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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?
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
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?
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?
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.
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 email@example.com.
Find out more about Francisco’s favourite destinations by using the links below –