If you want a sailing holiday but either lack the necessary qualifications, want some local knowledge, or just don’t fancy the physical work, a Skippered yacht charter could be the just the solution.
Virtually all the yachts I offer are available with a professional skipper. You pay the usual yacht charter price plus a daily rate for the skipper. You have all the usual options you’d get if you were skippering the yacht yourself.
You can add a skipper to a flotilla yacht and sail in company with other boats, or you can take a bareboat yacht and go where you wish, at whatever pace you want.
Skippered yacht charters usually start on Saturdays (some flotillas are Fridays or Sundays) for a week or a fortnight. One way charters are possible in some areas, usually at an extra charge.
Different durations and start days can sometimes be arranged in low season but rarely in high season. I don’t offer any charters of less than 4 days and trips of under a week must be between two Saturdays.
Life aboard a Skippered yacht charter
Most skippers are more than happy for you to help sail the yacht, especially if you’ve chosen a larger yacht. It can be hard work sailing a 50 footer single handed. Many will also be happy to explain the boats workings and give you some informal instruction.
However, skippers are not instructors and if you are really looking for sail training then you really need an Instructor not a Skipper. It’s not much more expensive (sometimes the same price) but does cut down the yacht choice a little. Most Skippers, though happy to let you steer at sea, will want to moor the yacht themselves. Hitting the quay can be expensive and they are responsible for the yacht and the well-being of all on board.
Many people worry that a skipper will be intrusive. In reality, skippers will respect your privacy and will often disappear ashore once the days sailing in done, unless you ask them to accompany you to dinner.
In my time as a charter skipper, I used to thoroughly enjoy those weeks with clients who wanted me with them all the time; part of the joy of the job is the interesting folk you meet. However I was also more than happy when clients didn’t want me around – everyone needs time to themselves and the chance to catch up on some reading or hook up with friends ashore was equally welcome.
The standard arrangement is that you are required to feed the skipper. No cordon bleu catering is required – just share your lunch with him. In the evening if you want to dine alone, just give him the price of an average meal and he will happy to look after himself. Otherwise, invite them to tag along – they usually know the best restaurants and can help with menu translations etc.