Bareboat or Crewed Charter

03.12.2018. Sailing tips

Bareboat and crewed sailing charters are wonderful ways to have a memorable holiday, and each option brings its own set of advantages that make yachting holidays more rewarding. While those who have never skippered a boat cannot charter a bareboat, qualified and experienced sailors often have a hard time deciding between the two for a variety of reasons. Their choice will typically depend on the destination, the kind of vacation they wish to have, and who they are travelling with.

In most countries, it is mandatory for the charterer to have a license in order to rent a bareboat yacht or catamaran. Ideally, the bareboat skipper should have sufficient experience in docking and mooring in specific destinations, as some shores are more challenging than others. It is also recommended to have another experienced sailor on board in case of emergency or just to take some of the load off the captain. 

Private boat charter

There are several options for boat charters to choose from when planning a sailing trip. A bareboat charter comes without a crew and requires the passengers to do everything themselves, while a skippered rental does not require them to do anything except relax and enjoy the view. Charterers without a sailing license can hire a skipper or a full crew. Having a crew means considerably higher charter cost, but offers the security of knowing that the passengers are in good hands should anything go awry.

A hired skipper, who stays with the passengers for the duration of the trip, is usually someone who is very familiar both with the boat and with the destination. He or she is responsible for the management of the boat, which allows passengers to fully enjoy every aspect of the trip without having to tend to many of the responsibilities that come with a bareboat rental. 

A crewed sailboat charter offers a lot more luxury because, in addition to the skipper, passengers get a crew that ensures that all their needs are met. The crew can help with sailing and navigating, prepare and serve meals and beverages, and make sure that everyone is happy at all times. This is by far the most comfortable, as well as the most expensive option. Crewed boats are usually bigger, with separate quarters for the crew to give passengers more privacy. 

Advantages of crewed yacht charters

Skippered sailing takes away the responsibility for everyday tasks and the physical effort that they require, leaving charterers with more time and energy for all the fun activities they can enjoy on a beach hopping holiday. In case of bad weather, an accident or any other kind of emergency, knowing that there is an experienced crew on board to take the passengers back to safety makes things considerably easier.   

If the skipper is a local, which is often the case, the passengers can get valuable tips about hidden, secluded beaches, the best restaurants, local attractions and places to visit, as well as local customs. Those looking to try their hand at sailing in the future can also benefit from the skipper’s vast knowledge of seamanship and get sailing lessons and first-hand advice from an experienced sailor. Even charterers who are licensed captains themselves can gain a tremendous amount of knowledge that can help them down the line.

Additionally, with a professional skipper on board, charterers do not have to stick to the areas they are familiar with. Having a seasoned yachtsman at the helm allows them to sail farther and explore more new places without worrying about unsafe conditions and unfamiliar waters.

Bareboat sailing holidays

A bareboat charter is a basic option when chartering a sailboat. Charterers only get a boat and all the necessary equipment for sailing. It is the best option for those looking to fully enjoy the privacy of a sailboat. The only passengers are friends and family, which makes it easier to completely relax and have a light-hearted atmosphere on a sailing trip. With a skipper on board, there is always a chance that the chemistry may not be quite right to properly unwind and put one’s feet up and, with a full crew, it is difficult to avoid the hustle of daily activities on the boat.   

A bareboat charter provides sailors with a sense of full ownership of the boat, as they have full responsibility for the daily tasks of skippering and are free to organize their sailing trip as they wish. Sailors can create their own cruise itinerary, pick their own crew, assign tasks and enjoy the benefits of doing something together with their family or group of friends.

Bareboat sailing is a wonderful opportunity to improve one’s sailing skills and gain a range of new experiences that come with skippering a boat. It is ideal for destinations with short sailing distances and many safe anchorages to provide shelter in case of bad weather. Most destinations in the Mediterranean, including Croatia, Italy, Greece and Spain, have excellent sailing conditions and are perfect for bareboat charters. Skippered charters are recommended for destinations in the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Caribbean, where offshore conditions can sometimes be a challenge for an inexperienced skipper.