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Marion wrote: I am a sea lover. Seems to be an interesting cruise. david martin Abrahams would love to travel on it.
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marc wrote: 5 Points to Consider When Choosing a Yacht Charter Destination Caribbean Dec-Mar might be the busiest season but the Caribbean offers great sailing anytime between November through June.
marc wrote: 5 Points to Consider When Choosing a Yacht Charter Destination Caribbean Dec-Mar might be the busiest season but the Caribbean offers great sailing anytime between November through June.
YV&C News Desk wrote: Choosing a destination for your bareboat charter can often be the trickiest part of your adventure, because so many variables come into play. You'll need to review your preferences, your skills, and your budget to make an educated decision that you'll be happy with.


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Five Points to Consider When Choosing a Yacht Charter Destination
Be realistic and end up with the trip that's right for you!

Choosing a destination for your bareboat charter can often be the trickiest part of your adventure, because so many variables come into play. You'll need to review your preferences, your skills, and your budget to make an educated decision that you'll be happy with.

Your own location is obviously the starting point for deciding where to go. If you live in the Caribbean, then you can probably eliminate that region from your list. Charter industry statistics suggest that the vast majority of charterers travel more than 1,000 miles to reach their destination, a large number will go 3,000 miles, and there's a growing segment that's willing (time and airline fares notwithstanding) to travel into another hemisphere.

 

 

1. Climate
One of your first decisions will be the climate that you prefer. Not everyone seeks a temperate climate, or there would be a mass migration. If you dislike cold, then you should eliminate many of the northern charter cruising areas of Europe and North America, which can be brisk even in mid-summer. On the other hand, if the tropics are too steamy, you may want to skip parts of the South Pacific, Asia, or lower Caribbean. Bear in mind, of course, that not every area remains the same throughout the year, and you can often find a season that is acceptable. For example, the Pacific Northwest is temperate in the summer, cool in the spring and fall, and downright cold during the winter.

2. Time of Year
Your sailing vacation may or may not be dictated by a specific vacation schedule, such as during Christmas or Easter holidays, but you should focus on your charter window early in your planning so you can avoid wasting time on areas that are simply unsuitable. If summer is your only "getaway time," for example, you can quickly rule out Baja California because the heat and sun can be unbearable. On the other hand, summer is the ideal time to explore the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior.

The sidebar, "When and Where to Go," outlines the preferred sailing seasons for a number of different areas, but always bear in mind that weather is one variable that's beyond your control.

3. Boating Experience
 You need to be brutally honest about your level of boating expertise. Areas such as the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas are safe for the novice charterer, with generally protected waters, short distances between anchorages, and predictable weather with good forecasts.

But you'll need a far higher level of skill to tackle chartering in the Hebrides off Scotland, where tidal currents swirl around shoals and rocks, the weather can change suddenly, and good harbors are few and far between.

It's not just the wind and water that can make an area more challenging, but a myriad of other things as well. Foreign waters mean foreign languages, unfamiliar charts, and social factors that compound the normal problems faced by a charter crew. Before you set out to sail the coast of Norway or navigate through the shoals of Belize, be sure of your own skills.

4. Cost
Nobody likes to talk about money, and too many otherwise lovely charters have been felled by a shortage of it. Once you've set a certain dollar amount that you're comfortable spending on your vacation, you'll need to make sure that your planned charter can stay within that budget while still leaving a safety margin.

The cost of the bareboat charter is your major expense, and that's easily determined. Add to that your airfare or other transportation costs to and from the charter company base, and don't forget all the seemingly minor costs that can add up to sizable chunks, such as airport taxes, meals in transit, taxis or buses, and even overweight baggage if you plan to bring extra gear.

Provisioning is the next major expenditure and, depending upon the area, you may prefer that the charter company handle it at a flat rate per day or from a checklist of supplies. Leave slack in the food budget, though, because you'll surely want to dine ashore.

Even in the most remote areas, I've never been on a charter where we didn't buy food to augment our provisions as we went along. In Baja California, we couldn't resist the lobster and jumbo shrimp offered by the local fishermen. In Tahiti, a few bottles of French wine always seemed to be in the dinghy after forays ashore. In the Mediterranean, every little village had a bakery with mouthwatering pastries that became absolutely necessary to top off the next meal.

Finally, ask the charter company for a list of other specific expenses that their customers encounter, which might include fishing licenses, fuel for the dinghy, mooring fees, harbor fees, document fees (if you cross international boundaries), or any of the other "nickel-and-dime" costs that can break your carefully set budget. One surprise for many crews is a value-added tax applied to charters in British or French waters. The French tax (VAT) is 7.5% of the charter cost, figured on a daily basis for each day spent in French waters, and can obviously add several hundred dollars to your budget.

You should also check on fuel, cooking gas, and water. Some companies include these items in the package cost, while others provide you with full tanks at the start of your cruise and then charge you to top them off at the end. In some areas, fuel can be quite expensive and water nearly as precious, so you should understand your company's policy.

No matter how badly you want to do a particular charter, if it seems like it's close to exceeding your budget, you should probably find a less expensive charter that won't leave you worrying constantly about money.

5. Other Considerations
Don't overlook other likes or dislikes that should be taken into consideration. If your idea of a pleasant vacation is to have dinner at a different restaurant every night, then you should pick an area (such as the Mediterranean) where you can do exactly that. By the same token, if you want to get away from the bright lights and don't care if you see anyone for days on end, then pick your charter region accordingly.

Are you a fisherman? Find out what fish are biting, and when, before you sign up. Do you speak a foreign language and want to air it out? A charter in a country speaking your second language is fun as well as practical.

Picture your prospective charter vacation in your mind - do you see yourself in solitude or do you want nightlife? Does your spouse rebel at the idea of cooking and want to be served? Do you prefer empty harbors or do you like meeting people in busier anchorages?

The answers will determine the charter destination that's right for you!

Moneysaving Tip
Skip the staples package. Many charter companies charge upwards of $15 per person for paper goods alone, which is far more than you'd pay for a week's supply of paper plates, paper towels, and toilet paper in a local store. Condiments such as seasonings and spices can be brought from home in small quantities (35mm film canisters make great waterproof carriers) so you aren't throwing away expensive packaged goods that are more than you need for your charter.

When and Where to Go
Here are the prime seasons for cruising areas worldwide. Be sure to book your charter accordingly.

Bahamas (Dec-Mar)
Baja California (Nov-May)
Caribbean (Dec-March)
Chesapeake (April-Oct)
Florida (Dec-May)
Great Lakes (June-Sept)
Northeast (May-Oct)
Northwest (June-Sept)

Europe
British Isles (May-Sept)
Greece (spring & fall)
Mediterranean (April-Oct)
Northern Europe (May-Sept)
Scandinavia (May-Sept)
Turkey (spring & fall)

Pacific/Asia
Australia (Oct-May)
Polynesia (March-Nov)
New Zealand (Oct-May)
Thailand (Nov-April)
Tonga (April-Nov)

About Chris Caswell
Chris Caswell

With more than 35 years as a boating journalist and as the former editor of both Yachting and Sea magazines, Chris Caswell is an award-winning freelancer and the author of seven books on boating. His most recent, Charter A Yacht, took him to the lochs of Scotland, the canals of Burgundy, and the motus of Tahiti. Seen nationwide as the host of the popular "Marine Voyager" boating series on the Outdoor Life cable network, he's a dedicated boater who says he's owned more boats than he wants either his banker or his wife to know about. He also has the largest moustache of any boating writer.

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5 Points to Consider When Choosing a Yacht Charter Destination

Caribbean Dec-Mar might be the busiest season but the Caribbean offers great sailing anytime between November through June.

5 Points to Consider When Choosing a Yacht Charter Destination

Caribbean Dec-Mar might be the busiest season but the Caribbean offers great sailing anytime between November through June.

Choosing a destination for your bareboat charter can often be the trickiest part of your adventure, because so many variables come into play. You'll need to review your preferences, your skills, and your budget to make an educated decision that you'll be happy with.


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