First Timers Guide to Booking a Sailboat Charter – Part 2

Read All About Booking a Sailboat Charter – Part 2

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First Timers Guide to Booking a Sailboat Charter – Part 2

You’ve picked your yacht, chosen a destination, decided on a holiday crew, and navigated the booking process and now you’re ready for the next step in your booking a sailboat charter journey. 

Don’t worry. We’ve got your back with everything you need to know before and after booking a sailboat charter. From getting there to what to pack and how to pay for everything along the way, this booking a sailboat charter guide will make sure you’re prepared for whatever comes your way.

First Timers Guide to Booking a Sailboat Charter - Part 2

1. Getting There

Once everything is booked, it’s time to figure out how you’re actually going to get there. Chances are you’re going to have to fly, whether you’re thinking about booking a sailboat charter in the Caribbean or a European island closer to home.

Research the closest airport when booking a sailboat charter but also consider nearby airports that might have better prices. For example, with a Croatia sailboat charter, you might be tempted to fly directly to Split, Zadar or Dubrovnik, all popular starting points. Flying to Zagreb, however, may offer more direct options and cheaper fares without adding too much to your transfer time. 

Once you’ve got flights locked down, you may choose to book a hotel before or after your charter. This could be to better align with your arrival and departure times or to have more time exploring inland in your chosen destination.

Transfers to and from the airport are your next item to tackle. Your hotel might provide this or you may need to reach out to a company separately. Make sure to allow plenty of time to avoid stress and to compensate for any complications with your traveling or delays. .

2. Provisioning

Rates when booking a sailboat charter do not usually include the expenses to run your trip and must be paid separately. Expenses such as food, drinks for the bar, fuel, laundry, port taxes, and dockage are charged separately, and for crewed and luxury sailboat charters especially, these are usually paid by an Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA). This is an easy way to avoid needing to pull your wallet out every time a bill needs to be paid as you’ll be paying for the expected costs upfront.

Not all APA’s are the same as they vary based on which sailing boat you are booking a sailboat charter and even based on the boat you’ve chosen. Your boat might have a fixed price for meals or a menu tailored to suit your tastes. You might want to be charged for alcoholic drinks as you go or have drinks pre-purchased based on your preferences.

You’ll pay approximately 25-35% of your charter fee for the APA with the rate based on the number of guests to be catered for, the duration of the trip, and the type of yacht. The captain is usually in charge of the APA and will be in control of paying for fuelling up the boat and the mooring fees.

The captain will keep a record of your transactions throughout the sailboat charter with an itemised list of the variable expenses. If the APA has not been fully expended by the end of the trip, the remaining funds will be returned to you. On the other hand, if it looks like the deposited amount is likely to be exceeded, the captain will inform you of the choice to increase the value.

Read more about Advance Provisioning Allowance here.

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3. Pack Like a Pro

There isn’t usually much stowage room on a yacht, so it’s handy to think about what you actually need so you only pack the essentials. Consider using a duffle bag or something collapsible without a frame. If you’re sharing with someone else, you’ll save a lot of space by having two smaller bags instead of one large one.

Clothing wise, you might be tempted to pack your best duds, but we suggest focusing on light and comfortable clothes that can handle some seawater. Even better if you have some quick-dry options. One or two nicer outfits are sufficient for the evenings or a meal in a restaurant.

Your packing list will depend on the climate of your destination but all-weather must-haves include:

  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Swimwear
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Windbreaker or light raincoat
  • Sweatshirt or cardigan
  • Deck shoes (look for non-marking soles and good grip)
  • Water shoes
  • Street shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Personal medications
  • Eco-friendly toiletries
  • Chargers for electronic items (phone, camera, etc.)
  • Playing cards or small travel games
  • Small backpack for day trips

A separate but just as important list is for your paperwork and travel documents:

  • Passport and driving license with photocopies
  • Any documentation required for your charter
  • Printouts for pre-charter accommodation and transfers including directions
  • Any applicable sailing licenses or boating licenses
  • Credit cards and emergency cash

Make a checklist and go through it as you pack, including any important documents and medication. Check out our Ultimate Sailing Packing Guide for more help developing your packing list.

Top tip. Check the local climate and weather conditions before you leave to make sure you’re covered for any surprises.

4. Extra Services

Sure, you’ve chosen your ideal yacht for booking a sailboat charter, but there’s still time to decide on those nice-to-have extras.

Water sports. Take your sailing charter holiday to the next level with a variety of water sports options. Snorkel gear is almost a necessity, but you can also consider kayaks, paddleboards, fishing equipment, jet skis, and scuba diving gear.

Crew. If you haven’t already, you can consider adding on a skipper or cook. A skipper is a great choice if you’ve never chartered before or you’ve booked a yacht that’s larger than you’re comfortable with. Skippers can also give you some breathing room on your sailing charter so you have more time to relax and take in the scenery, and with their local knowledge, they can be excellent guides to the area. A cook takes all the hard work out of mealtimes by cooking, serving, and cleaning up, so you get to spend more time enjoying your vacation. Other crew options include a hostess and a nanny.

Outboard engine. A small engine that goes on the back of your dinghy.

Safety net. This is rigged around the guard rails of the yacht and is a must to prevent small children from falling in.

Bed linen and towels. These may or may not be included depending on the destination. Check when booking a sailboat charter. 

5. Yacht Insurance

On top of regular travel insurance (which is always a good idea), you can purchase different levels of yacht insurance when booking a sailboat charter. The idea is to cover you in the event of something going awry, so you’re not faced with a massive bill while on your trip. Discuss your options and concerns with us and we can help you find insurance for most scenarios.

Change of Circumstances. If you’re booking a long way in advance to secure your sailboat charter, it’s important to be aware that your initial deposit is non-returnable. This insurance covers you if you need to cancel or change your booking so you don’t incur additional fees. So it’s best to purchase this at the time of booking a sailboat charter. 

Liquidation Liability. It might be rare, but this is a way to cover yourself in case your operator goes out of business.

The Deposit. A portion of your deposit will be kept if something happens while on your sailboat charter and some insurances can cover against this.

6. Frequently Asked Questions When Booking a Sailboat Charter

Should I tip the crew?

Tipping and how much you do tip is entirely at your discretion. If you do enjoy their service, it is, however, customary to leave a tip of 10 to 15% of the charter fee. Leave this with the captain who can ensure none of the crew members gets overlooked.

Can I smoke aboard the yacht?

Smoking is usually not permitted but some yachts allow smoking in designated outdoor areas.

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