in April and May
LateSail has been offering worldwide discounted yacht charters since 1999, and our sales team brings even more years more experience to the helm. So we’ve learnt a few things along the way, and this charter guide is designed to share some of our top tips with you.
What’s the right type of yacht charter for me?
At LateSail we pride ourselves in not only finding the best price, but also the best fit for you. That might mean the specifics of the yacht, the charter company, or recommending a destination to sail from. Another important decision to make is whether to sail bareboat, flotilla, crewed, or by-the-cabin. We 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 charter, or have been doing the same type of sailing holiday for many years, perhaps it is time to try something different?
Below we have highlighted some of the key factors relevant to each type of charter.
A great way to hone your sailing skills on a variety of yacht models, the ultimate freedom, a smart alternative to being committed to owning a yacht. It is a competitive market, so you can be price conscious as well.
A flotilla is a sailing convoy, with numerous boats following a set route together. You have the support of a lead crew as part of the flotilla, so good for confidence building, especially if you are new to sailing. Equally good if you have experience but enjoy the social aspect of meeting, and socialising with other like minded individuals. Particularly good for families, as there is always something for kids to do.
Sail on a yacht with permanent crew who take pride in their yacht, and know the sailing area intimately. It is 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 are a wide range of options and prices vary depending on a number of factors. The yachts typically have many extra amenities on board such as wakeboarding, windsurfing and diving. We know the boats, and most importantly, the crews, and we work with you to tailor make the perfect holiday.
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. On most cabin charters you will find yourself being waited on, and 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.
What’s most important to me, and when to get in touch with LateSail?
Once you have nailed at least 2 of the following 3 factors – dates, destination and yacht size – it’s time to get in touch. We list thousands of real-time offers on LateSail.com, but if you can’t see what you’re looking for, or you prefer us to do the searching for you, our team is ready and eager to help.
Once you’ve got those 3 fixed factors in place, the more detail you can give us about your preferences, the more helpful it is for us to locate the perfect yacht charter to match. Consider some of the following:
If you are keen to go sailing, but flexible or undecided on dates, destination and yacht size, we can help with that too:
When to charter?
All destinations have a low, mid and high season throughout the year. High season will offer the best weather and sailing conditions, but will also mean prices and crowds are at their highest. Caribbean and exotic destinations, such as the Seychelles and Thailand offer good sailing and temperatures year round, but for low season you will find humidity higher and more possibility of rain.
Spring in the Mediterranean is popular with a number of sailors for lower prices, first charters of the season on yachts after their winter maintenance. The sea temperature is much lower than the corresponding late season price point, but as long as you don’t mind a brisk swim then it is a good time to charter. Between July and October in the Caribbean you can take advantage of low season rates and a number of companies also offer 10 days for the price of 7.
Don’t underestimate the importance of flights when deciding when and where to charter. Finding the most affordable dates for your preferred destination, or the most affordable destination for your preferred dates, is a big cost factor in getting the best overall value for your sailing trip.
Where to charter from?
The points mentioned in deciding when to charter can naturally lead you to particular destinations, but there are number of other factors to consider.
Local costs – in the Mediterranean it is worth considering moorings fees. In Western Med and Croatia you should budget around €50-60 per night. In Greece and Turkey you can largely avoid paying any mooring fees. For the Caribbean and exotic destinations, while you will still pay for marinas, you typically end up anchoring for free, or taking a mooring buoy for €20-30.
If you are a food expert, then considering your culinary options during charter could be a deciding factor. A week of Italian, Greek or Caribbean food could sound like heaven, but for some it might be food hell!
Challenging sailing – big seas and winds can be exhilarating and fun for some sailors, but a relaxing week away with line-of-sight sailing might be more what you had in mind. BVI, Ionian in Greece, and Southern Turkey are great places to enjoy short hops between islands and relatively easy sailing.
What is the right boat for me?
Firstly the most important decision to make is, catamaran or monohull?
We know it can be difficult to understand the technicalities of boat specifications when you are choosing your yacht charter. One of the questions we get asked the most from customers booking a bareboat yacht charter is, what is the difference between sailing a catamaran or monohull. Many people want to choose the yacht which offers the most pleasurable voyage, but luckily both offer a fantastic experience. Let’s take a quick look at the main differences.
Moving around on board
Catamarans are a great option if space is a priority, particularly for families. They boast more interior space, so the kids can play without getting in your way. Also, the two hulls and cabins offer greater privacy so they are also the best option for sailing with friends or for honeymooners. Catamarans are the perfect choice for sailors wanting wide, open interiors and easy navigation from cockpit to saloon.
Comfort on the ocean waves
In calm conditions catamarans give a stable, comfortable ride, which is great for children or anyone prone to seasickness. In windier conditions you will find a catamaran crashes into the waves more, where as a monohull becomes the smoother ride as it cuts through waves. Catamarans are also more comfortable at night, as they tend not to rock around like a monohull can.
Getting to shore
You may find some of your charter stops-offs are in shallow waters, and sailing a catamaran is ideal for this. Their hulls are shallower, and you’ll be able to get closer to shore making dingy access a bit easier.
Performance and speed
Purists love monohulls for their sailing performance and speed. The classic nautical “V shape” reduces water resistance at the bow and gives a very sharp turning radius. It is also worth considering that a catamaran offers very easy handling, with an engine in both hulls.
Monohull or catamaran charters are often similar where there is equal supply, although two hulls will demand a higher price. Catamarans are more plentiful in the Caribbean, Seychelles and other tropical destinations. Where you will see a bigger difference is in marina fees. You need more space to berth a catamaran, so finding a marina berth in peak season will be more difficult, and can be costly.
Which boat you choose depends on the experience you’re looking for and your budget. If your ideal is for a more purist sailing experience, then a monohull will suit you better. If you want a comfortable sail with more privacy and space, then a catamaran would be a more enjoyable choice.
Other things to consider regardless of yacht type, are your preferred specifications:
- Year of build. There is something very attractive about chartering a brand new yacht, although worth considering the possibility of teething issues of a yacht recently arrived in a fleet from the factory and straight into charter. If you are choosing a new model because you want to avoid technical problems during your charter, our advice would be to charter last year’s newest model that has already got any teething issues ironed out. There is also a line of thought that says “they don’t build them like they used to”, so don’t be too quick to rule out an older model. Maintained by a good fleet, there can be a considerable cost saving, without sacrificing the enjoyment of your charter.
- Size and layout. It goes without saying that you need a yacht with enough berths for your crew, also important to remember if you have booked a skipper or hostess they will need their own cabin too. Number of heads is worth considering, for example you can get a 6 berth yacht from 34ft+, but yachts with 2 heads start from 38/39ft+. A bigger yacht gives you more living space, but also commands a higher price point, so getting the balance between what you need, want and can afford is key.
- Other things to consider can be in-mast furling or battened mainsail, roller or self-tacking jib, manufacturer, performance rigging, large drop down transom, and holding tanks. A given on newer models, but if looking at older models you might want to check that it has GPS with chartplotter, autopilot, and possibly even wheel or tiller steering.
When is the best time to book your charter?
We may be called LateSail, but we’d be quick to admit there are benefits to booking early as well as last minute.
Last minute, fleet operators are more receptive to lower offers on the price, as it becomes increasingly likely that the yacht will not get booked, and may end up sitting on the quay. That said, the cost of flights typically goes up last minute, so you need to find a combination of yacht and flight that offers the best deal overall. So our recommendation to bag a last minute bargain is to call us 4-6 weeks before you wish to charter.
Early booking discounts typically vary from 5-15%, and can usually be combined with boat show or repeat customer discounts. Once you factor in a much wider choice of yachts available and lower flight prices you can still secure a great deal by booking early. We recommend booking at least 6 months in advance. Perfect if you are know what you want, and want to be cost savvy.
What to consider when making the final decision on which yacht to charter?
The best price is not necessarily the best value, and a new yacht isn’t necessarily maintained as well as an older model. So which offer to choose?
This is the point at which you can really take advantage of LateSail’s experience in the charter market. We work with all the major charter fleets worldwide, and ask for feedback at the end of each charter, so can offer unbiased advice on what represents the best value for your budget.
‘Name your price’ and LateSail Price guarantee
Great customer service and best value are the foundation of LateSail’s business. Our ‘Name Your Price’ option puts pricing power in your hands. Once you’ve told us your charter requirements, and the price you are prepared to pay, and LateSail will check across the whole charter market to find you the best match. We also offer the LateSail Price Promise, quite simply we guarantee to find you the best price. Should you find a better price elsewhere we guarantee to beat it. See our website for further details.
Everyone’s idea of the perfect sailing holiday is slightly different, but the LateSail team’s 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. Get in touch today: