Where can you guarantee value and fantastic sailing if you fancy a holiday on the water this summer, but don’t want to break the bank? We asked three industry experts to make recommendations and here’s what they said:
Ionian Islands, Greece
For a budget-friendly sailing holiday Howard Richardson, Managing Director of Nautilus Yachting, recommends the Ionian Islands in Greece.
“The scenery is beautiful and there are numerous secure anchorages and picturesque harbours. There are no marina fees, no mooring fees and plenty of choice of bars and tavernas ashore which keep prices of eating out reasonable.”
What to expect:
A sailing holiday is the perfect way to discover the beautiful unspoilt Ionian Islands, nestling in clear blue seas, hillsides clad in olive and cypress. Every night you'll be in the best harbourside location or in your own secluded anchorage - a different place to discover every day. All the yachts have a fridge and cooker onboard and self-catering for breakfast, lunch and snacks helps keep the costs down, especially if you have hungry kids onboard.
What can Nautilus Yachting offer?
Nautilus Yachting offers bareboat yacht charters for skippers who like to explore on their own and flotilla sailing holidays for those who prefer to sail in company. “We can add an instructor onboard any flotilla yacht if you need to convert dinghy or motorsailling skills into yachting, or if you want to learn from scratch,” says Howard.
There’s a full range of yachts in the Ionian from small 30’ yachts from around £525/week to top end 50’ yachts from around £2,500/week.
This personal recommendation comes from Simon Boulding, Events Director at Sunsail.
“Whether you want to take the family away during the school holidays, have a birthday or anniversary to celebrate, or just want to sail away with friends – there’re so many interesting places to visit from Sunsail’s base in the UK, Port Solent,” says Simon.
What to expect:
Due to its closeness to Port Solent, the Isle of Wight is probably the first destination most sailors head for and some might have seen Dippy the penguin. Dippy ordinarily lives at Seaview Wildlife Encounter and his adventures see him travel through time and space to different locations on the Isle of Wight.
Other day sailing options are a visit to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, a shopping trip to Gunwharf Quays or perhaps a trip to see the Needles just enjoying the simple fun of sailing the Solent.
What can Sunsail offer?
The yacht is a fabulous 8 berth Beneteau First 40 and for the bank holiday weekend 22 – 24 August 2014 the price is at £950.* Price includes charter of a Sunsail First 40 from 1900hrs on Friday until 1700hrs on Monday. Fuel option of returning the yacht refuelled or simply pay £18 per day and don’t worry about refuelling.
Charlie Hopkinson, MD of Imaginative Traveller says it would be hard to beat a Greek Island odyssey from Santorini to Mykonos. His company has launched just this trip at the cost of around £895 per person for 8 days.
"What's fantastic about this trip -apart from the incredibly competitive price - is that you are free to sit back and relax OR join in and help the crew as you sail the gorgeous sapphire waters of the Mediterranean,” says Charlie.
Blending active adventure with arguably Greece's most beautiful, historic and culture-packed islands makes for a wonderful holiday. Each night is spent aboard the 44ft yacht, where breakfast and lunch are also served, while days are spent sailing between islands and exploring the rich history and culture of each.
What to expect:
Starting in Santorini, there's time to check out the awe-inspiring caldera, the island's most famous attraction next to its iconic blue-roofed, white-washed walled buildings. From there, it's a short trip to neighbouring Ios, the burial place of the Greek poet, Homer, where you can wander around the restaurants and bars, go shopping or simply laze on the beach. Day 3 involves a 4 hour sail to the mountainous island of Amorgos, famous as the location for Luc Besson's film, 'The Big Blue'.
Charlie says Days 4 and 5 take you from the least populated Small Cyclades islands to the largest Cycladic island, Naxos - contrasting the sleepy tavernas with the much more bustling nightlife of Hora, with two days spent here. “The trip ends in Mykonos, said to be named after Apollo's grandson and the mythological base for the deadly battle between Zeus and the Titans, their giant petrified bodies, legend has it, the rocks that form the island. Sit back in one of Little Venice's wooden balconies with a cocktail and enjoy a magical Aegean sunset.”
What can Imaginative Traveller offer?
Santorini to Mykonos from £895 per person for 8 days. Flights approximately £150 per person from London. There are 11 departures in 2014 with the last departure on 27th September.
Fully escorted with a skipper and crew, this brand new 8 day trip around some of Greece's most iconic and historic islands has been designed to satisfy those with and without sailing experience.
"It's a small group adventure, with a maximum group size of 8, which not only keeps costs low but means that if you are a single passenger or a couple, you have a group of like-minded friends to enjoy the trip with and reminisce about it afterwards,” says Charlie.