Cabin charter

If your friends or family aren’t keen on sailing or you want some new company, Cabin Charter could be just the solution.  As the name suggests, these are booked by the cabin so are open to singles as well as friends, couples and larger groups.

Cabin charter offers the luxury of big yacht sailing without the responsibility

Cabin charter offers the luxury of big yacht sailing

Cabin charters fall in to three groups:

  1. Cruises on large yachts, usually around the 45 – 60 foot range, often with only 4 or 5 guest cabins. The crew generally consists of a professional skipper or a skipper and hostess.
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    If you wish you can help sail the boat though you’re equally welcome to sit back and let the crew look after everything. The price generally includes breakfast and lunch, with dinner being taken ashore.
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    In some cases the cruises follow as set route, but sometimes skippers are open to suggestions from everyone aboard about where they’d most like to go.
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    These cruises are an excellent way to explore an area.  You can take advantage of the crew’s local knowledge; as well as tips on things to see they usual know the better restaurants. These holidays are also a great opportunity to experience life on a large yacht without needing to find a crew (or prepare your own meals)!
  2. Charters based on Flotilla or Sailing School yachts. There are three options:
    1. So called Pot Luck sailing holidays, where you share one of the Flotilla yachts with other clients, one of whom will be skippering. The main limitation with these holidays is they don’t run every week and are particularly scarce in high season, when the operators have less difficulty filling yachts. For more information and prices see the Singles Sailing Holiday Prices page.
      Pot Luck: You may make new friends, or you may have to peel your own grapes

      Pot Luck: You may make new friends, or you may have to peel your own grapes

    2. You can spend a week (or two) on a Lead Yacht, in which case you have the benefit of a professional skipper and hostess to look after you.
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      The skipper’s prime responsibility is to looking after his fleet yachts, not you, which can mean short sailing days. However, if one of the flotilla yachts needs assistance you may get a longer day than expected.
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      Either way, it gives a fascinating insight in to the hard work that goes in to running a successful flotilla, and is often the cheapest way to get a sailing holiday. For more information and prices see the Singles Sailing Holiday Prices page.
    3. Taking a berth or cabin on a Learn to Sail yacht. This means you’ll be sharing with students taking courses, so there may be spells when you have to sit and watch them practising manoeuvres.
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      The main focus will be on the students’ training, not necessarily providing the best possible cruise for you. However you have the benefit of a professional instructor on board so it’s a great chance to learn, either by watching the others or taking a course yourself.
  3. A Turkish Gulet. Great woodwork but not great at sailing

    A Turkish Gulet. Great woodwork but not great at sailing

    Cabin charters using traditional or larger vessels which are almost more mini cruises. The boats range from traditional wooden built Gulets in Turkey to custom build faux sailing boats which might have sails but would actually go far without the engines running. As such it could be argued these are not really sailing trips.
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    The advantage of these vessels over full size cruise ships is they can get right in to smaller harbours, though of course they lack the facilities of a large ship. Vessels may have from around 6 to 30 cabins with crew numbers from 3 to 20.

    Food is usually included, but the quality of this and the vessels themselves ranges widely (with prices to match) from the distinctly budget to the luxury. It’s worth checking carefully what is included – that cheap price may not turn out so great if you have to pay £3 for a small bottle of water, and I have heard of some Gulet guests being searched for drinks on return from trips ashore by captains keen to make sure the bar aboard is used.

Most cabins on cabin charters are doubles so if you’re travelling alone there is sometimes a single supplement. For singles on a budget, there is sometimes the options to share a twin cabin (same sex only).

A common concern with cabin charter is the unknown nature of the other guests and the fact that, unlike on a large cruise ship, there isn’t really anywhere to escape to if you don’t get along. However, peer pressure is a wonderful thing and quite often weight of numbers will keep any wayward individuals in order. Cruises with professional crew are better in this respect as the skipper is better placed to resolve issues than with say a Pot Luck holiday.

On the plus side, I’ve known very good friendships start on such trips and they do guarantee a ready made social circle. The price also deters the lager lout fraternity – these are not expensive trips by any means, but they are not budget holidays.