Our advice if you’re sailing with kids for the first time on a yacht charter

We recently took our kids sailing for the first time. We’d been thinking about it for a couple of years, but finally decided to bring them with us to St Martin. If you’re contemplating doing the same, we’ve put together some handy tips to help prepare you for a stress-free, relaxing and fun family sail.

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Stress-free, relaxing and fun family sail

1) Laydown the rules as soon as you get on board

We started the week by saying if they are not in the saloon or cockpit (under sail or at anchor) then they must wear their lifejackets at all times.IMG_0925_A This became more relaxed as the trip went on, as they grew in confidence, and by the end of the charter they did not wear them at anchor or under sail (in calm winds). We stressed that the most important rule was that they must be accompanied by an adult if they were walking from the cockpit to foredeck.

2) Make wearing a lifejacket as comfortable as possible

The charter company will often be able to provide a child’s lifejacket, but be warned that it will usually be a large foam one that kids don’t like wearing. We are often asked about bringing one from home with a gas cannister in them. These have an advantage as they are smaller, but it is down to the airline’s policy as to whether they are allowed as baggage. We took a comfortable, light, all-in-one lifejacket with us which met our flight policy. These were successful as the kids didn’t complain about wearing them and were also great for swimming in the sea.

3) Pack the right clothes for life on the ocean

The right clothing can really make life aboard easier. The main thing is to keep the kids safe from the sun, so bring with you poncho-style towels, sunglasses and caps (plus spares in case they blow away!) and all-in-one swimming outfits. Remember to keep applying the sun cream throughout the day, as you’ll feel pretty guilty if your children have turned into lobsters by bedtime and none of you will get a restful night’s sleep!

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4) Choose the most suitable yacht type for families

When choosing your yacht charter, think about what type of yacht fits your needs the best. Catamarans offer a family-friendly sail and have more space. Kids really love the trampoline too, as it feels like they are sailing on a climbing frame between islands and that’s seriously good fun!IMG_0928_A

5) Bring the right kit for swimming and snorkelling

Snorkelling is a major part of any yacht charter, so It is worth bringing goggles, snorkels and flippers from home that you know fits your kids. Don’t underestimate how much time they will spend in the water. Our eldest, who is six years old, spent longer than the grown ups snorkelling in the sea or playing in the waves by a beach.IMG_1029_A

6) Plan for plenty of activities

Kids will need occupying on board, just like they do at home. We planned treasure hunts, collected different objects or we let them help with the cooking. We took plenty of colouring and activity books, downloaded films and programmes onto a tablet and found that audio books went down a treat. It’s always a good idea to take classic children’s card games too.

7) Be realistic about eating out

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You’re on holiday so you can take the kids out to restaurants in the evening past their bedtime, but they will be extra tired from sailing and swimming in the sea, so they are likely to end up asleep at the table. We chose to eat on the yacht more than eating out and fresh fish and veg on the BBQ went down well with the whole crew. This option is more relaxing than getting the kids to be on their best behaviour in restaurants.

8) Allow them to get out of their sleep routine

IMG_1004_AAt home, all parents and kids survive on a routine. On the ocean, you can relax a little. Life on board is tiring with all that playing in the sea and wind in their hair, and you might find they want to take naps. Even if your kids aren’t the napping type, you will be surprised how willing they are to go and have a quick lie down in the middle of the day.

9) Take their favourite foods

Kids like comfort so bring a bit of home along with you and pack some of their favourite snacks. They get hungry a lot when sailing and seem perfectly happy doing activities in the cockpit without getting seasick under sail.

10) Fly without drama

When boarding the plane make sure you have spare clothes, liquid paracetamol and let them take their own backpack for toys. It’s a long flight if you aren’t prepared!

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Set Sail for the Best Caribbean Snorkelling

There’s nothing quite as thrilling or beautiful as seeing a giant turtle resting right under your snorkel. The Caribbean is abound with incredible wildlife just metres off stunning clear-water coastlines. Captain your own vessel with a bareboat yacht charter to some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving destinations, from underwater caves in the Bahamas to the family-friendly shallow water beaches of Barbuda. Snorkelling is an experience like no other. Here is a guide to unforgettable underwater destinations rich in colourful corals and curious fish.

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Snorkelling

Thunderball Grotto, Bahamas

This is one of the top snorkelling and scuba diving destinations in the Caribbean.  An intricate network of high-ceiling caves off Staniel Cay lead the visitor through an underwater maze barely lit by the sun’s reflection. Experienced snorkellers will have no problem navigating the many caves, but beginners and those looking to beat the crowds are advised to head straight to the secondary rooms.

Barbuda, Antigua and Barbuda

Barbuda is lined with 365 pristine pink sand beaches, unpopulated by commercial ventures and mega hotels, and so is a natural choice to visit for its diverse wildlife. Snorkel here to see brain and elk coral, anemones and an assortment of tropical fish in all imaginable colours.
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Reduit Beach, Saint Lucia

For holidaymakers looking for a balance of underwater exploration and lazing around on a stunning beach, Reduit’s golden, sandy shoreline stretches over a mile long. As you might expect, Reduit is a popular destination for surfers and sailors alike, so be aware that, during peak season, finding a more secluded part of the beach can lead to safer, more peaceful snorkelling.
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Snorkelling is one of the great pleasures of sailing the turquoise waters that surround the Caribbean. Discover a magical underwater paradise filled by strange and surreal coral reef and fish of every hue from deep blues to brilliant golds.

A Wedding Less Ordinary: Flotilla Sailing

Destination weddings aren’t for everyone, but if you’re brainstorming and daydreaming about that special event, consider making it truly magical with a flotilla sailing holiday. LateSail can assist you in creating a group of chartered yachts that will give the couple and their guests a majestic event that could well go down as the best wedding they’ve ever attended.

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A Wedding Less Ordinary: Flotilla Sailing

Timing Is Everything

Our moorings around the Med offer access to some of the most enviable wedding locations imaginable: Dubrovnik, Elba, Sicily, and many others. This will be a tailor-made flotilla, so you’ll do things a bit backward from the usual planning, in that you first figure out who will attend. Once you know the number of people in your party and per yacht, LateSail will work with you to find charters in the area of your choice; you can have a combination of skippered and bareboat yachts in your party. We can do all this for less than your guests would pay in hotel stays for a week, and without the “wedding tax” you’ll encounter in the fees for booking almost anything connected to weddings these days.

Make the calendar your new best friend. With weddings abroad, your other primary concern will be the paperwork and the timing. Each country or local government will have different requirements, but the dates on your documents are important. For example, in Croatia, your documentation cannot be more than 90 days old, and it must arrive at the registrar’s office a minimum of 30 days before your event. Italy’s requirements are a bit easier on the other hand. Depending on the country, a civil ceremony might need to take place in a certain location, but in Italy you can have your wedding in the venue of your choosing.

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Regardless of the destination, all UK citizens need to obtain a Certificate of No Impediment with an apostille. Getting the CNI takes about three weeks, and getting the apostille about three days. The latter can be done by mail or in person at the office located in Milton Keynes.

Other standard paperwork for UK citizens will include:

  •         Passports valid (sometimes for at least a year after the wedding date)
  •         Photocopies of passport picture pages
  •         Official, long-form, signed birth certificates
  •         Divorce Decree (if appropriate)
  •         Deed Poll (if appropriate)
  •         Death certificate (if appropriate)

Now for the Fun Stuff

What else makes a great event? The food, the company, the champagne. A wedding planner can be your other best friend, as they know the ins and outs of booking restaurants or finding caterers. A good place to start is at marryabroad.co.uk, which lists planners for countries around the globe and also provides information about paperwork.

As your event will be relatively small, you could also save money by hosting the reception on board the couple’s yacht. You’ll have no shortage of incredible food and wine from which to choose in any of our Mediterranean locations. And the backdrop for the photography? We need hardly say more.

And You’ll Sail Off Into the Sunset

Once you’ve sorted out the number of guests and the needs for skippered or bareboat charters, call us at 01227 479 900 and we can help you create a majestic event at a reasonable price.

Discover the Magic of Elba by Yacht Charter

Elba is an often-overlooked destination, but it shouldn’t be. Charming, yet authentic and down-to-earth, with delightful coves and lots to see and eat on land. Yacht charter is an exceptional way to get to know this corner of the Med, and Elba offers more than enough to keep you busy for a week, though its location in the Tuscan archipelago offers temptations galore to take two weeks.

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Yacht charter to Elba with LateSail

From the UK, fly into Pisa, and from there you can get to Punta Ala or Puntone di Scarlino to meet up with your charter. You could also take a ferry from the mainland and pick up your boat in Portoferraio. There is limited air service as well, on Silver Air, from Milan or Pisa. On Elba, you can orientate yourself in the main town of Portoferraio, a great spot to refresh your provisions and while away a day. Don’t include dessert in your provisions – the gelato shops are like a siren’s call to go ashore every evening – but do include the local limoncello.

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Forte Stella Lighthouse, Portoferraio, Isle of Elba, Italy

Napoleon spent 300 days in exile here in 1815, and you no doubt would not mind being exiled here yourself. Up on a hill above Portoferraio, the gardens and views make for a lovely afternoon visit, and you can check the culture box off for this trip.

Sail west and don’t miss Marciana Marina, a lovely town with a beach and great restaurants (Jamie Oliver loves the pizzeria La Scaletta and the more upscale Ristorante Affrichella). Even if you don’t eat in town, go ashore for a stroll with the locals through the piazza and along the sea wall in the evening. A sunset and a serving of blood orange sorbet will cure what ails you. The marina offers 115 berths and services, and you can book a spot online, advisable if you are going in summer.

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Aerial view of Portoferraio harbor in Elba island, Italy

Elba is full of secret coves with tiny beaches and plentiful marine life, particularly around Capo Sant’Andrea, which also features lovely walking paths through lush flora. In the waters, you’ll see colourful fish that reside in the fields of sea grass called posidonia. The rock formations also house lobster. The waters are clear but, as in much of the Med, not always warm, so go prepared if you aren’t a fan of chilly water.

Comparing the Lagoon 450 with the Bali 4.5

It can be difficult to choose between yachts so we’ve put together a little comparison blog to help you select the one that is most right for you.

The Bali 4.5

It offers a great sail if you want to try something new and will certainly make a statement when you enter a port, you will be sailing in style! You can also trust in the Catana experience in terms of construction and performance.

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The Bali 4.5

The yacht’s fresh design boasts a large lounge area with traditional catamaran aft cockpit and open space saloon/galley. The open-space concept, from the pass-through window to the fore deck, to the drop-down deck extension in the back, make this 45ft catamaran feel much larger than others. There’s a forward rigid cockpit and large fridge freezer, just like you have at home, so plenty of space for beers and champers. There are flybridge and and bimini versions available too. The increased bridgedeck clearance and high freeboard make for a smooth and quiet ride.BALIinterior

Bali 4.5 summary

The innovative design of the Bali 4.5 offers an open space concept both above and below deck. While it does away with the traditional forward trampolines, it replaces with plenty of cushions and lounging space for a patio-like atmosphere perfect for entertaining. The pass through window to the fore deck make that space much more enjoyable. Overall it is a comfortable and solid sailing catamaran with a lot of unique concepts that make this 45ft feel much larger.

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The Lagoon 450

Lagoon certainly knows how to built a catamaran to get the pulse racing. It has better ergonomics & and exploits every single inch of space onboard, both above and below decks. It’s a very clever design indeed.

It also has a useful davit system on board. The spacious flybridge is one of its most notable features, offering additional sunbathing spots in addition to the forward trampolines and foredeck. It boasts a beam of 25ft 9in. This is a solid build that sailors have loved for years, with many of the more traditional aspects while the Bali takes a more innovative and experimental approach.

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The Lagoon 450 Catamaran

Lagoon 450 summary

This luxurious and popular catamaran offers plenty of space including a nice flybridge. While it may not be the fastest, its many contemporary features make for a comfortable experience while still maintaining the typical catamaran features such as the trampolines.

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In summary, they are both fantastic catamarans to charter, so it is for you to decide if you prefer the much-loved, tried and tested Lagoon 450, or the new, comfortable and innovative kid on the block of the Bali 4.5. Best way is to try both, if you usually sail the Lagoon 450, why not give the Bali 4.5 a try for your next charter.

Romancing the Globe

At LateSail, we arrange charters for clients all over the world. The globe-trotting couple behind the travel blog Romancing the Globe, along with 32 of their sailor friends, came across us for their 5 boat charter in Thailand last year, where they got together for 10 days of sailing in the beautiful Andaman Sea.

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Beautiful Thailand

The group had such a great time that we have now helped them arrange for another group charter in the Grenadines coming up this summer! Through their blog, Tom and Sheila share stories and travel advice from their many trips to exotic locations around the world, including their exciting sailing charters. You can read about their sailing adventures before they came to LateSail HERE, including charters in BVI, Greece, Tahiti, and Belize. You can even checkout their plans for their upcoming charter in the Grenadines HERE.

Sailing the Grenadines

Sailing the Grenadines

If you are thinking about chartering, or even just curious about different sailing destinations, this adventurous couple can definitely share some tips and stories from their experiences. We are always happy to discuss different sailing destinations as well, the bonus of working with a broker is we work with bases all over the world and can arrange charters in any destination you are interested in!

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Croatia – a Rough Guide to Keeping Your Costs Down

At LateSail we love Croatia, no matter how many times you go, there is so much to see and do and no two holidays are exactly alike. This eclectic nature is exactly what you would expect from a country culturally infused with Slavic, Venetian, Roman, Greek, Byzantine, Italian, Hungarian, Ottoman and Soviet influences.  Not only is Croatia defined by her Historic thumb-print but also by her breathtaking beauty, from the National Parks to the archipelago of Islands dotted off her coast, Croatia, like her people, is welcoming, diverse and absolutely stunning.

Omis, Croatia

Despite all this some people are reticent to visit this glorious country due to a misconception that Croatia is expensive and that your charter will be marred by spiralling Marina fees and tourist tax (which, although unavoidable, is only €1 per person / per day (children under the age of 12 go free)).

If you are staying in Marinas then you will not be able to avoid the fees, however we don’t believe the prices should be prohibitive to you enjoying the wonder of Croatia. Here is a rough guide to help you understand the costs you are likely to incur and a few little tips for you to consider in order to ensure you keep you costs down.

  1. Marina prices vary depending on the category of the marina, its location, the size of your yacht and the time of year. The highest prices are charged by the ACI Marinas, with the most expensive season being from 1st July – 31st August, so if you can avoid these dates then you would reduce your marina costs considerably.

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ACI Marina mooring prices based on a 40ft monohull sailing in high season, in the most popular sailing grounds between Split and Dubrovnik are around €50-80 per day depending on when in the season

It is a myth that Marina fees change from the price list depending on how busy it is and if you were just to use the ACI Marinas you can book your mooring in advance using the ACI Marinas website.

Other marinas in the region don’t charge as highly as the ACI Marinas so it is worth considering these as an alternative option.

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Away from the choice of mooring at Marinas, more and more restaurants are opening up moorings which you can stay at for free if you eat at the restaurant. Here are a few local restaurants that you may want to consider eating and mooring with:

Small, local fishing harbours will also open up their moorings in the high season and will charge around two to five euros per metre length of your yacht, these do tend to fill up quickly so you will need to get in early.

In addition, you always have the rustic option of spending the night at anchor in one of the many beautiful bays Croatia has to offer which will cost you absolutely nothing or for peace of mind and a slightly safer anchoring option, you can latch onto a mooring buoy which will set you back one to two euros per metre length.Split

  1. Starting your charter in the Split region is one way of keeping the cost of your charter down, such is the volume of charter fleets and therefore competition in the Split region that we find offers are far better suited to picking up a great yacht at a great price than other bases where there is less competition. With numerous fleets located in several bases around the Split region we are able to find the perfect yacht to suit every taste and budget.
  1. Charter in Croatia and save on your flights. Being the nearest of the Eastern Mediterranean destinations your flight time is considerably shorter and the prices considerably cheaper. With all the major ports serviced by budget airlines you can make a great saving on your flights, Ryanair fly to Pula, Trieste and Zadar while Easyjet fly to Split, Dubrovnik and Zagreb.  Wizz Air also fly into Split and Norwegian Air fly in Split and Dubrovnik.

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  1. If you like the idea of getting back to basics and spending a few solitary nights at anchor then head north out of Split and aim for the Kornati Archipelago. This scattering of 140 islands, islets and reefs has been designated a national park since 1980 and is the ideal place to take in nature at its most unspoilt. As you can imagine with that many islands, many of them inhabited then it is the perfect place to drop you anchor and avoid any mooring fees. Even the ACI Marinas are cheaper here, and ACI Marina Skradin is a must as it is the gateway to the Krka National Park famed or its magnificent natural waterfalls. A charter from Sibenik, Primosten or Rogiznica will be the prefect starting point to take on the Kornati Nation Park.

Kornati

  1. Don’t forget your Kuna, although Croatia joined Europe in 2013 it is still currently trading in Kuna (HKR) which see your money go a lot further than countries trading with the EURO. Despite Boris Vujčić, Governor of the Croatian National Bank, aim to be in the Euro within the next two years in reality many Croatians believe it could be another decade before the Kuna is phased out – so it is definitely worth getting to Croatia while you get more bang for your buck!

When you are in Croatia eat like a local, much like the culture, Croatia’s cuisine is heterogeneous and takes its influence from its regional produce as much as its diverse history, high quality local food and wine are easily accessible where ever you go and is all very reasonably prices as nothing is imported, so put down the Cornish pasty and get stuck into some local fare.

Find special offers in:

Dubrovnik  |  Pula   | Split  | Zadar

or use our search engine for other destinations

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Summer Festivals in the Caribbean

To put it mildly, the Caribbean knows how to party! The colorful traditions and festivities found on different islands and various countries make for a great way to experience the real essence of the place you’re visiting. If you’re going this summer, try to work a summer festival into your trip; you won’t be disappointed.

You’ve got the big Caribbean events like Jamaica SumFest but many of the smaller islands also have local summer festivals that are a blast. They’re also easier to get to- you can simply find a good place to moor (ask our experts for the best ones) and walk or take a taxi or bus to the festival from there.Festivals_caribbean

On Barbados there’s Crop Over 12 weeks, May through August; a celebration of the end of the sugar cane harvest. The festival features everything from parades to special markets, concerts and so much more. You really don’t have to arrive on a specific date to enjoy the festivities.

The Dominican Republic has the Festival de Merengue in August, a blowout party in Santo Domingo where the oceanfront boardwalk is set up with huge sound systems and oceanfront stages.

In Puerto Rico the Santiago de Apostól is celebrated in end of July, an explosión of West African heritage with street parties, parades and fantastic colorful masks everywhere.

The Emancipation Festival of the BVI is the place to be from July 22-August 6, 2016, a celebration of freedom from colonialism that includes music, parades, folklore, pageants and street fairs.

St. Martin has the Billfish Tournament from June 15 -18, the biggest deep-sea fishing tournament in the Caribbean. The event also features plenty of live music and other festivities.

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Party in the Caribbean

In St. Vincent you’ve got the Vincy Mas, one of the most exciting carnivals in the Caribbean. Held from June 24 – July 5, it’s a great opportunity to experience a summer carnival (many are in Spring). There’s also the Breadfruit Festival in August.

Grenada’s got the Spice Mas festival, coming to a head on the July 30 – August 9. It’s the epitome of Grenadian culture and traditions, with every kind of excitement you can imagine.

These are a few fantastic festivals to catch while you’re on a sailing vacation in the Caribbean. You can even plan your itinerary around your favorite one! Contact us for the best charter options and we’ll help you plan a trip that includes an amazing festival.

Find special Caribbean offers in:

Antigua  |  Bahamas  |  Belize  |  BVI |  Grenada  |  Guadeloupe  |  Martinique | St Lucia  Puerto Rico | St Martin | St Vincent | USVI

or use our search engine for other destinations

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LateSail Uncovered – Springtime in the Mediterranean

an interview with experienced LateSailor Stuart East

We continue the LateSail Uncovered series with another interview with one of our most experienced customers, Stuart East. With Easter just around the corner, we thought we would focus on the best Mediterranean destinations to visit in April.

Stuart has been sailing regularly with LateSail since 2009. He has fantastic knowledge of some of the most popular Mediterranean destinations (including Mallorca, Greece, Croatia and Turkey) and usually sails in either April or October. We thought that he would be the perfect person to give us some good advice!

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Sailing in Croatia

Q) Why do you sail in April?

The most simple reason for me, is it’s the Easter holidays for the children and if it falls at a good time you can get 2 weeks away, and there are also less crowds in April!

Because it is the beginning of the season it means that the yachts are spick and span, fresh out of winter maintenance. Fleets tend to have less bookings, so you get more attention from the base staff, and it’s always nice to feel more ‘looked after’.

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Sailing in Greece

The other plus side to fewer charters being booked is that the yachts are nearly always ready for embarkation earlier than the contract time. There are no problems getting into marinas or anchorage so you can choose where to sail, and not worry about having to get in early for a berth. Even though it is out of the high season, everything is still open and ready for customers. No problems getting a table at a popular restaurant. I’ve never found anything closed at this time of year in the Balearics at least!

The only down side… No swimming, unless you are Bear Grylls and like the cold water!!

Q) Where do you visit most often?

Palma, Mallorca

Q) Why Palma, Mallorca?

It is cheap and easy to get to Palma from the UK, and there are many different itinerary options available. Personally, I quite often choose to sail to Sóller and back, or if I am feeling more adventurous I will head across to Ibiza and back. Your are rarely too far away from land, every port is different and weather permitting, there are some fantastic anchorages to choose from.

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Sailing in Palma

Q) What about the weather?

The temperature sits at around 20 °C with brilliant sunshine. We are able to eat lunch outside every day, and I would say it’s comparable to June in the UK. The wind can pick up to force 4-5 sometimes, but this doesn’t last long. It’s well worth checking the weather forecast and working to that. Its very accurate.

Q) Do you have any Top tips?

Temperatures are pleasant, but worth taking trousers and a pullover for the evenings!

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Where to Sail in Italy

The country of Italy has so much to see and do that the first option that comes to mind may not be cruising along its coasts; even for seasoned sailors. Inland landmarks like the Roman Coliseum and Sistine Chapel are on many people’s bucket lists. But, Italy also has all the right ingredients for a memorable cruising experience.

So where to go? Aside from the glitzy, better known destinations there are also plenty of places where you can get off the beaten track and really enjoy the essence of Italy’s coastal culture. Sailing season in Italy generally runs from May to October, with July and August having the highest temperatures, biggest crowds and lightest winds.

The Islands of Tuscany

shutterstock_93678127Made famous by many films, recipes and books like Under the Tuscan Sun, Tuscany is also home to an archipelago made up of seven beautiful islands. They range from the larger island of Elba to the smallest which is Giannutri.

In the way of sailing these islands offer everything from crystal clear waters to beautiful beaches and friendly winds. You’ll also find opportunities to hike and visit famous landmarks. A good tip is to plan a Tuscan island sailing holiday for Spring instead of Summer; you’ll avoid the crowds while still enjoying lovely weather.

Winds rarely reach gale force and normally blow from West to North-West.

Tuscany offers

Naples and the Amalfi Coast

Set off from the exciting ports of Salerno and Naples for a cruise that includes gorgeous beaches, dramatic rocky coastlines and great nightlife if you’re so inclined. You’ll also be able to enjoy shorter legs between marinas and the chance to really soak up some of the glamour and yacht culture of this exclusive region of the country.

shutterstock_86479273It does pay to keep in mind that the mooring rates on the Amalfi coast are some of the highest in the Med. By taking advantage of one of our discounted charter offers you can help offset this cost.

Regional highlights include the Blue Lagoon on Capri, volcanic island of Ischia and the archaeological site of Pompeii. During the more popular summer months the winds tend to be lighter in the morning and stronger in the afternoon, blowing from the South-West and South-East.

Naples offers

Sicily and the Aeolian Islands

Sicily’s rich and diverse culture makes for a unique experience in and of itself; the region has been inhabited by various Asian, African and European cultures.

Sicily

The Aeolian Islands are a favourite of Italian celebrities and well to do families; those in the know understand that they are excellent for enjoying majestic natural scenery as well as vibrant cuisine and interesting landmarks. The island of Stromboli, for example, has an active volcano which can be observed spewing molten rocks and lava; a natural spectacle unlike any other.

The region’s seven small islands are perfect for a sailing adventure. They are surrounded by deep seas and feature geologically formed beaches and caves. Views of the islands are best enjoyed from the decks of your own private yacht.

Sicily’s weather and sailing conditions are typical of the Mediterranean, with dry weather and North-West winds.

Sicily offers

Sardinia

A bit more off the beaten track for many yacht charterers, Sardinia is also frequented by Italian royalty and sophisticated holidaymakers. It offers a diverse landscape in which each vista is different from the last.

SardiniaA highlight of the region is the Emerald Coast or ‘Costa Smeralda’ where winds are constant, the beaches are beautiful and villages are magical.

La Maddalena offerd pink sands, clear waters and unique coves, making them excellent for those who want to enjoy unspoilt nature at its finest.

In terms of sailing, Sardinia is not necessarily for beginners. Those with experience who enjoy more challenging sailing will truly enjoy the experience. Both the Saharan Chirocco wind and Maestrale wind from the North make for exciting conditions.

Sardinia offers

To find the perfect offer for your Italian sailing adventure, browse our bareboat offers for Italy and contact our advisors today on 01227479900.

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Spring sailing in the BVIs with the regatta and sailing festival

Spring sailing in the BVI has it all, beautiful weather, fun atmosphere, bustling restaurants and friendly winds. This is the season when the islands are in full swing after the Christmas hype, but before the deep summer lull.

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Spring Regatta, BVI

If you’re planning to be in the area, the BVI Spring Regatta is a must-see event. You can plan to participate as much or as little as you like, but we recommend taking the time to enjoy at least a part of the festivities. Even if you just hang around the periphery, it’s a chance to join in one of the most lively island experiences!

Party with the Sailing Festival

Beautiful bay, BVI

Beautiful bay, BVI

The week-long BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival takes you throughout the beautiful British Virgin Islands. The fun begins on Monday 28 March at Nanny Cay with two days of warm up racing. There are plenty of fun parties in the marina and beach BBQs lasting into the night with DJs. As you can imagine, the celebrations last well into the night.

Race in the Spring Regatta

The regatta is a highly competitive series of races in three different areas, going through the Sir Francis Drake Channel. There are many different courses using the natural points of the islands and fixed marks.

It’s often referred to as the Exotic Regatta, and is hosted in the Nanny Cay Marina. The Regatta suits different boats and they say that even newcomers can expect to be greeted by name.You can enter and compete, cruise along at your own pace or even just attend for the party!  It is an entire week of good sportsmanship and features yachts with the flags from all over the world.

Nanny Cay Map

Nanny Cay, BVI map

 

The BVI Spring Regatta kicks off three days of some of the best racing in the Caribbean. It is when the highly competitive series of races in three different areas is held, going through the Sir Francis Drake Channel. There are many different courses using the natural points of the islands and fixed marks. 

Join in the fun

Nanny Cay is a great base, offering everything necessary for a good time within easy reach.The official schedule of events is enough to make you want to join in the fun, whether to dance the night away, start racing, mingle for a few hours or just sit on your deck and sway to the music floating out over the water! Call our team to book your charter with us. It is worth not all charter companies allow their yachts to participate in regattas, so if you are looking to take part give us a call to find the right offer for you.

Insider’s guide to life aboard a cabin charter

Spending a week on a yacht full of strangers may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your dream vacation, but next time you are looking to take a solo trip or with just a companion, a cabin charter is a perfect option! Our very own Carly & Devyn from the LateSail office have shared their recent experience.

BVI 1

BVI

Cabin charter in the BVIs

We booked a cabin charter on a brand new Lagoon 620 sailing from St. Martin to the British Virgin Islands and back at the end of October . There were eight of us on board plus the skipper and hostess who were very friendly and quickly became a part of our group.

We boarded the boat in St. Martin and spend the first part of the evening settling into our cabins and exploring the yacht. We had a nice dinner on board to get to know each other before setting sail overnight to Virgin Gorda.

Cane Garden Bay A

Cane Garden Bay

Cave exploring at Norman Island

We woke up the next morning in the beautiful waters of BVI! Breakfast every morning was served casually, so everyone could wake up at their leisure and relax. We  took in the scenery while the captain cleared us all into customs, a task we were all more than happy to sit out for.

Once the paperwork was all done, we made our first stop at The Caves on Norman Island. Our skipper took us all ashore and then guided us through the caves, which were amazing! We all got plenty of photos and took some time to swim and enjoy the beach before returning to the boat for lunch. Lunch was always a sit-down meal with at least two or three courses. The hostess made beautifully presented meals that everyone on board loved, including varieties of fish, gazpachos, salads and more.

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Shopping at Tortola

We sailed on to our anchorage for the night at the Bight, where some of the group went to enjoy the famed floating bar, Willie T’s.

The next morning we stopped at Soper’s Hole on the West End of Tortola to check out the quaint, colorful shops and have a walk around before heading to Jost Van Dyke. We soaked up  the gorgeous scenery during our dinner on board and then the whole group went over to Foxy’s for a  fun evening at one of BVI’s most popular bars. We all took part in the BVI tradition of downing the painkiller (a popular local drink).

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Snorkelling the day away

The next day we made our way to what had to be one of my favorite stops, Sandy Spit. We had the choice of taking a kayak or swimming from the boat over to this tiny, idyllic island with nothing but white sand and palm trees.

That night we moored in Marina Cay, home of one of the famous Pusser’s bars where we enjoyed a cocktail while watching a gorgeous sunset. The following day we enjoyed some more great snorkeling, which never seems to get dull in BVIs! We saw sea turtles and countless colorful fish before spending the night moored in Virgin Gorda, where we got to have a drink and relax on the hammocks at the Bitter End Yacht Club.

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The pristine beaches of Anegada

Our final day in BVI was spent on the unique island of Anegada. With its pristine beaches and friendly locals, it was the perfect way to cap off an amazing week in the islands. While others spent the night on board, we opted to join in one of the infamous lobster dinners on the beach. Here you put your order in during the afternoon, and return at dinner time to a candle-lit table in the sand to enjoy the famous local lobster dishes.

Sandy Spit

Sandy Spit

The benefits of cabin charters

A cabin charter means you can book your own cabin on a luxury crewed yacht, which offers the intimate and comfortable feel of a private yacht with the social aspect of a cruise…all for a great price!
If you have always wanted to spend a vacation on a private luxury yacht, but don’t have the group or the budget, then a cabin charter is a great solution. Many people go by themselves or in a pair, and there were plenty of opportunities for both peace and quiet, or socializing. The group size can vary anywhere from six to 12 people on average, plus your skipper and hostess. While there is a set itinerary that is followed, there is plenty of free time on the boat and during the stops at different locations for you to explore and make the trip your own.

St Martin

St Martin

Having a local skipper and hostess only added to our experience, as they were able to provide expert advice and knowledge on the area. It will definitely not be our last cabin charter or last trip down to the BVIs!

To find out more about cabin charter deals, contact our expert team on 01227 479 900. 

Adventure Sailing

How adventurous would you say you are? When it comes to choosing your sailing destination are you a fair weather sailor or an adrenaline junkie? Sailing anywhere is fun, but if you fancy something a bit more challenging than the Ionian or away from the popular BVI, why not try the following:

Cape Verde

capeverde

Off the Western coast of Africa, the islands of Cape Verde boast miles of sandy beaches, a tropical climate and friendly locals. Cape Verde consists of 25 islands, 9 of which are uninhabited. Every island has a character all of its own that begs to be explored. The Western islands have high volcanic mountains and rocky coast lines. The Eastern islands are dryer and flatter; the islands of Sal, Maio and Boavista are home to breathtakingly beautiful beaches. The crystal clear waters reveal brilliantly coloured fish making it the perfect spot for scuba diving and snokelling. Ideal wind conditions as well as warm water and sun, make the islands of Cape Verde great for year-round sailing. Check out our special offers HERE

Azores

azores

The archipelago of the Azores is located in the middle of the northern hemisphere of the Atlantic Ocean and extends in an area approx. 600km wide.

The nine islands that make up the Azores are in fact the peaks of some of the world’s tallest mountains, reaching from deep beneath the Atlantic. The once-uninhabited, volcanic archipelago now hosts thousands of tourists every year who flock to the islands for sun, sand and verdant mountain scenery.

The weather is best between June and October with the hottest months being July, August and September. Check out our special offers HERE

Canaries

canaries

Located west of Africa, the Canaries enjoy a sub-tropical climate and sunshine all year round. From the bases on Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote you are perfectly positioned to explore the surrounding islands. La Gomera remains blissfully untouched by tourism. Perhaps this is due to the lack of white sandy beaches, but it does have hideaway coves and a historic port at San Sebastian, the starting point for Columbus on his first voyage in 1492. El Hierro may be the smallest of the Canaries, but it’s strikingly dramatic and the sea is so clear, it’s a paradise for snorkelers and divers. La Palma, the most exotic of the islands formed from a volcanic crater with a coastline of majestically steep cliffs and black volcanic sands. If you’re lucky you may even enjoy seeing dolphins and pilot whales playing in your bow wave! Check out our special offers HERE

Tahiti

tahiti

Sailing around French Polynesia exploring the islands of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora-Bora, Tahaa, and Raiatea you will feel like you are visiting another world. You will begin your charter on Raiatea, nicknamed “The Sacred Island,” in the heart of ancient Polynesia. From jagged volcanic peaks to stunning waterfalls and breath-taking lagoons, you will be surrounded by picture-perfect scenery. Snorkel and dive with exotic sea-life in paradise. Whether on land or sea, you will not run out of things to see and do in the South Pacific.  Check out our special offers at HERE

Scandinavia

scandinavia

Scandinavian yacht charter territory begins in Finland, on the East, and goes right through Sweden and Norway, in the West. The region boasts protected bareboat sailing areas, uncrowded anchorages and surprisingly warm and dry weather. The Scandinavian fjords are an undiscovered gem, and each country has a wealth of fantastic cruising coastline. A yacht charter in Scandinavia will leave you feeling breathless from the shear raw beauty that the landscape provides. Check out our special offers HERE

Things to Know about Bareboat Charters in Greece

If you love sailing, you’ve probably heard many sailors recommend chartering a yacht in Greece. This part of the world is famous for its crystalline waters, sumptuous Mediterranean food and reliable breezes that make for a relaxing getaway. This  wonderful place is perfect for novices and experienced sailors. Read on for our tips if you’re thinking of chartering in the region.

Greece sailing

Sailing in Greece

The charter season

The prime season for bareboat chartering in Greece runs from April to November, with the high season between the end of July to the beginning of September. During these times you’ll see high concentrations of sailors in places such as the Saronic Gulf, Corfu and Lefkas.

During high demand times, charters are more expensive than the low season. Sailing outside of the peak season is worth considering, especially in April, May or June when you’ll be rewarded with lots of blooming flowers, green islands and fun festivities related to Easter, the biggest religious holiday in the country. You’ll also be able to move around more freely, as there are fewer visitors around these times.

Categories of charter bases

Greece boasts more than 10,000 miles of coastline to explore with 2,000 islands which are categorised as the Ionian, Athens and the Saronic Gulf, The Sporades, The Cyclades and The Dodecanese.

Blue waters, Greece

Each category has its own distinct feel and merits. The Ionian offers a relaxed sailing experience with short passages between anchorages, while The Dodecanese offers an experience to challenge and hone your sailing skills.

You can fly into Athens and travel to your base, but depending where you are chartering from there are also smaller airports that you can fly to from a number of European cities such as Kos, Rhodes, Skiathos, Preveza and Corfu.

Greek bareboat charter requirements

Just like any country Greece has certain special requirements for bareboat charters:

  • There must be at least one certified skipper on the yacht. The skipper must be able to provide proof of competency such as an international certificate of competence or ASA’s “104 Bareboat Cruising Course”.
  • As well as a skipper, each group must have a second experienced crew member, and this person must be over the age of 18.Greece moorings

Great mooring costs

Unlike many other beautiful destinations, the mooring costs in many areas of Greece are extremely reasonable, if not altogether free. Our expert LateSail team can provide you with further information on suggested itineraries, where to moor – and where to avoid as well!

Provisioning in Greece

As an experienced host to charterers and yachting fans from around the world, most of Greece is well versed in providing great provisions to enhance your trip. The region boasts excellent olives, sardines and cheeses, all of which are great for putting together a superb snack while out on the water. If you want the dining experience, you’ll also find plenty of waterfront tavernas serving excellent seafood and many other types of regional specialities. Don’t forget to sample the selection of good wine abounds and stock up on Mythos and other Greek beers to keep you satiated throughout your journey.

Flotilla charters

If you’re not quite ready for a full on bareboat charter in Greece, then you can also easily join a flotilla. Greece is a popular cruising ground for these fleets of boats, and they have several distinct benefits.Beautiful Greece

Choose a flotilla and you’ll have an expert lead boat to help chart the course and help if any issues arise. The charter schedule is relaxed, allowing you to set off early or take your time before meeting up with the other boats at the next planned stop. You also have a built-in group of sailors to dine with in the evenings, although you can also choose to relax in privacy. Your flotilla can be what you make of it. If this sounds just the thing, give us a call at LateSail so we can also help you book a flotilla charter.

For more information on sailing in Greece ,feel free to visit our Greece section online or give us a call on 01227 479900.

Sporades  | Athens   |    Cyclades   |    Dodecanese   |   Ionian

LateSailor Uncovered: From the BVIs to Sardinia

Francisco

LateSailor Francisco Portillejo

an interview with experienced LateSailor Franscisco Portillejo

We know how passionate about sailing our customers are, and that you are always on the lookout for new places to explore and to make the most of your precious time on the water. We also know how hard it is to find trusted recommendations. Well, we’ve got a treat for you! We’ve been lucky enough to interview experienced LateSailor, Francisco Portillejo, who has shared his top sailing tips for you to enjoy.

Q: Why do you sail instead of visiting places by land?

After two days in a hotel, I am bored. When you are sailing you are free and the view outside is constantly changing. You can go into full explorer mode and find something new each day, whether that’s a beach, port, lunch stop or sail technique. A sailing holiday isn’t restricted to a town, restaurant or a bar. You can learn new skills while socialising.

Q: Where would you send a first-time sailor?

south of France

South of France

I would recommend the South of France, particularly the area around Nice and St Tropez and to follow the coast. It’s not too technically demanding and if there are any problems there are plenty of opportunities to stop for lunch at nearby ports.

Q: Where has been your favourite place to sail?

It’s pretty hard to choose just one place! I love the BVIs, which always offers a welcoming and good marina service and those all important trade winds. Next up would be anywhere in Greece, a country which offers wonderful variety. The only place I would consider avoiding in the country would be in the Cyclades in August, when the Meltemi winds can make the sailing quite challenging.  I can’t leave without mentioning Sardinia, especially the stretch between the North of Sardinia and Corsica. It’s just beautiful.

Q: What has proved the most challenging location?

It may be known for a place of chilled relaxation, but the Balearics gave me a hard time one

Spain

Palma de Mallorca, Spain

year. I was crossing between Mallorca and Ibiza and faced a storm with a wind coming in at 45/50 knots and waves between 3 and 4 metres. I relied on my technical ability to get me through and those fierce winds needed every ounce of knowledge I had. One of the reasons I warned about Greece in August is because I faced the Meltemi winds, encountering around 50 knots at times when sailing around the Cyclades. Both times I used a storm jib to help get me through to the next port.

Q: What do you look for from a yacht and what’s your favourite?

Oceanis 48

Beneteau Oceanis 48

I look for sailability and yachts around 50ft for ease of handling. I prefer monohulls for sailability and they are better in bad weather. There’s more space on a catamaran but it costs more to moor and a cross wind on can be challenging. My favourite yacht so far has been the Oceanis 48, which I found to be spacious and comfortable. It handled really well. A joy to sail.

Q: What’s better, owning or renting a yacht through an agent?

The charter market works well if you book through the right agency. You need to find someone you can trust so if you do encounter any problems you know they are on your side to help resolve them. You need to be sure also they will find you the best yacht at the best, most competitive price. You can explore more areas if you rent and the cost of depreciation means it’s often more cost efficient to rent.

Q: You’ve sailed with us more than 20 times, why do you keep coming back to LateSail?

sof

South of France

The first time we sailed with you was a trip in the South of France from Antibes. We return to LateSail again and again because of their expert staff who offer an efficient service and have a good understanding of sailing.

Q: What are the ingredients for a perfect charter?

You need enough space and a good group of people. When you are on holiday in a restricted space, it’s really important to consider the mix of people and the social aspect. You are going to be seeing a lot of each other. As important too are your budget and comfort. So make sure you think that through.

Q: How do you convince friends who are new to sailing and feel worried?

I listen to their reasons and address each concern. A skilled skipper can reassure newbies to help them overcome fears about sailing and enjoy it.

Q: What are your top sailing tips?

It takes practice so keep trying different places and yachts. Choose yachts you have enough skills to sail and experiment with sizes and destinations.

naples

Naples, Italy

You’ll always be learning and pretty soon you’ll find where you feel comfortable.

Q: Where’s your next sailing destination and why?

We’re heading to Italy next, around Naples and then Sicily. I’ve sailed there before but it is always fun to revisit a cruising ground with new crew.

If you’d like to experience the fantastic service experienced by Francisco then get in touch with our team on 01227 479 900 or email info@latesail.com.
Find out more about Francisco’s favourite destinations by using the links below –

South of France | BVI |Greece | Sardinia |Corsica | Balearics

How to make the most of a Caribbean bareboat charter

With our years of experience in the charter industry, we’re pleased to take care of many of the details related to your charter. But there are some things that you can do to make the most of your trip to the Caribbean and your time spent on board.

A Private Island in Belize Surrounded by Turquoise Water

A Private Island in Belize

Here are some of our best tips on how to make the most of your bareboat charter:

  • Prepare for the handover

Although your charter is already booked, you need to show you are able to handle the boat before it is released to you. This is a general safety precaution that benefits you as much as it does the charter company. Many people worry about this step but try not to become anxious, as the charter company isn’t purposefully critical and wants to help. You will sometimes be asked to demonstrate simple skills such as departing from the dock, maneuvering the boat in tight spaces, docking and mooring. The other part of the handover session simply involves becoming familiar with the boat and you’ll be introduced to all the equipment and systems of that particular model.Make sure you are at your best, so get a good night’s sleep the night before – we can help recommend a comfortable hotel for your first night.Handover

  • Research your destination in advance

Planning is half the fun, and when it comes to Caribbean bareboat charters preparation will actually make your trip much better. We recommend reading up on each island to prioritize what you’d like to see, anchorage and mooring information and where to stock supplies. You don’t have to plan where you’ll moor each night, as this can be determined on a daily basis according to the winds, weather and how everyone is feeling that day. But, knowing what there is to do on in each place will keep you from having to make last minute decisions.

  • Allow plenty of time

There are certain attractions that you will want to give yourself time for. Keep your itinerary flexible and allow yourself to spend a full day at popular attractions, such as the Baths of Virgin Gorda. Many people don’t allow enough time, thinking few hours is enough. Our top tip is that while it’s ok to see fewer things, you really need to leave enough hours  in the schedule to soak up major stop offs.Relax

While we are on the subject of time, it’s good to remember that in the Caribbean you are on island time. Things take a little longer, so food may take longer to arrive in restaurants. Try to let go of the hurry and just relax. This is the sailing life!

  • Bring the right support crew

As well as crew, you need the right support and books are the perfect tools. They don’t need charging or a signal to work. Stock up on a cruising guide for the region, while many boats already have these on board, it is fun and informative to read in advance as well.

Books on the area’s topography are great too. Look for one with plenty of photos of the islands’ coves, anchorages and bays. You’ll then be able to recognize them when you see them in person! Finally, consider purchasing a chart of the area. Again, this may be found on board but having one of your own that you are familiar with never hurts.

  • Packing the right gear

We cover some of the best packing tips here, but the general rule is to pack light. This might involve a little more preparation and thought, so don’t pack the night before you leave. Some would even say to lay out everything you are thinking of bringing and then pack half of it.Pack for your charter

Space on the boat is limited, and packing at the last minute could see you packing everything under the sun just to be sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

One thing many peoples are not quite prepared for is the strength of the sun. Focus on avoiding too much sun exposure and its unpleasant side effects of sunburn and heat exhaustion. This means bringing long sleeved cotton clothing, a hat and plenty of sun block. Painful sunburn can really limit what you are able to do during your trip.

  • Bring enough money

Your destination will determine how much cash you should bring. Some islands have better shopping opportunities, more can’t-miss restaurants and bars and things to do than others. It also depends on how much you want to spend.Travel money

Although many places take credit cards, there are often international fees for using them. Cash just makes things easier.

  • Download sailing apps

There are many, many sailing apps that can make your trip more fun if you plan to stay connected and not go off grid. Here is a good roundup of options for your iPhone and iPad and some navigation apps for both Apple and Android devices to get you started. Our staff can help recommend their favorites as well.

Our goal is to help you plan the best charter, every time. We hope these tips help you make the most of your Caribbean sailing experience!

Worried about sailing in Turkey this year? Read our interview with a local charter company

There was one hot topic of conversation  during the London Boat Show this year, and that was whether Turkey was a safe destination to sail.

SailingitTurkey

View of Bodrum marina by night, Turkey

To help you all understand the current situation, we’ve asked a local charter company, Aura Yachting, based in Yalikavak on the Bodrum peninsular to answer the most asked questions.

Is it safe to charter in Turkey this summer?

The Foreign Office says that over 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year and most visits are trouble-free. While travel is advised against in the areas bordering Syria and Iraq, the tourist and sailing areas are safe and this is a sailing ground you don’t want to miss out on.

Will I see refugees trying to cross from Turkey to Greece?

It is very unlikely, as most of the sailing areas and bases are not near where refugees cross. Refugees also tend to cross late at night from remote areas so you will probably not witness any activity.

OK, but what if we DO see refugees in the water?

The advice of the Cruising Association and others is to note the position, inform the authorities on your VHF (channel 16) but stay clear in case you cause injury. If you see people in obvious distress, you can throw them floating aids, such as fenders and cushions, wait in the area until the coast guard comes and let them take over the situation.

I heard I would have my passport taken away if I assist someone?

The coastguard and local police will not take your passport. They may take a statement from you about the incident, but they will know you are a tourist and not a smuggler or refugee. We have never heard of any passports being taken away.

But isn’t there also a problem with terrorism in Turkey?

We feel Turkey is no more at risk than any other country around the world, where terrorists move around every day. To put into perspective, Turkish nationals are also worried about taking their holidays in the UK and European countries at the moment for fear of terrorist activities. It is a global fear

I know the newspapers don’t tell the full story, but why should I choose Turkey to go sailing instead of somewhere not currently in the news?

It’s friendly, beautiful, culturally rich and good value for money. It’s modern enough to be comfortable yet traditional enough to be interesting.

The sailing areas in Turkey are among the best in the world, with unspoilt bays and clear seas with perfect afternoon winds. The exchange rate is very high right now so you will get a lot for your money. With many people thinking not to go to Turkey this year, there will be some good discounts and bargain sailing holidays.

But doesn’t Syria border Turkey? Surely that’s a good enough reason not to go to Turkey this year?                   

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria.

Turkey is a very large country. The distance between the Syrian border and Bodrum, one of the main sailing areas, is 1000 miles, or the same distance between London to Prague.

Bodrum marina at sunset

Bodrum marina at sunset, Turkey

None of us should let the terrorists win and make us prisoners in our own homes.

Search our website for offers in Turkey

marmaris offers        Bodrum offers        gocek offers

Flotilla Sailing in Croatia

Learning to sail opens a whole other world of travel. Imagine not being tied to hotel availability and being able to access those magical secret coves you’ve seen in photos or from clifftops. If you’ve obtained your sailing certificate but are nervous about setting off as the skipper of your own boat, a flotilla charter could be the perfect way to reinforce what you’ve learned while gaining independence. Croatia is an excellent place to learn and hone your craft.

Flotilla sailing

Flotilla sailing

A flotilla is a group of bareboat charter yachts that band together to follow the same itinerary under the guidance of a lead boat with an experienced crew. The lead boat can serve as a resource when things go wrong, such as anchors getting crossed, or just provide you with peace of mind as you gain confidence skippering your own boat.

Croatia is a great destination for the novice: it offers numerous sailing schools where you can obtain an international certificate and become proficient in VHF, which you usually need before sailing independently in this area. With passages and coastline that benefit from consistent winds yet are protected from rough seas, this region is an ideal learning environment. The season runs from May to October, so if you’ve always wanted to learn, now is the time to start planning.

Flotilla sailing II

Flotilla Sailing in Croatia

Flotillas in Croatia can be extremely affordable. Island hopping here is a delight, with a mix of history, culture, great food, and beauty, all connected by calm, clear waters.
Next year, you might even be ready to go solo with your own bareboat charter.

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Tell us your story – Jim’s Dufour 385 charter from Athens

LateSailor Jim Verrechia recently chartered a Dufour 385 from Athens for a week in October and has shared his tips and experiences with us. Whether you are considering sailing in Greece yourself or already booked, this blog give you everything you need to know to make your trip something special.

Written by Jim Verrechia

Day 1: Alimos (Kalamaki) Marina to Cap Sounion (22 NM)

We arrived at Exadas Yachts base at Alimos Marina just before 10am to pick up our yacht ‘Eftixia’, a Dufour 385 Grand Large. We were met punctually by The Exadas Agent, followed shortly after by the owner of the yacht ‘Nikos’. Being Sunday, a lot of local shops were closed so Nikos arranged for a local grocery shop to collect me from Alimos and take me to their shop. They returned me back with our ‘victuals’ – excellent service!

Nikos took us on board and talked us through the yacht’s features. This was the best handover I have experienced to date with a thorough demonstration of all the safety equipment, electronics, sails, ropes etc… Because we had worked on our safety brief before arriving in Alimos, we were soon ready to depart for our first stopover at Cap Sounion. Eftixia was secured by lazy line rather than anchor so getting away was straight forward. We were out of the marina and into the Med, generally making way under motor due to lack of wind. The Route…

greece_map_route

It was now 6pm, with the sun lowering in the sky as we approached Cap Sounion. There were quite a few yachts in the bay when we arrived, so we had to consider our anchorage carefully, ensuring we did not get too close to other vessels in case we swung round. We finally decided to position ourselves further out in the bay where we were more exposed to waves than yachts that had already dropped anchor. We used all of the 55 metres of chain to ensure we were securely in place for the night.

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Poseidon’s Temple, Cap Sounion

Poseidon’s Temple and the cliffs below were now bathed in yellow light as we dropped anchor in 17m of water, just in time for us to take some stunning photos of the sunset over Nisos Arkhi…

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Sunset – as seen from Eftixia, anchored at Ormos Sounion

We dropped the dinghy into the water, attached the outboard and made our way to the Tavernas overlooking the bay, where to our surprise we were greeted again by Nikos with his partner Nadia, who invited us to join them at their table.

We spent some time with them and had our first taste of Greek hospitality, a mezze and fresh sea food was ordered – we had a great meal. We had an early night as we were planning to do our longest voyage the next morning, heading across the Saronic Sea (via the remote island of Nisida Agios Georgios) to Ermioni.

day_one

Day 2: Cap Sounion to Ermioni (56 NM)

An early start! It was still civil twilight and a very flat, calm sea greeted us. I (rudely) awoke Andrew and Nick as we needed to get moving if we were to get all the way to Spetses. We raised anchor and made way under motor. Nick announced that he was still tired so we let him go back to bed while we started our first leg to the uninhabited island of Nisida Agios Georgios…

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Nisida Agios Georgios

As we approached, we decided it would be more interesting to see the south of the island, which we then passed on our starboard beam. Nick emerged just in time to see his first of many islands on the trip.

As we rounded the south of the island, the wind was now making waves rather than cat’s paws so we hoisted the sails, making the most of the wind before it quickly died, meaning the motor was again our mode of propulsion. We were (literally) in deep water and there were flying fish (and leaping fish). Te depths now exceeded 300 metres according to the chart – the instruments gave up with ‘last recorded depths’ exceeding 180 metres and this lasted well into the channel between Hydra and the mainland. It was now midday and we decided not to push on to Spetses, altering our course to aim for late lunch at Ermioni, which proved a good decision as the port quickly filled up with other vessels.

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Andrew, ready for lunch at Ermioni

We spent the night stern-to on a busy pier used by buses and passengers for the ferry services. There was considerable wash from the ferry boats so we relaxed the stern lines, pulled on the anchor a little and inched Eftixia away from the pier just in case.

Having asked about Port Police we were informed, “they did not exist any more”, so we had no harbour fees to pay, which was just as well as the limited shore power was already swallowed up by other yachts and there were some minor arguments caused by people fiddling with plugs and sockets. We instead relied on battery power for the night. There were limited services in Ermioni, the local shops opened up after 6pm but they were adequate for our needs. The harbour was busy with lots of tavernas, plenty of night life and noise up until midnight, when all seemed to die down quickly, allowing us to get a good night’s sleep. As we travelled in October, we wondered if there might be a Port Police presence in the high season.day_two

Day 3: Ermioni to Mandraki, Hydra (10 NM)

We emerged at about 8:00, downed some cereal and cleared our mooring en-route for Hydra shortly after.

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Nick helming

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Nick still helming – Ermioni and the mainland in the background

We resisted visiting the island Nisos Dokos in favour of an early chance of mooring in Hydra Town’s harbour, only to find it heaving with all kinds of vessels.

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Hydra’s busy harbour

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Hydra from the east

Just as we arrived, a large ferry also announced its arrival with a loud blast on the horn causing chaos in the harbour entrance, so we retreated into the channel and headed for our backup solution – Mandraki Bay.

We dropped anchor just after 1pm in 11m of water. The bay quickly filled up with other visiting yachts but there was enough room to accommodate everyone. We again put the dinghy into the water and rowed over to the shore, where we found a run-down hotel on the east side of the bay and, by contrast, a lovely taverna on the west side. We ate lunch here and, after a break to let our food settle, had a long swimming session in the crystal clear water.

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Eftixia – anchored in Mandraki Bay

By late afternoon we were ready for the short walk from Mandraki to Hydra Town, which we reached at about 5pm. We took lots of pictures of this iconic settlement with lots of narrow, cobbled streets to explore and a bustling harbour side, somewhat reminiscent of Padstow in both its amplified size, shape and noise.There were cats a-plenty, hovering around the tables in search of tit-bits and we ended up with kittens on our laps.

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Hydra – local resident

A water taxi took us back to Mandraki (15 euros) and again we settled down for the night.day three

Day 4: Mandraki to Palaia Epidavros (46 NM)

Once underway we made the bold decision to pass straight through the channel between N. Spathi and N. Tselevinia and then the shallow channel between Poros and the mainland.

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Leaving Hydra (Mandraki) – early morning

We wanted to ensure we had plenty of time to complete our circular tour of the Saronic Sea without putting pressure on our last day at sea.

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Approaching the shallow channel between N. Spathi and N. Tselevinia

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Approaching Poros from the South

With the channel between Poros and the mainland cleared, the wind picked up for the rest of our journey.

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Poros – viewed from the North

Methana was now on our port bow, so we raised the sails and managed a comfortable 7-8 knots as we rounded Methana and headed west toward Epidavros with Angistri to starboard. Methana let us know that it still a semi-active volcano. Every now and again you can smell ‘bad eggs’ from the methane gas that leaks through the rocks and waters off the coast.

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Methana with the Peleponese mainland in the distance

With about 3 NM to go the weather changed abruptly. We were now looking at a very large and thundery mass of cloud that was rapidly descending from the Peloponnese mountains, quickly smothering Epidavros and heading straight towards us. Two yachts behind us turned back, which somewhat alarmed us. Perhaps they knew something we didn’t? We immediately dropped our sails and shortly after the heavens opened.

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Storm rapidly descending as we approach Epidavros

I was glad that I brought our wet weather gear – we needed it for the final leg of our journey into Palaia Epidavros and preparation for dropping anchor in the bay. We had a great meal at the Poseidon Taverna, with lovely seafood, plenty of local cats for entertainment and very pleasant front of house staff. We were all on anchor watch that night. Eftixia decided to drift off at one point, so we had to re-set the anchor – this time with overkill on the scope of chain to ensure this would not happen again. Still we had a very unsettled night and all were shattered as we got up at day break and quickly got under way to Angistri.

Day 5: Palaia Epidavros to Angistri.(16 NM)

We soon got under way to Angistri – on motor (again!)

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Nick Helming – meanwhile Andrew has seen a whale, carrying a camera!

As we passed Nea Epidavros on our port side, the wind increased so we raised the sails. Fully canvassed we were pushing along at approximately 7 knots. This lasted about half an hour before the wind once again died and we had to use the motor to complete our passage. It was clear by now that we were only experiencing localised sea breezes. Summer was over and the Meltemi had now lost its strength as the temperature variations between land and sea narrowed, a sure sign the Mediterranean winter was on its way. We passed south of Nisis Kira and maintained a steady course for Milos (Megalochori), the main town in the NW corner of Angistri, arriving just in time for lunch with an easy stern-to mooring. We were joined by numerous vessels which quickly took the remaining spaces in the harbour. We had arrived just in time.

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Eftixia – Med-moored at Angistri Harbour

We had lunch at the nearest taverna in the corner of the harbour.

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Angistri Harbour

Angistri Harbour

After lunch we hired scooters from a company nearby, well signposted from the harbour and only a short uphill walk. Fortunately we all brought our driving licenses with us and for 15 euros each we got our scooters and set off around the island, managing to use up all of the island’s roads in less than an hour.

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One of many ‘shrines’ found all over Angistri

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Wild Turkeys

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Not the Severn Estuary

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Mariza

We even had time to stop at Skala for a swim and had a drink at the Copa Cabana Café where we had an enjoyable chat with the female (British) owner, who moved to Angistri 30 years ago. The bikes were returned shortly after.

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Clear waters at Skala

In the evening we walked east from the harbour to a small café with a limited menu. We were in two minds whether to stay but the food was actually very good. A young lady worked very hard on her own throughout the evening, somehow managing to serve at the bar, cook and bring food to our table – so we left a good tip.day five

Day 6: Angistri via Aegina to Alimos Marina (24 NM)

A not so responsive crew that morning, the reality that this was the final day meant we were all a bit quiet as we got underway to Aegina.

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Leaving Angistri

No wind again, so we arrived at Aegina Town having crossed north of the Metopi Shoals using the motor. Aegina was by far the busiest port, with large ferries coming and going. Fortunately the larger ferries moored onto the outside of the harbour wall. We gingerly ventured into the harbour but were spoilt for choice as there were plenty of berths available. We chose a spot on the road side harbour wall and moored stern-to without incident.

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Aegina Harbour

Aegina is a very busy town, with numerous back alleys full of clothes, souvenir and pistachio nut shops. There was a good a fish market plus fruit and vegetable stalls and tavernas.

Pistachio nuts are a main crop for the island and we each bought a few bags to be used as presents. There was a bank on the opposite side of the road at the north east corner of the harbour where we were able to get cash from the ATM.

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Aegina back street

We were people watching at a taverna opposite our mooring for a short time and we saw horse drawn carts, lots of scooters carrying a variety of (what would be in the UK illegal) ‘payloads’ and were surprised to see a flat-bed truck noisily dragging along a whacker plate, which was attached by a piece of rope!

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Fish Market

When departing we had to wait a while for a gap in the busy harbour traffic before raising the anchor, slipping our warps and easing out of the harbour.

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Eftixia

Then there was an abrupt yell from Andrew, the windlass had jammed and he could not lift the anchor any further! I quickly leapt to the bow and pulled the chain up by hand, securing the anchor by the lanyard so that it would not unexpectedly drop again, then we set off for deep water to try to fix the problem.

A link in the anchor chain had turned sideways-on and jammed itself in the capstan, the click-click of the windlass was not because the windlass fuse had tripped but because it simply could not turn. Out came the tool box and a swift bash with the hammer freed the offending link. I inspected it to ensure it was not damaged before dropping about 30 metres of chain and raising the anchor with the windlass. Job done!

The wind picked up again, we raised the sails for what we thought would be the last time – and probably for a short distance. What a surprise! The wind just kept getting stronger and stronger and then we spotted dolphins. Our first sighting was a good distance off our port quarter, then much closer, off our starboard quarter. They did not get any nearer but were a welcome sight on an otherwise cetacean-free holiday.

Some flying fish also darted away from Eftixia’s wake and the wind stayed strong for the rest of the journey back to Amilos marina. We were on a beam reach all the way and making just under 10 knots, easily passing a new, high spec yacht. The crew looked somewhat bemused as we passed by leaving them to port. They simply did not have their sails trimmed correctly!

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Under sail Eftixia passes a yacht on a beam reach – their sails were not being used effectively

When we arrived at Alimos we did the handover back to the charter company almost immediately, but stayed on Eftixia for one more night. We did not venture far from the marina that night, dining at the nearby ‘Kitchen Bar’ restaurant.

The next day we handed over the keys, spending a day in Athens after dropping off our bags at the airport.

Final day: Departure

Here’s a little about Athens and Athens Airport. Should you arrive at the airport early, there are facilities on the lower level of the airport to temporarily drop off bags. This costs approx. 30 euros for three bags and well worth it if you have a long wait ahead as it gives you the opportunity to explore Athens.

The X95 ‘bendy-bus’ takes you into the centre of Athens for 5 euros. You need to purchase tickets from the (nearby) ticket office and must get your ticket ‘stamped’ by the machine on the bus. There was an inspector on the bus enforcing this. The journey takes approx. 40 minutes and when you arrive there is a noticeable city square where you will want to be dropped off.

Nearby are the National Gardens, Zeus’s Temple, the Museum and the Acropolis. Avoid the ‘National Garden Restaurant’ (name escapes me but it is in the SW corner) with its used-car salesmen who will do their best to drag you in and leave you with a hefty bill (we learned the hard way). After this we noted plenty of bustling back streets with very inviting tavernas between the Acropolis and the city square. Many of these had much better menus for half the price of our choice.

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Zeus’s Temple

Athens is a lovely place to spend your last day and you will soon run out of time if you are not careful with your planning.

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Acropolis Now!

Back at the airport the duty free set-up is a little confusing as it appears before security for ‘B’ departure locations and is beyond security for ‘A’ locations (probably your route if you are flying abroad.) The rest is straight forward but it confused us very tired Brits!

Got a sailing story to share with us?

Send us details of your LateSail charter and if we publish it, we will give you €50 off your next sailing trip. Want to know more about sailing from Athens? Call us on 01227 479 900, or to browse LIVE availability and prices for your charter CLICK HERE.

Anchorages and safety advice for Antigua Yacht Charters

Did you know there are 365 beaches in Antigua and Barbuda? That’s one for every day of the year, so there’s plenty of choice  when it comes to enjoying the beauty and thrill of the sea.

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Beautiful bay in Antigua

 

Finding the right anchorages

We’ve given our lowdown on a few anchorages within Antigua and Barbuda below:

  • If you are looking for some social interaction, we advise trying Morris Bay. This protected anchorage is perfect for larger yachts although the  wind prevents yachts lying close to shore.
  • For a calm, quiet anchorage, head to Pearns and Reeds point at the entrance marker to Jolly Harbour Marina. Here  there’s a fantastic array of shops and restaurants for some shore browsing.
  • Be careful if you’re planning to use Parham Harbour, located on the north coast. It has a channel leading into the harbour that is easy to spot but dangerous to try and enter or leave when dark. It’s a well-protected anchorage but there is a small hurricane hole on the southeast side.
  • With the windward side offering protection from the sea, Nonsuch Bay has plenty of anchorages. Just don’t enter Nonsuch Bay from the northern channel and only use it in daylight. From here you’ll find amazing cuisine and little spots to explore. Our top tip: Fanny Cove is great for snorkelling.

    English harbour_Antigua

    English harbour,Antigua

Keeping safe and secure

Antigua and Barbuda are generally safe, but as with any other holiday, you will want to  use common sense and be careful.

Antigua’s marinas are well protected with guards and anyone working on the docks is required to have a recognisable ID. The streets are safe, but while on holiday many of us tend to let our guard down, so just remember to use the same level of care as you would when visiting any other holiday destination.

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Antigua

Visit our destination page to find out more about Antigua yacht charters and view our suggested itineraries.

Our top three sailing destinations for nightlife-loving sailors

Some people love the escapism of sailing to a deserted island and dropping anchor in a secluded bay, while others seek the most  perfect sailing conditions to push their yacht to its limits and sail from dawn to dusk.

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Nightlife-loving sailors

There are also those who love finding the best nightlife, sailing from party to party, enjoying beach bars and searching for the best cocktail recipe (or price!).

If this sounds like you, then we have some advice. Instead of trying to find the best places after you’ve booked your sailing holiday, why not find the party first and then arrange the sailing to match?
We’ve got our top parties here that need to be on your sailing itinerary:

1.Bomba Shack – Full Moon Party (BVI)

Live music, atmosphere pain killers, mushroom tea (optional) and the sea. Each month, in season, this party creates the perfect mix.n. Below is a picture of our sales manager Dave at the full moon party. It’s not the best picture but that’s because he was having so much fun he made the camera blurry!

Dave at the Full Moon Party

Full Moon

2.Shirley Heights (Antigua)

If you can hear the enticing thud of a steel band, it’s likely to be the area’s legendary Sunday BBQ party. The band starts at 4pm, playing out the sunset with sounds that will get you moving. Don’t forget to try the amazing rum punch.

Candice, Dan and Dave in Antigua

Candice, Dan and Dave in Antigua

Antigua deals

3.Hvar – Carpe Diem (Croatia)

If you can’t get a spot in the marina in Hvar, you can moor in ACI Palmizana and get the water taxi across to kick off the night. The town has got a number of bars and clubs and the party keeps on going throughout the summer.

Hvar

Also in Croatia and if you like dance music the Ultra Festival in Split is worth being in town for.

Croatia sailing

Luckily for you, our team love a party. If you want advice on how to book and take in some of these amazing events, give us a call on 01227 479 900.

Our guide to the top 20 British Virgin Islands

New to the British Virgin Islands? Relax and let us share some of the island highlights and you’ll soon know the top spots for a breathtaking yacht charter itinerary.

The BVIs

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The Baths, Virgin Gorda, BVI

There are four main islands, which make up the BVIs: Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost van Dyke. These are joined by more than 50 smaller islands and cays, giving an impressive number of places to explore.

BVI_islands

It’s easy to find solitude in the Caribbean and enjoy this destination just as it was hundreds of years ago. There are just 28,000 people living in this British territory and, most live on Tortola. Around 15 of the region’s smaller islands are uninhabited and you’ll soon find an empty beach to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, even on those islands with residents.

Our highlights

We’re sharing our top 20 yachter charter spots, moving through the flow of the islands in a clockwise direction:

  1. Guana Island: Just north of Tortola is the private Guana Island, an 850-acre expanse edged by seven white sand beaches. With a 30-guest resort, the island doesn’t offer public facilities for sailors so keep in mind if you plan to anchor in one of its bays for the night. Don’t let this put you off as it’s a wonderful spot and worth the effort.

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    Guana Island, BVI

  2. Great Camanoe: East of Guana are the islands of Great Camanoe and Little Camanoe, which are both beautiful and uninhabited. Great Camanoe has Cam Bay on its eastern shore, with a great shallow reef, calm waters for swimming and a system of lagoons which is great for bird-watching.

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    Great Camanoe and Scrub Island

  3. Scrub Island: Most of this island is uninhabited but it is home to the Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina (with 55 slips). The island has three pretty beaches and is virtually vehicle-free.
  4. Great Dog: On your way to Virgin Gorda is Great Dog and the rest of the Dog Islands, which give excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving at  Chimney, Bronco Billy, Wall-to-Wall and Joe’s Cave. There are a lack of beaches and moorings but it is fairly easy to anchor.

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    Great Dog, BVI

  5. Mosquito Island: Off the coast of Virgin Gorda, Mosquito Island is owned by Sir Richard Branson, who plans to turn it into an entirely eco-friendly resort. You can find good snorkeling to the west of Anguilla point as well as at Honeymoon beach.

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    Mosquito Island, BVI

  6. Prickly Pear Island: Prickly Pear is a national park, with a good beach bar, great snorkeling and anchorages at Vixen Point and Cactus Point.

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    Prickly Pear Island, BVI

  7. Necker Island: Also owned by Sir Richard Branson, Necker Island is a completely private resort, but you can explore it and enjoy snorkeling as far as the high water mark.

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    Necker Island, BVI

  8. Eustatia Island: This small private island has been voted one of the most beautiful islands in the world. From here you can explore the Bitter End Yacht Club as well as Saba Rock.

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    Eustatia Island, BVI

  9. Fallen Jerusalem Island: This small island is covered with boulders but does have one small and spectacular beach. Weather conditions make it very difficult to reach by boat, so it’s best left to very experienced sailors, but it is beautiful. To the south you’ll pass Round Rock on the way to Ginger Island.

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    Fallen Jerusalem Island, BVI

  10. Ginger Island: This larger small island is uninhabited, but a popular spot for snorkeling and diving. It has the incredible Alice in Wonderland reef, places to anchor and Alice’s Back Door with beautiful coral and plenty of sea life.

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    Ginger Island, BVI

  11. Cooper Island:  Home to Manchioneel Bay, Cooper Island has a small beach club resort and about five privately owned properties. Manchioneel Bay has crystal clear waters and good space for mooring- just arrive early to secure a spot.

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    Cooper Island and Salt Island, BVI

  12. Salt Island: Named because ofr its salt ponds, Salt Island is renowned for the famous Rhone Wreck, which is great for diving and snorkeling. Visibility is great and there are anchorages in Salt Island Bay and Lee Bay.
  13. Peter Island:  Home to the idyllic Dead Man’s Bay and its mile-long sandy beach, this is a private island with restricted access but you can drop anchor, visit part of the beach, drop in on the Peter Island Resort Spa and sail to nearby Dead Man’s Chest.

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    Peter Island, BVI

  14. Norman Island:  Near the boundary with the US Virgin Islands, this uninhabited island’s unique shape gives it plenty of geographical interest. It features the popular Bight, or deep inlet with the Pirate’s Bight Bar and restaurant. The caves are also excellent for snorkeling and exploring.

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    Norman Island, BVI

  15. Pelican Island and the Indians: The Indians are actually a set of spectacular rock formations towering above the water near Pelican Island. They boast excellent snorkeling and the perfect photo opportunity. Pelican Island is home to the Rainbow Canyon dive spot, which also has good shallows and great for novice snorkelers.

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    Pelican Island and the Indians, BVI

  16. Great Thatch: This uninhabited island has an interesting ruin to explore, although it’s quite a rugged hike to get to it. It also has a small beach on the south west side of the island. Little Thatch Island lies close to Frenchman’s cay, which is virtually connected to Tortola.

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    Great Thatch, BVI

  17. Great Tobago and Little Tobago: On the northwestern edge of the BVIs, the Tobagos are dark and dramatic, with foreboding cliff lines leading to the sea. They are great for birders, as they are the only place where the frigate birds nest, and the Mercurious Rock can be enjoyed by experienced divers.

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    Great Tobago and Little Tobago, BVI

  18. Little Jost van Dyke: Off the eastern edge of its larger namesake, Little Jost has good white sand beaches ripe for spending the day bathing. You can anchor here and snorkel or dive, although be warned it can have heavy swells as well.

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    Little Jost van Dyke, Green Cay and Sandy Spit, BVI

  19. Green Cay and Sandy Spit: Off the eastern side of Jost van Dyke, Green Cay has great diving and snorkeling, while Sandy Spit is a picturesque tiny Caribbean island rising out of the sea, surrounded by a white sand beach and crystal clear waters.
  20. Sandy Cay: About a mile off the coast of JVD, Sandy Cay is another idyllic tropical island, known for its heavenly snorkeling and swimming as long as the seas are calm.

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    Sandy Cay, BVI

Find out more

If you want to sail off and discover your own deserted island paradise, allow our experts to help you plan the perfect BVI sailing itinerary or contact us with specific questions about the BVIs.

Fun Sailing Schedules for Kids

Setting off to sea on a bareboat cruise involves a lot of careful planning on your part. You’ll want to delegate roles that are comfortable for each crew member, taking into consideration their age, sailing ability and of course general physical condition. It’s also great to plan a special program for kids.

Sailing with kids

Sailing with kids

Sailing with kids will create lifelong memories of adventure and excitement. But taking kids out of their normal routines can be a bit overwhelming, so why not create a fun sailing schedule for them and allow them to help out as much as possible? Check out the following ideas for inspiration.

Morning

Kids can start the day by tidying up their own berths and helping with general boat clean-up. Bring them up on deck to check the weather and seas, and help plot the day’s course. This can be a great opportunity to teach your youngsters about winds and sailing conditions.

Next comes breakfast. Kids can help set up and clean up afterwards.

Sailing with kids 2

Sailing with kids

Mid-Morning

This is a good time to take kids ashore before setting off for the day; you’ll be able to shop for any provisions you need and avoid the hottest times to be walking around on dry land. Or, have the kids take a good long swim and burn off a little energy.

Lunch Time

Kids can help make sandwiches and serve everyone, and of course help with dishes and clean-up. Littler ones can then (hopefully!) go down for a nap as the older ones help set sail.

Afternoon Sailing

All hands on deck! Time to hoist the sail and raise the anchor. Kids can then take turns with the captain learning how to steer.

Sailing with kids 1

Sailing with kids

Late Afternoon

Stowing the sail, coiling down the lines. Swimming before getting ready for dinner, making dinner and cleaning up.

Evening

Time to relax after a full day. Kids love listening to stories, curling up with a book or watching a film. Tomorrow will be another exciting adventure!

Day 12 – Events in Croatia to plan your trip around

Christmas competition: Our favourite festivals and events in Croatia

Not all of us crave the quiet life when on a yacht charter so we’ve pulled together our must-see events in Croatia. If you want to explore the Croatian islands in the Adriatic Sea, then take a look at our 12 Days of Christmas competition*. It’s the last day to enter and you’re in with a chance to win two free flights to Croatia in June to accompany your yacht charter booking. All you have to do is sign up to our competition page HERE by 5 January and you could be tucking into a meal to remember.

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Summer evening in a bar by the sea, Croatia

The twelfth day of Christmas

We’ve been sharing everything you need to know about Croatia with our fun version of The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. We’ve blogged about top restaurants , marinas in Split , itineraries , spotting wildlife , marina tips , top yachts , fab beaches , remote islands , Croatia’s food , weather systems  and Korcula . Today our true love has sent us twelve sailors singing instead of drummers drumming and we’re looking forward to the party!

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On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: twelve sailors singing

Twelve sailors singing

If, like me, you’re an extrovert then the idea of spending a week trying to find the best hiding places from the rest of the world might not fill you with excitement. The good news is that there are plenty of people booking in for festivals, gigs and regattas throughout the Dalmatian Coast. Croatia loves to party, so why not coincide your sailing with a bit of samba, or set it to a jungle rhythm. Here are some of our recommended events:

  • Ultra Festival – a 3 day event boasting the world’s top EDM DJ’s with unparalleled stage designs and top tier production.
  • Spring Regattas 5 racing days, with various challenging distances. Each lap is unique, so get ready for a fresh experience!
  • Viska Regatta
  • FOR Festival
  • Croatia Reggae Festival
  • Garden Festival
  • Mrdujska Regatta

If you’re looking to party in Croatia, then enter our competition HERE for free flights or call our knowledgeable team for advice and offers now. If we’ve missed out your favourite event in Croatia, let us know on our Facebook page .enter

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HEREoffers_live

Day 11 – New year, new cuisines. Croatian restaurants to visit on your bareboat charter

Christmas giveaway: Top gastronomic spots to sail to in Croatia

Sailing and good food go hand-in-hand so we’ve been testing out some of the best places to eat in Croatia. If you want to explore the Croatian islands, then take a look at our 12 Days of Christmas competition*. It’s the penultimate day to enter and you’re in with a chance to win two free flights to Croatia in June to accompany your yacht charter booking. All you have to do is sign up to our competition page HERE by 5 January and you could be tucking into a meal to remember.

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Served tables in beach restaurant, Croatia

The eleventh day of Christmas

We’ve been sharing everything you need to know about Croatia with our fun version of The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. We’ve blogged about marinas in Split , itineraries , spotting wildlife , marina tips , top yachts , fab beaches , remote islands , Croatia’s food , weather systems  and Korcula . Today our true love has sent us eleven captains steering instead of pipers piping, which could have proved too loud for a relaxing sail!

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On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: eleven captains steering

Eleven captains steering

Italy usually gets all the praise for its food and that’s one of the reasons I love sailing there. Recently, I’ve discovered and started enjoying Croatian cuisine. We all know the perils of finding good local restaurants and avoiding the tourist traps when aboard. Remember to ask the base staff for their recommendations before setting sail. If you forget, we’ve given you a head start below with a few suggestions of top places to get grub in Croatia:

  1. Pinetta (Stari Grad), wine bar and restaurant
  2. Pelegrini (Sibenik), not to be confused with the Manchester City manager
  3. Šišmiš, Šešula Bay (Solta), wine bar and restaurant
  4. Meneghello (Palmizana)
  5. Pojoda (Vis), always has great fresh fish on the menu

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    The process of preparing octopus under ”peka”. Croatian cuisine

If your mouth is watering and you want to head to Croatia, then enter our competition HERE for free flights or call our knowledgeable team for advice and offers now. If you feel we’ve missed out your favourite gastro delight, then let us know on our Facebook page .enter

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HERE.offers_live

Day 10 – Choosing the right Croatian marina to start your charter from

Christmas giveaway: The lowdown on marinas in Split

We’ve taken the hassle out of marina comparisons with a handy guide for the Split areas. If you want to explore the Dalmatian coast, then take a look at our 12 Days of Christmas competition*. You’re in with a chance to win two free flights to Croatia in June to accompany your yacht charter booking. All you have to do is sign up to our competition page HERE by 5 January and you could be enjoying Split.

The tenth day of Christmas

We’ve been sharing everything you need to know about Croatia with our fun version of The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. We’ve blogged about itineraries , spotting wildlife , marina tips , top yachts , fab beaches , remote islands , Croatia’s food , weather systems  and Korcula . Today our true love has sent us ten knots a blowing instead of lords a leaping, which could annoy our neighbours when at anchor!

day10_wind

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: ten knots a blowing

Ten knots a blowing

We know how important marinas are during a charter, so we visited all the marinas around the Split area and produced a guide to help you choose where to sail from. You might end up spending two nights at a marina at the beginning and end of your charter, so it’s worth considering choices carefully and taking into consideration your yacht type and season.

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Split, Croatia

You can read about 16 marinas in the Split region in our guide which includes:

  • Split
  • Kastela
  • Baska Voda
  • Krvavica (Marina Ramova)
  • Trogir
  • Seget Donji
  • Agana
  • Kremik Marina (near Primosten)
  • Sibenik (Mandalina Marina)
  • Murter (Jezera ACI)
  • Zaton
  • Pirovac
  • Biograd na Moru (Kornati Marina, north and south, and Sangulin Marina)
  • Sukosan (Marina Dalmacija)
  • Rogoznica (Marina Frappa)
  • Vodice (Vodice ACI)

If you’re heading to Croatia next year, then enter our competition HERE for free flights or call our knowledgeable team for advice and offers now. If you feel we’ve missed out your favourite marina, then let us know on our Facebook page .enter

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HEREoffers_live

Day 9 – Split Sailing Itinerary

Christmas competition: Our perfect 1 week itinerary for yacht charters in Croatia

We’ve designed a tried and tested 1 week itinerary for sailing around Croatia in this blog . If you want to explore the Dalmatian coast, then take a look at our 12 Days of Christmas competition*. You’re in with a chance to win two free flights to Croatia in June to accompany your yacht charter booking. All you have to do is sign up to our competition page HERE by 5 January and you could be relaxing and taking in the sights.

The ninth day of Christmas

We’ve been sharing our technical and cultural insights about Croatia with our fun version of The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. We’ve blogged about spotting wildlife , marina tips , top yachts , fab beaches , remote islands , Croatia’s food , weather systems  and Korcula . Today our true love has sent us nine crews a crewing instead of ladies dancing, which could have caused a little boat instability!

day9_crew

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: nine crews a crewing

Nine crews a crewing

With so many fantastic islands and bays to explore around the Dalmatian coast, there are many variations for a week’s sailing itinerary to choose from.

I have my ICC license and chartered bareboat many times before, but we hired a skipper for this Croatia charter. This is a rather lazy choice (no denying it really) but I wanted a stress-free week. It also meant we had superb recommendations for great bays and restaurants that we would have been very lucky to find by ourselves. Our skipper was the perfect tour guide, giving historical and cultural background to our chosen stops.

This was our itinerary:

  • Day 1 –  Seget Donji (Trogir) to Maslinica (Solta)
seget

Seget, Croatia

A great marina to start and end your charter, Seget Donji is a new marina with good facilities. It’s close to Trogir but you won’t have to deal with the traffic trying to get over the bridge (especially busy during high season). We opted for a short sail across to Maslinica to start the week with a fantastic sunset, followed by a walk around the town to choose where to eat and drink. It was a stress-free start and mooring was a doddle with lazylines, so no worries about the anchor holding!

  • Day 2 – Maslinica (Solta) to Hvar Town (Hvar)

    maslinica

    Maslinica, Solta island, Croatia

You have to visit Hvar Town. It’s a rule, somewhere, I’m sure! You’ve got nightlife, history, culture… and that brings some hefty prices. But we were only there one night! It can be difficult to get a spot on the town quay and there are some anchorages opposite, or, failing that, a berth in Palmizana ACI (you can get the water taxi across for a big night out). If you cannot leave your love of football at home, this is a good spot to find bars with sports on the big TV.

  • Day 3 – Hvar Town (Hvar) to Korcula Town (Korcula)

    Hvar

    Hvar city and harbor, Croatia

We headed onto the birthplace of Marco Polo, Korcula. This lovely walled town has a maze of Venetian-style alleyways leading to the centre of the town, designed to handle the Croatian winds which we wrote about on the second day of our competition HERE.

  • Day 4 – Korcula Town (Korcula) to Skrivena Luka (Hidden Bay, Lastovo)

    Old Town of Korcula, Korcula Island, Croatia

    Old Town of Korcula, Korcula Island, Croatia

This was a great sail despite the lack of wind on our fourth day. The motor was off, the lighthouse to the East of the Hidden Bay was our waypoint. The Hidden Bay is exactly that, so keep your eyes peeled. Once you’ve arrived you are protected from the elements and can choose to eat aboard or head into the restaurant by the jetty.

  • Day 5 – Skrivena Luka (Hidden Bay, Lastovo) to Vis Town (Vis)

    Lastovo

    Lastovo, Croatia

Onto Vis Town where cafes line the town quay and coffee or beer become difficult to avoid. Here you can wander the streets and find some nice restaurants. Pojoda in Kut Bay is a guaranteed winner.  

  • Day 6 – Vis Town (Vis) to Stari Grad (Hvar)

    vis

    Vis town, Croatia

When we reached Stari Grad, the new lifestyle had kicked it. We took in the history, enjoyed the cafe culture and explored local cuisine. We were sad that it was nearly time to go home and back to “real life”

  • Day 7 – Stari Grad (Hvar) to Seget Donji (Trogir)

    stari_grad

    Stari Grad, Croatia

We went back to Seget Donji for a final night on the yacht. We headed west out of the marina by foot and walked along the beach to find a restaurant. We had a quiet night in a fantastic fish restaurant and went over our favourite stories from the week.

  • Day 8 – Disembark and explore Trogir for the day

    trogir

    Trogir, Croatia

Depending on your flight time, you’ll hopefully have the opportunity to explore Trogir itself. If not, it’s worth a visit on the first or last night of your charter. It has everything you want and you could spend a whole week relaxing in this mini Venice.

If you want to experience this itinerary, then enter our competition HERE for free flights or call our knowledgeable team for advice and offers now. If you feel we’ve missed out your favourite stop off, then let us know on our Facebook page .enter

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HEREoffers_live

Day 8 – Marine life in Croatia – what you can expect to see

Christmas giveaway: Our guide to spotting dolphins in Croatia

We’ve got the binoculars out and want to share our secret wildlife spotting locations in Croatia with you. If you’ve got sailing in Croatia on your wish list next year, then take a look at our 12 Days of Christmas competition*. You’re in with a chance to win two free flights to Croatia in June to accompany your yacht charter booking. All you have to do is sign up to our competition page HERE by 5 January and you be taking some amazing wildlife photos before you know it.

The eighth day of Christmas

We’ve been sharing our technical and cultural insights about Croatia with our fun version of The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. We’ve blogged about the marina tips , top yachts , fab beaches , remote islands , Croatia’s food , weather systems  and Korcula . Today our true love has left us eight dolphins swimming instead of maids a milking, which avoids us having to look for cows while at sea!

day8_dolphins

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: eight dolphins swimming

Eight dolphins swimming

Croatia has hundreds of beautiful islands but what marine life can you see? The area is known for dolphins so here are three spots locals visit to try and catch a glimpse of these wonderful mammals:

  1. Between Trogir and Drevnikdolphins_1
  2. Mljetdolphin-602460_1920
  3. Vis (Komiza especially because of the fishing)dolphin2If you want to sail and spot marine life, enter our competition HERE for free flights or call our knowledgeable team for advice and offers now. If you feel we’ve missed out your favourite wildlife hideout, then let us know on our Facebook page .

enter

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HERE

offers_live

Day 7 – Learn from the locals. Sometimes it’s the small things

Christmas giveaway: Seven buoys a bobbing

We’re bobbing along in the holiday season and sharing our marina tips for Croatia. If you’re planning to sail in Croatia next year, then take a look at our 12 Days of Christmas competition*. You’re in with a chance to win two free flights to Croatia in June to accompany your yacht charter booking. All you have to do is sign up to our competition page by 5 January and you could be relaxing in the Adriatic.

The seventh day of Christmas

day7_buoy

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: seven buoys a bobbing

We’ve been sharing our technical and cultural insights about Croatia with our fun version of The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. We’ve blogged about the top yachts , fab beaches , remote islands , Croatia’s food , weather systems  and Korcula . Today our true love has left us seven buoys a bobbing instead of seven swans a swimming, which means we have some serious ballast on board!

Seven buoys a bobbing

While it’s great to be at one with the sea, wind and skies, bobbing along and relaxing, it’s worth planning going ashore so you don’t run out of supplies! But how can you do this cost-effectively? We’ve got some tips to help:

  • Take the right currency – Euros are widely accepted, but you will get the best rates if paying in Kuna. It is worth checking your bank’s rate compared to what you can get from a bureau de exchange. Last time the LateSail team went, the best rate was found taking cash out on arrival.
  • Recharge often – This is general advice but Croatia offers so many opportunities! Even if you prefer escaping the crowds and exploring the many islands’ anchorages, it is worth going into a marina every three days for a proper recharge of batteries, water and a decent shower. You pay for berthing in marinas in Croatia, but the facilities are a good standard so at least you feel you are getting something for your money.

    day7_moorings

    Marina in Biograd, Croatia

  • Plan ahead – Pre booking marina berths is not always essential, but it’s possible if you want to guarantee your place in the busier marinas or at peak season.
  • Book online – The ACI marinas are only possible to book online, and you will need to pay in advance.Euro_Croatia
  • Reward – If you find yourself without a reservation and seemingly nowhere to moor, try the age old system of offering a tip and watch a space magically appear!

If you want to sail Croatia’s many islands, enter our competition for free flights  or call our knowledgeable team for advice and offers now. If you’ve got a great tip, then let us know on our Facebook page .

 

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HERE.

offers_live

Day 6 – New Models for 2016

Christmas giveaway: Six of the newest yachts to charter in 2016

We’re sailing the festive spirit and checking out some of the newest yachts coming on stream next year. If you’re planning to explore them in 2016, then take a look at our 12 Days of Christmas competition*. You’re in with a chance to win two free flights to Croatia in June to accompany your yacht charter booking. All you have to do is sign up to our competition page by 5 January and you could be enjoying the beauty of Croatia.

The sixth day of Christmas

We’ve been sharing our technical and cultural insights about Croatia with our fun version of The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. We’ve blogged about the best beaches , remote islands , Croatia’s food , weather systems  and Korcula . Today our true love has left us six yachts a mooring instead of six geese a laying, which would have been a tad useless for a yacht charter!

day6_mooring

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: six yachts a mooring

Six yachts a-mooring

Looking to plan your next sail away? Check out these new yachts for 2016:

  • Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40 – Contemporary, generous living spaces and wonderfully light

Lucia

  • Jeanneau 54 – Some of the new Jeanneau models for 2016 are closer to a rebranding exercise, but the Jeanneau 54 is definitely the exception. It’s not just the Jeanneau 53 by another name.

jeanneau-54

  • Dufour 460 Grand Large – The latest model of the range, a collaboration between Italian architect Umberto FELCI and Dufour which succeeds in being a very comfortable charter yacht as well as performance. It also features a BBQ under the transom seat.

dufour460

  • Nautitech 46 Open – Manufactured in Rochefort, the Nautitech 46 Open offers a great comfortable open spacious living space.

NautitechOpen

  • Leopard 40  – Not to be confused with the older Leopard 40 of the same name. Although it shares its name with its predecessor, it has been reborn as part of the new generation of open plan catamarans.leopard40NEW
  • Beneteau Oceanis 41.1 – The Oceanis 41 is still a very popular yacht for bareboat charter, but they have made a number of changes to make it even better! The wider hull and bigger cockpit giving you the feel of a bigger yacht, as well as a number of smaller touches such as courtesy flights in the cockpit.Oceanis41

If you want to sail some of the best yachts in Croatia, enter our competition for free flights or call our knowledgeable team for advice and offers now. If you feel we’ve missed out your favourite yacht, then let us know on our Facebook page .

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HERE

offers_live

Day 5 – Top 5 Croatian beaches from our experts

Croatia competition: Five of the best golden Croatian beaches

Our Christmas has been all about Croatia on the blog as we share all our insider knowledge so you can plan the best yacht charter. Today is all about beaches and if you want to discover them for yourself then enter our 12 Days of Christmas competition*. You’re in with a chance to win two free flights to Croatia in May or June to accompany your yacht charter booking. All you have to do is sign up to our competition page  by 5 January and you could be sailing around the Adriatic Sea’s wonders.

The fifth day of Christmas

day5_beachCroatia

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: five golden beaches

We’ve been sharing our technical and cultural insights about Croatia with our fun version of The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. We’ve blogged about rarely visited islands , Croatian food , weather conditions  and Korcula . Today our true love has left us five golden beaches instead of five gold rings.

Five golden beaches

Croatia’s coastline is stunning with azure blue seas and rich vegetation. It’s known for it’s rocky  beaches which provide fabulous diving platforms, yet there are sandy beaches if you know where to look. We’ve got five of the best Croatian beaches and we’re letting the pictures do the talking:

  1. Zlatni Rat

    Zlatni rat

    Zlatni Rat beach – Bol, Croatia

  2. Krknjasi (Drvenik Veliki)

    dvenik_town

    Drvenik town, Croatia

  3. Vinogradisce Bay, Pakleni Island

    pakleni_bech

    Pakleni crystal clear waters, Croatia

  4. Rukavac and Stončica, Vis

    stoncica

    The Stoncica bay of the island Vis, Croatia

  5. Punta Rata, Brela

    punta_rata

    Punta Rata beach in Brela , Croatia

If you want to feel the sand between your toes in Croatia, enter our competition HERE  or call our knowledgeable team for advice and offers now. If you feel we’ve missed out your favourite beach, then let us know on our Facebook page .

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HEREoffers_live

Day 4 – Four lesser known Croatian islands…

Flights giveaway: Croatia’s rarely visited islands that are worth sailing to

We love Croatia so we’re giving you a glimpse of some hidden gems to help you explore and sail the less beaten trail. If you want to discover them for yourself, we recommend entering our 12 Days of Christmas competition*. You’re in with a chance to win two free flights to Croatia in June, giving you the best start to a yacht charter. All you have to do is sign up to our competition page HERE by 5 January and you could be visiting some of our suggestions.

The fourth day of Christmas

We’ve been sharing our technical and cultural insights about Croatia with our fun version of The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. We’ve blogged about Croatian food , weather conditions  and Korcula . Today our true love has left us four treasure chests, rather than four calling birds.

day4_treasure

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: four treasure chests

Four treasure chests

We’ve picked out four lesser known Croatian islands that are rarely visited. Think of it is as a treasure map to take with you to Croatia.

Four lesser known Croatian islands

  1. Lastovo – One of the most southerly Dalmatian islands is Lastovo. It’s one of the most remote inhabited islands and is nice and quiet as most people choose not to sail that far south. A great anchorage can be found at Skrivena Luka, a hidden bay which cannot be seen from the sea. It’s closely marked by one of the oldest lighthouses in the Adriatic and if you fancy a night ashore, you can stay in the lighthouse for a night!

    Lastovo, Croatia

    Lastovo, Croatia

  2. Biševo – The island famous for its blue caves. Most itineraries will suggest staying in adjacent Komiza and then setting off early to pay a visit to the caves to experience the sunlight bursting through the sea which creates wonderfully glowing blue caves. If you do this, you will miss the wonder of Biševo itself. So after taking in the blue caves, continue round the island to enjoy the lesser known anchorage and fantastic beach.
  3. Drevnik Mali – This is a rarely visited island, although only 10 nautical miles from Trogir, and Vela Rina Bay is a great lunch spot. Check out the beaches and clear seas for a calm change of pace during your trip.
  4. Mala Lavsa  – Heading North towards the Kornati National Park you will find Mala Lavsa. This getaway will really help you avoid the crowds and discover some hidden gems and stunning bays. A great anchorage as long as there isn’t a NE wind.
croatia_islands

Murter islands, Croatia

If you are seeking tranquil islands and want to experience Croatia yourself, enter our competition HERE or call our knowledgeable team for advice and offers now. If you feel we’ve missed out your favourite island, then let us know on our Facebook page .

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HERE
offers_live

Day 3 – Take a break from turkey leftovers and enter our Christmas competition

Free flights competitions: Guide to traditional Croatian cuisine for sailors

We’re full of festive food but we can’t say no to tasty goodies, especially Croatian cuisine. If you want to try their national specialities, why not enter our Christmas competition* for the chance to win two free flights to Croatia in June. All you have to do is sign up to our competition page HERE by 5 January. It really is as easy as that.

day3_fish

Croatians eat lots of grilled sardines, and mackerels, fried sand smelt, marinated or salted anchovies and sardines, tuna steaks (especially sliced steak), and sardines in saor.

The third day of Christmas

We’ve been sharing our technical and cultural insights about Croatia with our fun version of The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. We’ve blogged about two sails a-flapping and the winds particular to this part of the Adriatic  and Korcula’s beauty. Today our true love has left us three tots of rum, which has gone down better than three French hens, we can tell you!

Three tots of rum

day3_rum

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me: three tots of rum

When it comes to sailing we know you all love your food and drink. It’s great to try out some fantastic traditional cuisine after a day out on the water, but where to start? We’ve got some top feast finds for you so you can try something new and leave your shyness anchored offshore:

  1. Pre-dinner drinks – Try the sage-infused liquor called Liker Kadulja (or the Travarica), a fantastic, deep local brandy. It is also worth asking for a recommendation, as you’ll find a selection of interesting home-grown variations that the restaurateur is keen to try out on the more adventurous guests.
  2. Starter – Crni Rižoto or black cuttlefish risotto. Trust us when we say this is absolutely amazing.
  3. Main – A very traditional Croatian dish is a Peka, slow cooked meat and vegetables in a pot covered with hot embers from the fire. It’s essential to call ahead to order your dish. Squid is also fantastic in Croatia cooked this way. I’ve never had squid that just melts in your mouth like it and packed with so much flavour. It’s a must for your trip.

    day_3_vis Peka

    A very traditional Croatian dish – Peka

  4. Wine – Where to start? Seeing as you’re in Croatia, you must drink Croatian wine. Forget the snobbery, the domestic wine is always good and the most affordable on the list. We drank a few bottles of Plavac Mediterano, which was well worth the extra. Your Croatian may be a little ropey, but my advice is to learn “Is there a local speciality?”, which is “Poslužujete li lokalni specijalitet?” (phonetic pronunciation: pohs-LOO-zhoo-yeh-teh lee LOH-kahl-nee speh-tsyah-lee-TEHT).
  5. Dessert – Try Makovnjaca which is a traditional cake made with poppy seeds.

If your mouth is now watering, explore Croatia yourself and enter our competition HERE or call our knowledgeable team for advice and offers now. If you feel we’ve missed out your favourite dish, then let us know on our Facebook page .

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HEREoffers_live

Day 2 – Get the wind in your sails and fly to Croatia for free with our festive competition

Christmas giveaway: Croatia’s weather systems for sailing

We’re fully in the celebration mood and have the wind in our sails with the second day of our Christmas competition* where you could be in with a chance to win two free flights to Croatia in June – the perfect start to a yacht charter. All you have to do is sign up to our competition page by 5 January.

day2_Omis

Omis, Croatia

The second day of Christmas

We’ve been sharing our expert knowledge of the Adriatic gem, Croatia, with our own fun version of The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. Yesterday we blogged about the seagull in the crow’s nest and the best view of Croatian island, Korcula. Our true love knows we are devoted to sailing and left us two sails a-flapping in the wind rather than two turtle doves. What more do us sailors want more than some good old breeze to get us going?

day2_sails

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me: two sails a-flapping

Two sails a-flapping

One of the first questions we’re asked by customers booking a new destination is what can they expect from the weather and, in particular, the wind? This is usually followed by questions about the cost of flights, moorings and eating out.

During the Spring to Autumn sailing season in Croatia, sailors hope for the  Mistral wind during their charters. It’s a typical feature of Adriatic sailing during the season and reaches its strongest during July and August. The Mistral is a daily, local prevailing wind, usually around 9-10 knots in the morning and peaks  mid-afternoon.

Croatia’s wind power

The Adriatic has characteristic winds and here’s our quick guide:

  • Bora (Bura in Croatian) –  It’s a cold and dry wind, which blows from the northeast and lasts a few days It blows across the land to the sea, so it’s strength depends where you are in relation to the mountains. Indicators include clouds on top of the mountains and short waves with broken tops and white sea foam. If you see these, get ready for some choppier sailing or head on to your next marina or anchorage.  
  • Sirocco or Jugo – This moderate wind blows from the sea to the coast in a southwestern direction mostly in the northern Adriatic during Spring and Autumn. It is usually accompanied with rain, humid conditions and long, silent waves. Sailors enjoy this system for energetic sailing that achieves fantastic speed.
  • Ponente  – This is a dangerous westerly wind on the north Adriatic coast that needs to be respected by sailors. It can catch less experienced sailors out as conditions are often calm before a pattern of calm, clouds, gusts and calm give way to very strong wind and long waves which can make for very challenging sailing.
Day2_Lumbarda

Lumbarda, Croatia

The wind is our master and guide, so keep watching the sea and sky to keep a step ahead and make the most of sailing Croatia’s beautiful islands. Discover Croatia for yourself and sign up to our competition HERE or call our expert team for advice and offers now.

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HERE.

offers_live

Day 1 – Win flights to Croatia as part of our 12 Days of Christmas giveaway

Croatian competition: The view from Korcula

As we sail through Christmas, many of you will have unwrapped everything under the tree, but we have one more exciting gift that could be yours.

day1_Korcula

Korcula, Croatia

We love a carol in the office and today we’ve launched anew competition* based on The Twelve Days of Christmas carol but with a sailing theme. The prize? Two free flights to one of our favourite destinations, Croatia, in June – the perfect start to a yacht charter. To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is sign up to our competition page  by 5 January. What a handy bounty for anyone wanting to make the most of this beautiful part of the world.

The first day of Christmas

For each of the 12 days, we’re going to share some insider information about Croatia as we countdown our competition. Our true love has given us a seagull in a crow’s nest rather than a partridge in a pear tree, so we have climbed the rigging so we can tell you about some of the breathtaking views Croatia offers.

day1_seagul

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me: a seagull in a Crow’s nest

A seagull in a crow’s nest

One hidden gem is the Croatian island of Korcula, the miniature Dubrovnik off the Pelješac peninsula. At the top of the bell tower in the island’s Cathedral Sveti Marko, you can grab a great view of the town and its surroundings. From there you can see the coast, with beautiful coves, and watch the yachts approach from the distance. Did you know that Korcula is also the birthplace of Marco Polo? He is the town’s most famous son and it is impossible to escape his mark on the town when you visit!

A quick tour of Croatia

day1_Dubrovnik_p

Dubrovnik, Croatia

If you’ve not travelled to Croatia before, here’s our handy pocket introduction. Croatia’s Adriatic coastline is rightly famous for its sailing and shore-based sites of beauty, from the national parks of the Kornati Islands and the cosmopolitan city of Split to the Medieval walled city of Dubrovnik.

Fortified castles and Byzantine palaces reflect Croatia’s great trading history and the towns come alive at night with harbourside restaurants and street cafes emphasising Croatia’s strong cosmopolitan nature and a sophisticated cafe society. Along the coastline of Croatia there are thousands of offshore islands, safe anchorages and harbours offering plenty of variety for novice and experienced sailors alike.

What more could you want? To find out more and discover Croatia for yourself, sign up to our competition HERE. To discuss the sailing ground and our current deals, call our experienced team of expert sailors now, or you can browse the live offers available using our search page.

 

*The prize includes two flights from London to Split. Full terms and conditions are available HERE

offers_live

Sailing in Thailand – from Phuket

Fancy an eight-day sail around the hongs, caves and islands in Thailand but don’t know where to start planning? We’ve got the lowdown for you with tips and advice, our suggested itinerary, yacht details and how to enjoy the view without the tourist hoards getting in the way!

DAY 1 – Phuket and provisions

We collected our yacht, a Catana 43 Catamaran, from Yacht Haven Marina, Phuket.

One of the first things you need to think about is provisions. If you are just passing through, there’s  a small café and a couple of restaurants within 10 minutes walk. You’ll need to stock up, so our top tip is to consider completing a provisioning order prior to your charter, or allow enough time to shop at to the nearest supermarket, which is just t 15-20 minutes away by taxi.

Catana 43 Catamaran

Catana 43 Catamaran

Planning your supplies is vital as, depending on your itinerary, there might not be anywhere to re-provisioning for a few days. As a guide, we didn’t see another shop for three days but, fortunately, we had enough beer and local rum to survive!

For the first night we stayed in the marina as some of our crew were arriving late, but we could have easily sailed out to an anchorage if we’d left by about 4pm at the latest.


DAY 2 – Phuket to Ko Phanak and Koh Hong

DAY 2 – Phuket to Ko Phanak and Koh Hong

DAY 2 – Phuket to Ko Phanak and Koh Hong

We left the marina around midday to head to to Ko Phanak . At this time of day, there is usually very little wind , which is a feature of the afternoons in Thailand. Keep in mind that during the nights and mornings, the winds are good, but if you sail around lunchtime, you’ll need to turn the engine on.

We arrived at Ko Phanak and had lunch at anchor before heading by dinghy to a popular nearby attraction –  a series of fascinating, 50-metre tunnels and sea caves, or “Hongs”. If you want to explore the tunnels, our top tip is to take  a torch. Also, those with a bat phobia,might want to sit this one out!  The area is a popular spot, so there are day trippers being ferried in and out on kayaks. If you fancy a paddle, this is great place to hire a kayak.. We were  warned against feeding monkeys on the island, but we didn’t manage to spot any, let alone feed them.
DAY 2 – Phuket to Ko Phanak and Koh Hong 2

In the evening we headed from Ko Phanak to Koh Hong to anchor overnight. As soon as we dropped anchor for the night, we promptly got the BBQ  started for dinner. The entrance to  Koh Hong has the appearance of a sea  cave until you get to the other side where you’ll discover a high cliff on all sides and open to the sea. As s you go further, Koh Hong opens up to a beautiful, secluded lagoon. This is a great spot for a selfie!! We were one of just two charter yachts at anchor, so it feels like a special and quiet place.


Day 3 – James Bond Island to Koh Roi

Day 3 – James Bond Island to Koh Roi

Day 3 – James Bond Island to Koh Roi

First stop was James Bond Island, which we knew was quite a tourist trap, but we wanted to tick it off our list, so a fly-by was in order. While the limestone tower karsts, made famous by the James Bond films, are a marvel, part of the spectacle is the sheer number of day trippers crammed in the area! We had paid 400 bhat per person in Koh Hong for the national park fee, which also covered us visiting  the island. Our onboard water tanks were still pretty full for this leg but we were unable to use the watermaker until we got further South in the Andaman region with deeper waters. The skipper advised that it would destroy the filter in about 20 minutes and still only come through as sludge.

After the island we headed to Koh Roi for lunch Here you can see another Hong and a mangrove-style river meandering into the island through low hanging trees with a backdrop of stunning hills and cliffs teeming with wildlife. Just around the corner, we found a little sandy beach which was perfect to explore and enjoy a swim from.

Day 3 – James Bond Island to Koh Roi 2

After our bathe we pushed on to Ko Phak Bia for the evening. At anchor we had company for the evening by the way of a Super Yacht called Flying Fox, a thing of wonder and complete with a shadow yacht carrying a helicopter and submarine. The beach spit is stunning with islands to both sides. Our top tip is it’s important to arrive at the right time as you  will be  stranded at low tide if you came ashore by dinghy. We swam ashore but after we’d run out of beers (and sunset), we had to navigate 20 meters of rocks before swimming back to the yacht. Also,  definitely invest in a waterproof bag as there are many spots like this to enjoy, as well as going ashore the more built-up islands.


Day 4 – Ko Phak Bia to Rai Le Beach, Krabi

Day 4 - Ko Phak Bia to Rai Le Beach, Krabi

Day 4 – Ko Phak Bia to Rai Le Beach, Krabi

We were planning to stop at Ko Dam Hok, but the wind picked up and we promptly got the sails up and changed our plan to go straight to Krabi. Rai Le Beach is a great anchorage and beach just outside of Krabi. We took one of the many longtails, traditional Thai boats, into Krabi centre to have a look around (about 30 minutes each way). Our tip is to barter the fee to around 1250 baht each way, as we found guides were not all up to date on prices to expect.

Krabi has lots of markets, tourist shops and a bustling town, great for re-provisioning but it didn’t take long for us to pine for our calm anchorage to get away from the  traffic and noise! The beach is great in the day, but for eating out in the evening it is worth avoiding the tourist-laden beach front restaurants. Instead, take a back path to the east and you will find a long street of bars, street food, music and thai massage offers.
Day 4 - Ko Phak Bia to Rai Le Beach, Krabi 2

We asked the longtail to take us back to the boat rather than the beach, which was maybe a brave ask as the young driver struggled not to crash into our yacht. The skipper managed to get some fenders out quickly to avoid any damage, but we did drop about 20 beer cans into the sea which we promptly all dived in to rescue…let’s focus on the important things first!

If you fancy stopping here for a couple of days you will have plenty to do – the Railay area is popular for rock climbing. There are many shops if you go north to the next bay rather than going into Krabi main town. There is also a temple inland (about a 20-min taxi ride) with 1300 steps up to the entrance. It’s a cultural must-see.


Day 5 – Krabi to Phi Phi Don

Day 5 - Krabi to Phi Phi Don

Day 5 – Krabi to Phi Phi Don

After a three-hour sail south we had to run the engine for the watermaker, even we were in clearer waters as we were running low. We headed to a bay north west of Phi Phi, called Lanah Bay, for lunch and snorkelling. This is a great place for exploring coral and watching fish, encouraged by excited day trippers throwing bread into the water. We found better snorkelling spots later in the trip with fewer day trippers so this stop off can be skipped.

We sailed onto Loh Dalum Beach in Yongkasem Bay, which sits to the north of the main party town of Phi Phi. We anchored well off the beach and took the dinghy ashore. It is a buzzing town with lots of bars, restaurants and massage parlours. There’s plenty to see in the day and the sunset (or sunrise) is breathtaking. But the town really comes to life at night with eight or nine beach bars with competing dance music, free shots for skipping rope challenges and limboing under a fiery bar… even more free drinks if you do it topless! You get the picture, but it’s also a very friendly atmosphere.


Day 6 – Phi Phi Don to Phi Phi Le

Day 6 - Phi Phi Don to Phi Phi Le

Day 6 – Phi Phi Don to Phi Phi Le

We had a lazy day in Phi Phi Don, a great lunch at Papaya, browsed the numerous streets and did the tourist trail. You could definitely spend a couple of days here if your schedule allowed. We then set sail for Phi Phi Le, and specifically Maya Bay, made famous by the film The Beach.

There’s a couple of good stops for snorkelling on the east side of the island (relatively tourist-free later on in the day) at Viking Cave and Hong Pileh. Arriving in Maya Bay, we found lots of day trippers crowding the beach, but we dropped anchor and only had to wait about an hour before they all left. We then had the amazing sunset,  beach, bay and sunrise to ourselves. It was a perfect spot and there was only one other charter yacht there. Be aware that a warden patrols the beach until about 6pm, so we waited to go ashore for free exploring time. There is a reason it is so popular and was used in the film, it is a stunning spot and a must-see on your itinerary.
Day 6 - Phi Phi Don to Phi Phi Le 2


Day 7 – Phi Phi Le to Koh Yao Yai

For our last night on the yacht, we anchored off Yao Yai resort and beach on the west of the island. There is an exclusive resort one end of the beach and the rest of the beach has a couple of authentic restaurants, as well as the opportunity for a massage on the beach,which we duly took advantage of as the sun dipped on the horizon.

Day 7 - Phi Phi Le to Koh Yao Yai

Day 7 – Phi Phi Le to Koh Yao Yai


Day 8 – Koh Yao Yai to Yacht Haven Marina

It is always sad when you have to leave your yacht and start thinking about heading home! Our final sail was straightforward and we refueled and docked. The base staff were very helpful and we were soon in a taxi heading for the hotel for one last night in Thailand. If you can spare a few extra days to stay on land or do some diving excursions, it is well worth it. Hotels are very well priced, whether you are looking for a cheap stay or a 5* luxury. We only had one night, so we opted for the latter!


Yacht review: Catana 43

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Pros: Dagger boards are great to have, 4 cabins and 4 heads to suit a group wanting this layout. Watermaker  is invaluable when away from marinas. The Catana 43 is designed with sailing performance as a priority, and this can mean some compromises made elsewhere.

Cons: Helm positions are exposed to the  elements, heads are quite small, and steps from cockpit to saloon could be a trip  hazard. In short, no deal breakers for chartering, but maybe a factor if you were looking to buy one.

Day trippers:

As a general rule local guides run tourist activities ferrying out to islands, hongs, famous beaches, caves and other attractions until about 5pm and then head back before dark. So if your perfect spot is overtaken with day trippers, just wait a little while as they will leave and you can enjoy yourself.


If we’ve got you exciting about Thailand, talk to our experienced team on 01227 479 900 or click HERE to find charters and the very best deals.

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Boat Rentals for Summer 2016

It may seem as though warm days are still far away but before we know it summer will be here! There is nothing quite like spending time on a boat- the gentle rocking of the waves, breeze on your skin and waking up to the sun rise each morning makes for summer memories that stay with you forever.

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Sailing is a family activity and a holiday all in one; you just need to find the right boat rental for your group. Summer is actually considered low season in many beautiful Caribbean sailing destinations, and LateSail offers some of the best discounts at that time of year.

Visit the BVI to enjoy the quiet season. Things may be a bit sleepy, with fewer open restaurants, but many say it is the best time of year to go. You will avoid the crowds and have the chance to enjoy the islands with fewer tourists around.Sailing_2016_2

Rent a boat in St. Vincent and you can sail to celebrity hideaways such as the island of Mustique. The big island of St. Vincent itself has things to explore before you set off on your way, like the Soufriere Volcano and the botanical gardens on the northern edge of Kingstown.

The half French and half Dutch island of St. Martin also has beautiful laid back sailing in summer, offering a good mix of culture to enjoy as well. Here you can choose your own adventure. Opt for short passages between pretty beaches and snorkeling spots, or longer more challenging days of sailing.Sailing_2016_1

Now is a wonderful time to do your research to find the perfect boat rental. Browse our site for the best offers- you can enter your dates to get a feel for pricing and contact our experts to help firm up your plans.

Off the Beaten Track: Sailing the Out Islands of the Bahamas

The Out Islands of the Bahamas are also known as the Family Islands; in part because they are grouped like a family around the island of Nassau, but also because these islands’ remote location makes their inhabitants more likely to view each other as family.bahamas_4

When it comes to sailing off the beaten track and discovering the ‘real Bahamas’ the Out Islands are what it’s really all about. They’ll take you far from the crowds, the resorts with every imaginable amenity and away from the high rise hotels. This is a different kind of island vibe, where you can create a unique Caribbean vacation and explore at your own pace.

This relaxed chain of islands is composed of over 700 islands and these are in turn grouped into their own particular chains or archipelago. Even their name implies a particular departure from the well-known islands of the Bahamas; which are in and of themselves practically synonymous with the Caribbean.

The Out Islands lay near the Florida coast, wrapping around the third largest reef system in the world as well as a deep abyss called Tongue of the Ocean. The range of exotic marine life here makes it an absolute must for divers and snorkelers; the abyss reaches 6,000 feet at its deepest point.bahamas_3

For non-sailors navigating the more remote parts of the Out Islands requires passage on a public ferry, fishing vessel or even a mail boat. But this is where your bareboat charter and sailing experience really come in handy! Captaining your own ship allows you to sail to many places that are impossible for the average traveler to see.

The Out Islands are in fact a premier boating destination, with thousands of square miles of gorgeous blue waters and plenty of smaller islands to discover. What’s more, full service marinas are widely available on many of the islands, where boaters can find fuel, dockage, professional help (if necessary) and good provisions. Locals are friendly and willing to point out each island’s must-see sights. Boating is a way of life here, with small vessels taking the place of a family car. Many island inhabitants use boats to get to work, or load the entire family in for weekend outings.bahamas_2

The Abacos and Bimini are popular with power boaters, while sailboats’ longer cruising distances often allows them to go much farther south. You can download thorough Bahamas Out Island marina information here.

With a charter from LateSail you can set off from Marsh Harbor on Great Abaco Island. Head off to Elbow Cay, Man ‘o’ War Cay, Green Turtle Cay and Great Guana Cay. Or, choose a southern route with longer passages, taking you to Harbour Island, Eleuthera and Cat Island. Beyond lay the islands of San Salvador and Long Island, with beautiful snorkeling and diving as well.

The people of the Out Islands make sailing in the Bahamas a joy; the families that inhabit the chains of low-lying cays are a blend of Loyalist planters, English puritans and African slaves. They speak a unique form of English that originated from a version of the language that has almost disappeared from the Western Hemisphere.bahamas_1

When exploring the Out Island Cuisine you’ll find classic dishes like barbecued chicken with rice and peas. Try asking where the local fish fry is and you’ll be directed to the local food stalls serving up the catch of the day along with conch salad and Bahamanian souse.

Winds in the region average around 5-20 knots throughout the year although you may experience stronger gusts from the Northwest in winter. For more information about getting to and chartering in the Out Islands of the Bahamas, contact your LateSail Advisor.

Where to Snorkel in the Bahamas

Dipping below the surface and taking a look life underwater is one of life’s great pleasures. First-time snorkelers are often in awe of just how therapeutic and simply incredible it can be to see fish, colourful coral and other marine animals in their natural habitats. It often becomes a pleasant lifelong obsession, perhaps progressing into diving. Snorkeling is a top priority during many bareboat charters in warm waters.

Snorkelers are looking for crystal clear visibility and reefs chock-full of fish. It’s also nice to go to places where you don’t expect to see too many other snorkelers; where you and your group can explore at your leisure without bumping hulls with other sailors or kicking each other with your flippers.

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When it comes to underwater visibility and beautiful snorkeling destinations you really can’t go wrong in the Bahamas. Read on for a few of the best place to go during your Bahamas charter. Our experts can also help guide you.

Stocking Island in the Exumas

This island is just a mile away from George Town which is the capital of the Exumas. The area has long been renowned among sailors and visitors for its crystalline waters. Stocking Island is a long, thin strip of land that boasts underwater caves, brilliant coral pools of fresh water floating on the ocean water; also known as blue holes.

Grand Bahama

Although not so far removed from the highest volumes of tourism, Grand Bahama offers its fair share of beautiful snorkeling spots. These include Gold Rock and Silver Point Reef, with stunning coral beds. Visitors also love Ben’s Cave; part of the Lucayan Caverns.

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Bimini

Bimini’s attraction comes in the form of black coral gardens that can be accessed easily from the shore. It also has plenty of colorful marine life in between, creating a stunning contrast. Dolphins can be spotted, and there is even a section of large flat rocks that some claim are a foot path to the mythical city of Atlantis.

Elbow Cay

One of the first stops in our suggested itinerary, Elbow cay’s waters are kept crystal clear by a Gulf Stream current. This rush of water cleanses and purifies the waters, resulting in excellent visibility in places like Mermaid Beach; with a very colorful reef and gorgeous marine life.

San Salvador

If you venture farther into the southern region of the Bahamanian Islands (a supreme benefit of captaining your own boat) you’ll be blessed with the chance to explore some of its most pristine areas. San Salvador is relatively undiscovered in comparison with many of the other islands in the Bahamas. It features gorgeous snorkeling at places like Grotto Bay and Sandy Point.

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Long Island

Also in the southern Bahamas, Long Island has beach coves on its eastern side that offer a number of opportunities to discover amazing snorkeling spots. It also has good conditions for seeing plenty of underwater wildlife near several of its beaches.

You can even plan a Bahamas charter tour to cover some of the area’s best snorkeling hot spots. Our experts have years of experience sailing in the region and can help you chart the best course to create a snorkeler’s dream vacation. Contact us today!

Scuba Diving in the Caribbean

The Caribbean offers endless variety and opportunity to scuba diving enthusiasts of all levels. There are natural coral reefs, lava flows, and even wrecks to explore. Scuba diving is a great way to add some adventure to your charter and can be enjoyed by anyone from ages 12 and up.

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Diving in the Caribbean

Before Your Charter

There are various ways to make sure you are certified and ready to dive on your charter. If you are going on a crewed charter, it is important to note whether there is a Dive Instructor or a Dive Master on your crew. Dive Instructors are able to certify you while on your charter and take you diving once you have done the appropriate course work (all completed while on your charter). Dive Masters cannot certify you, they are there to guide you underwater. If it is a Dive Master that is on your crew, you would need to be certified prior to your charter. This can easily be done by doing the necessary courses and pool dives at home before you depart, and then you can do your open water dive while on your charter and become fully certified. There is also the option of a resort course, which will teach you all the basics within a few hours though it will not fully certify you. These short courses will have you ready to dive while on your charter in just a matter of hours. Any local dive shop or resort can help you set this up, that way you are scuba ready for your charter.

Top Dive Spots:

The British Virgin Islands

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This is a perfect destination for beginner divers, with sheltered waters and plenty of exciting spots to explore. The most popular spot being the wreck of the RMS Rhone off of Salt Island, which is one of the most well-known wreck dives in all of the Caribbean. This 310 foot Royal Mail Steamship went down due to a hurricane in 1867 and is now a must-see exploration spot for all divers as the ruins are still surprisingly conserved. Once you explore the Rhone ruins, also be sure to check out The Indians off of Norman Island. These unique rock formations form underwater tunnels home to a variety of corals and colorful reef fish.

GrenadaDiving_Grenada

Grenada is known for its wreck dives, most notably the Bianca C. which is also known as the “Titanic of the Caribbean.” This 600’ cruise ship sank in 1961 and is now home to some fascinating underwater life including spotted eagle rays, reef sharks, and great barracudas. While this particular dive is more geared towards advanced divers due to the depth and current, there are other fascinating wreck dives in Grenada for all levels.

Dominica

Dominica makes for a diver’s paradise with its beautiful coral reefs and varied dive spots all around the island. The more well-known dive spots are off the island’s southwestern end, but the west coast as a whole will have plenty to offer divers. If you are interested in some exciting wall dives, spots in this area would include Rodney’s Rock, Castaways Reef, and Nose Reef. One of the more popular spots is Soufriere Bay which is actually a submerged ancient volcano crater that also has shallow reefs to explore around the rim. Between October and March, sperm whales are common and dive operators often offer diving excursions to go spot them.

Bahamas

The Islands of the Bahamas have a huge variety of thrilling diving experiences to offer divers of any level. If you are sailing the Abacos, then the shipwreck USS Adirondack in the reef off of Man-O-War Cay is a must see. This gunboat sank in 1882 and there are still well preserved cannons to explore. Other good spots along this sailing route are Green Turtle Cay and Treasure Cay, all centered around 150 of incredible reef.  If you are instead sailing the Exumas, there are also plenty of unique dive spots you will not want to miss. Here you will fascinating blue holes to explore, which are underwater caves. These include Crab Cay Crevasse off of George Town and Angel Fish Blue Hold off of Stocking Island. If you are feeling adventurous, there are even opportunities for shark dives, where you can swim with reef sharks.

Belize

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Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, Belize offers stunning diving opportunities to experience exciting marine life. Just off-shore from San Pedro is Ambergris Car, part of a strictly enforced marine park located within the barrier reef. Here you will find huge varieties of sea life and coral, and even some nurse sharks and sting rays. One of the most notable dives would be The Blue Hole, this hole in the reef spanning more than 1000 feet across is a spectacular site that you will not find elsewhere.

These are just a few suggestions, but the Caribbean offers endless amazing dive opportunities for those ready to start exploring. Whether it’s shipwrecks, coral, caves, or even sharks, there is a great scuba diving opportunity for everyone in the Caribbean.

Bareboat Charter in the Pacific North West

While we all love blue sky and white sandy beaches, not so many of us are aware of the treasures that live within the crystal clear water off the Pacific North West’s many pristine islands.

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Rocky beach and driftwood tree logs swept ashore on the wild Oregon coast

Book a bareboat yacht charter from May to September and be guided by the world’s largest mammals through stunning islands and majestic mountainous scenery.

Restless in Seattle

The Pacific Northwest offers visitors multitudes of thrills and attractions, from its captivating nature to major metropolitan cities. Begin your voyage by flying to Seattle.  Be the first to catch the salmon, literally, at Pike’s Place Market. Take home souvenirs from Fraser’s city (everyone’s favourite radio host), enjoy a meal atop the World Famous Space Needle (probably your screensaver at work), and of course catching a game at one of the city’s world class stadiums is a must. Seattle has the Seahawks, the Mariners (there’s a lot of water) and even a ‘soccer’ team – The Seattle Sounders FC.

Anna’s courtesies

Your charter begins just north of the city on Fidalgo Island. Here you will get a preview of the incredible green islands you are about to sail through. In the historic town of Anacortes (or Anna Curtis, so named after the island’s founders’ wife) you will find brochures and information on safety and weather conditions.

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Pacific Northwest

Oh Victoria, how green looketh their appearance

Sail alongside Orcas (in fact there’s an island named after them), sea lions and seals up Puget Sound through the world’s green machine. Pine forests, mountains and clear waters offer peace and tranquility unique to the islands of San Juan. Ahead is your entrance into Canada and the next port, Victoria. Victoria houses the immense and spectacular BC Parliament, a lighthouse and even a castle. A friendly, unfortified Canadian castle.

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 The city of Van

Crave a return to city and civilisation? Sailing got you hungry? It’s an easy sail to the next major city on your trip – Vancouver. If you are feeling hungry, Vancity (as the locals call it) has every, yes every type of food your taste buds may fancy (probably even some flavours your tongue hasn’t heard of). If sports is your cup of tea (English Breakfast with a bacon butty) then drop anchor – Vancouver has every indoor and outdoor variety at its doorstep. For those with calmer sensibilities take a walk along Deep Cove, for more adventurous types try kayaking with Killer Whales. Go zip lining or bungee jumping off Grouse Mountain for more heart pounding thrills.

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Go to the Pacific Northwest to get in touch with nature. Be in awe of its beauty and pay our sea dwelling mammals respect as you sail through one of the most unforgettable journeys of your life.

 

The Best of Snorkelling in Antigua

If you are sailing through the Caribbean and looking for a fun activity, there’s nothing better than snorkelling. Throughout the Caribbean there are thousands of snorkelling and diving spots that allow you to explore the deep habitats of many, many different tropical fish. Antigua, in particular, is one of the best areas to snorkel in.

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The Best of Snorkelling in Antigua

With 365 wonderful beaches, there is an abundance of places to explore. These islands are surrounded almost completely by coral reefs with shipwrecks also dotted about the area, many of which you can reach from the shore. If you are spending the day on the beach, many offer rental equipment to use without any snorkelling instruction. Or, if you prefer, many spots that are perfect for snorkelling are only available by boat. Hire an instructor for your own yacht or sign up for an excursion.

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Some of the best spots include:

  1. Deep Bay – This is a shipwreck from 1905 and it’s easily accessible for snorkelers and divers – here you can expect to see small, tropical fish and a collection of sponges.
  2. Great Bird Island Beach – With their shallow reefs and tropical fish that swim right up to the shore, this is an easy location to snorkel and enjoy the sights along the coast.
  3. Carlisle Bay East – Again, this gorgeous beach requires little to no effort when it comes to snorkelling as the fish often come towards the shore.
  4. Darkwood Beach – This isn’t the best beach when it comes to snorkelling but if you have some beginners in your group it’s perfect for them with its calm waters.
  5. Paradise Reef – Just north of Dickenson Bay you can dive in and revel in gorgeous coral gardens. This location is considered one of the best snorkelling spots in Antigua.

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Sailing through the Caribbean can be one of the best holidays that you ever decide to take. From stunning beaches to seafood cuisine and snorkelling, the Caribbean will not disappoint. So as you’re dreaming up of activities to do, don’t forget that if sailing in Antigua, it is home to some of the best snorkelling spots in the Caribbean. Sail among the 365 beaches and snorkel on the way.

The Best Sailing Destinations

We’ve been around the world and we’ve chosen 5 of our favourite sailing destinations. Here at LateSail we offer some of the best yacht charters at discount prices in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Take a look at this list and starting planning your next holiday now.

Along the Adriatic Sea, you can explore Croatia. Sail through close to 1,200 islands, revel in the stunning beaches and be alone with your thoughts while fishing in one of the many quaint fishing villages.

CroatiaThe Grenadines have ideal sailing conditions. Quiet and secluded and a wonderful destination for couples, consider a bareboat charter and sail through the 36 islands sprawled across the Caribbean.

Grenadines

The romantic French Riviera is located along the Mediterranean coastline and is full of unspoiled islands and epic yachts. Delight in the luxurious cities of Nice and Monte Carlo. Alternatively, take in some of Europe’s finest cuisine and culture with a yacht charter in Marseille, Cannes or Antibes.

Monaco

With 6,000 Greek Islands, Greece is one of the best and most popular destinations for yachting enthusiasts in the world. The best way to experience these islands is to sail among them. Get your fill of whitewashed villages, the deep blue Mediterranean, warm sea breezes and endless sunshine. From Cyclades to the Ionians, Greece never disappoints.

Greece

Huge stretches of pristine white-sand beaches, fantastic restaurants and boutique shops are only some of the things that are wonderful about Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. With more than 40 islands across the Caribbean Sea you can sail adventurously while exploring protected national parks and The Baths. The Baths are a popular attraction where gigantic boulders form grottos and pools: perfect for paddling, swimming and snorkelling.

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When you’re searching for the perfect yacht charter holiday, this list should make your decision a little easier. We offer many gorgeous destinations for you to choose from, just click our Destinations tab and find the yacht charter that best suits your dreams.

Belize Sailing Holiday

Whether as a honeymoon or romantic getaway or as a holiday with family and friends, a chartered yacht in Belize offers something incredibly special. Lush vegetation, turquoise waters dotted with beautiful islands, idyllic beaches and wildlife all make for amazing sailing, sights, mornings, afternoons and evenings.

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Belize sandy beach

The Belize Barrier Reef is the second longest in the world and home to hundreds of different fish species and stunning corals and atolls, making it one of the most desirable locations for scuba diving and snorkeling in the region.

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But while much of that submarine scenery is truly spectacular, navigating the barrier reef in a yacht can be demanding. However, the coastal passage that lies between Belize and the reef is tremendous for sailing with hundreds of uninhabited islands and cays populating the way, offering tranquil anchorages, swimming and fishing.

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Meanwhile, with tropical rainforest hugging the coastline, there is no shortage of wonders to explore onshore. Jungle treks and kayaking offer breathtaking close-up views of the exotic flora and fauna with national parks and wildlife sanctuaries aplenty.

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And if that weren’t enough, there are the ancient Mayan ruins to discover, with many of the archaeological sites – some of them stone temples offering spectacular vistas of the surrounding rainforest, some of them cave-deep excavated tombs, the former sites of religious ceremony and sacrifice – approaching 2000 years of age.

There are currently excellent offers to be found for yacht charters in Belize, with many deals offering discounts of 30%.

Real Time Booking for the Best Sailing Holiday

As the first charter company to offer Name your Price booking, LateSail has a long history of anticipating charterer’s needs and responding in kind.

Our team of experienced sailors uses the latest knowledge of boats and destinations to help people find the best option for their sailing holiday; at a certain point it was easy to see that the market was ready for real-time booking. It just makes sense- it’s so much easier to make a decision and choose a great charter offer if you can see what’s available at that exact moment.very_cool_people

This model follows in the footsteps of online travel agencies like Expedia, which is able to show visitors which flights they can choose from at any given time. It’s a great way to take advantage of last minute deals on unsold inventory, or even plan a trip well in advance.

With real time booking you can visit our website, click on a destination and start planning your sailing vacation right there and then. You’ll see which boats are available on which dates. If you know what you’re looking for you can book your trip in the moment. Our advisors are also available for any questions.

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Real time booking hasn’t lowered the level of customer service we offer; our experts have personal experience in the destinations we offer. We also go on special reconnaissance trips to check out the fleets each charter company offers, allowing us to recommend options based on our own observations.

With LateSail, the process of booking your sailing holiday is easy from start to finish. From real time booking to advice from experts we make every effort to facilitate the entire experience.

Make this year’s sailing holiday the best ever- take advantage of real time booking and select from over 6000 charter offers!

The Ultimate Sicily Yacht Charter

The beautiful island of Sicily is the largest of the Mediterranean Sea. Sicily also includes a few small islands such as the Aegadian Islands, Aeolian Islands, Pantelleria and Lampedusa.

Sicily

During a yacht charter to Sicily you’ll find many well-protected anchorages and beautiful sites to explore.  The major sailing centres include: Catania, Isola Salina, Marzamemi, Messina, Milazzo, Palermo, Pozzallo, San Giorgia and Syracuse. When sailing through Sicily it’s best to take it slow. Exposed anchoring is usually safe in settled weather but there are enough harbours and anchorages in the area for easy sailing.

Consider anchoring in Marina di Ragusa. This is a large bay with sand beaches and a sand bottom with great holding. Here you can enjoy nice restaurants and supermarkets for shopping. Take in the waterfront along the beach and appreciate this relaxing town.

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The Aeolian Islands are a must-see even if it’s crowded – you won’t to miss out on the volcanic scenery. Anchorages here are exposed; lay a running moor or be ready to move if the weather suddenly changes direction. For the volcanic experience, anchor down in Vulcano where there are two good anchorages separated by a strip. Take a walk up the volcano path or even down into it. It will be an experience you’ll never forget!

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Taormina theater in Sicily, Italy

 

Syracuse is a great place for shopping and markets. Here there is noteworthy architecture of the Greek variety. The cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo incorporates old fluted columns that were built around 500BC. For sailing, you can count on a good marina, town quay and it’s free to anchor in the well-sheltered harbour.

When chartering a yacht in Sicily, research all of the beautiful island and anchorages you may want to experience. If you need help, visit our suggested itineraries for Sicily, Italy and call us for more information.

A Short Guide to Chartering a Yacht in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Choosing to charter a yacht in Dubrovnik might be a decision worth making. This could be the perfect getaway for your summer holiday. Known as “The Pearl of the Adriatic”, the city of Dubrovnik is known for its medieval architecture; here you can find squares with quaint cafes and farmers’ markets, Renaissance history, beautiful landscapes and art festivals.shutterstock_148995788

 

For yacht charters in Croatia the skipper must have RYA Skipper Practical certificate or RYA ICC qualification, and the weather conditions are ideal for sailors. In the coming months you can plan on hot, dry days perfect for sailing. Keep in mind that mooring charges do apply and usually run from €30 to €90 per night depending on the location and size of your yacht. Luckily, there are alternatives in the form of numerous protected anchorages.shutterstock_89060818

When chartering a yacht in Dubrovnik, there are a few things to remember. When it comes to packing, take as little as possible. You will need shorts and swimming costumes and the basics, but the less, the better. Don’t forget something for the cool evenings; jumpers and trousers should suffice.Dubrovnik

The Croatian currency is the Kuna and it is recommended that you change your money back to your home currency before you leave Croatia. Typically, it’s cheaper to convert money in Croatia than at home. Most towns have ATMs that are linked to international networks; credit cards are accepted but Visa/MasterCard are the most recognised. Cash is usually preferred.Dubrovnik_yacht

When charting a yacht, it’s also usually wise to purchase insurance. We advise our clients to purchase holiday insurance and if you are a UK resident we recommend the “yachtman’s travel policy”.

Review these few need-to-know details and feel free to contact us for great offers and itinerary recommendations before heading off on your yacht holiday in Dubrovnik.

Bareboat Charter in the Croatian Adriatic

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Peaceful anchorage, Croatia

For those looking for the best bareboat charter deals for the Croatian Adriatic coast, there are plenty of offers to be found, with 50% discounts available on normal prices.

With some of the most famously crystal-clear waters in the whole of the Mediterranean region, gentle sailing and warm winds, and literally hundreds of islands hugging the Croatian coastline, the Adriatic Sea represents one of the best areas for bareboat chartering in all of Europe.

Many of those islands off the Croatian coast are wooded and protected as national parkland; some are barren, rocky and uninhabited; others are home to atmospheric old towns and castles with winding cobbled streets populated by pretty shops, restaurants, bars and cafes.

Together they provide excellent anchorages of all kinds: beautiful sandy beaches, pretty bays that are tucked away and tranquil, historic locations of architectural and cultural interest, and popular spots buzzing with activity and nightlife.

Among the most popular bareboat charter haunts to dot that 250 mile-or-so stretch of splendid coastline from Pula in the north to Dubrovnik in the south are the Kornati archipelago, and the city and surrounds of Split.

Split is famous for its sheer beauty and splendid beaches. Diocletian’s Palace dates from the 4th century B.C. and lies at its historical heart, while the Dalmatian islands to the south blend magnificent medieval chapels with stylish boutiques and dining.IMG_0468

To the north, meanwhile, and located around the island of Kornat (about 20 miles south of Zadar), the islands and islets of the Kornati archipelago offer superb scuba diving, trekking and fresh seafood restaurants. To be explored are the protected pine forests of the Kornati and Krka national parks, and Nature Park Vransko Lake – an ornithological reserve and game fishing ground.

With such a variety of anchorages, sights and activities, as well as some of the best sailing conditions around, there really is no better way to experience Croatia and the Adriatic Sea.

Summer Sailing Lefkas

A main port for chartered yachts, the mountainous island of Lefkas (or Lefkadas) is home to some of Greece’s finest beaches (principally along its west coast), splendid forests, and much dramatic scenery.Lefkas_2

Speculated to have been Homer’s Ithaca (like various other locations, as a matter of fact), Lefkas lies in the Ionian Sea off the Playia Peninsula in Acarnania, with a causeway connecting it to the mainland.

Despite its accessibility and popularity – various resorts line its east coast, where the vast majority of its best anchorages are to be found – Lefkas retains many of its traditions, particularly among its more remote villages, where locals sell deliciously golden olive oil, red wine and honey along the roadside.Lefkas_1

Lefkada Town is vibrant yet relaxed, with a number of distinctive, modern buildings blended amongst its pretty churches that came into being after the destructive effects of an earthquake in 1948.

With so many beautiful ports and bays nearby, island hopping from Lefkas is a much-enjoyed activity, with an abundance of fantastic spots to discover.

Among them, the island of Meganisi is perfect for couples and small families. It lies off the south-east coast of Lefkas and is especially beautiful, with stunning vistas and charming bays, sea-caves and sandy beaches, turquoise waters and a lush landscape. Climbing, winding lanes reach the village of Spartakhori and offer splendid views all along the way.Lefkas_3

Starting your bareboat charter from Lefkas, typical one-week itineraries may take in such ports as Poros, Kastos, Frikes, Paxos and Meganisi. All of these are beautiful, accessible spots.

Alternatively, you might reach Lefkas having set sail from Corfu, which is another popular and beautiful route, as is that which goes from Lefkas to Athens. Expect the favourable Maistro wind to accompany you throughout the summer months, which can help disperse any early-morning fog.

A Look at Virgin Gorda in the BVI

The British Virgin Islands are well known sailing grounds; one of the jewels of the Caribbean. Each of the islands in this group offers its own unique natural wonders and things to see.

Today’s spotlight is on Virgin Gorda. When you approach the island by boat it is easy to see the form of a ‘plump virgin’ lying on her back.BVI1

The third largest of the BVI, Virgin Gorda features everything from Spanish architecture to volcanic rock formations. The landscape here is different from Tortola and other islands, with mountainous, dry landscapes dotted with cacti, giving way to coasts lined with stunning beaches.BVI3

During your charter, visit Spring Bay. Adjacent to the famous Baths, it could easily be categorized as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This is a great place to swim and enjoy the calm, clear ocean waters. For the early birds, the sunrise at Spring Bay is a memorable sight that you won’t soon forget. An early start is also recommended for the Baths, which can get a bit crowded as the day wears on.  Within walking distance of Spring Bay is Little Trunk Bay, also a place well worth visiting.BVI2

At the Baths, volcanic rocks and the sea create calm and relaxing pools of water. It is a natural spa, and a real treat for all of your senses. The Baths also offer great snorkeling and of course those famous photo opportunities!

Other top places to see on the island include:

  • Devil’s Bay
  • Savannah Bay
  • Gorda Peak National Park
  • Biras Creek Trail
  • The Copper Mine in Spanish Town
  • The Wreck of the Chikuzen

TripAdvisor® has a great list of Virgin Gorda locales reviewed by visitors. On a BVI Yacht Charter you’ll be able to sail to many of the sites you decide to see.  Contact us for details!

Things to Know about Bareboat Charters in Greece

If you love sailing you’ve probably heard the tales about chartering a yacht in Greece; its crystalline waters, great Mediterranean food and nice reliable breezes. It is a wonderful place to go, and quite accessible. Here we’ll tell you a few good things to know if you’re thinking of chartering in the region.

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Sailing in Greece

The Charter Season

The prime season for bareboat chartering in Greece begins in April and ends in November. The truly high season runs from the end of July to the beginning of September. Around this time you’ll see the highest concentrations of sailors in places like the Saronic Gulf, Corfu and Lefkas. Naturally this is also a time when charters are a bit more costly.

If you choose to charter in April, May or June you’ll be rewarded with lots of blooming flowers, green islands and fun festivities related to Easter, which is the biggest religious holiday in the country. There will also be less visitors around these times.

Categories of Charter Bases

Greece offers over 2,000 islands and 10,000 miles of coastline to explore. These can be divided into five basic categories: The Ionian, Athens and the Saronic Gulf, The Sporades, The Cyclades and The Dodecanese.greece4

Each has its own high points, depending on what it is you’re searching for. The Ionian, for example, offers a relaxed sailing experience with short passages between anchorages, while The Dodecanses is great for those looking for a sailing experience that challenges their skills.

For most destinations you can fly into Athens and get to your base from there. There also may be direct charter flights from European cities to smaller airports.

Greek Bareboat Charter Requirements

Just like any country Greece has certain special requirements for bareboat charters:

  • There must be at least one certified skipper on the yacht. The skipper must be able to provide proof of competency such as and International Certificate of Competence or ASA “104 Bareboat Cruising Course”.
  • In addition to the skipper each group must have a second experienced crew member, and this person must be over the age of 18.greece3

Great Mooring Costs

Unlike many other beautiful destinations the mooring costs in many areas of Greece are extremely reasonable. Your LateSail advisor can provide you with further information on where to go to take advantage of low cost mooring, and where to avoid as well.

Provisioning in Greece

As an experienced host to charterers and yachties from around the world, much of Greece is well versed in providing great provisions from which to select from during your trip. The region boasts excellent olives, sardines and cheeses, all of which are great for putting together an energizing snack while out on the water.

You’ll also find plenty of waterfront tavernas serving excellent seafood and many other types of regional specialities. Good wine abounds and you can stock up on Mythos and other Greek beers to keep you satiated throughout your journey.

Flotilla Charters

If you’re not quite ready for a full on bareboat charter in Greece you can also easily join a flotilla. Greece is a popular cruising grounds for these fleets of boats, and they have several distinct benefits.Greece1

Choose a flotilla to have an expert lead boat to help chart the course and help if any issues arise. The charter schedule is relaxed, allowing you to set off early or take your time before meeting up with the other boats at the next planned stop. You also have a built in group of sailors to dine with in the evenings, although you can also choose to relax in privacy.

Your flotilla can be what you make of it- if this option appeals to you LateSail can also help you book a flotilla charter.

For more information on sailing in Greece feel free to visit our Greece section or contact us any time.

Cooking On-board

Breakfast On-board

Breakfast on-board

Cooking may not be the first thing on your mind as you prepare for your fun and relaxing charter holiday. However, cooking on a boat is something worth giving some thought to before you depart, so there are no last minute meal panics once you board your boat. Cooking on-board is definitely different than cooking in your home kitchen, so it’s best to keep some pointers in mind to make your meals on board enjoyable and stress free.

Cooking wise, you can think of your charter as somewhat of a camping trip. Space, fuel, and refrigeration are limited, so it is wise to plan ahead. You will not be able to run out to local store when you are missing an ingredient come dinner time. You will need to have your menus planned out so that you know exactly what, and how much of it, you need to take on board with you. Galley kitchens are small, not a place you want to be spending an excess amount of your holiday time, so keep the meals quick and simple for the sake of whoever is doing the cooking on board.

Planning

As much as you may not want to sit and plan out your meals for your trip, that is really the most helpful way to prepare. Make a quick, but precise, list of the meals you will make and the ingredients needed to make them (and don’t forget about snacks!). This will save a lot of Int - 1headaches when ordering your provisions and even more when the inevitable “what’s for dinner?” question comes up while on your charter. Hand held items for breakfast and lunch are a great idea, for example, lots of sandwiches, granola bars, pastries. Also, bring plenty of drinking water. If you are traveling with a group, be sure to get input from everyone including any food allergies, as there will be little room for substitutions come meal time.  Sure, you may be able to stop and re-provision at some of your anchorages, but that is not how you will want to spend your day ashore!

Keep in mind the equipment you will have on your boat, which will probably not include an oven or microwave, so plan accordingly. Check out the detailed boat specs before you start planning, so you know exactly what you are working with and there are no surprises once you are out in the middle of the ocean.

Meal Ideas

Most charter yachts will have charcoal grills, so plan on making use of this as much as possible to help keep the heat out of the boat and also to let whoever is cooking enjoy themselves a bit more outside of the small kitchen. Refrigeration and freezer space will be limited, so have interiorplenty of ingredients that you can store at room temperature as well like canned foods. Eat the most perishable foods early on in your trip like the meat and dairy. Since you will not want to cook while the boat is moving, it is usually best to prepare lunches in the morning before you set sail. Things like sandwiches, gran and go items, are best. Especially since people tend to be active during the day and may be hungry at different times. The key is keeping the recipes simple, do not plan a meal that needs to be cooked on 3 burners when you only have 2 on board.

Safety

Only cook when the boat is docked or anchored. Trying to cook, or boil water, on a moving boat is a dangerous task. Keep things put in away in the cabinets and sealed or closed if not in use to avoid any major spills while you are moving.  In case there is a spill, you will want to have plenty of paper towels and trash bags handy. Another important thing to keep in mind, do not waste water as you do have a limited supply.

It is also a great to go ashore and try some of the local restaurants during your charter! Take a break from the galley kitchen once in a while and explore some of the local flavors.

Extensive Sailing Resume but no Certificate?

Unfortunately, the days of chartering without a sailing certificate are numbered and in short supply. While there are a number of worldwide destinations where a resume will suffice, almost all short hop Mediterranean destinations now require a certificate.

People often ask how 30 years of experience and owning one’s own yacht can be ignored! While we at LateSail agree that experience is unrivalled and of vital importance for ensuring a safe and an enjoyable charter, we sadly don’t make the rules.

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Sailing like driving a car has become far more common and popular, resulting in the need for more and better regulation. This very regulation which frustrates us at times, is attempting to make the waters safer for all. We often share the waters with relatively inexperienced sailors and our hope is that they are in-fact experienced enough!  Certification certainly makes for easier control, but what is needed for one is needed for all.

Putting oneself through a week long beginner type sailing course is not everyone’s cup of tea, and we understand how frustrating and somewhat demeaning this can be. Lucky for you, the regulators have identified the need to certify people, like yourself, with as little inconvenience as possible.

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Their solution is the ICC (International Certificate if Competence) conversion course /assessment and it‘s aimed specifically at experienced sailors who have never got around to doing an official course. Most of the good sailing schools now offer it and it can usually can be completed in an afternoon. It involves a couple of hours out on the water, assessing basic manoeuvres, navigation and safety. Once you have satisfied the instructor you’ll be the proud owner of a new ICC certificate, which will open many doors by putting your choice back into chartering…

AND while you’re in the certification frame of mind, why not also complete your VHF radio licence! It is quick and easy to do and currently a requirement for chartering in Croatia.

Last Minute Charters, the Nature of the Beast…

The alluring notion of a last minute charter often ends with the dissatisfaction of either; settling with a somewhat compromised charter or not going at all! I hope to unpack some of the variables at play and help you to identify what’s most important to you. Like most things in life this beast is relative … what is your last minute charter?Last_minute_1

What attracts you to a last minute charter? Are you all about the end price? Are you really looking for the cheapest yacht in the Med, or are you looking for the cheapest 40ft which is no older than 5 years in age? Can or will you really go anywhere or have you gone to the Ionian for the last 3 years? What are your best flight options from your local airport and do these flights correspond to the charter start and end dates in the region? Knowing what you are looking for is often the first step to finding your best value deal.

Med charters largely operate Saturday/Saturday, but there are exceptions, so it’s always best to check with the LateSail team before booking flights. The best yacht prices invariably come from locations with the highest supply of yachts. If 95% of the yachts are only available for Saturday starts, you really need to be looking for a Saturday start to get the best deal. Check your best flight options and make sure they correspond to the standard start and end days in the region.

Generally, the earlier you book something, the better choices you have and this holds true for yachts and flights. However, yacht prices regularly get better and flight prices regularly get worse; as we get closer to the time.  Leave either of these too late and you will most likely be faced with compromise. Will you be faced with flying from an inconvenient airport at crazy hours, or settling for a yacht which is smaller, older or larger than anticipated?

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Making an offer is often a great way of achieving the best price, but one needs to be realistic with the offer in order to entice a deal! Don’t be fooled into thinking, ‘surely some money is better that no money?’ The answer to this question is often no! Private yachts managed by fleets and fleet owned yachts regularly have an agreed minimum price for which the yacht can be chartered. A charter yacht undergoes heavy usage and the conundrum the owner faces is what weekly price is worth the usage/maintenance associated with another week on charter.

The two largest expenses for most charter holidays are the yacht and flight costs, therefore it’s important to factor in the amount of time spent on the yacht versus the plane. If something needs to give, my advice would be to compromise on the part which takes up the least of your holiday time.

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Guess what? It’s not all doom and gloom! We regularly secure fantastic last minute charters for our clients, and we are always happy to advise and find you your best suited charter. We regularly wade through all these variables and we are happy to help you find your happy medium. Whether you choose to book one day in advance or one year in advance is not important, your charter is what matters.

P.S. Flight inclusive last minute charters regularly are a completely different kettle of fish, so please don’t hesitate to contact your local office to find out more about their ins and outs.

Yacht Charter Rates in Euros – Who Wins with Current Exchange Rates?

Many of you will know that the Euro is, and has been for a while now, trading considerably weaker than we are used to against the UK £. So what does this mean for you? Well on the whole it is good news. Many charter fleets, especially those in the Med, price their yacht charters in Euros, so the converted cost in UK £ is considerably less (approx. 10% lower than the same time last year). Not only does this mean savings on the charter cost, but your day to day expenses whilst on charter will also be significantly reduced as your spending money will go further.

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How do you see these benefits?

Well, LateSail offer you pricing in your local currency; UK£, however this pricing is converted from Euros at the current rate at the time of booking. Although it may show a savings of 25% or 30%, when you factor in that the list price is approximately 10% lower than this time last year, that means the comparable cost of the yacht charter in Euros is significantly less.

What happens if the rate changes?

At the time of booking in UK £ LateSail have committed to “lock in” the exchange rate at the time of booking, meaning there is no risk to you of the price increasing.

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Can I benefit from the rate changing?

We are certainly able to confirm your yacht charter booking in Euros if you wish. This means that all your payments will be made in Euros and if drawn from a UK bank account and converted at that day’s rate by your bank (beware, sometimes a foreign transaction fee may apply) at the time your balance falls due should the rate have changed in your favour the UK £ cost of that transaction will be based on that day’s exchange rate and the savings passed on. Do beware though, that should the rate change in the other direction the cost may increase.

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 Yacht charter brokers or currency traders?

We believe in concentrating on what we are good at, and keeping things simple. We know how and where to find the very best deals on yacht charters worldwide, which are the best yachts, the pros and cons of each sailing area, and  we take the hassle out of it by providing you pricing in your local currency.  We pass any and all savings on to you, our clients, to ensure that we continue to offer the best value and service available.

Tropical non-tidal sailing …with a side of lobster

So, where in the world do you sail in non-tidal waters whilst enjoying some of the freshest lobster around? It has to be the islands of Antigua & Barbuda in the heart of the Caribbean.

Antigua is a well known Caribbean destination sitting like a jewel in the Caribbean chain between BVI and the Grenadines; but how well do people really know it?

Sure, it’s famous for hosting Test Cricket, the Classic Yacht Regatta and Antigua Sailing Week (a bit like Cowes Week in the sunshine; and just add rum).  But who would know that cruising Antigua and Barbuda offers some of the most idyllic coastal cruising AND passage making sailing.  There’s really something for every level of sailor here. With just 12-14″ of tide and a constant steady breeze from the East (well, 364 days of the year anyway) it’s a far cry from sailing in the UK.

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Antigua is an island with a meandering and interesting coastline comprising bays, harbours and inlets.  There are also uninhabited offshore islands to explore, nestling to the North and the East of Antigua. The beauty of these islands is that they offer some of the best snorkelling spots and wildlife-watching opportunities. Barbuda is Antigua’s sister island – a 25nm sail from Antigua.  The perfect passage to be entertained by breaching whales at certain times of the year.

Whales between Antigua and Barbuda

Whales between Antigua and Barbuda

A sail from Jolly Harbour Marina to Great Bird Island in the North Sound will take you around 3 hours.  A perfect amount of time to work on the suntan and look out for dolphins and turtles playing around your hull. There’s nothing fancy about uninhabited Great Bird Island; it boasts a nice lady who is dropped off by boat in the morning by her husband, after which time she sets up her little bar and makes sure the local beer is nice and cold. She bobs around in the water until a boat shows up. It does put your desk job in Southampton somewhat in the shade!

A short sail will take you over to Long Island where you can drop the hook. Here you’ll find a host of exclusive properties owned by the rich and famous.  It’s a perfect spot for a refreshing swim and celeb spotting (don’t worry, we all look the same in our Speedo’s).

The protected west coast of Antigua is perfect for coastal cruising and bay hopping; from Deep Bay with its sunken merchant ship (do watch the mast tip peeking out) to Carlisle Bay with it’s lush, green mountainside sweeping down to the white sand beach and turquoise water.

Carlisle Bay - lush vegetation and palm trees

Carlisle Bay – lush vegetation and palm trees

A blog about sailing Antigua would not be complete without a mention of English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard. Hang out with the yachtie crowd at the Mag Mongoose and find a stool at one of the many bars; catch up with the locals talking about island politics, politics and probably more politics!

The local people have a unique ability to teach you the art of relaxation (or liming as we like to call it).  Sit, talk, laugh, drink, eat a little food…. repeat!.

Green Island, just off Antigua’s east coast, can be as relaxing or as exhilarating as you choose.  For those with enough energy after all that liming, try your hand at kite surfing in protected Nonsuch Bay – a huge bay that is home to a wonderful Italian, hillside restaurant and art gallery called Harmony Hall.

Hide away at Green Island

Hide away at Green Island

If you are looking to make a decent passage and island hop, then Barbuda  fits the bill perfectly.  It’s a flat island so you’ll only catch a glimpse when you are about a mile offshore.  Good navigation is a pre-requisite. The beauty of the island is breathtaking.  You won’t find fine dining or music bars, but you will find two of the most stunning beaches you will ever hope to stumble upon and the freshest lobster being served at a couple of shacks on the beach.  Jala and Uncle Roddy will look after you.

Your very own island paradise - Barbuda in high season

Your very own island paradise – Barbuda in high season

The best way to get here is on the direct flights from either London Gatwick (Virgin and BA) or Manchester (in high season) on Thomas Cook Airlines.  Most flights take around 7.5 hours so plenty of time to do your homework on where to get your first cocktail.  With the 5 hour time difference at this time of year, you’ll be arriving around 3pm and you could be watching the sunset with a glass of something nice in your hand by 6!

No better place to enjoy your first cocktail - South Beach

No better place to enjoy your first cocktail – South Beach

A bit about the author:  Jackie Ashford is the co-owner of Horizon Yacht Charters in Antigua.  Having left her career in London some 12 years ago, Jackie and her husband now take pride in offering first class charters to sailors from all over the world.  Their love of sailing and all things Antigua is evident in the passion they put into every aspect of the charter experience.

LateSail have 10 day charter offers in Antigua from just £1160. Click here to see more offers

Sailing with Kids

Travelling with children always requires a little extra thought and preparation. A sailing holiday is a no brainer when it comes to kids, it is the perfect way to make sure the adults and children enjoy their holiday while also enjoying their time with each other.  This is a unique experience for children filled with plenty of opportunities for learning and fun, and there are of course some tips we can offer to make sure the children, and the adults, get the most out of their family charter holiday.

Planning

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Thinking of bringing children along on your next charter? Catamarans are the best option. They will offer plenty of room to play and stretch out both the inside and outside. They also help to avoid any possible fear and/or seasickness with the kids since they will be more stable in the water. The trampolines in the front of the boat will surely be a big hit too. When planning your sailing route, keep the distances short, 2-3 hours at most if possible. The British Virgin Islands are a perfect destination for kids in this regard. Much like putting children in the backseat of a car for an extended road trip, this could help avoid the inevitable “are we there yet?” complaints. Sailing shorter distances will keep the kids interested and active, allowing them to enjoy their time during those sailing periods that much more.

Safety

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Like any holiday with children, safety comes first and foremost. There are plenty of ways to make sure your kids are safe and secure while on the boat.  Before even leaving the marina, make sure you have the appropriate life jackets for the kids. It is best to have the children wear their life jackets whenever above deck, especially at night. Lay down the rules before setting sail, make sure the children understand basic safety commands and procedures while on the boat (no running, listen to the skipper, do not swim alone etc). Sun protection while on deck and in the water will also be key, especially in the Caribbean. As long as you keep these basic safety guidelines in mind, this will be able to be a stress free and enjoyable trip for the adults and children on board.

Have fun!

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There are endless activities to keep the kids entertained during your charter. Take plenty of toys on board, and not the electronic kind – there will be no need for iPhones or video games on this trip. With the scenery constantly changing, and new activities to explore at every stop, the kids will stay plenty entertained. Depending on the age, it is always good to have books, music, and some board games at hand for any long sailing distances. The beach and water toys are what will really keep their attention though. If possible, rent a paddle board or kayak for them so they can explore a bit. Snorkel gear, especially in the Caribbean, will also be a must. Kids will love swimming around and getting to see all the sea creatures, you can even make a game out of it. If they somehow get tired of playing in the water, take the opportunity to teach them something new. There will be plenty of cultural activities and room for learning, especially if in the Mediterranean. Teach them about sailing and give them some tasks! Show them the charts and instruments, and even let them press some buttons or help steer. These will be the things they will go back home and brag to their friends at school about.boy_on_yacht

A charter holiday may not be the first thing that comes to mind when brainstorming your next family holiday, but it is a great opportunity to expose children to something new and exciting while also giving them plenty of opportunities to learn and explore. Not only will the children enjoy their time on the boat, but it will be a great way for adults to also get to relax and enjoy themselves at the same time. The good thing about being on a boat, versus let’s say Disneyworld, your will have a much easier time keeping the kids under your watch. This gives you more time to spend together and less time running after them.

You may be Ben Ainslie, but you still need a sailing certificate to charter in Europe…

We receive countless enquiries from charterers who have been sailing all their life, own a yacht,   or have many years of experience, but they have never qualified, why would they need to?

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Over the years more and more countries are making it a requirement that the charter skipper has a sailing licence, or sailing certificate. It is neither the broker, nor the charter company that stipulate this, but the local authorities, and as time goes on it is becoming more strictly enforced and regulated. We already share your frustration on this, for those of you with vast sailing experience it can be a tedious process.

So what do you need to do?  You need to contact the RYA to establish where your nearest sailing school is located, and take it from there. It does not need to be time consuming, you can complete an RYA ICC assessment course in just one day for approx. £120; a RYA Day Skipper course would take longer (usually 5 days minimum, or a long weekend for the practical). You may even decide to go all the way and become a Yacht Master.

If you prefer to undertake this in sunnier climes, there are many sailing schools overseas that we work with and could recommend.

Once completed, not only will you be proud of your achievement, you will have the freedom to charter anywhere in European waters.

Packing for your Charter

Now that you have your charter planned and you are counting the days until you set sail, it is time to start thinking about packing for your trip! Packing for a sailing holiday is not quite the same as packing for a resort stay, so we do have some tips and suggestions for you to keep in mind. First things first, let’s start with the luggage itself: soft-sided bags is a must, duffel bags, backpacks etc. You are working with limited storage space on a boat, so it is best to have luggage that is more easily stored and moved around than giant wheeling suitcases.

Clothing

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You will want all the usual items of clothing you would bring on a beach holiday. Swimsuits and cover ups will probably be what you spend most of your time in while in the water and on deck. It is always good to have t-shirts and hats to help protect you from the sun. Depending on the time of year, it is useful to have a windbreaker or light rain coat just in case. For shoes, street shoes and beach shoes are really the only must haves. If you are one who likes water shoes, those are handy too. To keep the boat nice and clean, you will probably want to go barefoot when on deck. If you do not like the barefoot idea, then bring along some non-slip shoes that will not leave marks on the boat. If you are someone who is very attached to their sunglasses, you should consider getting a strap to keep them in place.

Practical Things

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There are some obvious items you will want to have on board, but probably so obvious that you may not think to pack them. Ziplock bags for electronics will rightfully be one of the most useful items packed. It is best to keep money and electronics stored in dry bags/ziplock bags to avoid any unfortunate accidents. Seasickness pills are also a staple, especially if one of your crew is known to have a rough time on the water. Do not forget the sunblock! This will most likely be a sun-filled holiday, and burns are never fun. Try to avoid using tanning oil on deck as it can stain the wood or fabric on the boat. Make sure to have a small beach bag to take ashore with you, along with a separate beach towel from the ones provided on the boat. Flashlights are also good to have on hand. If you are light sleeper, do not leave behind the earplugs or eyeshades.

Fun Things

Fun

Now that you have all the practical necessities in your bag, leave a little extra room to bring some fun things along for your charter. Firstly, make sure you bring some music. All boats have CD players which can tend to be more reliable than iPod hookups, so have both on hand if you can. Playing cards are also a great thing to have when lounging around on deck or at night. It is common for sailboats to fly a flag of where they come from, so if you have a country/state/school flag, bring it along! It is always a great conversation starter with the other sailboats.

Leave Behind

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While there are plenty of things to remember to pack, there are also plenty of things you can leave behind for your charter holiday. Any navigation tools or charts can be left behind, the charter company will provide these materials for you. Boats will also be equipped with cooking and eating utensils, so no need to worry about those. Boats will always have a first aid kid, though a rather basic one. Ladies, leave your fine jewelry and makeup at home. You will probably spend most of your time in and out of the water and lounging in the sun, so these things will just not be necessary.

Pre-Departure Notes

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A few other things to remember before your leave for your charter, be sure to bring your passports as well as photo-copies of them. Also, print out your base information to show to any taxi drivers, especially if travelling in a non-english speaking country. If you plan to fish during your charter, check to see if you need to obtain a fishing license first. Be sure to bring a copy of any sailing credentials if on a bareboat charter. For small children, we recommend bringing your own life vest for them that you know fits well and comfortably.

With these packing and pre-departure notes in mind, you should be in shape for a worry-free and enjoyable sailing holiday!

Robinson Crusoe. Where To Avoid Your Friends and Everyone Else For a Week!

Where to really escape the crowds

You’ve left the marina, the engine is off, the sails are up and the only sound is the water gently lapping against the hull. This is the freedom and escape you’ve been eagerly anticipating.  Next stop, a calm secluded bay for lunch and then an afternoon sail into the next port, but what then? A busy marina with yachts jostling for spaces– families shouting as they try to negotiate tight moorings, port papers needed NOW, and people running, dancing, talking. Where did the peace and quiet go? That tranquil feeling just an hour ago was the calm before the storm! Yes, it is part of the fun of sailing (especially in the Med), and for many a key ingredient to a great sailing holiday, but what if you REALLY want to escape. You dream of your own deserted island. A self inflicted Robinson Crusoe (without the shipwreck of course!). Consider the following a treasure map you can only reach by water, will you dare to explore?

Thailand… depart from Phuket heading South East:

Thailand

Koh Rok Nok

Uninhabited, superb snorkelling, wildlife, stunning powder beaches and coral reefs highly… sounding good yet? If you are feeling extra adventurous you can hire a tent to go camping in Had Koh Rok.

French Polynesia, start from Raiatea on Tahiti:

More uninhabited islands than you could count let alone visit, due to massive variety of sea-life the only company you will find here will be a school of dolphin or a humpback whale. Bliss!

Polynesie

French Polynesia

 

Santa Luzia, Cape Verde, leave from São Vicente

As former hermitage Santa Luzia is ideal for those looking to escape civilization for a few hours. This beautiful island is uninhibited and your arrival will be greeted by crystal clear water lapping against stunning white sand beaches set against the backdrop of magnificent volcanic mountains. Apart from the odd local, spear in hand, fishing in the reef you will find yourself all alone for a day of tranquillity.

Cape_Verde

Playa Paraiso, Cuba… sail from Cayo Largo

Feel as though you have been transported into your computer’s tropical island screensaver by visiting Playa Paraiso. A 2.5-mile-long stretch of white sand on a 17-mile-long uninhabited island 60 miles off Cuba’s southwest coast. The only thing that can make tranquillity better is a Palapa Bar that serves only rum and cigars – which is good because this is the only civilization on Playa Paraiso. Feel like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall by taking a charter from Cayo Largo.

Cuba

The LateSail team have years of experience arranging charters in very corner of the world, and are full of helpful tips and advice to help you plan the perfect escape.

BVI Full Moon Parties

Once a month, if you time it right, your charter could coincide with the famed ‘Full Moon Parties’ of the British Virgin Islands. What better time to enjoy beachside festivities than under the light of a full moon? You will not want to miss this opportunity to go ashore for a night of entertainment, dancing, and drinking. The first full moon party was held back in 1989 at the now renowned Bomba Surf Shack , by Bomba himself, and has been attracting crowds looking for a good time ever since. Whether you’re looking for a wild night of partying or a fun family celebration, checking out one of the full moon parties is a must. Take some time off the boat to enjoy this local tradition ashore, where you can enjoy all the music, cuisine (emphasis on the drinks), and entertainment that these parties have to offer.

FullMoon_party_3

Bomba’s vs. Trellis Bay

There are two main places on Tortola to soak in the revelry of the full moon celebrations, Bomba’s and Trellis Bay.  Bomba’s is located on the West End at Capoons Bay and is known for being the rowdy epicenter of these celebrations. A structure held up by surf boards and driftwood, the bar itself if a site to see. The party will not get started until later in the evening here and will carry into the early hours of the morning. Dance the night away at this notorious beach bar with a lively crowd and great drinks, where the people watching may be as enjoyable as the provided entertainment. This will definitely be a more adult atmosphere, especially as the evening progresses and the alcohol keeps flowing.

FullMoon_party_2

If you are looking for a more family friendly experience, do not worry, there are other options.  The celebrations at the Trellis Bay Cyber Cafe over on the opposite end of Tortola, on Beef Island, are known for being a bit more suitable for children and families. The festivities take place on the beach lit by huge ‘fireballs,’ hence why it’s known as the “Fireball Moon Party.” At midnight one of these massive fireballs is lit up right in the bay making for a great spectacle for everyone on the beach. There will be plenty of island flavour to be enjoyed by all ages including a Caribbean buffet, local musicians and artists, and colorful performers.

These are the two most well-known places to celebrate, but there are plenty of other places that take part in the revelry, like CocoMaya Restaurant on Virgin Gorda.  This night of beachside celebrations only happens once a month, so if you happen to be sailing around BVI during one of the dates below,  you will not want to miss the chance to experience this shore-side local tradition and party with locals and tourists alike. If not, you may even want to purposely plan your charter to overlap with one of these legendary parties.  After this nightlong lively beach party, you can set sail and recover from the comfort of your boat under that warm Caribbean sun.

FullMoon_party_1

Plan your visit for a 2015/2016 Full  Moon Party! Dates:

Saturday, 4th April 2015

Monday, 4th May 2015

Tuesday, 2nd June 2015

Thursday, 2nd July 2015

Friday, 31st July 2015

Saturday, 29th August 2015

Monday, 28th September 2015

Tuesday, 27th October 2015

Wednesday, 25th November 2015

Friday, 25th December 2015

Saturday, 23rd January 2016

Monday, 22nd February 2016

Wednesday, 23rd March 2016

Friday, 22nd April 2016

The Joys of Spring Sailing in the Caribbean

As the seasons change, so does sailing. Springtime in the Caribbean offers unique opportunities for those looking to traverse the blue waters and enjoy the region’s natural wonders.

Antigua_CarlisleBay

Antigua_CarlisleBay

First, you have the weather. During the winter you may even need an extra layer at night; summer has moments when it is stiflingly hot, but spring weather tends to be friendlier for all visitors. It is mild, pleasant and relaxing for those looking to get away from the stress of city life.

If you’re a lover of nature, then spring is the time for you. There are few things as astounding as seeing the Caribbean islands in full bloom. The trees are greener and the colour that the flowers add to the mix creates some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Sailing in Cuba

Sailing in Cuba

Another advantage of sailing in the Caribbean during this time of year is that you won’t be alone. In addition to enjoying the beaches and attractions each island offers, there are also plenty of events. From carnivals to regattas and other sailing competitions there is a lot going on. If you prefer to avoid the potential crowds, hold out until late spring. You’ll also find better discounts at that time.

Springtime also offers some of the safest weather of the year; the temperatures are not extreme and the risk of experiencing any kind of tropical storm is minimal.

Barbuda

Barbuda

Here on our site you’ll find both last minute spring charter offers and options for those who are looking to sail in late April and May. Contact us with your requirements and we can help recommend the best places to go based on your needs.

Is it Time to Book your BVI Yacht Charter for Spring?

If you haven’t solidified your spring sailing trip, now might be the perfect time to do it! Firm up those plans, book your flights and get your charter squared away.

Sunset, Tortola, BVI

Sunset, Tortola, BVI

 

As anyone who’s been there knows, sailing the BVI during the spring months is simply a joy. You’ve got the Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival from March 30th to April 5th, and as the official site says it’s a week of warm water and hot racing. This is a chance to see some beautiful boats and join in the festivities. Everyone’s there to have a good time- you can even join in the social media frenzy leading up to the event by following the hashtags @springregatta and #BVISR.

Sailing in the BVI

Sailing in the BVI

 

If you don’t come during the regatta you can still take advantage of the distinct benefits the BVI offer during this time of year. In fact, if you’re willing to (or want to) bypass the crowds and expense of the regatta itself you can get some good deals on airfare as well.

There are winds of 10-15 knots from the northeast and temperatures from the low 70° F | 21° C to 85° F | 29° C. As you can see it’s a very comfortable time to visit the region.

The number of people in the area also help make springtime BVI yacht charters a good idea. There are enough visitors around to have someone to chat with at bars like the Soggy Dollar, but not so many that its jam packed. You’re also avoiding the really low summer season when it can be hard to find open restaurants.

Soggy Dollar, BVI

Soggy Dollar, BVI

 

Sometimes all it takes is one person to take the reins and plan a great group yacht charter in the BVI- maybe this year it’s your turn! Visit our site and check our real time booking option or call our advisors and we’ll find a charter offer to suit.

LateSail Regatta Overview

Why and when should you book with LateSail?

You will usually see us promoting the values of booking last minute or taking advantage of early or promotional discounts, but with regattas you typically find little or no availability last minute and discounts are scarce or none. If you are organised enough the best prices are to secure before the next season’s prices are released (ie book in the first half of 2015 for your 2016 charter). You also have the advantage of a wider selection of yachts available and from the company with the best list prices.

regatta

 So why book with LateSail at all for a regatta?

  • Our experience of finding the right yacht from the best fleets and what should be included – will it include a CSA certificate? A higher refundable deposit? Is a spinnaker available? The race entry itself?
  • As a broker we are impartial, so our role is to find an option that suits both your budget, level of performance and type of yacht. We are not trying to push a particular product above another.
  • We think outside the box. No yachts left in Antigua for ASW? That’s ok, we have an option you can charter from St Martin instead (or pay a premium to have moved to Antigua for you)
  • Bareboat, skippered, crewed or cabin charter. We offer them all.

What yachts are available?

Not all charter companies are happy for their yachts to participate in regattas (or insured for that matter), so depending on the regatta you are looking to race in we know and will check with all the fleets that have suitable options. After that, much like a bareboat charter, we will look to find the best size, berth and model of monohull or catamaran for you.

Differences to consider vs bareboat?

  • Some companies require you to take a longer minimum length charter than the regatta itself, and often you need time to prepare.
  • Refundable security deposits are often extra, and only third party deposit insurance available
  • Not all companies have spinnakers available, but often the bareboat class doesn’t allow them anyway so you don’t need to get stuck on this point.

What organised regattas are available to book through LateSail?

regatta_2

In short, there are lots throughout the Caribbean and Med, and as long as it isn’t outside of usual restrictions (between multiple countries for example), we will be able to track down any yachts available in the market to charter.

The following Caribbean  regattas are the most popular:

Antigua Sailing Week, 25 Apr – 1 May 2015, 23 – 29 Apr 2016, 20 Apr – 5 May 2017

St Martin Heineken Regatta, 5-8 March 2015, 3-6 March 2016, 2-5 March 2017

BVI Spring Regatta, 30 March – 5 Apr 2015, 28 March – 3 Apr 2016, 27 March – 2 Apr 2017

Organise your own regatta or flotilla?

If you are part of a sailing club or looking to do a corporate sailing event, just let us know how many yachts you need (matching  or not), dates and destination – and we will put together the best package for you. As always, our price guarantee always applies.

Bareboat, Flotilla, Crewed or Cabin Charter?

Bareboat, Flotilla, Crewed or Cabin Charter… which one is the best for me?

At LateSail we pride ourselves in not only getting you the best price, but also finding the best fit for you. That might mean the specifics of the yacht, the charter company or recommending a destination to sail from. Another broader decision to make is whether to sail bareboat, flotilla, crewed or by the cabin.

We will often have feedback along the lines of “I’ve always sailed bareboat, I don’t know why I never tried flotilla before… it was fantastic!”

So whether you are new to sailing or have been doing the same type of sailing holiday for 50 years, maybe 2015 could be the year to try something different, or at the very least read to the end of this blog!

Below we have highlighted some of the key factors for each of the types of charter.

Bareboat

bareboat

A great way to hone your sailing skills on a variety of yacht models, the ultimate freedom, a smart alternative being committed to owning a yacht, and it is a competitive market so you can be price conscious as well.

Flotilla

Flotilla2

 

A flotilla is a sailing convoy, numerous boats following an agreed route in company. You have the support a lead crew as part of the flotilla so good for confidence building especially if you are new to sailing, but equally good if you have lots of experience but enjoy the added social aspect of a meeting and socialising with many other like minded individuals. Particularly good for families as there is always something for kids to do.

Crewed

crewed

Sail on a yacht with permanent crew who take pride in the yacht and know the sailing area like the back of their hand. It is much more service orientated than just adding a skipper to your bareboat charter and in the Caribbean food and drink (to a high standard) will typically be included in the price. There is a wide range of options and prices vary depending on a number of factors. The yachts typically have many amenities on board such as wakeboarding, windsurfing and diving. We know the boats, and very importantly, the crews, and we work with you to tailor make the perfect holiday.

Cabin

cabin

 

Perfect if you are a single person or a couple looking to relax for a week without the responsibility and cost of hiring a whole yacht. The majority of cabin charters you will find yourself being waited on typically doing as little as possible. If you are looking to gain some extra sailing experience there are options for this too, and you could also gain a sailing certificate at the same time.

Everyone’s idea of the perfect sailing holiday is slightly different, but the LateSail team expert advice is on hand to help you find the perfect match, and of course, with our guarantee that you will be getting the best price possible.

Hidden Extras, What to Expect on a Bareboat Charter

We often speak to people who are looking to book their next charter, but keen to have everything included in the price. Usually this stems from a previous experience of appearing to be stung by a series of hidden extras on their arrival at the base.

LateSail is regularly booking with a number of different companies worldwide whose extras can vary massively. One of the many advantages of using LateSail’s experience is that we are fully aware of the variations in charging structure, and ensure this information is correctly conveyed from the base, to you, the customer, ensuring there are no nasty surprises and everyone is on the same page. Sometimes the “extras” can be included in the upfront costs, but often they are compulsory and payable locally. Our aim is to be as transparent as possible with these cost, so you will find every quote from us lists what is included, compulsory extras, and optional add-ons, along with charter start and finish times, as these can vary significantly, which of course affects the duration of the charter and the value on offer.

Extras_example

Example

Such an example below:

There is an obvious attraction to an inclusive price. The booking can be completed and paid in advance with no need to double check details against charges the base staff are asking you to pay. The problem can often be that the much better value overall is with a company who will only allow extras to be paid at base.

We work constantly to maintain our records of each company’s extras, double checking them when sending each quote, guaranteeing the extras we have provided at the time of booking, are the total of extras required at base. If, in the unlikely event you find that it does not match what you have to pay at base, we will match the difference straight away. No blame games, no excuses, just your money back for any unexpected costs.

So what extras should you expect? Whether they are included, payable up front, or locally, the prices may vary between companies, but we are interested in breaking down the charges so you can work out the best total price including the yacht and its extras.

End cleaning –  A standard extra throughout the Med, the price of which can vary quite substantially. For Exotic or Caribbean destination this is often included however it does vary according to charter company.

Outboard – Typically included as standard from exotic and Caribbean destinations  but generally charged as an extra for Mediterranean charters

Bed linen and towels – Often an optional extra charge for Western Med destinations such as Spain, France and Italy. Some companies will charge in the Eastern Med but typically it is included. Exotic and Caribbean destinations typically include linens free of charge. Worth noting we still advise taking your own beach towel, as those provided are usually more designed for on board use.

Local cruising taxes – Turkey and Croatia call it a transit log payable per charter, plus in Croatia there is an accommodation tax per person per day.  BVIs and Cuba have cruising taxes based on the number of people on board. North American charters subject to a sales tax, which varies from State to State. Other destinations either do not have such a tax, or it is included within the cost of the yacht hire.

Fuel – Some companies will offer a pre-pay fuel option, or if you are sailing as part of a  flotilla it is often included in the charter fee. In the most part though, the yacht will be handed to you full of fuel and you need to refill the tanks before returning, much like a car hire. There are many factors that can determine the cost – weather conditions, sailing vs motoring time, local cost of fuel, size of the yacht, with or without a Generator. If you are unsure of what costs to expect please just ask us for a little more detail on how to estimate an approximate cost for your planned charter.

Insurance – all the yachts available to charter have a fully comprehensive insurance, but you will be asked to leave a refundable security deposit by credit card. The amount is typically held as an authorisation but not taken from your account. At the end of the charter it is released if there are no claims or damages. This amount is usually your maximum liability in the case of any incident, excluding gross negligence.

Damage waivers – some companies offer a compulsory damage waiver option (in some cases it is compulsory) to negate or reduce the refundable security deposit required. If the charter company in question do not have they own waiver available, you can always arrange cover with a third party insurer who offer deposit insurance. Ask us for more details.

Optional extras – typically they would include a skipper, cook or hostess, safety netting for children, kayaks, paddleboards or provisioning service.

Marina and mooring fees – your first and last night will be included free of charge in the yachts home port (note if you are arranging a one way charter moorings at the destination base, away from home port, will often be at your expense). Sometimes the home port is also free during any of the charter, but not always – check with us if this is important. Away from base you need to pay any local costs for mooring buoys or marinas, which can vary massively depending on the area you are sailing, the time of season and the size of yacht.

Airport Transfers – Typically your charter cost excludes providing transport to the charter base, however it can usually be arranged at additional cost. However if you are booking a flight inclusive charter, then airport transfers are generally included.

In short, when booking with LateSail there may be extras but none will be ‘HIDDEN’

Before you Sail to Croatia: Insider Info on the Marinas of Split and Zadar

Croatia’s Adriatic Coastline has achieved well renowned fame for its beautiful sailing conditions. It features thousands of islands to explore as well as safe anchorages and harbours. There are also a good number of on-land attractions including Dubrovnik with its medieval walls and the cosmopolitan city of Split.Split

Like any coastal nation Croatia has different sailing regions, each offering varied attractions according to your taste and preferences.

As you chart your journey it’s always great to know where you’ll moor each night and what you can reasonably expect from each place you stop- is the town within walking distance, will you be able to buy provisions or grab a drink at a bar?

We recently returned from a trip to Croatia in which we documented the pros and cons of the marinas in and around Split and Zadar, and we’re ready to share this important insider information with our readers!  Read on for the inside scoop and be sure to contact us for further details.

Beginning our journey……

Split
This marina has many yachts and narrow pontoons in the main part, with a more open side closer to the city. It offers a very basic local shop and supermarkets within walking distance. You can walk to the city centre for restaurants and nightlife but driving into town through the traffic takes time.

Omis, Croatia

Kastela
Here you’ll find a local shop and supermarkets within walking distance. It is located just 20 minutes from the Split airport (SPU). There is just one place in the marina for coffee and food and Kastela doesn’t have much more even if you get a taxi in.

Baska Voda
This is a nice town to start or end a charter in, located opposite the east end of Brac Island. There are small local shops in the village and you can go to Makarska for bigger shops. Here you can get away from the crowds and remain very close to a nice town near your yacht.

Baska Voda

Krvavica (Marina Ramova)

This small marina is not near a town but does have a small restaurant with bar. It is located over an hour from the Split airport. The closest place to provision would be Makarska.

Trogir

This is a great place to start from, very picturesque and close to the airport. There are various places to provision within walking distance. It is close to the airport and in the old town there are lots of restaurants and bars. During high season it can take longer to get over the two bridges into town but walking may be faster.

Seget Donji

This new marina is located 1 km from Trogir. It is quite spacious and nice, with a restaurant, bar and swimming pool inside the marina. There is a small shop in the marina as well as larger supermarkets within walking distance. One could also walk along the main road to Trogir (although it is not actually in Trogir) and it is easily accessed from the Split airport.

Seget Donji

Seget Donji

Agana

It is important to note that this is marina is exclusive to the Sunsail and Moorings charter companies.  It has a supermarket in the marina which closes early on Sunday and can get busy, so pre-provisioning is recommended. You can also stop at a supermarket on the way. It is far from larger towns like Trogir and Split but still onl 20 minutes from the airport, with a small town with restaurants and bars.

Kremik Marina (near Primosten)

This is a large and rather lifeless marina but does serve its purpose (as it was purpose built) and has good facilities. Primosten and therefore provisions is a taxi ride away, in fact a taxi is the only way to get out of the marina.

Sibenik (Mandalina Marina)

This marina features a small shop and a supermarket within walking distance for ambitious walkers, although it may be easier to get a taxi. The marina is inland and positions you to go to the islands around Split, the Kornati Islands or Skradin waterfalls. Sibenik is a great town to visit, accessible by a taxi or water ferry.

Sibenik

Murter (Jezera ACI)

Lovely peaceful town to start from, especially if you’re headed for the Kornati islands. If you’re on a two-week charter you could still go further south. The marina features a supermarket and the the small town has restaurants and bars. The surroundings are picturesque. It is a bit further from Split and Zadar than other marinas but the tranquility may be worth it.

Zaton

Zaton could feasibly be referred to as Sibenik although it is a good 10 minutes away by taxi. The town of Zaton is a 10 minute walk from the marina; you may wish to take a taxi there although you would need to call one. In Zaton you have some small restaurants and shops to provision. I nice small tranquil place to start from.

This is a good base from which to visit Skradin, the Kornati islands or Split islands although it is essentially in the middle of nowhere and there is not much in Zaton.

Pirovac
This is a good base for heading off to the Kornati islands, although it is essentially a pier off a deserted car park. Ther are restaurants and bars in the small town, and it is located further from Split and Zadar airports than other marinas. One can take a small walk around town, and facilities are limited as it is more of a jetty than a marina.

Biograd na Moru (Kornati Marina, north and south, and Sangulin Marina)

This makes a good town to start from and is a fairly big marina. There are many places to provision. Most charter companies here are based in the Kornati Marina, It is close to the Zadar airport but allows you to avoid having to go to Sukosan marina, which is massive and purpose built.

Sukosan (Marina Dalmacija)

As mentioned, this purpose built marina is huge, with 1200 charter berths and 500 private berths. You can find all kinds of food for daily use in the marina. The marina or village (500m) also offer a baker, butcher and some fruit and vegetable shops. Here there are admittedly good facilities charter companies have big offices here. It is also close to the airport, but it is too big to be at all charming and you’ll need to get a taxi into Zadar to go out on the first or last night of your trip.

Sukosan

Rogoznica (Marina Frappa)

A mostly private marina, here you’ll find a supermarket, swimming pool and bar. It is a step above your standard charter base and a well appointed full service marina ideally located on the coast line, although 30 minutes from Split airport.

Vodice (Vodice ACI)

A nice small lively town to spend two nights in if desired, it is also very convenient for visiting the Kornati Islands. You’ll find a supermarket, bars and restaurants but it is fairly far from both the Zadar and Split airports. The Split airport may be the closest, at about 40 minutes driving distance. In the summer months the bars are quite lively and some guests may find marina a bit noisy at night.

Having just visited the region (and with its beauty still fresh in our minds!) we are happy to help you chart a course in Croatia that stops off at the best marinas. Contact us today.

Monohull or Catamaran?

It is true to say that many a purist wouldn’t be caught dead in a catamaran, however we are finding that just as many people are starting to appreciate the benefits which they present.

The question needs to be asked, what kind of sailor are you or what kind of sailors are your crew? Many fair weather sailors, novices, older people and younger people appreciate the stability and space which a catamaran offers. A hard-core monohull sailor once said: “When I sail a cat, it feels like I am driving my living room!”  We see how this description is either appealing or not appealing, depending on who you are. This stability and void of healing are the main features which purists dislike and many a fair weather sailor does like!

catamaran

Far too often we hear heart retching tails of sailors who are forced to settle for a week in a hotel. They are often out voted by their very own family or people who just don’t share their same passion for monohull sailing. We believe that catamarans could well be the answer and middle ground for many. Is it better to spend a week sailing a catamaran or being land locked and not sailing at all?

Traditionally there has been a definite price difference between catamarans and monohulls, however this gap in most cases is shrinking as catamarans are becoming more and more plentiful.

Monohull

Catamarans are great for entertaining with their wide open spaces, easy flow from cockpit to saloon and not often can you blame a spilt drink on the sea. The shallow draft also makes for much closer beach access and davits for convenient dingy access.

It must be said that catamarans do not always add to the ease factor. In busy Mediterranean ports and marinas, space is a scarcity and monohulls do trump catamarans in this scenario. The wide beam can make finding a berth challenging, but when you find a space catamarans do trump on manoeuvrability due to their twin props. Catamarans are very popular and even more common than monohulls in; the Caribbean, the Seychelles, Thailand and other popular tropical charter locations.

cat_mono

Perhaps catamarans are still not for everyone, but they certainly have a place for many. Give them a try and see for yourself, you might be pleasantly surprised. For those of you who need less persuading, why not ask LateSail for a catamaran quote for your next charter.

Happy sailing

When’s the Best Time to Visit the BVI?

As with any destination the weather in the BVI fluctuates throughout the year. Of particular interest to sailors of course are the winds, the crowds and chances of rain and storms.

BVI_2

The British Virgin Islands

Exciting Winds and Good Times

From December to February you can expect the BVI to really pull out all the stops in terms of gorgeous weather. There are sunny skies, little chance of rain and moderate daily temperatures for hanging out on deck or on land. The winter months (November to January) bring winds of 15-20 knots, with the Christmas winds blowing at 25-30 knots for several days at a time.

This is one of the best times to visit the BVI and the number of visitors does reflect this, but if you’re looking for a party, this will be the time to find it! Sailors and merrymakers flock to the islands for the holidays, making for a lively vacation with plenty of opportunities to have fun and get involved.

BVI_1

The Beautiful Weather only Gets Better

During the period from February to May the weather warms up a bit and the winds remain at around 15-20 knots.

There are several events that draw visitors during this time, including the Kite Jam in February and the BVI Spring Regatta in April, but travelers do report getting good rates on flights. You may have to contend with some crowds but the gorgeous conditions can more than make up for it.

BVI

When Things Slow Down

In May and June the busier season comes to an end. Things slow down, as do the winds. It is a time when you can enjoy plenty of space for anchoring and far fewer visitors.

At this time you may find less restaurants open and less people to chat with but it’s a very peaceful time to visit. The islands generally have quite a low amount of rainfall but there is a chance of showers starting in July.

This is also the time of the BVI’s Emancipation Festival, which actually could be a good reason to schedule your charter in late July or early August. It is a colorful celebration of the islands’ history and culture- the local music, food fairs and parades can make for a great complement to your sailing time in the Caribbean!

BVI_3

Slight Risk of Hurricanes

From September to November the islands have their chances of hurricane. You’ll still have very decent weather and temperatures, with steady winds. If your dream is to have a BVI beach all to yourself and really enjoy that desert island feel, this is probably the best time to come.

As you can see the best time to sail in the BVI can really depend upon your preferences and group interests! Each season brings something different, but we can help you find the best rates for the time you want to travel.

Our staff’s years of experience also means we can also help personalize a trip plan to your unique needs and preferences.

Fun Tips for Celebrating Christmas in the BVI

Heading to the BVI around Christmas? Aside from the great sailing winds you’ll also be able to enjoy this festive time of year amidst the area’s vast beauty and a good number of spirited yachties.

Here are a few fun tips for making Christmas in the BVI fun and festive, on board and on land.

hat

Christmas Dinner at a Restaurant

There are a number of very good restaurants on the BVI, distributed throughout the various islands. A few that offer good Christmas meals (and great food in general) are the famous Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke, Scrub Island Resort, Cooper Island Beach Club, Peter Island Resort, The Dove in Road Town, Tortola and the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda.

Christmas Dinner on Board

You can also of course prepare a great Christmas Dinner on board! With some good planning and provisioning in advance you can make it as elaborate or simple as you like.

santa

Plan to have a few drinks on board and perhaps invite your neighbors over for some appetizers to spread the Christmas cheer. There is no shortage of people looking to make friends and party!

While you’re at it, why not decorate your boat in the spirit of Christmas? This will be good preparation for the Annual Holiday Boat Procession.

Christmas Parties and Events

There is a lot to see and do at this time of the year, as the BVI essentially turns into a big party from Christmas Eve to New Year’s (also known as Old Year’s).

You’ll see local homes decked out in festive lights, ribbons and ornaments as well as palms decorated as Christmas trees. Tortola’s main street is one of the centers of the action, with plenty of music, food and general merrymaking.

HAPPYholidays

On Virgin Gorda Spanish Town is the place to be, with similar festivities to Tortola, and on the 24th you can take part in the Annual Holiday Boat Procession. Kit out your boat with fun stockings, lights and other Christmas decorations and join the other charterers for the parade.

As you can see this is a bustling, joyful time in the BVI- the entire area enjoys Christmas carols on the radio stations, and people are there to really enjoy the holidays in the Caribbean. It’s a fun place to be-  and this is to say nothing of the Old Year Celebration at Foxy’s.

For more information, please feel free to contact us. Our experts have years of experience sailing the BVI at all times of year.

The LateSail Difference: Bareboat Charter Brokers with Experience

When it comes time to book a sailing charter many seasoned sailors are well aware of the fact that you don’t have to book directly from a larger operator.
Brokers can often help you find the very best deal around, especially if you’re willing to go on slightly shorter notice. Just like the people who have become experts at finding the cheapest flights on the internet, sailors are becoming much savvier when it comes to finding the best prices; much of this has to do with the broker.LateSail

So how do you choose your broker?

There are many new bareboat charter companies that have recently come onto the scene, offering good holidays and reasonable rates. LateSail, however, puts years of experience at each client’s disposal.logo 300dpi
If you haven’t already sailed in a certain destination it can be hard to figure out exactly when and where to go. Your charter will only last a short time and you want to ensure you really make the most out of every day spent out on the water. This is where an experienced team can really make the difference!
There are so many factors involved when it comes to planning a successful charter- from the group you decide to sail with to the boat you choose, and perhaps most importantly; where to go.
Friends can offer advice but when it comes time to make your payment you want to be really sure you’re getting exactly what you bargained for.
Our service means you won’t just hand over your credit card details and arrive in port to make your way wherever the wind takes you. By the time our clients are ready to board their flight to Athens, for example, or touch down in Tortola, they’ve received extensive information about every aspect of their charter.
Instead of just reviewing offers online and quickly processing payment, those who reserve with LateSail can enjoy a full informational chat if they so desire. Our staff has over 65 combined years of personal experience in many sailing destinations. This means they can advise on where to go, what time of year, what not to miss and which boat will be best.
Access to thousands of discounted charters also means we can take any and all budgets into account when searching for the right offer.
A quick look at our Meet the Team page will show you that our team members really span the globe, not only in terms of location but experience and knowledge as well. We have people with years of experience guiding groups in the Caribbean, as well as those who have a passion for sailing in the Eastern Med. LateSail’s Dan Lockyer was a professional skipper in both the Mediterranean and the Caribbean before founding the company in 1999.

One of the best reasons to give LateSail a call is that there will be someone on the other end ready to personalize your sailing experience and tailor a charter offer just for you.
Some skippers are just setting off on their first solo voyage, while others are experienced sea dogs just looking for the best offer. Whether you’re looking for a breezy sailing experience in well charted waters, or want to try something new and different we can present you with a range of options.
LateSail also recognizes the fact that some sailors have been there and done that; they know where they want to go and how much they’d like to pay, no additional information necessary. For this there is our Name your Price option, where we will find a suitable charter at the right price.
With such an experienced team clients can really enjoy a higher level of service; one where from start to finish their charter broker does everything possible to ensure each vacation lives up to all expectations.

Exploring the Blue Holes of the Bahamas

The Bahamas are a set of low-lying islands off the southeast coast of Florida, north of Cuba and the Dominican Republic. What is particularly interesting about them is that they were not formed by any volcanic activity, making them low-lying far-reaching islands with long sweeping sandy beaches.Bahamas_white_sandy_beach

One of the coolest aspects of the Bahamas’ formation and geography is the formation of blue holes. These occur when the ceilings of massive limestone caves collapse, resulting in a circular expanse of deep blue water visible from the sky.

The blue holes are located both inland and in the open ocean of the Bahamas. They are fascinating places to dive, snorkel and explore!

The Bahamas are full of blue holes, but the island of Andros has proven to be the central focus for those looking to explore the largest number of caves. Here divers of all levels can experience cave diving at its best. With the help of a guide it is possible to delve into the deepest depths of the island, following ancient underwater paths that often lead to small openings opening into majestic spaces with vast expanses.Diving_blue_hole

Snorkelers can enjoy the blue holes and caves of Andros on the southern end of the island. The openings of caves are often teeming with tropical fish that are easy to see on the water’s surface.

Long Island is home to the massive Dean’s Blue Hole, which is the deepest blue hole in the world; an interesting factoid for anyone who has experienced the famous Blue Hole of Belize or snorkeled the cenotes of the Yucatan peninsula.

A visit to any of the blue holes, large or small, is enough to make your charter in the Bahamas truly unique – as if you needed another reason to visit these beautiful islands!

Guests are fascinated by just how clearly you can see how the caves were formed when they were still above ground. Stalactites and stalagmites are only formed when exposed to oxygen and they make for a dazzling sight to see.

Contact us for more information.

Island Hopping in the BVI

The British Virgin Islands consist of more than 45 islands, many uninhabited. It is worth planning your trip so you can spend some time on as many of the islands as possible. Island hopping in the BVI offers dramatic coastlines, superb water quality and some of the most beautiful islands anywhere in the Caribbean.

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Here is link to a great article featured in the US Airways Magazine, about Island Hopping in the BVI.

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pace/usairways_september2014/#/42

Maybe it will inspire you to start planning your own trip to this beautiful sailing destination.

 

See us at Southampton Boat Show, 12 to 21 September on stand J061

SBSOnce again our team will be down at Southampton boat show between 12 and 21 September. LateSail will be exhibiting on Stand J061 and we look forward to meeting our clients both past and future. Southampton is one of our favourite shows, with so many yachts on display, and a beautiful waterside setting. What better time to start planning your next trip afloat, come and see Dave, Dan, Russell and Lynn to discuss your plans.

Online booking now LIVE

 

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We are pleased to announce that our website now includes Live availability for a limited number of fleets, enabling you to book these offers online. The live offers are shown with the LIVE symbol. We will be adding more and more yachts to the live section over the coming months so for those of you who know exactly what you are looking for you can easily book online. For those looking for a little info and advice, remember our experienced team are always on hand to help find you the best deals to suit your requirements.

Online booking now LIVE

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Sailing South to St. Vincent and the Grenadines

It would be difficult to say that anyone could ever actually get tired of sailing in the British Virgin Islands- those short passages and beautiful islands are wonderful to return to year after year. But, perhaps you’d like to try something new; to get off the beaten track.

Sailing South to St. Vincent and the Grenadines

For this there is St. Vincent. If you’ve heard that it’s a beautiful place for sailing you can be sure that the rumors are true- this southern Caribbean paradise is a bit less travelled but offers much in the way of excitement and adventure. It’s a great area to go and get away from it all. Here you can enjoy the landscape as it has been for thousands of years.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines also offer some of the same advantages as the BVIs- many beautiful smaller islands to discover, good facilities for yachties and a good mix of activities for everyone in your group.

Sailing South to St. Vincent and the Grenadines

To get there you’ll need to fly in to E.T. Joshua Airport, which is set to be joined by the Argyle International Airport within the next year. Connecting flights currently arrive from airports such as San Juan, St. Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad. There’s also the option of arriving by sea, setting off from Martinique or St. Lucia, so if you have a bit more time we can help you can explore this option.

Sailing South to St. Vincent and the Grenadines

St. Vincent is composed of the larger island of the same name and the upper two thirds of the chain of islands known as the Grenadines. Sailing south you would find yourself in the Grenadines owned by Grenada and eventually on the spice island itself.

Our St. Vincent charters leave from Blue Lagoon, which is located on the south of the island. From here you can easily sail off to explore the Grenadines and all that they have to offer.

The largest island of the St. Vincent part of the Grenadines, at a size of just 7 square miles, is Bequia which boasts the beautiful Admiralty Bay.  From here you can sail on to Mustique, a beautiful and stylish island frequented by celebrities and royalty like Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. Stop for a drink at the famous Basil’s Bar- they have a now-famous Blues Festival every Sunday which is a fun outing for the entire family.

Sailing South to St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Relax and sail to the island of Mayreau before really getting out your snorkeling or diving gear for the Tobago Cays. This marine park has so much natural wildlife to enjoy it can make for days of exploration- you’ll find everything from snorkeling to kiteboarding. There is also a protected turtle observation area around the beach in Baradel.

The park charges a fee of $10.00 per person per day, or you can choose to purchase a monthly license for the entire boat. This can be a better option if you’d like to visit for multiple days. Mooring in the Tobago Cays is available but in order to minimize environmental impact on the cays they are limited to 150 vessels. There are also no facilities on the islands, but boat vendors are plentiful especially during the high season- they can supply you with everything from ice to bread to seafood; they even hold barbecues on the beach! Union Island, Mayreau and Canouan also make for good places to head back to for the night.

Sailing South to St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Once you’ve had your fill of exploration you can head back to St. Vincent and if you haven’t already, spend some time exploring its on-land attractions. The island is home to plenty of lush tropical rainforest, the botanical gardens and if you’re up for the hike, breath-taking views from Mt. Soufriere volcano.

Contact us to find the best deals on St. Vincent sailing charters!

What to Do During your Time in the Caribbean

One of the great joys of a sailing charter in the Caribbean is the chance to just ‘be’; to focus on sailing from port to port, watch the sunrises and sunset on deck and maybe stop off for a drink at an oceanfront bar. If you want to return home feeling refreshed, there’s no reason for a rigid itinerary or cramming too much into the trip.

What to Do During your Time in the Caribbean

That being said, you may want to get to know a bit more than the shorelines of each island. You may be accompanied by active teens or even a shopaholic or two. Here is our list of the best things to do in the Caribbean – there’s a little something for everyone, allowing you to plan one carefully-chosen activity for the entire group or help each member decide on their must-see or must-do excursion to complement the sailing experience.

We also recommend reading about the islands you plan to visit to find out what makes them unique. Planning your trip is half the fun, and you’ll find that having a deeper understanding of each island’s history and culture makes your time there even better.

Natural Pursuits

If you happen to be moored on an island that has a rainforest, the chance to explore this fascinating type of eco-system is a great way to balance out your time on the water. Research the island’s national parks to plan a simple hike. St. Lucia, for example, is famous for its lush rainforest. Grenada has the seven sisters waterfalls and of course Jamaica has its Ocho Rios- be sure to bring your swimsuit!

What to Do During your Time in the Caribbean

You can choose to load up your backpack and set off on your own to explore a park (do stick to the trails) or contract a local tour company to be your guide. Aside from walking or hiking, islands with spectacular interior wildlife often offer various types of tours, which brings us to our next category.

Inland Adventure Sports

What to Do During your Time in the CaribbeanWhen you’re in a place as colorful as the Caribbean it can be great to add a one of a kind adventure experience to the amazing surroundings. These are the kinds of things that can really make for great photo opportunities and family memories- what better way to get out of your routine? Check out river rafting, zip-lining and canopy tours. Some can even be booked in advance, for the entire group.

Unique Swimming and Water Adventures

You’ll be able to moor in special snorkeling spots on your own, and these alone make for fantastic (and virtually free!) days in the Caribbean. But, if your group wants to take it to the next level, you can swim with dolphins, sting rays or even whale sharks.

Then there are the adrenaline-pumping water sports to try out, like Flyboard, surfing, windsurfing, water skiing and jet skiing. Kayaking and paddle boarding are a bit gentler although they still require a good deal of balance and skill.

The divers in your group will of course have their pick of famous dive sites, and there are ubiquitous dive operators near all worthwhile locations.

Opportunities for Relaxation

For the less thrill-seeking member of your group, there are plenty of ways to make your sailing charter into an even more-relaxing experience. Spa treatments are readily available in both smaller oceanfront establishments and larger resorts- they are a good way to relax sore muscles from sailing. You can sign up for a full Spa day or just pick and choose your Spa treatments based on healing rituals of the Caribbean. This makes for a more authentic experience; the Rosewood in Little Dix Bay’s Spa menu, for example, offers treatments like a Salt Island Scrub, Virgin Gorda Goat Milk and Honey Wrap and Natural Neem Leaf Facial.

What to Do During your Time in the Caribbean

There are also yoga, Pilates and meditation classes available (among others) for those who wish to add a holistic element to their time in the Caribbean. The islands’ laid back vibe and pristine natural beauty lend themselves perfectly to rest, revitalization and even spiritual awakening.

Cultural Expeditions

You can make your own cultural expedition out of wandering through each island’s ports and villages, strolling through the streets and chatting with shop owners or stopping for a meal in a local restaurant. Or, plan to stop in a larger city to visit museums and sites of interest. Places like San Juan, Puerto Rico  and St. George in Grenada are full of fascinating history. You’ll be able to visit pirate museums, rum factories, spice plantations and many other interesting places depending on which islands the winds take you to.

What to Do During your Time in the Caribbean

Shop Till you Drop

Shopping isn’t for everyone but most groups have at least a few people who want to take home some good souvenirs. From local crafts to natural beauty products and designer brands, the Caribbean definitely has its fair share of shopping opportunities. The US Virgin Islands are completely duty-free, offering great shopping. The French-Dutch Island of St. Martin/St. Maarten also has many boutiques and designer shops. According to Frommer’s it’s a virtual shopping mall on the Dutch side. You can read more shopping advice from Frommer’s here.

What to Do During your Time in the Caribbean

The Gourmet Caribbean

Caribbean cuisine is an adventure of flavors, spices, fresh seafood and exotic fruits. You can sample it from street corners and beachside shacks or prioritize a visit to an upscale restaurant- for some, a vacation simply wouldn’t be the same without experiencing the ‘foodie’ aspect of the destination. If this is you, you can take a look at TripAdvisor’s list of Best Restaurants in the Caribbean or just ask around on each island for the best fine dining experience.

What to Do During your Time in the Caribbean

So there you have it, a quick list of what to do in the Caribbean. This will give you an idea of what there is to do if you ever decide to tear yourself away from the sun, sea, sails and sand!

Summer Sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean

Have you sailed the Med yet? If you live in Europe you may already be accustomed to escaping to the warm Mediterranean coasts, but many sailors (EU citizens included) haven’t yet taken their first Mediterranean charter or haven’t explored some its lesser known sailing destinations.

Summer Sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean

LateSail has a number of excellent current summer bareboat charter offers for getting to know this marvellous part of the world. We thought we’d give you a preview of what’s in store for those who choose to take advantage of them, but keep in mind that these are a just a few options. If you have another destination in mind please feel free to contact our friendly advisors. We are always happy to find a charter to suit!

Summer Sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean

If you’re interested in sailing in Greece some of our best summer charter options leave from Lavrion, a great cruising hub in Athens. It’s an easy port to get to (just 35 km from the airport) and you can get there by coach bus or taxi. Departing from Lavrion you can sail to the picturesque Saronic Islands; explore ancient ruins and sandy beaches on Hydra, Aegina, Poros, Spetse. You can also choose to go to the Cyclades- these larger islands have their own unique personalities and they also offer more challenging sailing for those who prefer longer days on the waters and stronger winds.

Summer Sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean

In Croatia the main charter bases are Split and Dubrovnik- if you haven’t sailed Croatia yet you simply have to put it on your bucket list. The country has a rich history- there is plenty to see on land and at sea- from the medieval city walls of Dubrovnik to Kornati National Park; a group of stunning islands. You can also head to the cosmopolitan Dalmatian Islands, with plenty of beautiful sandy beaches. Your LateSail advisor can help you chart the best course from either destination, and even make recommendations for must-see sights to see before you board your charter.

Summer Sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean

Moving west in the Med you can choose to take your summer sailing holiday in Turkey this year, with a discounted bareboat charter or flotilla charter in Gocek or another Turkish port, if you desire. From Gocek you can sail around the absolutely breathtaking Gulf of Fethiye. It’s an easy place to enjoy nice short passages and really relax and take it all in- there are safe sheltered coves and anchorages for spending the night. You’ll also find plenty of waterfront tavernas for refreshment, and if Fethiye proves to be too calm you can also venture out a bit further; Marmaris to the east and Kalkan and Kas to the west will give you bit more of a thrill. Just ask and we can help match you to the right charter at the right price.

Summer Sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean

Off the coast of Italy you can explore the almost fairy-tale like islands of Tuscany or venture to Sardinia; the second largest island in the Mediterranean. A charter from the Tuscan coast gives you the freedom to explore the seven Tuscan islands at your leisure; each is beautiful and unique, with attractions including thermal waters, hiking trails and of course picturesque harbors and excellent cuisine. You can also choose to charter directly from Elba, which is a sight to see in and of itself. Take a few days to enjoy it before setting off on your charter of the surrounding islands and Italian coastlines.

Summer Sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean

Last but certainly not least, our charter offers for this summer include some great deals for sailing through the Spanish islands. The Balearics offer astonishingly azure waters and golden beaches. Here you can really find something for all tastes-from exciting nightlife to tranquil Mediterranean bays, postcard-perfect rocky outcrops and delicious Spanish cuisine.

Contact us for the latest offers- with a discounted charter from LateSail you can begin to explore the Mediterranean at your own pace.

Luxury Crewed Yacht Charters

Here at LateSail we specialize in all things sailing, whether you want to set off on an adventure at the helm of your own ship, join a flotilla or just lay back in luxury.

Luxury Crewed Yacht Charters

Unbeknownst to many of our loyal followers we offer great deals on luxury crewed yacht charters for the ultimate All Inclusive vacation at sea. We even have a special website dedicated to these offers.

For many of you sailors out there, there might be nothing better than setting off on a bareboat charter with your own crew- you choose your own boat, select your group and you’re in full control of where to go and what to see along the way. However you may be surprised just how wonderful it can be to leave the majority of the sailing tasks to a qualified crew. You can of course join in, but you’re free of the responsibility of captaining the ship.

Luxury Crewed Yacht Charters

Non-sailors can take advantage of a luxury crewed yacht charter to set out on a sailing voyage they wouldn’t be able to manage on their own. For both experienced and non-experienced sailors a crewed charter has many advantages.

The trip includes meals, prepared by an experienced onboard gourmet cook or even a chef, as well beverages and snacks. You’ll be served cocktails and canapés and full course meals- there’s no shopping for provisions and cleaning up the galley as this is all taken care of by your crew.Luxury Crewed Yacht Charters

Another fun aspect of crewed yacht charters is that you can often learn a bit about each crew before you book your charter. Along with boat details and full description of sleeping arrangements and features, you can read a bio of your crew members. Learn about their experience, their strengths and preferences. Some skippers and crew members are experts in certain areas-  some are particularly good with children or are divemasters or trained chefs.

Our range of crewed options includes discounted charters in the popular BVIs, charters in the Eastern Med and even the Indian Ocean and other exotic destinations. Visit our website or contact us to find out more!

Useful Phrases to use on your Next Greek Yacht Charter

Knowing a little of the language (even if it’s very little) is a great way to connect with the locals and really give you a feel for the culture. You may not become fluent during a week-long cruise but it never hurts to be able to say good morning to a fellow sailor, greet the restaurant host or attempt to order a drink. Most people truly appreciate the effort, and it usually feels better than just blurting out what you need in English. Then of course, there may be instances in which no one speaks English and even the few words you know will help you get by.

Santorini island, Greek Yacht Charter

Santorini island, Greece

 

Here are a few words and phrases to use during your next Greek Yacht Charter. We made sure to include the phonetic spellings as well. Try practising them in front of the mirror before you go!

  • Hello                       Ya-sou
  • Good morning        Kali-mera
  • Good evening        Kali-spera
  • Good night             Kali-neek-ta
  • Please                    A-RA-ka-lo
  • Thank you              Ef-hari-sto
  • Yes                         Neh
  • No                          O-hee
  • Where is it?            Pou e-ne to
  • How much is it?       Po-so ka-ni
  • My name is             Me lene ______
  • I want that              Thelo afto
  • The check             Lo-ghar-ia-smos
  • I don’t want            Den thelo
Zakynthos, Greek Yacht Charter

Zakynthos, Greece

You can also study your Greek numbers:

  • One                      en-ne
  • Two                      thee-o
  • Three                   tree-a
  • Four                     te-se-ra
  • Five                     pen-de
  • Six                       ex-ee
  • Seven                 ep-ta
  • Eight                   oc-to
  • Nine                   e-ne-a
  • Ten                     De-ka

These phrases and numbers are from http://www.greeceathensaegeaninfo.com/phrases.htm, where you’ll find a more extensive list of useful words and phrases including some colourful exclamatory terms.

Mykonos, Greek Yacht Charter

Mykonos, Greece

If you don’t quite feel comfortable with your Greek so far, don’t worry. Greeks are used to visitors and really don’t expect you to be able to speak the language. Give it your best shot and see where it takes you! For your next charter to Greece, visit our Greece section and don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Book your Charter for the Catamarans Cup in October 2014

In just five months Greece will host the 5th annual Catamarans Cup, from October 18th-24th, 2014. This gives you the perfect amount of time to book your charter for this extraordinary event!

Catamarans Cup

Catamarans Cup

The Catamarans Cup is an international regatta, which consists of a sailing race, relaxing holiday week and many fun and exciting events in between. It is held in and around the islands of Greece- you can enjoy something unique and different on every island, from special welcomes for participants to cocktail parties and dinners on the beach.

Catamaran sailing on the blue Adriatic sea

Catamaran sailing on the blue Adriatic sea

The event begins in Athens and moves on to Poros, Hydra and Monemvassia. At each port there will be a prize ceremony. To participate, take advantage of one of our great deals on yacht charters in Greece– our crew can help you find a beautiful catamaran to sail through the Greek isles and ensure you don’t miss out on any of the festivities.

Catamarans cup

Catamarans Cup, photo catamaranscup.com

Explore the ancient city of Athens before registration, enjoying the famous sights like the Acropolis, Zeus temple and Monastiraki Square. On Poros you can simply delight in amazing views of nature, or venture to the archaeological museum or ancient temple of Posidonas. Monemvassia is found in Laconia and features an inhabited but sublimely preserved medieval settlement, while Hydra has a beautiful crescent-shaped harbour.

Each place along the regatta route is fascinating on its own but you’ll also be able to enjoy Catamarans Cup events like a fabulous Cook Off in which each crew may present one or more dishes to be judged. As long as they are prepared from scratch, each dish may be prepared with ingredients from any origin- participants really go all out!

There’s also a Show Off competition in which each crew puts on a five-minute presentation of singing, dancing, acting or comedy, complete with costumes. This is followed by a Photo ‘Shoot Off’ competition; as you can see it’s a whimsical festival all around, with something for each and every taste.

To find out more about the Catamarans Cup, call our friendly advisors today!

Caribbean Foods to Try during your Sailing Vacation

One of the best ways to experience the culture of the Caribbean is to sample the local cuisine. Each country has its own special dishes and interpretation of available ingredients, and tasting your way through the islands is a great way to understand the intricate fusion of nationalities, spices and customs that are quintessentially Caribbean.Grenada

Caribbean cuisine has African, East Indian, Chinese, Native American, Arabic and European influences, resulting in an explosion of flavors.

You will find your share of tourist-style options, with hamburgers readily available in many places, but do take advantage of the opportunity to sample local Caribbean food alternatives. This is the best way to eat the freshest fish, try exotic new fruits and vegetables and perhaps best of all, strike up a conversation with a local cook. People seem to bond over food! Showing your interest in how a dish is prepared is a wonderful way to learn something new and show your respect for the culture.

Trying the island fare is also a great way to balance out your meals during your sailing vacation. It might even give the cook a well-deserved break! Unless you’re dead set on eating every meal on board, you can plan to eat at least several meals either in waterfront restaurants or further into town. Your options include everything from beach shacks to street vendors, elegant cafes and hotels.

The Basics

As we mentioned, there are many, many variations of dishes and unique preparations of ingredients but you will find common themes. Caribbean dishes often feature starches such as rice, cassava, beans, plantains and sweet potatoes. Typical vegetables include bell peppers, okra (often called ochroes) tomatoes, leafy greens, onions and sweet or hot peppers; you’ll also find legumes such as beans and black-eyed peas. Proteins will include plenty of fresh fish and conch (pronounced conk) as well as chicken, beef, goat, pork and lamb.

As for fruit you’ll find coconut, mango, ackee (a relative of the lychee), guava, breadfruit, pineapple, papaya, bananas and avocados, among many others. They are often used to flavor both sweet and savory dishes, along with typical seasonings like garlic, celery, green onions, cilantro, thyme, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and allspice.

As if that wasn’t enough to awaken your taste buds, here are a few of the most renowned dishes and snacks to try!

In Jamaica

Ackee and Saltfish

Ackee and Saltfish

Ackee and salt fish is a national favorite for breakfast or lunch- ackee actually resembles scrambled eggs when cooked! Then there are Jamaican meat patties, known for their turmeric- tinged yellow pastry, filled with spiced ground beef, curry chicken or vegetables. You can add extra spice with scotch bonnet hot sauce. Jamaica also serves up its famous Jerk chicken, marinated in spices including clove and allspice and then grilled to perfection.

In Grenada

Oil Down

Oil Down

In Grenada you’ll have to try Oil Down, a rich stew of chicken, salted meat, callaloo bush (leafy greens), coconut milk, breadfruit and dumplings. It’s simmered down in one big pot and makes for a hearty meal; great for sailors!  Since it’s the spice island you also can’t miss sampling aromatic treats like nutmeg ice cream and sweet potato pudding.

 

 

The British Virgin Islands

The BVIs are famous for their Fish and Fungi (pronounced foon-jee), a tasty combination of fresh white fish sautéed with butter, lime, peppers and onions and served alongside a combination of polenta or grits-style cornmeal with okra. The BVIs (along with many other islands) also have excellent conch fritters and spiny lobsters.

On St. Lucia

Green Fig

Green Fig

St. Lucia’s national dish is Green Fig and Salt Fish. The ‘fig’ element is actually green or unripe bananas which are boiled until tender and then stewed with salted fish, garlic, onions, celery, peppers and plenty of spices. It’s often served with a tangy cucumber salad.

Barbados

Here Flying Fish is at the top of the menu, with the most famous dish being Cou cou and Flying Fish. Cou cou is Barbadians’ version of Fungi, the savory and comforting cornmeal blend. It’s topped with fried, steamed or battered flying fish and a sauce made of tomato and herbs. Visitors also rave about Barbados’ flying fish cutters, which are fried fish sandwiches on soft rolls.

Antigua and Barbuda

Fungi and pepper pot is the national dish, a base of fungi topped with an elaborate stew. It’s made with a range of meats and vegetables including peppers, eggplant, spinach, okra, garlic, onions and spices, simmered to a richly flavored finish.

The Bahamas

When cruising in the Bahamas you’ll discover Crack Conch with Peas and Rice. This dish is composed of fresh ‘cracked’ or battered conch served alongside Bahamanian beans (or peas as they’re called here) and savory rice. It’s also often accompanied by sides of coleslaw, potato salad or macaroni salad. Another must-try dish is Bahamanian conch fritters.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Fried Jack Fish

Fried Jack Fish

St. Vincent brings you Fried Jackfish and Breadfruit, a crispy pairing of fresh fish with the unique, loaf-like texture of the ripe breadfruit, all served with a squeeze of lime. It’s great with St. Vincent’s national Golden Apple Drink.

Saint Martin/ Sint Maarten

Originating on the Dutch side of the island, St. Maarten’s national dish is Conch and Dumplings. It’s a hearty main dish of conch pounded and seasoned before being pressure cooked, served with tasty flour or cornmeal dumplings. On the French side the dish is Callaloo soup, stewed with pork, hot peppers, okra, chicken stock and spices.

As you can probably imagine, these regional dishes are just a smattering of the range of flavors and options you’ll encounter in this colorful part of the world. The Caribbean also has special flatbreads, johnny cakes, exotic smoothies, tostones, Roti, curries and so much more.

Taste as many as you can during your next sailing charter in the region- wherever you go the cuisine is guaranteed to make your trip that much sweeter!

Top Ten Snorkel Spots in the British Virgin Islands

The BVIs are a natural paradise of crystalline waters, home to a wealth of colorful fish and fascinating marine life. Snorkeling is definitely on the menu for those of us who want to experience the Caribbean to the fullest; there’s nothing quite like the quiet, peaceful sensation of slipping into warm waters and seeing what the world looks like below the surface.

Top Ten Snorkel Spots

Top Ten Snorkel Spots

If you’re wondering where to go to get the best underwater views in the BVIs, read on for our top snorkel spots. Best of all, many are only reachable by boat, meaning you’ll have a true advantage. Take a look at our top ten snorkel spots:

The Bight

Great for first time snorkelers, the Bight is located on Norman Island. Its bowl-like shape blocks the rough waters and there are two mooring balls and two restaurants as well. A popular destination, you can expect your fair share of boat traffic but the snorkelling is superb.

The Indians

Near Norman Islands are the Indians, four rocky formations. They tower about 60 feet above the surface of the water, making for a great photo opportunity as well. This snorkel spot features pretty coral gardens and schools of tropical fish.

Manchioneel Bay

On Cooper Island, Manchioneel Bay is named for the tall Manchioneel trees with green and yellow leaves and poisonous fruit. Sitting beneath the trees is not recommended either, as its sap can cause painful burns as well. In the bay, however, the waters are crystal clear and there is plenty of space for mooring.

Buttonwood Bay

This bay on Peter Islands good for both beginner and experienced snorkelers, as its underwater slope starts at about 20 feet and then goes down 40 feet. The bay is also a nice place to moor overnight.

Top Ten Snorkel Spots

Top Ten Snorkel Spots

Monkey Point

This snorkel spot is located on the southern tip of the quiet, private island of Guana. It can be easily sailed to and you can moor on a National Park Mooring buoy. Here you can see larger marine life as well, such as tarpon fish and giant sea turtles.

The Caves

Norman Island’s caves are composed of two large and one small cave where you can see bright orange cup coral  and red sponge formations on the walls. This creates a great backdrop for the colorful fish that frequent the area. The Caves are only reachable by boat.

The Rhone Wreck

The wreck is a bit better known for scuba diving but it’s actually great for snorkelling as well. There’s good visibility of the ship as it ranges from about 20 to 80 feet below the surface. The Rhone is located in Lee Bay off Salt Island and is part of a Marine Park that includes a number of dive sites.

Alice’s Backside (also known as Ginger Patches)

On the north side of Ginger Island, there are almost always calm, flat waters in this site and snorkelers enjoy a long coral reef teeming with healthy marine life. Ginger Island is uninhabited, meaning it’s virtually untouched. Overnight anchorage is not allowed, so it’s best to get there early and make a day trip out of it.

The Baths

No BVI snorkel list would be complete without mentioning the beautiful baths of Virgin Gorda, the island’s premier destination. The site has earned a well-deserved place on many traveler’s list of highlights of their trip, featuring massive granite boulders that create natural pools or baths.

Top Ten Snorkel Spots

Top Ten Snorkel Spots

The Chimney

Part of Great Dog island, the chimney has interesting underwater structures featuring amazing colors and a long reef. Here you can spot a large range of creatures; aside from schools of fish there are spiny lobsters, crabs and many types of coral.

In order to have the easiest access to the water it always helps to charter a boat or catamaran great swimming platform. If snorkeling is high on your list our experts can help you choose the best option and chart a great course for your time in the British Virgin Islands.

LateSail’s take on Travel Trends for 2014

Travel review giant TripAdvisor® released their Trip Barometer survey results for 2013, including some interesting information for both travellers and industry professionals.

It turns out that Americans do plan to travel but don’t wish to increase their travel budget- in the world of sailing and bareboat charters this is a perfect reason to reserve a charter through LateSail. We are proud to be able to provide the same high quality charters from the leading operators at better prices than people are used to.

Catamaran Anchored in Turquoise Water

Catamaran Anchored in Turquoise Water

Furthermore, people place a high priority on visiting and spending time with family and saving money.

As those of us in the boating world can tell you, a sailing vacation can really tick off all the marks in terms of planning an escape that everyone will enjoy.

Travel and be happy!

Travel and be happy!

Out at sea, people have a chance to truly relax and enjoy each other’s company. There’s the opportunity for teamwork in sailing the boat or preparing meals, and you can just ‘be’ together without too many distractions. And of course, no one can discount the sort of bonding that occurs when you’re able to explore new places together.

Imagine snorkelling in the baths of Virgin Gorda or discovering the Rhone Shipwreck. Both can be done while chartering in the British Virgin Islands. We recommend this destination for its ease of sailing, variety of things to do and just for being a beautiful Caribbean destination overall.

shutterstock_99680468

Couple snorkeling in Caribbean waters

 

TripAdvisor® highlights that “88% percent of travellers say making memories is worth making sacrifices”. But with LateSail’s pricing you’ll be able to take advantage of better prices to help offset the cost of airfare and provisions. The memories you create will be worth your savings efforts throughout the year. Especially if this is your one planned vacation, you can take comfort in knowing you are booking an excellent sailing vacation on a high quality sailboat or catamaran.

Call us to find out more.

Best Caribbean Yacht Charter Discounts for Summer/Autumn

As any travel agent can tell you, one of the best ways to get a good deal is to go in the off season. When you add sailing to the mix you’ll need to pay special attention to the weather patterns, but the Caribbean’s friendly temperatures generally mean you can sail all year long.

Best Yacht Charter, The Bath, BVI

The Bath, BVI

If you’re looking for a great charter at an excellent price, look no further. Plan for a Summer or Autumn charter! LateSail can send you to the British Virgin Islands and elsewhere in the Caribbean at discounts of up to 40%.

If you travel during this discounted time of year you’ll also find that you can go for longer- many companies are offering 10 days for 7. This allows you to really relax and settle into a breezy, prolonged cruise. You won’t have to scramble to fit in all the sights, and will have more days to live on ‘island time’, cruising from one place to the next at a nice slow pace.

Now for a word about the weather- the temperatures in the Caribbean will remain warm. Late summer and early fall bring with them more humidity and tropical rainfall. This is still a beautiful time of year to visit- you’ll have the winds to beat the humidity and some afternoon storms which can be nothing short of breath-taking. It’s great to be able to hide out in a beachfront bar during a deluge and watch the downpour over a cocktail. You’ll get an idea of what time the showers tend to begin and you can easily plan your day around them. And if you’re caught out in the rain, no worries! The water is warm and refreshing after being in the sun. For those who really like to stay cool, some yachts are even available with air conditioning- just ask our friendly experts to help you find a deal on an air-conditioned boat.

BVI_Virgin_Gorda

BVI Virgin Gorda

Here are a few examples of offers for the best Caribbean Yacht Charter you can take advantage of by calling us today:

BVI Sun Odyssey 469 10 Jul to 30 Jul, 7 days 40% Click Here
BVI Oceanis 45 10 Jul to 30 Jul, 7 days 40% Click Here
BVI Lagoon 440 1 Jul to 31 Oct, 10 days 30% Click Here
BVI Lagoon 380 1 Jul to 31 Oct, 10 days 30% Click Here
BVI Sun Odyssey 42 DS 1 Jun to 31 Jul, 10 days 30% Click Here
BVI Bavaria 45 Cruiser 1 Jun to 31 Jul, 10 days 30% Click Here

 

BVI Sun Odyssey 469 1 May to 10 Jul, 10 days 30% Click Here
BVI Voyage 440 (Cat) 1 Jun to 31 Oct, 10 days 30% Click Here
BVI Sun Odyssey 36i 1 Jun to 31 Oct, 10 days 30% Click Here
BVI Bavaria 37 Cruiser 10 Jul to 21 Jul, 10 days 30% Click Here
BVI Oceanis 473 1 Jun to 31 Oct, 10 days 30% Click Here
BVI Leopard 46 (Cat) 1 Nov to 15 Dec, 10 days 30% Click Here
BVI Leopard 42 (Cat) 1 Nov to 15 Dec, 10 days 30% Click Here

Spotlight on the RMS Rhone off of Salt Island, BVI

The RMS Rhone of the British Virgin Islands is one of the most talked-about places in travel guides for the area. The reason? It’s a century-old shipwreck with a fascinating history that also just happens to be an excellent site for diving and snorkelling.

The RMS Rhone of the British Virgin Islands

The RMS Rhone of the British Virgin Islands

The warm azure waters surrounding the BVIs are home to a wide range of marine wildlife. Colorful fish naturally flock to shipwrecks to feed on algae and swim about, and the Rhone is no different. It makes for an incredible experience for divers to explore and ‘discover’- it’s arguably the very best dive wreck in the entire Caribbean.

A Brief History

The RMS Rhone sank off the coast of the mostly-uninhabited Salt Island (once famous for its salt ponds) in 1897. The events leading up to the ultimate sinking of the ship are as dramatic and exciting as any Hollywood adventure film.

According to historians the Rhone was a British Royal Mail ship used to carry both cargo and passengers to and from the Caribbean, Central and South America. A large ship of 310 ft. long, she was known and appreciated for her relative speed of the times. The Rhone had weathered several large storms in the past and it was thought that she was fairly unsinkable.

In 1897 the Rhone arrived in Great Harbour on Peter Island to refuel. A storm was brewing and the ship took on passengers from the ship the Conway, as both captains believed it would be a safer vessel for weathering the storm.  The Rhone was to head for the shelter of open seas, and passengers were in fact tied to their berths to prevent them from falling.

The ships anchor was caught fast on a coral formation and had to be cut free. As the Rhone made its way past Salt Island’s Black Rock Point it was hit by the second wave of the hurricane, later classified as a category 3 storm and given the name San Narciso Hurricane. The ship was thrown directly onto Black Rock Point. It sank quickly, resulting in the demise of 123 passengers and crew members including the captain. Of the 146 people on board, only 23 crew members survived.

The RMS Rhone Today

Despite its unfortunate origins, the Rhone today is a popular destination for tourists. The area surrounding it was declared a Marine National Park; the only one of its kind in the British Virgin Islands. The park lies between Salt Island’s Lee Bay and Dead Man Chest Island.

Diving Rhone Wreck

Rhone Wreck

Although it’s not possible to drop anchor directly in the area around the Rhone, the park has designated mooring buoys for charterers to use. Several commercial dive operators offer their services for those wishing to dive the wreck.

Most people agree that diving the entire wreck takes two separate days- the bow section lies in deeper waters of 75-85 feet while the stern section is found in at depths of about 40-60 feet. Much to divers’ delight, it is possible to swim through the bow. The wreck is also mostly exposed, without enclosed spaces (making it less risky to dive).

For non-divers the Rhone can also be seen by snorkelling above it. As you can see by the reviews on TripAdvisor, even seasoned divers agree that you can still really enjoy the wreck by just snorkelling.

You can easily sail to the Rhone Marine Park from Tortola, Peter Island and other surrounding islands. Contact one of our agents and we’ll help you find the best deal on a bareboat charter for the BVIs and give you our best advice on visiting the Rhone.

Enjoying the Cuisine of Greece: Planning a Gourmet Charter

One of the great joys of chartering a yacht is being able to explore new places and learn about foreign cultures. Especially if you’re a foodie at heart, the best way to truly experience the essence of a destination is by connecting with its cuisine. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in Greece, where ingredients and preparation play an essential role in society.

If you’re planning a trip to this Eastern Mediterranean paradise, read on to find out what’s in store and what you can’t afford to miss. You may also pick up a few important pieces of dining vocabulary.

Mezedes

Tzatziki

Tzatziki

Also known in the singular form of meze, mezedes are small plates or appetizers served before or sometimes alongside the main course. They are often complemented by ouzo (an anise-flavoured aperitif) or tsipouro.

Some of the most popular and widely found mezedes are:

  • Fresh feta cheese served with oregano and extra virgin olive oil
  • Spanakopita- small spinach and feta turnovers wrapped in phyllo
  • Tzatziki- a savoury Greek yogurt sauce served with pita, bread, meatballs or potatoes
  • Dolmas- Grape leaves wrapped around a filling of seasoned rice with onions and dill or minced meat
  • Htapodi- Fried, grilled or boiled octopus served with lemon juice and olive oil
  • Kalamarakia- fried squid

Main Dishes

On the coasts of Greece and its surrounding islands you can often see the fish you’ll soon be eating being brought in off the boats. It’s not uncommon to see fisherman beating fresh octopi on the rocks in order to tenderise it; it is then hung on a line in the sun to dry before grilling.  Seafood is a natural choice when you’re on the water but you’ll also find plenty of grilled meats such as tender lamb and goat.

Be sure to try these quintessential main courses:

  • Moussaka- a baked casserole of spiced meat layered with eggplant and topped with a creamy béchamel sauce.
  • Pastitsio- also an oven-baked casserole dish, with pasta, béchamel sauce, minced meat and tomato sauce; the Greek answer to Italian lasagne.
  • Paidakia- lamb chops marinated in lemon, oregano, salt and pepper and then grilled
  • Gyros- a common fast food or street food, gyros consist of meat (pork, lamb, beef or a combination) roasted on a vertical spit and then served on pita bread with tomatoes, lettuce, onions and tzatziki sauce.
  • Keftedakia- fried meatballs
  • Souvlaki- skewers of grilled meat (chicken, pork or lamb).

 

Soups and Salads

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

The Greek diet as a whole is known for promoting longevity and health, and with the amount of fresh vegetables, pulses and herbs in the cuisine it’s easy to see why. Aside from the iconic Greek salad you can also sample a range of delicious soups and vegetable dishes. Vegetarians will also find a wide range of options.

  • Avgolemono- a chicken and rice soup with lemon
  • Fasolada- bean soup with plenty of vegetables and a generous amount of olive oil
  • Psarosoupa- fish soup prepared in various ways depending on location
  • Briam- baked dish of summer vegetables
  • Horta- greens (often wild), often served as an appetizer with potatoes and Greek bread
  • Lachanosalata- shredded cabbage salad with olive oil, salt, vinegar and lemon

Sweets

Desserts are a real treat anywhere in Greece, with ingredients such as fresh local honey, local walnuts, farm-fresh butter, sweet cream and lemon.

Feed your sweet tooth with these options and don’t forget to buy a box of baklava to bring back to the boat!

  • Koulourakia- cookies made with butter or olive oil
  • Loukoumades- fried balls of dough (much like doughnuts) with honey, cinnamon and sesame seeds.
  • Amygdalopita- Almond pie
  • Loukomi- a starch and sugar confection also known as Turkish delight
  • Galaktoboureko- layers of phyllo filled with custard and soaked in honey-lemon syrup
Green Olives

Green Olives

There are thousands of delicacies to discover in each part of Greece- each island has its local specialties and of course regional wines and liqueurs. Allow yourself plenty of time to languish over long, relaxed meals with plenty of courses.

You’ll also find plenty of tasty provisions for meals prepared on board- for personal recommendations of where to go and what to eat, feel free to contact us.  You can also browse our selection of yacht charters for Greece.

A Splash of Tropical Flavor: Best Caribbean Drinks to Try during your Yacht Charter

For many of us the idea of sailing in the Caribbean means getting away from it all; escaping to a place where there are ‘no worries’, no stress and no work to finish. Days can be spent languishing on deck or on warm white sand beaches, with, you guessed it, a refreshing tropical beverage in hand.Cocktail on a beach

The Caribbean is famous for high quality rum and fresh fruit juices and these, along with other liqueurs and flavorings, are used in seemingly endless creations to delight visitors and locals alike. You may have tried a mojito or piña colada in a bar in your home town, but there’s nothing quite like sipping on a tropical concoction with those very same tropics surrounding you.

When in France you can taste the essence of the countryside in every sip of fine wine; in Russia you can sample regional vodka to really get a feel for the culture. The Caribbean’s answer to local beverages is a number of layered, perfectly blended, mixed and shaken cocktails, served up with a smile.

Every bar and restaurant has their own variations on popular favourites. Here are a few to keep an eye out for during your next charter in the region.

painkiller

Painkiller. This classic recipe can be found on many if not all drink menus in the Caribbean. It’s perfectly balanced blend of coconut rum, rum and fruit juices is great for quenching your thirst. As its name implies, the Painkiller may even help with any aches and pains you might be feeling after a day of sailing or swimming. It’s equally good for those who’ve spent the day lounging on the sand.

sex-on-the-beach-cocktailSex on the Beach. A blend of vodka, Midori and Chambord shaken with pineapple, orange and cranberry juice, this classic Caribbean staple has been popular for decades and possibly even centuries.

mojito-cocktail

Mojitos. Whether you choose the traditional mojito blend or one that’s been creatively doctored up with fruit juices, the lime and mint in mojitos make them extremely refreshing. The standard is a blend of fresh mint leaves (muddled in the bottom of the glass), white rum, sugar, lime and sparkling water.

rum_punchRum Punch. Known by various aliases such as Plantar’s Punch and Bajan punch, this recipe traditionally calls for one part sour, two parts sweet, three parts strong, and four parts weak. There are thousands of varieties, normally featuring some combination of rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine and bitters.

margaritaLime, Mango, Strawberry or Tamarind Margaritas. This Mexican favorite takes on new depths of flavor when paired with local Caribbean fruits. Its combination of imported tequila, salt and lime is a time-honored crowd pleaser. If you’ve never tried tamarind, do give it a go- it’s a tangy sweet flavor you won’t soon forget!

cubalibreCuba Libre. The perfect, simple departure from the standard rum and coke; the Cuba Libre simply adds lime juice. It’s a great way to really taste the notes in the locDaiquirially produced artisanal rums.

Daquiri. Another excellent Cuban invention, the Daquiri combines white rum, sugar, lime and and the fruit of your choice- you’ll find anything from strawberry to mango to local sweet banana daquiries.

rum_runnerRum Runner. This sweet, tasty blend of banana liqueur, blackberry brandy and 151-proof rum is sure to ease your mind at any time of day or night. It’s a strong, fruity mix that be tasted with caution, as with any drink that features 151.

You can learn more about local Caribbean drinks and their interesting origins by checking out GoCaribbean.com’s list– many of the drinks have roots that date back prohibition and the arrival of the Europeans in the region.

The Caribbean is also home to a number of great beers including Red Stripe, Kalik and Carib. Or, make a pit stop at a local microbrewery.  The famous Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke, for example, now brews smooth Caribbean draft beers.

Yacht Charters in Thailand: The Seasons Explained

ThailandSailing is one of those instances when you are completely at the mercy of the weather. As any experienced sea dog can tell you, it’s important to plan your trip carefully according to nature’s whims at each time of year. This is especially true in Thailand, where the wet and dry seasons are very pronounced.

Thailand’s coastal regions have what are known as the Northeast Monsoon (or dry season) and Southwest Monsoon (or rainy season).

The Northeast Monsoon runs from the beginning of November to the end of April. During this time you can expect stable winds from the Northeast, at force 2 to 4. Temperature remain at about 30° C or 86° F. You’ll have nice dry weather and with plenty of sun; ideal for sailing and exploring.

Thailand 2The Southwest Monsoon runs from May to October with south-westerly winds at force 2 to 6. The winds pick up during this season, making for more exciting and challenging sailing. You will, however, experience a good bit of rain and it may be unpredictable. In the late afternoon there are often 1-2 hour showers. Although rare, you may have extremes of two entire weeks of sunshine or 2-3 days of continuous rain.

During the true monsoon season from July to October there can be extended periods of rain lasting up to 5 days.

The rainy season also prevents visitors from sailing to the Similan Islands or anchoring on the West Coast of Phuket. It’s important to note that on the west coast the rainy season hits hardest between April and October while on the east coast you’ll get the most rain from September to December.Thailand 3

Most sailors agree that the best time for a sailing holiday in Thailand is from November to March, during the cooler Northeast Monsoon season. For more information on chartering in Thailand, contact our friendly advisors.

Exploring Grenada and the Spice Islands

If you’re looking forward to a beautiful charter in the Grenadines (or haven’t made up your mind yet!) we can give you a good idea of what to expect. Also known as the ‘Islands of Spice’ this beautiful island country is made up of three larger islands- Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique- and a number of smaller, mostly uninhabited islands and islets in the lower half of the Grenadines.

nutmeg_Grenada

So why the name Spice Islands? Grenada is one of the world’s largest exporters of nutmeg and mace, with large plantations of these fragrant crops.  You’ll also find cocoa, cinnamon, clove, ginger, bay leaf and allspice among others. Tourists to the region can enjoy a visit to places like the Belmont Estate to see how the spices are cultivated and processed, and of course to buy spices, souvenirs and sweets.

Grenada is also home to the world’s first Underwater Sculpture Gallery, which can be explored by divers. There are also about 50 other intriguing dive sites, the most notable of which is the Bianca C; a huge wreck that has been compared to the Titanic.Under_Water_Sculpture

On land one can visit the capital of St. Georges, one of the prettiest in the Caribbean. Activities range from river rafting to hiking to the Mt. Carmel waterfalls, exploring colourful spice markets or enjoying world-class fine dining. Sailors often plan their trip around one of the islands’ exciting festivals such as the Spicemas Festival, or to participate in one of the country’s acclaimed regattas.

Grenada has eight marinas and makes a great base for exploring Carriacou and Petit Martinique. You can also sail on through the Grenadines to reach the impressive Tobago Cays National Park with its horseshoe reef.GRENADINES _Salt Whistle Bay_Tobago Cays

Clearance is required must be carried out at an official Port of Entry: Grenada Yacht Club, St. George’s, Spice Island Marina, Prickly Bay, Hillsborough or Carriacou. Read more about clearance, exit and documentation requirements here.

Browse our Grenada yacht offers and contact us for more information- the Spice Islands await!

Sailing Out of Split, Croatia: A Sample Itinerary

You may have heard that Croatia is a wonderful sailing destination, and it’s true. The country’s pristine coastline and Renaissance coastal towns make it a dream for anyone who wishes to experience the joys of the Easter Mediterranean aboard a yacht.Split coastline

Sailing out of Split allows you to enjoy the city’s historic hospitality and tour sites like the Diocletian Palace before boarding your yacht. You can then embark on a cruise through the Dalmatian Islands, where you’ll find a number of world-class tourism sites and natural wonders to explore.

A typical 7-8 day cruise will allow you to visit national parks, swim in crystal clear waters, sample Mediterranean cuisine and discover the beautiful nuances of the different islands. LateSail can help you plan a perfect route based on our personal experiences.Split

From Split you can sail to Makarska for the night. Move on to Mljet during the morning’s sail and spend the afternoon exploring the island’s national park with its pine forests and inland salt water lakes.

Dubrovnik is an easy next stop; you can get lost in the city’s old cobbled streets, surrounded by intact fortress walls.

Move on to the pretty harbour town of Trstenik on Sipan Island; it is a charming fishing village flanked by pretty coves and beaches. You can also relax and enjoy fresh seafood and other delicacies waterfront restaurants and pubs.Split

Sail to the romantic island of Korkula, with its medieval enchantment- you can even climb the tower where Marco Polo was said to live. After Korkula you can choose to go to the Pakleni Islands (there are about 20 small islets to admire) and then to the island of Brac before returning to Split.

Throughout your Croatian sailing adventure you’ll be able to enjoy swimming, snorkelling and touring in beautiful weather; the perfect blend of nature and culture during a yacht holiday. View our discounted offers from Split and please feel free to call us for more information.

Start the New Year with a Bareboat Charter Vacation

After the inevitable over-indulgence of the winter holidays, relaxing on a beach and gorging on food may seem a bit detrimental to your New Year’s resolutions. But who doesn’t want to start the New Year with a beautiful getaway? There’s nothing quite like having the wind in your hair and spending hours at sea to refresh your soul.shutterstock_137118641

This time of year, when we’re all feeling a bit more ritualistic than usual, is the perfect time to start fresh with a bareboat charter.

Sailing is also a good way to stay active during your vacation- of course you’ll have plenty of time to just relax on deck or lounge on beaches but you’ll also be able to enjoy the things like pulling ropes and managing the tiller during stronger winds. Even just sitting idly on the boat will gently engage your muscles as your body compensates for the lack of sturdy balanceshutterstock_148561793

During the spring months you can also often find some of the best weather and sailing conditions. The British Virgin Islands for example have beautiful weather and fewer crowds to contend with. You can often find great rates on airfare and accommodation for the nights before and after your charter. This, paired with a discounted bareboat offer makes for a winning combination. USNews.com says to go in March, April or early May to really make the most of the quieter season.

Our charter offers make it easy to slip away for a last-minute charter or one that’s a bit farther in the future- you can channel all that revitalized energy to start the New Year off strong upon your return. Or, jump back into work and school and look forward to bareboating over spring break or another upcoming holiday- the choice is yours!

Browse our offers for your favourite destination or call us for an expert recommendation.

The British Virgin Islands: A Must for any Traveller’s Bucket List

There are certain places in the world that you simply have to see to believe. If you love the balmy tropics (and who doesn’t?) then the BVIs definitely won’t disappoint. We’re confident recommending this beautiful corner of the world to both novice and experienced sailors- it simply has it all. This month Fodor’s even mentions the islands in their newsletter of places to see before it’s too late.shutterstock_58847014

One of the things that make the BVIs particularly suited to sailing is that there’s a definite ‘yachtie’ culture in the area. It’s always great to be around like-minded people, and although some of us may dream of navigating uncharted waters without another boat in sight, sometimes it can be very comforting to travel the road more travelled with all amenities within easy reach.

Bareboating in the region offers the picturesque Caribbean vistas that make for the perfect photo opportunity at every turn. If you’re considering the Caribbean, it’s easy to see why the BVIs are so popular- here you’ll find azure waters, white sands and emerald mountains rising up out of the sea. It also doesn’t hurt that the people of islands like Tortola, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada are warm and welcoming.TM_JUL13_BVI_Peter_Island_Deadmans_Bay_012

Perhaps best of all, you can choose between a social island-hopping experience or really sail away from it all, if privacy is high on your list of priorities. Make friends with other sailors, go to beach parties and high-traffic attractions or simply slip away from the crowd and escape to lesser known islands for true relaxation. There are over 50 other smaller islands and cays to explore- call us and we’ll be happy to give you our best recommendations.TM_JUL13_BVI_Peter_Island_Deadmans_Bay_011

Visit our BVI section to find the best offers for any dates you may have in mind.

Benefits of a Flotilla Holiday

To flotilla or not to flotilla is a question asked by many a bareboat charterer. It can be hard to relinquish even a small part of the independence of a true bareboat charter, and visions of bumping hulls with a group of other boats can put a bit of a damper on your vacation plans.

Flotillas, however, can be much different than previously imagined. They offer several incomparable benefits and can in fact make your time out on the water worry-free and completely relaxing. Read on to learn more about the benefits of sailing as part of a flotilla.

What a Flotilla Really Is

Popular in places ranging from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Caribbean Sea, flotillas are a group of sailing yachts that travel together on the same course.shutterstock_98793359

Support when you Need It

When travelling as part of a flotilla you’ll have the support of a lead boat and crew to check weather conditions and help with things like mooring correctly. Even if you’re an experienced skipper it can be a great relief to have help available if something goes wrong, such as crossing anchors with another boat or even just sorting out harbour fees.

Guidance with Routes

Flotilla sailing itineraries are normally planned around the best ports and sights the destination has to offer. Your lead boat’s crew will have insider information and be able to advise the group on the perfect places to go.

Fun for Kids and Adults

shutterstock_129283922As part of a flotilla, there will be people to hang out with on land. During school holidays you can also expect to sail with a good number of kids and teens, which can be fun for the younger members of your family.

Independence

The great thing about flotillas is that you can be as participative or independent as you like. The group follows a general itinerary but you set off when you like and at your own pace. You can cruise slowly to the next port or sail hard and get there early.

For more information on flotilla holidays in the Eastern Mediterranean or other destinations, contact your LateSail advisor today.

Caribbean Travel Tips for Bareboat Charters

Each part of the world naturally has its peculiarities- from weather patterns to local customs that informed travelers should be aware of.

The Caribbean is home to a range of cultures and opportunities for sailing, but in general it is a warm, tropical region with its fair share of humidity and insects.  It’s a good idea to read up on your destination island’s local culture and sailing specifics, but there are a few universal travel tips anyone can follow in order to have a great Caribbean sailing vacation.Caribbean beach

What to Bring

Our top tips for Caribbean travel start with packing for your trip. As you’ll be spending much of your time exposed to the elements, bring comfortable cotton clothing, a sun hat, polarized sunglasses and comfortable shoes for on deck and on land- you’ll thank yourself for this later on. You’ll also want to stock up on sunblock- of course it is available in local shops but why not bring a big bottle of your favorite brand? It’s worth the extra weight in your suitcase.

Bring a trusted, proven brand of insect repellent. When you’re out on the water the winds may be enough to keep the insects at bay but there’s always the possibility of an attack. Mosquitos are ever-present and the no-see-ums (AKA sand flies, biting midges and jejénes) show no mercy. It may be wise to pack some powerful soothing cream in case of any stray bites.

Make sure to bring your passport and keep careful track of it throughout your trip. A plastic passport case can help keep yours in good shape. Well before your trip, make sure your passport is valid for at least six more months. Also, check any minors’ passports- they expire sooner than adult passports.Pigeon Island in St Lucia

Purchase travel insurance if necessary and make sure it covers all eventualities related to adventure sports like diving and zip-lining.

Do your Research

Where are you planning to go? There may be certain cultural norms to follow or things you’d better avoid. ActiveCaribbean.com recommends, for example, avoiding the use of camouflage clothing. It also pays to be cautious about nude or topless sunbathing- while it’s acceptable on certain beaches it may not be on others.

Researching your destination in advance can also help you find out about the best things to see and do in advance- many islands have their own fun carnivals and celebrations that can make for a great cultural experience on land.

Show your respect for island inhabitants by asking permission before snapping photos and carefully adhering to all rules when visiting sites and landmarks.

Water Safety

A visit to the Caribbean wouldn’t be complete without some form of water sport, even if your interpretation includes nothing more than some light swimming and snorkelling.

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Stay safe in the water by swimming in calm, designated areas when possible. Don’t touch coral or animals such as sting rays- aside from damaging the wildlife you could be setting yourself up for a powerful sting or burning reaction.

Be aware of the dangers of touching sea urchin spines and certain forms of algae and seaweed- the locals will be your best resource for water safety information. Don’t be afraid to ask if there’s anything you should look out for.

Also, keep a close eye on anyone who may be a less experienced swimmer. Life jackets and other flotation devices can really help everyone to be able to enter the water and enjoy the clear waters and colorful fish.

Your LateSail advisors are experienced in sailing in the Caribbean and can let you in on the best places to go according to your goals for your trip. Ask us about the best times of year to visit, what to see and how to prepare!

Sharing your Sailing Experience with the World

Facebook coverphoto LS caribAt LateSail we love hearing about people’s sailing experience, especially after we’ve helped them to find the perfect charter option in a beautiful place.

When you go on a sailing holiday, it’s great to be able to share your experience with friends and relatives (and us!). You can do this through photos and stories when you return, or turn to the internet to quickly diffuse the information on social media or blogs.

Connect with us on Facebook and tell us all about your journey, or tag us in your posts so we can learn about your trip. Your experience and tips on our profile can be very helpful to other sailors! You may even help someone take the plunge and join a flotilla or go bareboating for the first time.

You can also create your very own sailing blog by visiting http://www.sailblogs.com. Write about your experience, post photos and connect with other sailors. Send family members and friends the link to your blog and everyone can see what you’ve been up to. They can share the link and make comments as well.

For sailing advice and a good community of like-minded people, Sailnet is a fun place to hang out. Here you can get specific sailing questions answered, learn more about each type of boat and read destination reviews. You can also of course make your contribution by helping others and sharing tips.

If you’d like some great sailing inspiration, here’s a great list of sailing blogs, where you might just discover your next must-see destination.

Organise a Sailing Holiday to Greece or Croatia

If you’re looking for a fun getaway with a group of friends sailing can be the perfect way to spend time together, discover new things and above all, have fun! Options like gulet holidays in the Eastern Med are very popular and for good reason; they allow travellers to experience the best of this region and its stunning waters. There are also several other ways for groups of friends to go sailing in Greece and Croatia. We’ll help you find the best one for your needs.

Bareboat Charter

Hiring a yacht and taking it out on your own is reserved for those with sailing experience. This can be a great option for those with a seasoned skipper in the group. The rest can go along as members of the crew and divvy up responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning and helping to sail.shutterstock_87908182

Flotilla Charter

Flotilla charters can allow your group to be part of an even larger group. They have the benefit of a lead boat and crew to guide the group and check weather conditions. Flotillas are good for groups with a bit less sailing experience or with people who are recently certified.shutterstock_125313797

By the Cabin Charter

Cabin charters are a similar concept as a gulet holiday, but they’re a bit more luxurious. You’ll reserve separate cabins aboard a bigger yacht. With large enough groups you may even have the entire yacht, with a skipper and crew to sail and also serve meals and drinks.

Powerboat Charter

Powerboats do not require the same level of experience as a bareboat yacht charter, as there are no sails to contend with. You also have the option of hiring a crew for an even more luxurious experience.474pc-Power-boat-yacht-charter-vacations_w-kayak

Crewed Yacht Charter

Crewed yacht charters allow you and your group to really relax and enjoy your destination. These offer a bit more pampering, with a full crew to manage the boat and attend to your every need.

The costs for these sailing options for Greece and Croatia can be calculated on a per-person basis, making it easy to plan your holiday as a group. Contact us to find out more!

Exploring North America by Boat

Often when we think of the most beautiful and exciting places to sail, we imagine the Caribbean or the Mediterranean. And it’s true, both of these destinations offer so many islands and beautiful coastlines you’d be hard-pressed to say anything negative about them. But, there are many beautiful sailing grounds that can easily go overlooked; one of these is North America.

LateSail’s got you covered for some of the best sailing in the region, with charters for the Northwest, East Coast and of course sunny Florida.

Sail Chesapeake Bay for wonderfully protected waters and other advantages including good anchorages and a forgiving bottom. The towns and villages in this region are truly a joy to discover. Annapolis is the largest metropolis, but you can also experience the charm of the smaller places that have made the New England region so famous.shutterstock_60803848

The bay is over 200 miles along, and is known for its fishing industry. This benefits boaters in one of the most important ways of all: great food! Sample the freshest lobster, crab, oysters and other fresh seafood prepared New England-style. There’s also great sailing culture along the bay, meaning it’s easy to meet locals and get help if you need it.

If you’ve dreamed of sailing in Florida, you can cruise through the keys on the southwest side of the state. It’s an easy journey and you’ll be able to enjoy the gorgeous tropical climate of the Caribbean. There are also coral reefs and great marina facilities.shutterstock_126403745

Heading back up north, we have excellent options for sailing near Vancouver, Canada. This area’s vast majestic beauty is sure to make a deep impression, and opportunities for hiking, swimming and many other activities. Discover dramatic waterfalls and bring your binoculars to spot an abundance of wildlife including whales, eagles and deer.shutterstock_140870782

Airports for these destinations are easy to access, and you’ll find friendly helpful tour operators to help you get going. Call us to find out more about sailing in North America.