Most Bareboat and Skippered Charters, along with Crewed Charters based on Bareboats, start on Saturdays and are for multiples of a week. The reason is simple – they don’t want their yachts sitting around for odd days between charters. Two week charterers almost always get a 5% discount, 3 week charterers get 10%.
There are a few operators that will do other durations and different start days, especially outside high season, though few are interested in short charters of 2 or 3 days. Finding which operators do this can be hard but drop me an email or give me a call and I’ll help you. You’ll have a better chance of finding something if your dates don’t split both the week you start and the week you finish. So a 10 day charter starting on a Saturday and finishing a week on Tuesday is much better than 10 days starting Thursday and finishing a week on Sunday.
So if you are stuck with an odd start day or duration don’t despair but you’ll have to accept you will have fewer yachts to chose from.
If you are doing a Private Charter there is often scope for negotiation. Otherwise, Cabin Charters, Flotillas and Learn to Sail courses run when they run, nearly always in multiples of a week, though with start days that may be more geared to the charter flight arrival days than normal Bareboat turn around days.
In many resorts, there are one or two days each week when the majority of charter flights from a paticular country arrive. So for Skiathos, most UK Charters are on Fridays, in Corfu it’s Fridays and Mondays, and so on. So Skiathos based flotillas, which are primarily geared to the UK market, start on Fridays.
For the majority of charters, official embarkation time is from 17.00 and disembarkation is by 08.00 or 09.00 on the final day. That said, many charter companies will try to get your yacht ready earlier if you expect to arrive before 17.00 (as long as they’re made aware)! This is partly from a wish to please and partly because clients wandering around whilst staff are still working on the yachts are a pain in the backside!
If you expect to arrive after the normal check in time, the approach varies from company to company and sometimes even from base to base. Most companies will want to know your flight details and arrival times and will wait up for those scheduled to arrive late, or those whose flights are delayed.
How long they’ll stay up varies and often the smaller companies are better at this than the big boys. I’ve worked for operations where we would greet clients and help them aboard no matter what time of the night they arrived. Conversely, I worked at one large base where anyone arriving after 18.00 was greeted by a notice board telling them their yacht name and they were otherwise left to get on with it!
Most companies are less flexible about disembarkation time – there’s a lot to do to turn around boats for the next clients and this can’t start until you’re off the boat. There have been enough people taking liberties and not even bring the yacht back on to the quay until 09.00 (forgetting that they need to check out before getting off) that some companies now write in to the contract that you must bring the yacht back by the end of the previous afternoon, to allow time for check out.
It is normal for mooring fees for the first night and last night, whilst your in the base port, to be included in the charter or holiday price.