Frequently Asked Questions

Sailing Holiday Charter FAQs

At Sail Connections we love talking about boating holidays around the world. If you have a question about chartering a yacht, catamaran, motor boat or gulet and it's not answered here or elsewhere on our website, send us a message and we'll be pleased to help you with your sailing charter queries.

  • What activities are available during our boat charter?

    On your sailing holiday, be as adventurous or relaxed as you wish. A boat charter gives you access to land-based leisure with the extra fun that come with life afloat. A lot depends on how much sailing you plan to do versus how much you want to just relax at anchor in a convenient marina or secluded bay.

    If you choose to spend a day on board, there are the aquatic sports including snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing, diving and catching fish - then barbecuing it. That’s when you’re not relaxing in the sun with a good book or music.

    Or spend up to a whole day ashore. Explore uninhabited islands and busy cities in the same trip; laze on tropical atolls or dine in a resort restaurant; take a bushwalk or do some shopping; hire a car to explore historical sites or ride a horse along the beach; experience the local culture or just hang out in a new place every day.

    It all depends on your sailing holiday destination and your preferred pace of travel. Ask us about all the things you’ll be able to do both aboard and ashore when you talk to us about where you'd like to go sailing.

  • What sailing qualifications do I need to charter a bareboat yacht?

    The evidence of sailing ability required with your booking varies by country and charter operator. A formal qualification such as completion of an RYA (or equivalent) practical course, plus a VHF licence, if not included in the course, is preferred. However if you don't have formal qualifications, talk to us first. We can assist you in putting a sailing resume together that may meet official needs in the destination you’ve chosen.

    Mediterranean countries all require a sailing certificate with the boat papers that you need to hand over at every marina.

    ** UPDATE June 2019:

    Greece has recently raised the level of qualification required and we are taking note of what is being accepted on a case by case basis. At present the requirement only applies to boats out of Athens, and they are only tending to be strict about it when the Meltimi wind is forecast.

    Italy has an odd rule, in our experience, whereby the sailing qualification level doesn’t matter, but the address of the issuing body must be in the country of your passport. We recently had a tricky one with a client from a landlocked country.

    Turkey has also recently changed its rules, and we are working through this now.

    See our blog on this matter.

    If you wish to upskill your sailing and boat-handling abilities before departure, discuss the options with us and we'll refer you to suitable local area training organisations.

  • What communication links are available on our charter?

    Charter bases all still have VHF to stay in contact with their boats, and for you to contact them on. These days mobile phones are more often used. However while cellular communications may be more familiar to you, VHF is still the preferred method of contacting the base or talking to marina staff.

    Ask us about cell phone coverage and connections to the Internet in the area you plan to sail.

  • Do we need much sailing experience to charter a boat?

    The short answer is no. There is a form of charter for all, from experienced yachting people to those with little knowledge but a lot of enthusiasm for this most rewarding form of vacation getaway.

    The skilled and knowledgeable sailing group normally (but not always) opt for a bareboat charter. Less-experienced charterers or those wanting to leave responsibility for the boat and the catering will select a fully-crewed charter. These include gulets, the traditional Mediterranean style of boat that’s becoming increasingly popular.

    In between bareboat and fully-crewed is the paid crew of one. For that category of charter we will arrange a professional skipper to join your bareboat charter (so “skippered bareboat”).

    If you and your friends or family are sufficiently experienced to handle a charter vessel bareboat but prefer to sail foreign waters in the company of others, flotilla sailing may be the answer.

    If you are more used to motor boats than craft with sails, a power cat may be just what you’re looking for. Modern sailboats, especially catamarans, motor very well and actually sailing often becomes quite optional during charter.

  • Is our charter boat insured?

    Charter Terms and Conditions, which we provide at time of invoicing and prior to payment, vary between operating companies, and they all detail insurance cover. All charter boats are insured with an excess applicable to claims. Some companies offer a non-refundable Damage Waiver or third party Security Bond Insurance, thereby lowering the excess and limiting the liability. The security bond covers loss or damage while on charter and under normal circumstances is the full extent of your liability.

    The contract formalities are similar to those with motor vehicle hire, but can vary country to country. For bareboat charter, the charterer's responsibility will include payment of a refundable security bond at base prior to departure.

  • How much will our sailing holiday cost?

    In planning a sailing charter there are many price variables that need explaining at the quoting stage. They include the season/time of travel, demand for the destination, the size and type of boat your group needs, and other market conditions. When you book with a reputable broker there are opportunities for discount such as early booking, extended charter period, repeat client and spot price when boats are in good supply.

    Our quote is transparent and there are no hidden costs. Apart from spending money and personal expenses, you will know the total cost of your charter well before leaving home.

    We can advise on the availability of cell phone services, shore excursions and the cost of standard provisioning in your destination of choice. We will help get you to your destination with advice on flight routes, transfer options and suggested accommodation, as required.

    See also our Yacht Charter Pricing Guide.

  • Why doesn’t your website list prices?

    If we made clothes, we’d call ourselves bespoke. Every charter is different and our job is to tailor your booking to your needs. But seasons are not that rigid, destinations within regions have price variances, there are luxury boats and budget boats. And as mentioned above discounts may be available.

    There are also extras on every charter: fixed ones as part of your contract like after-charter cleaning, and optional ones like hiring crew which is part of your contract, and the berths you choose to use on holiday which is not.

    Our downloadable charter guide provides a broad price indication depending on region, season and type/size of boat. It also describes the discount structure. All of which is subject to variation outside our control and impossible to predict until we reach the quoting stage.

  • Can we use our laptops & electrical devices on board?

    Most destinations we deal with have cellular coverage for at least a part of the area you will sail. Naturally that may not apply to every island and secluded bay.

    Smaller charter boats only have 12 volt systems (unless on shore power) that generate battery storage power while motoring. 12 - 240 volt inverters are increasingly supplied, but if not we can arrange one or you can take your own. On board, inverters plug into car-type lighter sockets. They are suitable for low-current electrical items only and are there to charge device batteries.

    Larger boats have generators with mains power.

    Smartphone roaming services have simplified the process of staying connected. Some operators supply on board wifi. It pays to check if this is likely to be any better or cheaper than using your own plan overseas.

  • What should we pack for our boat charter holiday?

    Generally all you'll need to pack is your personal gear, with the emphasis on casual summer wear. Take a jacket too, as the evenings just may bring a cooling breeze after a day in the sun. For South Pacific destinations, pack some reef walking shoes. We can advise you on any local norms and customs in your sailing holiday destination, and any dress conventions you need to consider.

    Basic essentials include suntan lotion, sun glasses, sunhat and swimming apparel. Snorkelling gear is usually provided along with sundry other water toys.

    Take some reading material and your favorite music, as there will be a sound system aboard. And don’t forget to pick up some foreign currency before you leave home, to get the best rates.

  • What equipment is aboard our charter boat?

    Your charter boat is your own floating hotel for the duration of your sailing holiday. As such it has a complete inventory for on-board living. That includes a fully equipped galley with modern sailboat-suitable appliances, navigation equipment and charts, dining & lounge seating, entertainment system, bedding & linen and bathroom facilities.

    For daytime leisure and fun in the sun there will be a range of accessories including a dinghy with outboard motor, snorkelling equipment, sun loungers with cushions, and other items such as fishing gear, depending on the boat.

    Please ask us for your boat’s inventory on booking. The craft will be provided at base with full fuel and water tanks ready for you to step aboard and go sailing.

  • Can we have a skipper for our yacht charter?

    You and your group don't need to be sailors to have the holiday of a lifetime. We can help you sail in confidence by arranging your own carefully chosen skipper/sailing guide. Their job is to take care of the boat and its navigation, while you enjoy the journey.

    If you are a novice sailor or have limited boating experience, opt for a skippered charter. That’s also popular with experienced skippers who appreciate the benefits of sailing without the responsibility of being in charge.

    There are many instances in which all charterers are wise to take a paid skipper, and so really relax! A paid skipper aboard offers:

    - local knowledge and lots of sage advice in the destination you are cruising.

    - to experienced sailors, the chance to completely relax and enjoy your holiday, while participating in the sailing as much or as little as you wish.

    - to the inexperienced, the chance to holiday in a manner you never thought possible, with the opportunity to learn about sailing along the way.

  • When I charter a crewed boat, is the itinerary flexible?

    Your crew has an obligation to provide the best sailing holiday experience possible. Many charterers are happy to sit back and enjoy their predetermined itinerary. But if you have your own choices, talk to your crew early in the charter, ideally over the chart briefing. As well as stand-out local attractions, discuss your group’s own special points of interest. The crew will do their best to accommodate you. Weather, travel times and your on-board comfort may create limitations, and you must respect the skipper’s authority. If circumstances allow however, you can expect to visit the ports and bays you choose.

  • Can I sail my bareboat wherever I want to?

    Generally yes, but extending too far in one direction is unwise. You must have the boat back at its base within the charter time frame. If you plan to sail a considerable distance from base, discuss with us the alternative of a one-way charter.

    Completing your charter in another country requires prior arrangement. In most cases it is only possible where the next charter can begin from your finish point.

  • Can we book a cabin on a crewed boat?

    A number of operators run scheduled cabin-share charters in popular destinations. We also work with professional skippers who arrange private charters for mixed groups in certain locations.

  • Can we board the boat early at the start of charter?

    Your departure time is set to allow time for operator staff to check cleanliness and ensure any technical issues are dealt with before you take possession. Arrive and register at the office as early as possible. If all is going well, staff will take you to the boat for the inventory check. Any down time is a chance for some shopping, before returning to the base at an agreed time.

    In many places there’s an early boarding option for a fee. Where this policy exists, charterers taking the option can expect some priority.

    Once you have possession, you’ll be keen to get sailing. Our advice is to consider taking the time at base for your group to adjust to your new environment and become familiar with the boat. Ideally stay aboard in the marina and depart fresh next morning. Some base locations are better than others for overnighting. We can advise on things to do near your base, as well as where any convenient first-night alternative anchorages may be.

  • How do we provision our bareboat?

    Most operators provide a provisioning list that you can use to pre-order with a local market. Your provisions will be available when you arrive, either in the base office or on board. There is a service fee for this arrangement.

    At some destinations the operators use catering companies with online ordering. Purchases can be based around meal plans, which can be very helpful. As online shopping is becoming more common everywhere, you may be able to order directly from the local supermarket and pay online at time of purchase.

For a personal proposal structured to meet your needs, with advice on all aspects of your sailing charter ...

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The Essential Guide to Sailing Holiday Charters

The Sail Connections Essential Guide to Bareboat and Crewed Sailing Holiday Charters is jam-packed full of useful tips for getting the most out of your next boat charter. And it is FREE to download.

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