10 Tips For Charter Planning
by Zuzana Prochazka
Once you’re on the dock with cranky kids, a sunburned spouse and the wrong-sized boat, it’s too late to consider your chartering options. When evaluating what you’re looking for in a yacht charter, consider these ten tips before you ever leave home.
Power catamarans have become increasingly popular for bareboat charters, thanks to their ample space and ease of operation. available for sale or charter.
- Choose from large companies operating multiple fleets in different parts of the world, year-round, or go with a local outfit that manages a handful of boats in-season. Larger companies tend to offer larger boats, typically in the 35 to 55 foot range for sailboats. Smaller companies in more seasonal areas usually offer boats 25 to 40 feet and may have powerboats as well.
- Decide whether you’ll be going it alone, or if you want a captain who will take the responsibility from your shoulders. Maybe you want to get your sea legs for a few days with a skipper and then take over yourself. Sometimes, captains come with mates that will even prepare meals featuring local dishes.
- Be honest about your experience level. Flotilla charters are available if groups make you more comfortable or bring more experienced friends along. And again, a professional captain serves many purposes beyond running a boat. Some have useful local knowledge that will bring the destination to life by adding details beyond what most tourists know.
- Decide why you want to be on a boat to begin with. Are you looking to improve your sailing skills so you may want to charter via a sailing school? Are you looking to learn more about how to be self-sustaining on a vessel? Is this a warm-up and potential introduction to cruising for you or your partner?
- Determine your priority in your choice of destinations. Is it to see highlights of the destination itself? Is it to relax and not chase a different anchorage every night? Will you be disappointed if there’s fluky wind and little sailing?
- Think through who’s in your crew and what’s in it for them. Do they get seasick so it’s best to choose destinations known for calm waters? Does everyone swim or will they not be comfortable with seven days on the water?
- Consider your climate choices. If you burn easily, get a sun rash in 10 minutes or can’t tolerate heat – choose other destinations like the Chesapeake, San Juan Islands or Maine.
- Be sensitive to various ages within your group. Are there kids that will need lots of water toys and entertainment like beachcombing and fishing? Are any of your crew older or less mobile so they will need to have easy access to a dock or dinghy? Who’s likely to get bored with only one kind of adventure?
- Determine your budget. Is this a no-expense-spared week in paradise or will you get better value by chartering on a shoulder season? Will you be getting too much or too little boat for your budget and crew size? Will the travel to and from the base involve long hours and high air fares? Many times a charter close to home is just as fun as one thousands of miles away.
- Stay flexible. A boat is a small place even for a tightknit family or close couple. Roll with whatever you face including weather, equipment and amenities and you’ll have a fun vacation that will be an adventure, not an ordeal.
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