Sleeping in port when we are on a cruise: why and how to do it

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boat cruise
Sleeping in port is one of the aspects of cruising by boat

Spending the night in a roadstead or harbor is one of the key choices when planning a boating cruise. Staying in a marina is often a better choice than the roadstead, but one must be careful about certain aspects and especially certain things that should never be missing on board.

Sleeping in the harbor

The night spent in port changes our outlook and involves much more detailed planning of the stops we will make during the boat cruise. If we travel in August we plan to book our berth even months in advance, in the most popular locations it becomes impossible to book last minute in a marina during the peak season.

Staying in a marina has a number of positive aspects, starting with the basic services that a marina offers. We will have the opportunity to refill fresh water, fuel and recharge the on-board batteries if we need to. All of which, in the roadstead, must instead be calculated in advance. We will then not have to worry, except in special cases, about the tightness of the mooring at night. Rarely will we encounter undertow, and in any case we will have the opportunity to choose the Marina according to its exposure to rough seas, choosing the safest and most sheltered ones.

If we have teenagers on board, the port stop will allow them to go ashore and amuse themselves, and the more fashionable sailors to mingle with the nightlife of a tourist resort. It goes without saying that these are, compared to the roadstead, two different vacation styles. Indeed, the port also presupposes a certain desire for worldliness, and not just the search for a quiet vacation.

How much does the port cost me?

This is why the central theme of asking the right question comes back: what kind of sailor and cruiser am I? The comforts of a port come at a cost, however: in high season, let’s prepare to pay for a night in port like a good hotel. This raises the budget of a boating vacation that otherwise has low operating expenses. In short, while the port provides us with opportunities, it also forces us to give up some planning freedom. We need to book in time, adjust to any entry times that the Marina asks us for (which can happen n.d.r.) and be willing in some cases to pay as much as 100 euros per night for a berth. A matter of choices, priorities, and boating lifestyle.

What not to miss on board

Regardless of whether we will be stopping in port or roadstead, for both options there are some must-have on-board accessories. The tender is the first thing, for the roadstead it is essential, but also if we plan to sleep in the harbor it will be useful. For example, to take day trips while leaving the boat at anchor, or directly to the Marina. Its length should be chosen according to the size of our boat, while on the propulsion front the electric one is now becoming widely established and can be an alternative to classic outboards.

We were then talking about games such as sup or fishing gear to spend time in the roadstead. These are accessories that may be useful beyond the single stop at roadstead, to be had on board with a view to spending a vacation where we also want to engage in stimulating activities.

Also not to be forgotten is a respect anchor in addition to the main anchor, possibly equipped with at least a dozen meters of chain. Especially for the anchorage in the roadstead, it may prove essential in the event of strong winds that require us to lower a double anchor into the water to avoid excessive rotations on the main.

Last, perhaps the most mundane but must-have accessories: mask, fins, and a diving knife. They will not only be used to go spearfishing or diving, but also to check our anchorage in the roadstead and be sure that there are no dangerous crossings with our neighbors or check for leakage.

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