Bareboating is essentially the experience of hiring a yacht, either sail or powered, to sail yourself. This is not only a relatively economical way to sail the world’s most beautiful destinations, it can also give a satisfying sense of adventure, freedom and self-reliance.
Where can you sail? Anywhere there is water! The beauty of a sailing holiday is the mobility and freedom to explore you can spend every night somewhere different if you choose, or stick around longer when you find somewhere special. With sailing experiencing a growth in popularity in recent years, charter hubs are available worldwide.
Possibly the most popular bareboat yacht charter spots are the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, but there are many other tempting destinations to explore. North America offers wildly differing experiences, with colorful Mexico to the south and rugged mountain scenery and secluded bays to the north. Marine life is spectacular wherever you choose. Consider the Indian Ocean for romance and relaxation, with paradise beaches and sophisticated resorts, all surrounded by abundant tropical plant and animal life. Indulge your Robinson Crusoe fantasies in the South Pacific, teeming with exotic islands and coral reefs. For relaxed sailing off the beaten track, look at the Far East, where you can find an excellent combination of palm-fringed beaches and friendly locals.
Aye Aye Captain
With the expense of owning your own yacht prohibitive to the general public, a bareboat charter yacht can be the solution. However, a minimum experience level is required. Many harbor authorities require a certificate such as Day Skipper or an International Certificate of Competency or a national competency of some kind.
Certain areas, such as Croatia, require a VHF Operators certificate holder to be on board. There are other harbors where no formal qualifications are required at all, but it is sensible to be realistic about your capabilities as you will be responsible for sailing, navigating, docking and anchoring a craft which may be between 30-60ft in size, with penalties applicable in case of problems or accidents. Most bareboat yacht charter agents will spend time evaluating your competency to find a suitable craft and destination for your experience level and arrange tuition if required. There is also usually an impressive support structure in place, with time spent familiarizing you with your yacht upon arrival, detailed navigation charts for your destination and a network of engineers on call in the area.
The most important optional extra could be a skipper. If your sailing ability doesn’t quite match up to your sense of adventure, the full bareboating experience may not be for you. However, hiring a skipper will give you the best of both worlds.
For those who wish to relax and indulge, there is usually the option to hire a full crew including a chef. You could also think about arranging food and beverage packages as while it is exciting to be independent, this should also be a holiday. The young and fit may also want to hire water sports equipment.
Sailing a private yacht evokes a sense of freedom and independence not found on resort holidays. You will discover more of your destination, challenge yourself and no doubt improve your sailing skills.
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