The first thing to do is say; congratulations! Thinking of booking a sailing holiday is a step in the right direction. However now you are faced with endless choice; Do you bareboat over flotilla? Is it Greece over Turkey, or neither? That’s all before we get onto what boat you should be looking for; small or big, or new or old? But stop, don’t worry, below we have the answers:
What to do? Bareboat, Flotilla, Course or even Beach Club?
If you haven’t got any sailing experience at all then you have two great options. You can take part in an RYA learn to sail yacht course in some incredible destinations, such as Greece and Croatia (or further afield to the BVIs and Thailand). But if some members of your party are a little nervous about sailing then spending 7 days on a yacht might be too much so we would recommend a beach holiday where those wishing to learn to sail can do so while offering those a little nervous to experience how safe and enjoyable sailing is!
If you have a Day Skipper or ICC then you can’t beat a flotilla for a first sailing holiday. It’s sociable, stress free and will visit some of the most picturesque harbours and exclusive anchorages in the area. The flotillas lead skipper will be on hand to help offer advice if you are having troubles.
Where to go?
For a first sailing holiday the Greek Ionian Islands and the Lycian Coast in Turkey offer the best conditions with gentle winds and calm seas as well as line of site navigation. We would always suggest researching destinations. Some areas such as the Greek Dodecanese are a big no no for first time holiday goers as the wind can be very strong, great for experienced sailors but not for the first time!
Further afield the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean offer great sailing conditions for a winter escape.
Don’t instantly think of going big as larger yachts can be harder to manoeuvre in a harbour. But equally 6 people on a 32 foot yacht is very economical but it’s not necessarily the best option! For 2 people we would suggest a 32 to 36 foot yacht. For 4 people a 32 to 42 foot yacht and for groups of 6 or over we’d suggest a anything over 36 foot but many 32 foot yachts can sleep 6.
Older boats can be a lot cheaper, but things are often more likely to break on them. This means you might find you spend more time with a spanner in your hands than the main sheet. Newer boats might be a little more expensive but they do offer more stress free sailing.
It’s also critical to look at the equipment on board, particularly with how the sails are operated. By this we mean is the mainsail an in mast roller furling or is it slab (slides up the mast). Our office unanimously dislike in mast furling as they have a tendency to get stuck, particularly when it gets windy and slab mains fall very easily into the lazy jacks in the bag. One other not; if you see the spinnaker as an option and you’re never sailed with one before don’t add it! Instead we recommend doing a course first, if you rip them they are expensive to repair.
When to go?
Sailing is year round. But for a first holiday in Turkey or Greece we would recommend going between May and October. If you are a family then obviously the summer holidays are best. But for those who can go either side then we would recommend the quiter periods of Mid May and early October.
When to book?
We have a whole page about this, but always book early to guarantee a good deal. By early we mean 6 to 12 months in advance and not 3 months. This will provide you the best chance to get the holiday you deserve and often at a cheaper rate than booking last minute. If you can go at a couple of weeks notice then there are occasionally some fantastic deals that come up, particularly in May.
Why Book with us?
There are dozens of yacht charter brokers on the internet, but none pro actively work with all the major sailing holiday providers (Sunsail, Neilson, Seafarer, Mark Warner) like we do. This means that one email to us will get availability at all the before mentioned operators. We will sift through the responses and only pick the best options for you, potentially saving you time, money and help find the best option. Just remember that we charge the companies so booking with us is exactly the same price as going direct.