It’s quite possible that some members of the party will not be completely sold on the joys of a sailing holiday. They might enjoy it when they get there but if they don’t, you may find your plans for future trips are on the rocks. So a little compromise can smooth the way.
Combining your dream sailing trip with either a spell ashore or a different type of sailing can widen the appeal and increase the enjoyment all round. For example, youngsters plonked on a yacht may just see it as a slow and boring way to travel. But give them a week learning to dinghy sail first and they’ll soon realise the yacht is just a big dinghy and will be keen to get involved.
Many combinations involve a week doing one thing them a week doing something different. But it doesn’t have to be this way. For example your could split your group for a while and have some taking a sailing course whilst others relax on the beach.
You are not limited to the booking it all through the same company either. Though some tour operators and their agents (like me) can assemble the different elements, standard packages can also be tailored. So you can often book a weeks sailing but with two week flights, either flying out a week earlier or returning a week later. You can then make your own arrangements for the additional week if you wish.
The most common combinations are:
- Sailing plus a hotel, villa or apartment stay – so called sail and stay holidays. As well as giving some variety, these can also be a way of reducing flight costs. Most yachting holidays start on a Saturday, when flight prices tend to be higher but by spending time ashore before and after the sailing you have the option of midweek flights. I have even known the flight savings to be enough to pay the cost of the accommodation!
Bear in mind that if you book this all through whoever is supplying your sailing, they are unlikely to deal with more than a handful of the local hotels, and may not know these half as well as their yachts. So you may do better using the many online resources and comparison sites such as Booking.com (with whom I have no connection) to book your accommodation yourself.
- Sailing plus Beach Club. This works particularly well if you have youngsters who can learn the rudiments of sailing on dinghies before going on the “big boat”! Beach Clubs vary from the large affairs which can leave you feeling almost shut away from the host country, to more intimate and integrated establishments. Most Clubs offer a wide rage of other activities in addition to dinghy sailing, though the larger the Club the greater the range of equipment both afloat and ashore.
You may also want to check whether your chosen Club offers RYA accredited dinghy courses, as not all do. If you are combining the Club with Flotilla sailing, there are a few companies that offer both and will offer a combined package. If you’re looking at a Bareboat, Skippered or Crewed Charter, you will have much more choice if you book this separately to the Club element.
- Learn to Sail Course plus Flotilla. It is sometimes possible to take a course either prior to the flotilla or simultaneously – more details can be found in the Courses section. If you want the Course and Flotilla to run concurrently, you are really limited to operators that do both.
- Flotilla plus Bareboat. Spend a week in the supportive environment of a flotilla then head off on your own. This can be a good approach if you’ve not sailed for a while or have a novice crew, allowing everyone to settle in with the support of the Flotilla Lead Crew before you head off on your own.
If you’re not sure whether you want to go it alone, you could always book two weeks Flotilla – most companies will be happy to let you head off on your own should you wish, as long as the Lead Crew are happy you’re to it. It’s worth letting the company know you’re thinking of this when booking though, just in case they have any issues with the plan.