The Beginners Guide To Yachts Charter

When you think about sailing, booking a sailing holiday or yacht charter, you may think several things right off the bat, such as;

  • Yachting is for posh people, a past-time only upper classes.  
  • It’s too expensive…. therefore unaffordable, and inaccessible.  
  • There’s so much to choose from! I don’t know what to look for?
  • I don’t have a licence to skipper a yacht.  

For the first-time, novice sailor, someone new to yachting and sailing, these are all obvious hurdles and stereotypes. I’m going to tell you how and why, despite these points, a once in a lifetime dream sailing adventure is still the perfect getaway for you, your friends and your family.

Accessibility: Is it for me?

Much like skiing, there was a time when sailing was a recreational sport reserved solely for the wealthy. You had to own a yacht, know somebody who owns a yacht, or charter a vessel outright at great cost … and in that case, only after completing expensive skipper qualifications. Thankfully, many new adventures, sailing businesses, and opportunities have arisen in recent years, making sailing affordable and accessible for all walks of travellers from first-time sailors, solo travellers, couples and groups of all sizes not just possible, but easy, low-cost and incredibly popular. 

Yes, sailing can be extraordinarily expensive and inaccessible, even for the wealthy. Fancy a 10-day yacht charter on a superyacht with your family? Try €700,000 per week, before running costs, provisioning and the crew tip. Yet, there are tens of thousands of options, scaling down from those 90-metre gym palaces with swimming pools, basketball courts and helipads, all the way down to €30,000 for the week, €10,000, €3,000….to as little as €500 per person – for the week! And for that €500, you could potentially have breakfast and lunch on board, a full week of living, breathing and participating in the adventures of a sailing yacht, and a professional Captain to guide and keep you safe. The best and most beautiful thing of all is, on top of all that, you can access the very same stunning landscapes and islands, the same towns, bays, beaches, swimming hotspots and more, as any other yacht…. big or small.  

Okay, your trip won’t be as luxurious, your yacht won’t be as large or have as many crew, you may not experience fine dining (at least until you go ashore) and the same creature comforts as you’re used to at home, but you’ll have everything you need; a private cabin (bedroom), comfortable bed and bathroom (head), salon (living room), galley (kitchen) with all the required amenities, as well as all the outdoors spaces including the fore and aft deck, cockpit, helm stations, two or more sails, an engine and a selection of watersports equipment.  

Sailing holidays and yacht charters on the lower scale are still more comfortable than camping….. so, let’s call it ‘glamping on the sea’ – but instead, all from the comfort of your mobile, floating hotel, you can experience a sailing yacht charter through the Greek islands, cruise the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, explore the legendary British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, or experience the sub-tropical climates of Seychelles and Tahiti. Wake up and visit a new destination each day, every day, throughout your dream sailing adventure. Imagine breakfast in one remote bay, lunch at the next famous beach, and overnight at a beautiful, historic town…. your day filled with swimming, snorkelling, paddleboarding, peaceful and serene sailing, sunbathing, relaxing, cocktails, barbeques and more. The world is your oyster. You can go wherever you like.

Importantly, you don’t need a Captains licence, you don’t need to charter the whole yacht, and you don’t even need a whole group to fill the yacht. By all means, travel in a small group, a couple or as a solo traveller!

By now, you’ll either find the idea deeply unattractive or, most likely, an affordable yacht charter all of a sudden appears more realistic. So, let’s talk about the different ways we can book a yacht charter, and break down the costs.

Solo Travellers, Couples & Small Groups

There are several ways to experience yachting in the sailing industry, and book a yacht charter that keeps the budget down. A few such examples include Cabin Charter (otherwise known as By-The-Cabin) and Flotilla Charter.  Cabin Charter means booking a single cabin, usually with a private en-suite bathroom, on a shared yacht with other like-minded travellers. To keep it simple, Cabin Charter yachts come with a permanent, hired cabin to pilot your yacht, keep you safe and act as your tour guide on a pre-determined sailing itinerary. Sometimes, they’ll even come with a Chef-Hostess depending on the chosen trip, and you can experience half-board, full-board or all-inclusive. 

Depending on the time of year, you can join a 40 to 50ft cabin charter yacht/catamaran for between €500-€1,000 per person per week, with each cabin sleeping, 2 guests to a maximum of 8 to 12 guests. For a little bit more, between €1,000 to €1,800 per person per week, you can experience larger, more luxurious yachts up to around 65ft. Whichever package you choose, cabin charter yachts are fully geared up and ready with all of the amenities and essentials included, such as bed linen and towels, kitchen appliances, and crockery. All the provisioning is taken care of and stored ahead of your arrival, based on your agreed dietary requirements and preferences. Additionally, any advertised watersports equipment such as snorkelling gears, sea scooters, paddleboards etc., will already be there and ready to use. You simply need to turn up with your belongings, and you’re ready to go – everything such as fuel costs, marina fees, insurance etc., is already included in the price. The onboard crew will welcome you, show you around and to your cabins, gather everyone on board for an introduction and safety briefing, and then depart for your once in a lifetime sailing adventure.  

Of course, sharing a yacht with strangers for the week isn’t for everyone. The next option is to charter a whole yacht for yourselves, and if you don’t have a Captain’s licence, you would need to hire a Captain. For a 35-45ft yacht, depending on the vessel’s age, time of year and destination, you could charter a whole yacht for as little as €1,500-€3,000 before diesel costs (€200), marina fees (€200), provisioning (€600-800) etc. Throw in a Captain for approximately €160 per day/€1,120 per week, and you are likely looking at a minimum of €3,500-€4,000 ‘all-in’ divided between your group before flights. Between 4 people, that’s €850-€1000 per person per week. The more, the merrier and the lower the cost!

The options beyond this point are endless, with larger pedigree sailing yachts, spacious catamarans, more cabins, hiring additional crew such as a professional Chef, as well as sailing in peak season periods such as July and August in the Mediterranean, and Christmas, New Year and Spring Break in the Caribbean and Bahamas. However, the sheer amount of choices can be overwhelming, so next, we’ll discuss how to narrow the choices down and how yacht charter brokers and specialists, such as Pristine Yachting, can help.  

Finding the Right Yacht Charter: Cutting through the mud

Before embarking on the journey of finding and booking a yacht charter, you probably already know the basics requirements of your trip. We are interested to know;

  • What type of charter are you looking for: Cabin charter, private charter or flotilla?
  • How many guests are in your group? 
  • How many cabins do you require? 
  • Your level of sailing experience and if anyone has any formal sailing qualifications?
  • Do you want to hire a Captain, or are you interested in a fully crewed, luxurious experience with a Captain and Chef?
  • Do you prefer the monohull sailing yacht or a catamaran?
  • Any unique requirements you may have, such as children, elderly and disabilities? 
  • Where would you like to sail? 
  • Your preferred date of departure and any flexibility? 
  • Your estimated group budget?

Once that information has been obtained, we can use our many tools and resources to find a selection of packages that we believe are best suited to the needs and preferences of your group.  

To be contined…….

Check Out A Selection Of Exciting Yacht Charters Below

Jeanneau 44
€787 p/p

August 2021 - 7 days Flotilla (Multiple Yachts)
Solo Traveller Friendly
Private Cabin, Shared Yacht + Captain / Chef
8 Guests
4 Cabins
Split, Dalmatian Coast

Ipanema 58
€1,825 p/p (2 min.)

16.01.21 > 23.01.21
By-The-Cabin, Luxury Charter Private Cabin, Shared Yacht
Solo Traveller Friendly
+ Captain / Chef
6 Guests
2 Cabins + Saloon
Le Marin, Martinique

Sun Odyssey 389
€2,668 p/w

16.01.21 > 23.01.21
Bareboat Charter
Private Whole Yacht
Best Suited For Groups
Captain Licence Required
6 Guests
2 Cabins + Saloon
Tortola, BVI

Lagoon 46
€12,895 p/w

04.09.21 > 11.09.21
Crewed Charter
Private Whole Yacht
Best Suited For Groups
+ Captain / Chef
8 Guests
4 Cabins
Athens, Saronic Gulf

Lagoon 620
€30,522 p/w

10.07.21 > 17.07.21 Luxury Crewed Charter
Private Whole Yacht
Best Suited for Groups
+ Captain / Chef / Deck-Stew
10 Guests
5 Cabins
Portisco, Sardinia

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