All posts by Zeke Quezada

Choosing The Right Boat for Your Sailing Charter

You’ll ask yourself if you need a watermaker or if air conditioning is important or even if you want a full-sized refrigerator onboard the boat you are going to charter. The truth is when you decide to take a sailing vacation aboard a sailing vessel that you will call home for a week or two you’ll be surprised by just how much you think you need.

Choosing the right boat for your sailing charter can be simple as you really only need to think about four basic questions :

  • How many people?
  • How big of a boat?
  • What type of boat?
  • How much do you want to spend?

Who Are You Taking on Your Sailing Charter Vacation?

If you decide to take a quaint sailing vacation with just you and your significant other you might find that a small monohull is more than adequate for your sailing vacation. If your crew consists of children, mother-in-laws and sailing newbies you may want to consider a large catamaran that boasts space enough for everyone’s needs and personalities.

When you are taking more than your immediate family ask questions about the number of berths and the number of heads. Also, is your group the type that will need more or less privacy? Will kids share a berth or sleep the saloon?

Spending a week on the boat? The need for space and privacy will be magnified if the group does not normally live in the same household.

Size of Boat
The bigger the boat the more hands you will need to be active crew. Even though charter boats have all the required bells and whistles that make sailing easier, if a boat is much larger there will be a need for more experienced and willing crew members. You can expect most boats over 36 feet to have twin steering stations that allow for easy passage from the cockpit to a swim platform carved into the transom. Most handling will be done from the cockpit.

If this is your first charter consider a smaller boat and fewer people so that you have less crew with which to deal.

There are a few things to remember when dealing with the size of a boat. A larger and therefore heavier boat requires more skill to maneuver and takes practice. The crew will be required to work with larger anchors and dock lines and that requires more muscle power.

Type of Boat
The choice is between a monohull and a catamaran. Simply put it is between the roomier accommodations and increased privacy of a catamaran and the generally smaller layout of a monohull. Two boats of the same length will vary significantly on the beam and will sail vastly differently.

Does your crew enjoy the feeling of heeling and cutting through the swells or is the condominium on the water what your group is going for? With two boats of the same 43-foot length a catamaran will provide more generous living space – with four cabins, each with its own head – than a monohull. However, it is also a bigger boat to maneuver under power and sail.

Cost is a factor in how you choose your boat for a sailing vacation. Catamarans on average will be more expensive relative to your sailing location. Size, quality, features, and amenities all play a role, as do location and season. Establish upfront how your group will share the charter and incidental expenses.

Remember: If a deal is too good to be true…it probably is. Don’t risk your vacation on a cheap charter.

Go Sailing in Hawaii

The first time you move across the channel between Maui and Molokai you are introduced to the tradewinds that blow over the West Maui Mountains. The sailboat heels over and you move across the channel with purpose. It’s a wet ride. Most visitors to Hawaii experience a taste of sailing on these waters via a sunset cruise with plenty of Mai Tais or a snorkel adventure where the goal is to spot a sea turtle. There is more to sailing in Hawaii than the typical tours you find at the concierge desk.

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Planning a Daysail

As you embark on a daysail you might need a checklist of the things that you must have to make the day more enjoyable.

First, you have the knowledge that you have already garnered from ASA 101, so you would have decided where to go, how to get there and when the optimal time to sail is. Sailing is about allowing nature to come into your life and dictate everything, so don’t lose sight of the idea that sailing is very fluid and your plans are very much dependent on what the conditions allow you to do. Sometimes the perfect sailing day is spent at the dock simply because the weather has decided not to cooperate with your plans.

Even a day, while tied to a cleat, can be successful.

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ASA Featured Instructor: Dan Ryder, Sail Channel Islands

Capt. Dan Ryder is quick to tell you that he loves sailing the Santa Barbara Channel between Ventura County California and the Channel Islands. A Navy Veteran and a veteran of the water with over 40 years of sailing experience, Capt. Dan has seemingly sailed everything from the USS Nimitz to a 14’ Hobie Cat. Sail Channel Islands offers everything you need on the water from ASA certifications to day charters to weddings at sea.
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Planning a Sailing Vacation

There comes a moment when you are sprawled out on a beautiful beach and you look out at the ocean and see a sailboat and you wish you had opted for some time on the water. That doesn’t happen to you? Ok, we’re actually talking to those of you who see the sailboat and want to go sailing. Why not learn to sail while on vacation?

Taking a sailing vacation is as easy as planning any other type of getaway except that you’ll learn to sail while on holiday and you’ll earn a few ASA Sailing certifications while on vacation.We have featured destination sailing schools in the past with our Exotic Places to Sail and Learning To Sail in The Florida Keys and 5 Reasons To Learn To Sail in San Diego.

What Type of a Sailing Vacation Will You Embark On?

Bareboat Charter
When you embark on a bareboat charter you are on your own. While the charter company might help you with some maps, tips, and emergency support, you are basically on your own to set your itinerary and your provisions. You essentially rent the boat and agree to bring it back by a set date. No crew, no schedule, no timetable other than a start and end date.

It should be noted that charter companies do have plenty of options for you when deciding on a bareboat charter. You could choose to hire a chef or crew to help with the voyage. Charter companies will also help you get provisions so that food and drink are conveniently waiting for you when you arrive at the dock. Some charter companies will also help you organize SCUBA diving in nearby ports as well excursions on nearby islands.

While bareboat chartering sounds like an entirely independent sailing vacation you can choose to structure it as little or as much as you like.

Captained Charter
When you request a captain with your charter the heavy lifting is taken care of for you. Someone else will navigate and set an itinerary for you based on local knowledge and conversations with your group. In some cases, your captain will get you preferential treatment at local spots that would otherwise have been off limits or find you secret hideaways known only to locals. That fresh croissant that shows up for breakfast only happens because, while you slept in, your chartered crew took care of everything for you.

A captained charter works well in unfamiliar waters or in ports where you are sure you would much rather just enjoy sailing and exploring and not be caught up in managing navigation, anchoring, clearing customs and handling all of the tasks required to keeping you and your guests safe. Leave it all to a captain and he/she handles as much or as little as you require.

You will be tipping someone at the end of a captained charter so factor that into your sailing vacation budget.

The option for a flotilla really is a combination of options when it comes to a sailing vacation. You can have someone else at the helm or you can choose to go it alone. The biggest key to a flotilla is a group of boats cruise together so a built-in social network is created. The phrase “safety in numbers” comes to mind but more importantly, a flotilla allows for a large group of like-minded people to engage in a fun sailing vacation together in a loosely organized arrangement. Boats will follow along on an itinerary and some organized events are planned to create a sense of community.

Within a flotilla, you might have experienced sailors sailing alongside newbies off on their first charter. Often times groups of people will be earning their ASA certifications while on a sailing vacation. The flotilla serves a diverse function as it allows a large group of sailors to have a community experience while still enjoying an independent vacation.

See a list of upcoming ASA flotillas >>

Can You Take a Sailing Vacation?
Take a look at ASA 104 and consider taking the Bareboat Cruising course to prepare you to set off by yourself.

Where Would You Go For Your First Sailing Vacation?
A few ASA schools specialize in sailing vacations where you actively learn to sail while out on the water. You’ll earn your sailing certifications while on a sailing vacation.

Sailing Schools For Your Sailing Vacation

The Sailing Season: Seattle As a Sailing Destination

Why Sail in Seattle?

Take a moment and breathe in the crisp air on Puget Sound. Feel the wind as it moves across the water and through your hair. Mount Baker in the distance Victoria to the north and the Pacific Ocean beyond a series of islands heading out west. For the lover of the outdoors, the Pacific Northwest is the ultimate playground of lush green forests and deep blue ocean that is alive with wildlife.
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Parts of The Whole: Understanding Sailboats and Sailing – The Sails

It’s safe to say a sailboat is only as good as its sails when you consider that capturing the wind’s energy is the premise behind what sailors do to propel their boats in a forward direction. A good captain will trim those said sails to be as efficient as possible and the proper heading will help with overall performance, but the sail is the driving force of the boat.
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