I’m sure most of you know those nights; it’s a balmy summer evening, you and your best friends have decided to party through the night, and after around 12 rum and cokes you come up with an incredible business idea. One that you absolutely must pursue, it’ll be incredible and change your lives. Like a selfie stick that’s also a walking stick… No?
Well, at least that’s how I imagine Karsten, co-founder and captain of Coboat, the first coworking catamaran, came up with his idea. It may sound crazy, but I am writing this while sitting on deck of Coboat, on a balmy summer night in the Agean Sea in Greece. How did I get here? Let me explain.
What is Coboat?
Put simply, Coboat is a coworking space on a sailboat. But this description doesn’t do it justice, as the project incorporates so much more. Being a sailing ship, Coboat is in a unique position because it can travel around the world, connecting people and organisations from around the globe. Their ultimate mission is to bring people together, draw attention to the difficulties our oceans are facing and help to find solutions.
Digital Nomad Girls on Coboat
Coboat officially launched in June 2016 in the Mediterranean Sea where they’ll be sailing until November. The team invited a handful of influencers to spend some time on board to see for ourselves what it’s like to sail and cowork on the open seas. I was lucky enough to be picked, and within a week had packed up my bags in rainy England and travelled to Paros, Greece.
So, what is sailing on Coboat like? Can you really work there? And will you get seasick? To answer all these questions and more, I documented a typical day on Coboat:
A Day in the Life of a Coboating Nomad Girl
8 am: “Early” wake up. Awake in a beautiful bay in the Agean Sea, somewhere between Paros, Siros and Athens. The sun is shining, there are no clouds to be found and you can start your day by jumping into the deep blue water.
After a morning swim we sometimes do yoga, it helps that we have our very own yoga instructor on board, guest Lilou from France.
9 am: Brekky time. Our ship chef Jacob has already prepared a fresh breakfast for us. Sometimes it’s fresh fruit with muesli and delicious Greek yoghurt, sometimes avocado, bread and eggs. It’s always lovely and you’ll be super hungry from your morning swim already.
10-12 am: Work hard. We’re not just here for fun, but also to get some serious work done. Chill out on deck or in the cabin while you get client work and other business done. The speed and reliability of the wifi really surprised me, I could connect every time I tried. Here’s a speed test I took one evening.
Before lunch: Time for a workshop, an idea incubator or another dip in the sea (or all!). Every Coboater gets the opportunity to present a project, goal or challenge they are working on and will get feedback from the other nomads on board. The projects we discussed ranged from turning a handmade flower-crown business into a social enterprise, to ocean protection programs for local islands in Greece and, of course, Digital Nomad Girls. A special shout out to Becky, the incredible Coboat community manager, who not only organised and structured our days, but also ran and supported all our idea incubators and did a tremendous job of connecting people.
Around 1:30/2:00 Time for lunch (see breakfast), yum.
Afternoon: It always depends on the wind and weather conditions, but in general we tended to set sail in the afternoons to make our way to another bay or island. This is the part that I was a bit worried about as I tend to get seasick. Our first day was quite choppy and I did end up being seasick, but it passed quickly and after swim I was as good as new. You’re not very likely to get much work done while sailing (unless it’s a very smooth sea, which we also experienced), so take care of your work in the mornings and evening. Sailing time is also prime tanning time, don’t forget sunscreen!
Evening: Upon arrival at the next island we drop anchor, and have a good splash around in the sea, read a book and just relax.
Before dinner, we usually fit in another idea incubator or workshop on deck while watching the sunset over the islands.
Dinner time: Most days we had dinner on board, but we also went ashore a few times to have a nice Greek meal and some drinks. It’s great to be able to explore the islands and cute towns a little bit. I wish I’d had more time/money for shopping.
Fun time: we either had a few drinks, just chatted or went out to a restaurant, but we also developed a nasty TV habit on board. Below Deck is a great new trashy reality TV show about a crew working on a superyacht. The first episode took place in the same spot we were moored, so naturally we became obsessed.
Time for bed: I often finished a few bits and bobs of work before bed (like writing this post). The cabins are super comfy and after such a long day of fun, coworking, networking and masterminding, I slept like a baby.
Next day, rinse (in the sea) and repeat.
Doesn’t sound too horrible, eh?
Overall, my experience on Coboat was brilliant, but I also want to include some challenges we faced during our time on board, to give you the full picture.
Rule No. 1 on Coboat: The plan can change.
And it will. You have to be really flexible and a bit adventurous, too. If you’re planning on doing a full 50 hour work week, you’re in the wrong place. I am lucky enough that I could prepare a lot of my social media client work ahead of time, and that cleared my schedule a bit during my time on board.
If you’re working on a business idea, new project or goal, however, then Coboat is perfect for you. I literally felt #ideaslapped after my incubator session and know the others did too.
Rule No. 2 on Coboat: It depends on the wind
That’s a sentence you will become familiar with, after all, you’re out in nature and need to plan your trip around the wind and waves. Our captain always tried to keep sailing times and rockiness to a minimum (I like to think he did that so I wouldn’t have to hang over the railing at the back of the ship too much) and planned the route accordingly. Every morning Becky updated us and we arranged our plans to fit in with the sailing schedule.
Tips for Nomad Girls onboard Coboat:
A stay on Coboat is adventurous and can be unpredictable, but doesn’t come without its ‘luxuries’. All cabins have their own bathrooms including hot showers and toilet. If you happen to have your period while on board there are certain rules that have to be followed. Actually, there’s only one rule: do NOT throw anything down the toilet! And that includes tampons and any other sanitary products. Not only is this terrible for the ocean, but it also blocks the ship’s toilets, and then the poor crew will have to deal with the mess. If you want to avoid the wrath of the crew as well as a lot of toilet talk, then stick to this rule.
I would totally recommend using a menstrual cup like Moon Cup, which is environmentally friendly, easy to use and pack, and healthier too.
If you’re ready for the coworking adventure of a lifetime and are willing to be flexible, then you’ll have a brilliant time on board the world’s first floating coworking space!
I had such an amazing time that we ended up planning a Digital Nomad Girls Coboat takeover!