So you are ready for the big bareboat sailing vacation. All of your certifications are in order and you cannot wait to toss the lines, raise the sails and embark on a sailing vacation where you are the captain.
That is the ultimate goal of the American Sailing Association, to get sailors out on the water sailing safely and confidently in all conditions. A great charter experience is truly the reward of a superior sailing education.
So before you go, take a look at a few of our last minute tips to keep in mind as you set off for your dream trip.
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.
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?
The way a person becomes a solid sailor is about as varied as anything there is. Some learn from their great grand pappy; maybe others buy a boat and figure it out on their own. There are endless paths towards the final goal of becoming a competent sea-dog, but obviously we here at ASA, have a path we advocate that we believe is most effective. That path revolves around the concept of acquiring knowledge and skill from a trained certified professional, then utilizing what’s been learned in a real-world environment. And when it comes to late-stage core fundamental training, we believe participating in flotillas is an excellent idea.
Here at ASA, we’re always thinking of all the various avenues folks can access the sport of sailing that we enjoy so much. We keep an eye on youth and collegiate sailing, the racing scene, world and local cruising and of course chartering. The latter, we find, is something many sailors aspire to and for good reason. It’s really fun, fulfilling and most often utterly fascinating. All that said; we understand that chartering is a big step and can be expensive and maybe a mite intimidating. It can involve foreign waters on an unfamiliar boat, maybe language barriers, and a good amount of responsibility insuring everyone stays safe while you’re leading the voyage.
In anticipation of the upcoming flotilla sailing charter vacation in St .Martin on November 13-22 we bring you – the top five cool things about sailing in this awesome Caribbean cruising ground, known as the The Renaissance Islands.
Check out the mud baths at Tintamarre Island!
They’re about 100-feet inland and said to have magical regenerative properties! Pack mud all over your body, including your hair and soon enough you will have skin soft as a newborn baby. Don’t forget to wash it off before you leave though or you’ll scare the Bejesus out of the rest of the world with your weird tribal look.
Take an underwater submarine voyage at St. Barts!
It’s not quite a submarine but, it is 22-seats beneath the water’s surface. Stay bone dry and witness all the cool underwater life St. Barts has to offer. There’s often parrot fish, angel fish, barracudas, butterfly fish, sting rays and all kinds of other cool specimens swimming around.
Snorkle Scrub Island!
Scrub Island is a beautiful place on the planet. There are all kinds of coves, bays, reefs and islets that contain rare sea life and gorgeous underwater sea-scapes. A day snorkeling around the island and you might spot a yellow frogfish or maybe even a golden-faced coney. Fun on tap!
Modernist author and noted sea enthusiast Ernest Hemingway once said, “The sea is the same as it has been before men ever went on it in boats.” While that may be true, a great deal has changed about the boats, the lifestyle of seagoing, and perhaps the men and women themselves. For many, bareboat chartering–renting a boat and skippering it yourself–is now the ultimate goal of learning to sail, and with good reason. The charter options, variety of destinations, and accessibility we enjoy today might make even the notoriously adventurous Hemingway jealous.
The question, then, is how to get the most out of the bareboat charter experience. Likely you already have an idea of where you see yourself spending a dream vacation, whether it’s the Virgin Islands, down-island in the Grenadines, exploring the nooks and inlets of Chesapeake Bay, or navigating the cliffside fishing villages of the Mediterranean. But what do you need to know before you embark? Here are 5 essential skills to master before you leave the dock. 1. Basic Sailing Proficiency
If you’re going to be the skipper, it’s crucial that your sailing competency is up to the job. Each sailing ground is different, and some are far more challenging than others. Being honest with yourself about your experience and skill level is the best way to have a fun, stress-free adventure. Necessary seamanship skills include: Competency in steering under power and sail, trimming, reefing, and handling the sails, anchoring and mooring, and navigating using charts and line-of-sight. All of these skills and more are taught in ASA 101 (Basic Keelboat), 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising), and 104 (Bareboat Cruising). Sailors who have completed these courses have proven their ability to safely skipper a bareboat charter and are welcomed by charter companies virtually everywhere.
2. Any Special Skills Needed Where You’re Going
Again, with apologies to Ernest, the sea may not have changed, but neither is it any single, comprehensible entity. Everywhere you go, there are differences, both subtle and drastic, in the sailing conditions. If you’re chartering in the San Juan Islands, for example, you need to make sure you have a grip on tides and currents, while these are a complete non-factor in many other places. In the Mediterranean, you need to know how to pull off the famous “med-moor,” which involves tying up with your stern to the dock. The Caribbean is popular with beginning charterers for its steady tradewinds, light seas, and easy navigation, but even so, there are always things to watch out for. Make sure you consult with your charter company about what you need to know for the area you’re visiting. Pick up a copy of the local Cruising Guide and seek out those who have been there before. (The ASA community on Facebook and Twitter is a great place to bring your questions.)
3. How to Inspect Your Charter Boat
Like Odysseus escaping the island of Calypso, or Jimmy Buffett getting ejected from a Miami Heat game, the Charter Check-Out is one of those rites of passage every sailor must undergo. No, it’s not the most fun part of your trip, but don’t underestimate its importance. This is your chance to go over the boat and make sure everything is in working order, that you know how to use everything on board, and that you’re getting exactly what you paid for. A representative from the charter company should be on hand to show you around, answer any questions, and repair anything that isn’t working. It’s mandatory for the skipper, but we recommend having some or all of your crew participate. The more people on board who understand the vessel’s systems, the greater the likelihood that you can solve any problems that may arise.
A sailing voyage without good food and drink is unthinkable. You have two main choices when bareboat chartering: The charter company can provision the boat for you, or you can provision it yourself. Many charter companies will provide you with a comprehensive order form, allowing you to have the boat stocked with exactly what you want. Others have more generic provisioning “packages.” Depending on where you’re chartering, the most delicious and cost-effective method might be to buy your own provisions from local vendors or markets. Nothing can compare with local fruits and fresh-caught seafood. Many charterers opt for a combination of the two strategies: Buy your “staple” provisions from the charter company, and garnish it with those specialty items you can only get from the locals. 5. Choosing and Managing Your Crew
You don’t always get to choose the people who surround you in your daily life, but you can choose whether or not to bring them sailing. Do it wisely. Many bareboat charters are family trips, in which case you can skip this step. But if you’re planning a vacation with friends, spend some time thinking over the arrangements carefully. Remember, a sailboat is a smaller living space than you’re used to. People will be in tight quarters, and it’s important that they get along. It’s also key to consider whether they share the same interests. Will they want to stay up late or turn in early? Are they party animals or soul-searchers looking for serenity and relaxation? Some people prefer to spend more time ashore, and others will be looking for any excuse to dive, snorkel, and kayak. To keep everyone happy, make sure they understand the itinerary beforehand.
Ready to cast off? Visit Find My Charter to book your very own bareboat charter anywhere in the world.