The quick answer is as little as possible. We try to keep the weight down, and when racing we still seem to take off a vast amount of stores before we start.
Sailing can be dangerous, particularly once out of sight of land (rare in the Baltic). We carry harnesses and proper life jackets for a crew of four.
There are no safety rails on the boat to stop you going overboard (or to trip you overboard). We have safety jackstays running fore and aft over the working length of the boat. Anyone working on deck in choppy conditions or after dark MUST hook on before leaving the cockpit. Otherwise it’s recommended, but your responsibility. Mini‑flares are available to stick in a pocket, and we have a quantity of parachute flares and smokes.
We carry a life ring, but anyone who goes overboard, even in daylight, may be lost unless they are firmly attached to the ship. Getting someone back on board is not too difficult, thanks to the low freeboard, but we have to find you first. There’s no life-raft, but we tow a wooden dinghy.
We can’t carry much, for space reasons. This has to be used for drinking and cooking. Personal washing is a very low priority, although we do carry baby wipes. We also carry boxed wine and canned drinks. Marinas will have showers, but we may well spend alternate nights tied up to a rock out in the islands, where the only facilities are likely to be an earth toilet, and the only washing facilities involve jumping in the sea which is not very salty, but can be pretty cold.
There isn’t much to spare. We carry one 12 volt 75 A/h battery, but this is mostly reserved for navigation instruments. Don’t expect to use ship’s supply for shaving or powering a computer. Shore power is often available in harbour. We have a 12V car lighter socket, which may be used to recharge phones. We also have a couple of small solar panels which should also charge phones.
Things we don’t have
There’s no fridge, microwave, sound system, washbasin, hot running water, shower or standing headroom. Washing up is done in a round black bucket. There is no fitted toilet, just another round blue bucket. Privacy is limited too, if you snore or swear in your sleep everyone will know. There are no guard rails, we do have jackstays to hook on to, but a good sense of balance is essential.
Things we do have
Charts, binoculars, navigation equipment, guide books, spare shackles. VHF radio. Plenty of different sails to keep the crew busy. Packs of cards for when it rains (not often, actually). E-books are a real boon.
If you have any navigational experience it will be most welcome. But expect the skipper to check anyway, it’s his boat.
We assume that the crew will eat anything, as long as it’s dead. If you have dietary preferences make sure we know at least a week in advance. David has trouble boiling water, let alone an egg, so it helps a lot if you can do basic cooking. We can’t run to gourmet stuff, but in harbour and on quiet days a lot can be done on the two burners and grill. If you are a talented cook you will be especially welcome, but make sure we know in advance so we can supply your favourite herbs and spices (or bring them with you). Space is very limited, so dried/canned food is a good idea, and can be surprisingly good with a little imagination. Fresh and smoked fish are widely available, and excellent. We have no fridge, but the bilges are relatively cool and dry. There are restaurants ashore, but only in the larger villages.
If you are vegetarian or vegan please let us know, the plan for 2017 is to try a veggie-only cruise, to see if it makes the cooking easier.