Planning a fixed itinerary is not totally necessary and if you prefer to ‘wing it’ while you sail your dream holiday, that’s perfect BUT it is wise to know the region and have some ideas on where to go and what to see.
Not only do you NOT want to miss out on the best places to visit but you do also need to always have a plan for anchorages for the night and alternatives should the weather mess with your plans.
Some places make this much easier than others and you can nip from one island to the next or even just around the corner and find the perfect spot. Parts of the Greek Islands, Caribbean and even places like The Seychelles can all be accommodating this way while others may throw a few more challenges your way.
Our little office has a lot of knowledge to offer and share and it is ideal to chat to us about your plans for your charter fairly early on. Whether these be hopping from one small village to the next – enjoying the local lifestyle, restaurants, shops and markets – or scouting out the most deserted bays and beaches, keeping to yourselves, walking the islands and exploring – its important information for planning the basis of an itinerary, which we will happily work through together with the owners/suppliers for local knowledge and advise.
Adding a local skipper can enhance your charter with their knowledge and understanding but it is also imperative that you discuss your thoughts and requirements relating to a skipper and the itinerary upfront so we can get some ideas in place. This allows the skipper to be aware upfront of what is expected and gives him opportunity to plan accordingly.
As a ‘bareboat charter’ where you captain your own ship, it is vital to do research prior to your charter and get to know the area. In most places at least one person will need to be fully qualified in order to book a ‘bareboat’ but in other places they may require two people. Anyone who is qualified and has a little experience understands the value of this research, planning and understanding the terrain. Above all it is a safety aspect to be respected as well as ensuring you have a wonderful yacht charter plus its a heap of fun going through the relevant ‘pilot books’. You will have a briefing at the base before heading out and charts and pilot books will be supplied for you to make use but personally, we always carry our own as well.
Most suppliers offer standard itinerary ideas and we are very happy to share these with you upfront as a starting point. As we progress through your booking this can tailored and adapted as necessary. There are many factors to take into consideration and we can help with these –
Time of year – will effect how busy the venues are, how easy or tough it might be to find a mooring or anchorage, whether a town is overrun with tourists and best avoided or peaceful and enjoyable to explore, whether restaurants and tours are open for the season or booked full or perhaps even closed for local holidays.
Weather – although unpredictable, there are some standard patterns in certain places that can be relied on for general planning – like NOT chartering in hurricane season in the Caribbean. Rainy season can turn a yacht charter into a nightmare if not forewarned and so on. Know the places where you can escape the weather if need be, by heading ashore or touring the local sites so you are not affected.
Travelling in a self made flotilla – more than one boat in your group allows you to plan alternative activities for example, leave the girls safely tucked into a port, bay or beach while the boys head off for some fishing. Alternatively as a group, mooring for more than one boat needs to be considered and kept in mind, so do restaurant bookings, tours, transfers and so on.
Visa’s – in some places you may have access to certain islands but not to others and instead of landing yourselves with a ‘customs’ issue, find out upfront where you can and cant go. For example from Turkey to Greece – easy yes, without visa’s, NO. Some islands in the Caribbean have similar conditions.
Medical issues – major allergies or health problems shouldn’t prevent you from your dream charter but rather means that extra care is placed when planning your itinerary keeping you close to medical facilities.
Dynamics of your group – mature couples, families or families with small kids, perhaps teenagers looking for some nightlife. It’s all do-able and a happy balance can easily be planned to satisfy all.
The best part is that you don’t have to worry about this stuff because, although you do need to give the input, we will remind you of these details, guide you and prepare you as best we can. Then you can then head off, change everything we have decided, don your exploration cap and have a whale of a time!