Charters and Holidays

Post by: Dee White
15 October 2012

With the world consisting of over 70% water, it goes without saying that the scope for boating holidays is endless. From the most adventurous, to those who just want something a little different and from those who want to do everything for themselves, to those wishing to be pampered, the choices are infinite. Many people dream of visiting exotic destinations on their own boat but until they investigate the possibilities, the dream remains a figment of their imagination. For my part I had no idea that it would be remotely possible for me to sail around the Greek islands, down the coast of Croatia, around the gulfs of Turkey, or sail from the BVIs to Antigua, until I took my first Villa Flotilla holiday and learned to sail. I know of someone who started by doing a Villa Flotilla and ended up racing round the world.

What is on offer?

Luxury Crewed Charters

For those wishing for 5 star accommodation and pampering, you can charter a luxury sailing yacht, catamaran, motor yacht or motor sailer, together with an experienced crew and skipper. You will have freedom, flexibility and privacy and can make the holiday as active or relaxing as you like in a destination of your choice. This sort of charter would suit a hospitality charter for business clients, a charter to celebrate special events, or simply a luxurious holiday. Boat provisioning and catering will normally be included and transfers to and from airports are sometimes available.

Skippered Charter

This is for those wanting the opportunity to sail or drive a boat themselves, to improve their sailing or boating skills, but without the responsibility of the daily running of a boat. Choose a well qualified skipper who should have good local knowledge of the area and a good working knowledge of the boat. You will have the opportunity to improve your sailing skills but will also have time to relax on board.

Bareboat Charter

For those capable of skippering their own boat and who prefer to have the flexibility to be independent, this is the ideal charter. All levels of sailors are catered for but you may have to show evidence of competence, such as Day Skipper. These charters are ideal for families, couples or a group of friends and there is often an option to hire a skipper if your nerve fails you.

Flotilla Holidays

These provide a perfect compromise between independent sailing and unobtrusive support. While being the master of your own boat and having some say in your destination and route, you will have the back up of an experienced sailing team. This will normally consist of a Skipper, a Hostess and an Engineer who will be at hand to help if you need it and will organise events for the flotilla when it meets up. There are opportunities to meet new people, share experiences and even compete against the other crews. This is an ideal holiday for active couples and families, relatively new to sailing, who want to meet like minded people and experience something more exciting than sitting on a beach. Although some sailing experience is required, it is an ideal holiday if you are a little rusty, or if you want to progress to bareboat charter. Many people, however, go back to flotilla sailing year after year for the sheer good fun.

Club Flotilla or Villa Flotilla Holidays

Here you have the opportunity to enjoy a week in a hotel while learning the basics of sailing, then during the second week you will set off with a Flotilla to explore and put your newly acquired skills into practice. This is how I and my family learned to sail and after years of experience I can still thoroughly recommend it. It is ideal for complete beginners and those who have a small amount of experienced and although a steep learning curve is involved the sense of achievement is tremendous.

Individual berths for the solo traveller

You don't have to charter a whole boat. Often individual berths are available on everything from Villa Flotilla to Skippered Charters. Just be prepared to get on with strangers.

Sailing Schools and Courses

There are numerous courses available to cater for every level of ability and experience. You can go on courses for families, individuals, or one designed for teenagers or ladies only. They cover everything from the basics of boat handling to very advanced sailing techniques and will enable you to gain the sailing qualifications you may need. The RYA has a series of progressive courses starting from Competent Crew, right through to Ocean Yacht Master. These are well worth taking part in and are always fun, as well as informative.

Cost

Many people tend to think of sailing as an elitist sport for the wealthy, but this is far from true. Don't be put off if the first holiday or charter you look at is beyond your means. Search the various websites and you will almost certainly find one which suits your pocket.

Why not a look at our selection of Charters and Holiday companies to help get you started.

Happy holidays!

Author – Dee White