venture. This approach is formed on the clear understanding of the nature of our operation and the embedded requirement to be conscious and considerate of the many dynamic circumstances in play while in a marine environment.
As part of our operational understanding we also believe and rely on the ability of our mature visitors to reasonably assess and determine their own capabilities when choosing to participate in the cruise and their individual levels of engagement of activities. This process we find works well and removes the need to implement a standardised regime which could preclude an individual from participation based on their own assessment.
It is our practise to accept ,where practical to do so the self assessment of our guests and attempt to accommodate where there are no demonstrable hazards to the contrary, believing the visitor to be the best judge of their own abilities. We find this a reasonable approach in allowing our guests to fulfil their expectations within there own personal levels of engagement resulting in a more personal experience.
Both, Stuart & Lisa, need to know about any medical issues, particularly matters than can impact an activity or result in an emergency. We can be hours or more away from emergency facilities. So being aware of potential complications is essential for all guests, vessel and crew safety. Guest medical information is confidential. But, we need to know so everyone has a wonderful and stress- free sailing experience.
More than 7 days full refund
1-7 days 50% refund
Less than 24 hours no refund
Our cruises are subject to the weather & guest number dependant. We will cancel a cruise or move your booking to another date if possible, due to unsafe weather conditions as we prefer our guests to have a memorable & safe Big Mama experience. Our sails depart from Horseshoe Bay normally from Easter Holidays until approximately October. Once, the northerly winds are dominant, we will operate from Picnic Bay. Our guest minimum is 6 guests too- or we can not sail. Also, the safety of Big Mama and her crew is important.
Big Mama Sailing ceases cruises mid/late January(weather dependent) & we do not operate mid January/February/March, due to our cyclone season & we return for the Easter School Holidays(early April).
This period of time is a great opportunity for us to maintain, refit & slip Big Mama for survey requirements.Also, we enjoy some quality family time.
Thanks for your understanding.