What’s an Overnighter?

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

How you normally use your boat can color what you mean by an "overnighter."

You probably had an instant answer to that question.

But, I’ve learned, not everyone defines “overnighter” in quite the same way. In the past week, I’ve just happened to read two blog posts talking about “our first overnighter.” Turned out, they were talking of different things. And a few months ago, I read someone else’s account of their first overnighter, meaning yet something else.

None were wrong, but I think the term gets used differently depending on where you are and what your typical boating is. And it reminds me that TBG readers do all sorts of different styles of boating — all of them great!

The three different meanings?

  • Sleeping on the boat at the sailing club, by a couple who normally day sail from the club and go home at night.
  • Spending the night at anchor, away from the dock, by a family that day sails and usually returns to their home marina at night to sleep aboard.
  • A trip that includes being on the move overnight.

A few months after we began cruising on Que Tal, friends who were considering cruising came to visit us for a week. In the planning stages, we asked them what they’d like to do on their vacation.

“Well, we just got certified, so getting the chance to dive would be good. And maybe an overnighter or two.”

Perfect! There was an island that we’d wanted to visit about 80 miles away — we could do an overnight sail there, have a couple days to explore it, and then sail back and do a dive trip.

We wrote and told them. Seems we’d had different ideas of “overnighter” — we assumed, since they were thinking of cruising, that they wanted to see what an overnight passage was like. Wrong — turned out they’d never spent the night at anchor and that’s what they wanted to try out.

We changed our plans and had a wonderful week with several anchored-out “overnighters” as well as nights in the marina.

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  1. There is a 4th definition…staying on board in the marina during a gale with a super moon low tide. Checking ropes all night long!!!

  2. Interesting! I would have only thought it meant an overnight passage!

  3. Philip Dicicco says:

    Running aground… in Saint Petersburg, Florida, just outside the marina—with only my stepdaughter aboard! Now we both laugh about it almost thirty years later. She still considers it her best “sleep-over” ever. Yes, we both love and respect each other after all these years. Best First Mate I ever had and ever will. Love ya Jena!

  4. Heather Tully says:

    Our girl ‘charisma’. Spends most of her time at the Sacramento yacht club but anytime we can steal away we love to go ” on the hook “. The American river is the most sought after area but anywhere will do for us. We just spent five days aboard with one of favorite couples and had a blast. This is the life !!

  5. The sun rose, the sun set the sun rose and we aren’t there yet – my definition.

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