Gay Armada General Store

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To make pre-trip packing and shopping easier, we have links below to many of the most popular items that sailors look for and purchase before the trip, with direct Amazon Prime links.

 

All sailors are free to buy (or not buy!) anything they want, or any variations.   This is purely a helpful suggestion / reference. 

 

RULES TO LIVE BY IN PACKING AND PREP:

Be smart.  Don't waste money.  Be thrifty.  A couple of rules to live by:
 

  1. The thing you already own that's "close enough" is 10x better than buying a new thing
     

  2. Anything you'll use again in "Real Life" is way better than anything you buy just for the trip
     

  3. You only need half of what you think you do
     

  4. Coordinate with your boat group on bringing things. 
    Example:  You don't each need a Bluetooth speaker (the boat only needs 1-2), and only one "Cards Against Humanity" game
     

  5. Anything near its life end, or intended to be disposable, that can be thrown away after the trip is better than lugging something wet and gross home with you (e.g. shoes, towels, etc.)
     

  6. Party costumes are unlikely to survive until morning, let alone the trip home.  Plus, they take up valuable space onboard.  Don't go crazy with costumes, and lean towards a) easily stored flat, and/or b) disposable costume elements
     

  7. You'll never be anywhere fancy.  Sperrys are fancy enough footwear for even the finest restaurants.  Leave the Italian loafers at home.  You don't need them.  Flip flops, a polo, and nice shorts are "dressed up" in the islands
     

  8. Leave all the expensive clothes at home (other than swimsuits).  Boats are wet.  They are full of things with grease and sharp objects, and they rock and can knock you off your feet.  Stuff gets ruined easily.  Leave the good stuff at home
     

  9. Leave the electronics at home.  You really don't need them down there.  Boats are full of water, and they bounce up and down hard on the waves.  For most, a laptop is more likely to get wrecked than to get used
     

  10. Put down your phone.  Live the islands.  Live your life.  Be around people!  Make new, "real" friends.
    1-3 pics a day are more than enough.  More than that genuinely annoys people.   (We promise!)
    ...there's nothing better than when that annoying social media freak drops her phone in the ocean.  Don't be her.

SOFT-SIDED LUGGAGE ONLY
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    • Bring ONLY soft-sided luggage (like duffel bags) for luggage, since it has to be flattened or bunched up and tucked away onboard during the trip - Do NOT bring "formed" or molded (normal) luggage

    • There is no room to store luggage on the boat

    • You will unpack, cram your things into storage spaces (closets, cupboards, shelves, etc.), then crush up your luggage and stuff them into nooks / crannies / corners (like empty spaces under the bed or under the floorboards)

    • This is also true for carry-ons:  Use only soft, crushable backpacks / bags as your carry-ons

    • The less you bring, the better.  If it’s not on this list, leave it at home!
PRE-TRIP PACKET
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    • Your pre-trip packet has key information and contacts on it.   (This is provided via .pdf file in January)

    • Be sure to bring it on the trip with you – It has key info for travel emergencies and contacts you may need while en route, and you want it on paper, since your cell phone may or may not work down there

    • Make a copy of your health insurance card and passport ID page to stash on your boat

    • Print off a copy of your travel insurance policy, making sure you see key phone numbers and policy numbers
    (There's nothing to buy, but the list format leaves the button there.  Sorry.)
PASSPORT, WALLET, & CASH
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    • These are “duh!” items, but listed here just so you don’t forget!

    • Think about a few hundred dollars cash (easier than credit cards, and there aren't a ton of ATMs)
        - Bring a bunch of $5's and $1's... there is a lot of small tipping and things where $20's aren't helpful

    • Onboard, hide it in a sock or somewhere discreet
EASY-DRYING TOWELS
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    • When bringing towels (suggest 2) make sure they are “easy drying”

    • “Swimmers towels” (or camping / microfiber) are especially good, and dry fast

    • Big, heavy, fluffy towels don’t dry well, and get stinky mildew that hangs in the boat air (resist the comfy urge)

    • For once, having “cheaper” towels are actually better off, since they can dry a lot easier overnight on the boat rails

    • A couple cheap, thin towels from Walmart that you just throw away afterwards are a good idea to bring along2
SPARE SHEETS
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    • A point of awkwardness:  You will get one sheet set for the bed that you (and your bedmate) have to use, and there is no way to wash it, exchange it, or clean it onboard during the week, so it helps to have a spare

    • If you are a couple, or otherwise planning any intimacy, you may definitely want to consider a spare sheet or two in your luggage, but it's true regardless, because we get sandy and sunscreeny and gross... and so do the sheets

    • Boat cabin beds are customized, oddly shaped pads – almost any size will do, but most are close to a double size

    • This is another place where a cheap, disposable set is a great thing to just toss out afterwards
HAT(S): 1-2
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    • When bringing towels (suggest 2) make sure they are “easy drying”

    • “Swimmers towels” (or camping / microfiber) are especially good, and dry fast

    • Big, heavy, fluffy towels don’t dry well, and get stinky mildew that hangs in the boat air (resist the comfy urge)

    • For once, having “cheaper” towels are actually better off, since they can dry a lot easier overnight on the boat rails

    • A couple cheap, thin towels from Walmart that you just throw away afterwards are a good idea to bring along
SUNGLASSES:  2+ PAIRS
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    • You need legit sunglasses, usually with a spare pair in case you lose them (make sure they are UV protectant)

    • They should be comfortable, because you will wear them a LOT

    • Try to bring two pairs, in case you lose one  (it happens a lot)

    • Cheaper sunglasses are great, given the propoensity to lose them in the water...
    - Don’t be sad because your Prada glasses are lost forever on the ocean floor!
NON-MARKING SHOES
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    • You can not wear black-soled shoes on the boat (they leave scuff marks)

    • Bring non-marking shoes (light colored sole) - Most people have a pair of tennis shoes, and some sandals
    Remember that the boat has lots of sailing equipment on deck, so shoes help with that (you often don’t want to be barefoot on deck) – An older pair of light-sole shoes can be the best thing on deck

    • Remember that any shoes have to be able to get wet  (For example, when you go out at night, there’s often a little water in the dingy, so expensive or fancy shoes can get ruined)

    • Note: "Boat shoes" are often the worst on boats.  I love my Sperrys, but they are crummy when wet, take forever to dry, get smelly easily, and are a bad choice for the actual boat (sadly)
WATER SHOES AND/OR SANDALS
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    • Some kind of “water shoes” are also helpful, for climbing on rocky beaches (and actual rocks), like the Baths

    • Sandals / flip flops are the best for going ashore in (dry instantly, can be wet in the bottom of the dingy, and great for walking across sand, concrete, water, rocks, and indoors, all in one go
SLEEPING BAG and/or PILLOW  (Optional)
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    • Some people prefer a light sleeping bag for the boat, rather than the sheets and little blankets that come with it

    • This is also nice if you want to spend a night sleeping on deck, under the stars, or want a warmer blanket than comes on the boat, since  those usually aren’t very good blankets  (similar to a throw rug on the back of a couch)

    • The pillows are small and pretty much suck, too

    • Remember that it is ~60 degrees at night, so any sleeping bag needs to be light… a winter camping one is no good
SWIMSUITS: 5+
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    • Bring some swimsuits (obviously)… You’ll want to have a few, and they will be your primary clothes all week

    • Because most days will involve water and dingys, some longer (regular swimsuit) shorts or trunks are helpful (for being on land and in public), and can be preferable to clothing-style shorts (like khakis)

    • Knowing our crowd, we expect to see a varied mix of regular swimsuits, board shorts, square cuts, booty shorts, and speedos, but remember that you don't want everything to be tiny & tight... have some normal ones, too (trust us)

    • SEE OUR SPECIAL PAGE ON GREAT SWIMSUITS YOU MAY NOT KNOW YET!
CASUAL JEANS: 1-2 PAIRS
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    • ​You’ll want one pair of jeans (wear them on the plane) for the flight down and the flight back, and just to have one pair of long pants on the trip, in case it gets chilly

    • Don’t bring your nicest jeans because they will become your warm pants in the rare event of rain/wind

    • Mostly, we’ll wear shorts and swim trunks in the BVI, so you will not need more than 1-2 pairs of pants