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.

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.

Dubrovnik

To help you budget for your charter and to give you an idea of the maximum price you would pay for moorings, here is a guide to ACI Marina prices based on a 40ft monohull sailing in high season, in the most popular sailing grounds between Split and Dubrovnik (prices per day):

ACI Trogir: €77

ACI Split: €90

ACI Milna: €72

ACI Vrboska (HVAR): €70 (Monday to Thursday) €56 (Friday to Sunday)

ACI Palmižana (HVAR): €80

ACI Korčula: €79

ACI Dubrovnik: €81 (Monday to Thursday) €105 (Friday to Sunday)

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.

Zadar

  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.

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!

snorkelling

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.