“It’s gettin’ late but I don’t mind.”
– Memories, David Guetta
A couple years ago, when my friend Aaliyah told me about a vacation experience called The Yacht Week, I shook my head and said there was no way I’d ever participate. As far as I was concerned, all night ragers and cramming a dozen or so people into a tight living space were things I left behind in my college days and beach house summers of my early twenties.
Oh the powers of persuasion… especially while under the influence of a few beverages. See, Aaliyah already had the experience of The Yacht Week British Virgin Islands under her belt. Somehow, she was able to gloss over the less glamorous details and fill me with enough wanderlust to tip the scales into yes territory. Next thing I knew, I was ponying up for The Yacht Week Croatia 2016.
In the months and weeks leading up to the trip, I oscillated between wondering (and worrying about) what I had gotten myself into, and becoming giddy with excitement at the adventures ahead. I read every blog post, article, and website I could find so I would know what to expect.
Two weeks post-trip, I can say with confidence that this experience changed my life for the better.
My three girlfriends and I flew into Split, Croatia, which is where the adventure begins. You are assigned a departure marina, where you meet the rest of your crew, including skipper and hostess. I don’t know about all the other yachts, but I was feeling pretty #blessed with the incredibly interesting, open-minded, and overall amazing people who were serendipitously placed on our boat, Silhuete. Aaliyah, Amber, Billy, Bryce, Daniel, Evan, Gabby, Junior and Michelle: you are my baes.
Departure day is exciting, but there’s work to be done. Three of us joined our hostess Gabby at the supermarket to stock up on food and booze for the week. As an OG hostess with The Yacht Week, Gabby had the grocery list down. The rest of us were in charge of helping out, keeping tabs on our five (yes, five) grocery carts, and loading up on enough booze to get us through the week. This is where I came in.
As an event planner in my professional life, I’m fairly decent at estimating alcohol. Running out of booze at a party is pretty much my worst nightmare. We had already decided as a group to load up on the things we knew we’d drink, rather than try to stock a full bar of stuff that would go to waste. I think this was a crucial step and one that I’d suggest to any crew. Since I haven’t seen this done on other blog posts, perhaps it would be helpful to know that, for a 10-person crew, we bought:
- 16 bottles of rosé
- 4 bottles of white wine
- 2 bottles of cheap white wine (for cooking)
- 8 bottles of prosecco
- 4 bottles of sparkling rosé
- 8 bottles of cheap champagne (for champagne showers, naturally!)
- 11 bottles of vodka
- 2 bottles of rum
- 4 flats of beer
- Mixers: cranberry juice, OJ, pineapple juice, tomato juice, club soda, Red Bull
Friends, it may sound like a lot, but in the end we had just a couple bottles of wine left over. If anything, we could have done two less wine and two more vodka. This was our loot for day drinking while sailing, kicking back with a bevvie before heading out for the night, hair of the dogging-it in the morning, and everything else in between.
After loading up the boat, we had a brief but necessary safety chat with our skipper, Daniel, and then we were off to experience one of the best weeks of our lives. If I detailed every moment of the week, this blog post would never end. So imagine: sailing the Adriatic Sea, post-lunch swims in beautiful coves, partying in a 200+ year-old fort, star gazing diamond-filled skies, white-knuckling scooters around the mountains of Vis, playing iPhone DJ ‘til the sun comes up, meeting incredible people from all over the world, non-stop laughing, and so much more.
Not only was this vacation one of the best of my life (second only to my honeymoon in Saint Barths!), but it also taught me a lot. In many ways, it pushed me out of my comfort zone, forced me to loosen up, and showed me that some of the best adventures are the least expected, plush hotel room not required. Sometimes, sleeping on a boat deck under the stars is just perfect.
I’ve got a lot more thoughts on The Yacht Week, so get ready for some follow up posts including what to pack (and what to leave at home), plus some of my favorite spots for dining, drinking, dancing and sightseeing from Split to Hvar to Vis and back again.