Bareboat sailing charters are ideal for those who enjoy the freedom and privacy of their own sailboat. Bareboat sailing holidays offer the comfort of private accommodation combined with the adventure of exploring new places at one’s own pace each day.
Bareboating has a number of advantages over crewed charters. For one thing, it is considerably less expensive to charter a bareboat than it is to rent a skippered or fully crewed boat. For another, it provides the charterer with the invaluable experience of independently operating a sailboat, which is the best way to improve sailing skills and gain the confidence required to set off to new, more challenging sailing destinations.
However, the independence of bareboat sailing comes with a range of responsibilities. These include sailing, navigating and anchoring the boat, ensuring the safety of everyone aboard, planning the sailing routes, provisioning, preparing meals, cleaning the boat and, on longer trips, doing laundry. Bareboating itself does not only require sailing knowledge, but the skipper must also have good management skills to be able to assign tasks, organize the crew and take the responsibility for the safety of the boat. It is advisable that the skipper know the practices of operating a sailboat to make sure that all the expenses, including fuel, food and beverages, port fees and insurance, are covered.
To sail in Mediterranean countries, including Greece, Croatia, Spain and Turkey, the skipper must have an ICC (International Certificate of Competence) and a radio license. The certificate serves as proof of competence and may be issued to anyone who has passed the ICC test or obtained certain national boating licenses to prove the necessary competence to operate a boat.
When deciding on the type of charter, charterers can usually choose between monohulls and catamarans. Trimarans and power boats are also available sometimes but are generally a less popular option for sailing holidays.
Choosing the type of boat is mostly a matter of personal preference and occasionally availability for particular dates. Monohulls are preferred by those who enjoy responsive sailing, while catamarans are the better option for those looking for comfort and speed. The next step is to decide on the size of the boat. The key is to find a vessel with enough cabins to accommodate the passengers while maintaining comfort and privacy and not breaking the budget.
Monohull sailboats are typically 30 to 50 feet in length and have between 1 and 5 cabins. They are the best option for anyone who favours adventure over comfort and wants to experience the real feeling of sailing. Monohulls are recommended for first-time skippers as they do not require the same level of skill as catamarans.
Catamarans are popular for the stability, speed and amount of room they provide. They are an excellent option for groups of friends or families travelling with children or pets because they are much safer than monohull sailboats. They do not flip over or sink and their stability makes life onboard a lot more comfortable.
Catamarans also have shallow draft, which makes it easy for charterers to explore more destinations and to sail all the way to the shore. They are much faster and easier to manoeuvre than monohulls, but the extra power also demands an advanced level of skill and specialist knowledge, which is why catamarans are not recommended for first-time skippers.
There are many amazing destinations for bareboat charters worldwide, but the most popular ones are found in the Mediterranean and in the Caribbean. Places like Croatia, Spain, Greece, and British Virgin Islands are particularly good choices for less experienced skippers due to easy sailing conditions and short hops between ports. Beginners in particular should always make sure to stay close to land and sheltered anchorages.
When choosing a destination, there are several factors to consider. The skill level required for navigation and berthing is the most important one, as some destinations are more challenging than others. Passengers’ preferences are also important because sailing only takes up some of the time in the chartering day. To make sure that everyone has a good time, it is essential to take into account if the party is more interested in remote beaches and snorkelling, visiting restaurants and going shopping, or touring old castles and forts. The ease of finding transportation on land is another thing to think about in order to avoid wasting too much vacation time on waiting.
Regardless of the destination, a bareboat sailing charter guarantees a special kind of adventure, allowing families and groups of friends to bond, work together as a crew and create many wonderful memories. The freedom to chart one’s own course and the privacy of a bareboat vessel, with nothing but the elements for miles, are the perfect recipe for a relaxing, uniquely memorable holiday.