A guide to choosing the perfect yachting holiday
Crystal clear waters, pristine scenery, fresh local food and the freedom to explore are just some of the unique aspects that attract so many people to yachting holidays the world over. As you drift through the ocean on a luxury chartered yacht, hopping from island to island and jumping into a sparkling, turquoise sea to cool off - you won’t have a care in the world. However, in order to achieve an idyllic, unrestricted yachting getaway, you need to plan it carefully beforehand.
Just like any other holiday, booking your sailing trip requires plenty of time and effort. Do plenty of research online and perhaps visit a boat show where you can discuss your big ideas with a representative from a yachting holiday company.
Along with the usual holiday planning procedures - checking passports, booking flights and shopping for suitable attire - there are some important considerations which are exclusive to booking a chartered yacht experience.
Choose a charter
Depending on your own sailing experience and what level of luxury you’re after, there are three options available for yacht charters.
Bareboat: A bareboat charter offers total freedom and privacy- when you’re the skipper you can move at your own pace and save on costs too. However, you’ll need sailing experience and a skipper’s licence to prove it. You’ll either need an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) or some form of Royal Yachting Association (RYA) certificate - either Day, Coastal or Yachtmaster - demonstrating that your sailing ability is adequate.
Skippered: The second option is to charter a skippered yacht. A qualified skipper will sail the boat for you, still providing the freedom to travel wherever you wish, but with the reassurance that you’re in experienced hands.
Crewed: If you enjoy the finer things in life, a crewed charter offers the ultimate five-star experience. Your chosen yacht will feature a full team of skippers and crew at your service. Although this is, of course, the most costly option, you’ll receive a truly unique and luxurious getaway in return.
Travelling in a smaller group and want a more sociable experience? You can also hire a skippered or bareboat yacht in a flotilla - a group of yachts sailing together lead by a qualified sailing crew. A flotilla offers the reassuring company of local experts along with fellow aspiring seafarers to while away the evenings with.
Choose a yacht
Most yachting holidays allow you to choose your yacht, whether you opt for bareboat, skippered or crewed. This bespoke service enables holidaymakers to take control of their trip and choose the perfect boat for them, depending on the size of the group, facility expectations and the chosen destination.
When you set sail on a yachting holiday, you’ll most likely travel on a monohull or a catamaran. A monohull is your traditional sailboat, with a single, extremely stable hull at the centre meaning that the deck tends to be more compact than a catamaran- ideal for smaller groups.
If you want a little more space to move around, a catamaran is balanced on two hulls with the sails between- this also offers extreme stability for less experienced sailors. Motor yachts are also available for those of you who want to feel the wind in your hair and whizz between paradise islands at a faster pace.
A yachting holiday is the ultimate luxury getaway and many companies offer the facilities to match. When you choose your yacht, be sure to browse what facilities are available onboard. If you want an authentic sailing experience, why not choose a yacht with just the basics and let the scenery do the talking?
Or, if you want an abundance of enrichment and activities from the comfort of your deck, choose a yacht which has it all. Large yachts provide sun lounging nets, kayaks and snorkelling equipment, whilst those in the higher price bracket can include BBQ’s, ice machines and even air conditioning onboard.
Choose a destination
Now that you’ve found your ideal yacht, it’s time to consider location. You may already have a dream sailing destination in mind, or maybe you’re not sure where the most popular places are. Whilst many sailing areas are idyllic all year round, choosing your destination can sometimes depend on when you plan to go - with changing seasons comes changing sailing conditions.
For example, yachting holidays in the Mediterranean are generally taken during the summer; the weather is hot, the sea temperature is more than comfortable and the towns and cities are bustling. If you want to avoid swathes of tourists, it’s worth bearing in mind that the charter season runs from April until October, so you can catch some peace and quiet either side of the summer. The weather will be perfectly warm and you’ll also benefit from a wider choice of anchorages, with fewer holidaymakers in the area. Explore Italy, Greece, the Balearic Islands or Croatia on a luxury yacht charter in the Med.
If you want to sail further afield, the destination options are plentiful. With bright turquoise waters and impressive limestone rock formations, Thailand is becoming a hugely popular spot for yachting. The rainy season runs from August to October and can make sailing more challenging, but if you’re after some winter sun then Thailand is the location for you.
Equally, why not charter a yacht in the picture-perfect Caribbean Sea? It’s relatively sheltered and despite hurricane season taking hold in August and September, the breathtaking Caribbean islands are pretty much an all-year-round sailing paradise.
If you can picture yourself lounging aboard a catamaran under the hot Mediterranean sun, or can’t stop dreaming about anchoring your private yacht on a pristine Caribbean beach and sipping on a refreshing rum punch - it’s time to start planning your next yachting adventure.
Helm: Unforgettable Yachting Holidays in Eight Idyllic Destinations Worldwide
Here at Helm, we offer luxury yachting holidays tailored to you. We provide bareboat, skippered and crewed yacht charters for anyone who wants to explore the world by boat. Whether you’re travelling as a couple, family or group of friends, we can design a unique yachting experience for you.
We’ll guide you through the entire planning process, from choosing the right charter to finalising your bespoke itinerary. To begin planning your luxury yachting getaway, visit our website.