Skippered yacht charter FAQs

Here are answers to some of the common questions about Skippered charter. If you don’t find the answers you need do get in touch – advice is free.

Do I need previous sailing experience?

No, these holidays are suitable for everyone from complete novices to experienced sailors.

Close the question above

Can children go?

Yes, there’s no age limit. Child harnesses and life jackets are available and there is usually on option to fit netting around the side of the yacht if you’e worried about your youngsters falling between the guard rails.

Close the question above

Do we sail alone?

You don’t have to. You can join a flotilla and sail in company with other yachts. Flotillas sail a predefined route (weather & other operating conditions permitting). Each evening everyone meets up at the destination and there’s usually a group dinner (attendance not obligatory). Other social events are organised during the week.

The range of yachts available isn’t quite as great as if you’re sailing alone as you are limited to boats from the flotilla operators’ fleets. But it’s a great way to make friends and in school holidays, children can pal up with youngsters from other yachts.

Close the question above

How far do we sail?

The route and the time you spend sailing each day are largely down to you though your skipper will be happy to advise. You’ll also find a number of suggested itineraries on this website (see the bareboat charter section).

Close the question above

Can we help sail the yacht?

Yes, your skipper will be happy to have some assistance. You can even have a go at steering though there are times that the skipper will want to take the helm, such as when mooring up. However, it’s not obligatory; if you prefer to just sit back and relax the skipper can sail the yacht on his own.

Close the question above

Where is the best place to go and how do I choose a yacht?

Skippered yacht charters are available all around the world. For a guide to choosing your destination see Choosing a Skippered Charter Destination. For more on the different cruising grounds see the Sailing Areas section. For guidance on choosing your yachts see Choosing a Skippered Yacht.

But if that’s too much reading, give me a call and I’ll help you through the choices.

Close the question above

Yachts under sail - it could be you!

Yachts under sail – it could be you!

Who will the skipper be?

He may be a local or one of the many professionals from around the world. Most skippers are male but there are a few females. Some skippers are permanently employed by the charter operators, others draw from a pool of their favourite freelancers. Skippers are often not allocated until close to departure so it’s not usually possible to get details in advance. However, you can expect your skipper to be a friendly and experienced professional.

Close the question above

Will the skipper speak English?

Operators don’t guarantee the language skills of their skippers but most are multilingual – communication is part of the job! Skippers are matched to clients as much as possible and of course English is one of the most common languages. I can’t recall coming across a charter skipper that didn’t speak at least basic English and my local sippers are fluent. And of course its quote likely you could end up with a native speaker – there are lots of Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and Americans working in the industry.

Close the question above

How do we get there?

Most operators offer optional transfers between the local airport and the base. It works out cheaper if you book your own flights. I can assist by pointing you to suitable providers and on line booking is pretty easy. However if you prefer a package with flights this is possible for many though not all yachts.

Close the question above

How much does it cost?

How long is a piece of string?! Low season prices start from around £1500 for a small yacht with skipper for a week. Add from around £200 per person for flights and transfers. However you could easily spend several times that on a larger yacht. The key factors affecting the price are:

  • The yacht – the larger and newer the yacht, the more it costs
  • When you travel – yachts can cost up to twice as much in high season as in quieter periods
  • Travel costs – these days you can easily spend more getting there than the price of the yacht and skipper
  • When you book – generally the earlier the better. Some yachts may be heavily discounted close to departure but any saving here is usually outweighed by increased flight costs. (Indeed as most airlines prefer to turn away some business than fly planes half full, flights may sell out completely). Virtually all yacht operators offer early booking discounts of 10% and this may be a better deal than a last minute discount off a yacht that was overpriced to start with.

Close the question above

What's included in the price?

Normally the yacht and the skipper, who must have his own cabin. You must also cover his food. In addition to the main price, there are usually some mandatory extras payable at check in – I’ll tell you about these before you book. If you are sailing with a flotilla the price usually also includes fuel for the yacht, often a welcome drink, sometimes a beach party or BBQ and a starter pack of groceries.

Close the question above

What's not included?

Your Skippered charter will not usually include:

  • Your food and drink, and that for the skipper
  • Yacht fuel (except on most flotillas) – expect to spend anything from around £50-150 for a week, depending on the size of yacht (bigger yachts use more fuel) and how much motoring you do.
  • Mooring fees – prices vary widely depending on the sailing area, time of year and size of yacht. Many moorings in Greece and Turkey are free. At the other end of the scale a large yacht in an expensive marina in France or Italy could set you back over £100 a night in high season.
  • Flights and transfers (unless you book a flight inclusive package) and any visa costs.
  • Other incidental expenses such as water refills for the yacht, pumping out of holding tanks in Turkey.
  • Travel insurance.

In addition to the above you will need to lodge a security deposit against damage to the yacht and its equipment. This covers the excess on the operators yacht insurance. This is usually taken as a credit card authorisation, typically 1000€ – 3000€.

Close the question above

How do I book?

Get in touch before you book as there are lots more yachts available than listed on this site. Initially all I will need is a deposit, usually 30-50% of the yacht price (not including the skipper), usually payable by bank transfer. There’s a simple booking form to complete and in due course I’ll also need name and passport details of those who are sailing. These can wait until close to departure if you’re waiting for a passport renewal or aren’t sure of the final list of participants.

About 4-8 week before departure the balance will be due for the yacht. You may also have to pay for the skipper at this stage though often this is collected when you check in, along with any payment for mandatory and optional extras.

Close the question above

Should we tip the Skipper?

It’s the same as in a restaurant; not obligatory but a nice idea if you feel you’ve been well looked after. I used to get high marks on end of trip questionnaires but probably only got a tip on about half the trips. Tips varied from 10% of the charter fee (geez I love Americans) to a couple of cheap bottles of wine that was left over at the end of the week.

Do bear in mind that while the skippers fee would seem a good wage if they got it every week, the season only lasts half the year and few skippers will work every week. In some cases the operator also takes a cut of what you pay.

Close the question above

Will I feel seasick?

I’ve no idea! A few do but many who would find a channel ferry a challenge find a yacht has a much more gentle motion, tending to ride with the waves. Skippers have an array of techniques to help those affected so do let them know if you’re feeling off colour. You might also want to read some of the tips on my Seasickness page.

Close the question above

Will the yacht tip over?

Single hulled yachts (monohulls) are designed to lean over but not capsize. The lean depends on the wind strength and direction. Your skipper will be able to reduce any leaning but it’s hard to completely eliminate without putting the sails away and resorting to engine power. Charter catamarans stay upright and also offer more space than a monohull but are more expensive.

Close the question above


For more information, see the pages on Skippered Yacht CharterChoosing a Skippered Charter Destination and Choosing a Skippered Yacht.