The New Year has started and for those who have been bitten by wanderlust the best way to start the new cycle is by planning a trip. Most of us have been to resorts and hotels, maybe even hostels and beachfront cabanas, but they say you haven’t really lived until you’ve spent a week or so out on the water.
2015 could be the year you discover the joys of sailing, or cross an unforgettable yacht holiday off your bucket list. Wondering where to go and how to do it? We’ll tell you what your sailing options are and give you a few of the best places to go for inspiration.
Bareboat, Flotilla, Stateroom or Charter Vacation?
To start off you’ll want to know the ways to go sailing if you’ve never been. You have the options of:
- Bareboat Charter: This is essentially renting a boat for a week or two, without a captain. An experienced member of your group will serve as the skipper and everyone else as the crew. It is important to note that the skipper will be required to show proof of his or her sailing certification.
- Flotilla Charter: Flotillas allow less experienced sailors to join a group of boats with the same itinerary. They offer the support of a lead boat to assist with any issues along the way; the itineraries are not usually set in stone, allowing people to join in the group as much or as little as they like.
- Stateroom: This is sort of the boutique equivalent of a cruise. You reserve a berth on a larger ship and enjoy a beautiful cruise complemented by service by the crew. You’ll have shared meals so it can be quite a social experience as well.
- Charter Vacation: On a charter vacation you actually charter the entire boat with a crew. It may be as simple as chartering a two-berth monohull and being attended by the captain and first mate, or you may go for a much larger boat with an extensive group of crew members. As one of the most luxurious options, on a charter vacation you can really expect to be catered to in terms of food and drink. The crew is also entirely responsible for sailing the craft.
The Best Sailing Destinations
When it comes to where to go, you naturally have several important considerations to take into account. These include the cost of airfare to reach your charter base and what it is you’d like to see and experience during your trip. Wherever there’s ocean there will be great places to sail, but you can never go wrong with a tried-and-true favorite. The following are a few spots that are virtually guaranteed to please.
British Virgin Islands
The islands’ short passages and stunning beauty have long attracted sailors from around the globe. They are also relatively easy to get to, with flights arriving from North America and Europe. The sheer number of yachties in the region have allowed for the development of great services for visiting boaters, including restaurants, bars, good harbors and fun on-land activities.
Staying in the Caribbean, the Bahamas are also a great place to charter. Here you’ll find sweeping white sand beaches, great snorkeling and low-lying islands. Get off the beaten track by heading to the Out Islands, where you can get a taste for what life has been like in the Bahamas for decades. Eat at local fish shacks and have drink at beachfront watering holes. You’ll be immersed in a world where the people still use boats as their main form of transportation. The Bahamas are also great for anyone who loves pirate history.
The Ionian Sea
The entire coastline of Greece is charter territory, but the Ionian Sea probably brings you the most relaxing experience. Here you’ll find those azure waters and quintessential fishing villages that Greek postcards are made of. Calm seas and short distances between stops make for great family-friendly sailing. As a cultural experience Greek cuisine and sights to see make for a very memorable trip.
Perhaps slightly less known than some of its Mediterranean counterparts, Croatia is also a yachter’s paradise. Set off from Split or Dubrovnik and see where Croatian jetsetters have been spending their holidays for centuries. There are the Kornati Islands to explore, fun nightlife, picturesque views and comfortable facilities for boaters. Croatia also has an exciting gourmet scene to explore, with many excellent wines as well.
These are just a few examples of great places to sail- as we mentioned there are virtually endless numbers of sailing destinations! Spend part of 2015 at sea and make this a year to remember.