This section is aimed largely at those who have never been on a sailing holiday before, though hopefully even old hands will find something here they didn’t know. Some myths, rumours and “facts” will be dispelled and meantime please excuse anything that seems a statement of the blindingly obvious. Trust me, after many years both delivering and selling sailing holidays, there are plenty of people with odd ideas of how it all works and what is and isn’t possible. This can affect your enjoyment (and your wallet).
For example, if you’ve never set foot on a yacht you can still go on a sailing holiday. But if you’ve sailed since you could stand up and have owned your own yacht for 30 years, you will still find there are places you can’t charter and sail yourself unless you’ve got the necessary certificates. And rules that were previously ignored or not enforced are increasingly applied, so attempts to blag it could prove expensive.
Some of the topics, such as the different types of holiday, picking your yacht, and choosing your sailing area are covered in more detail in separate sections, but a quick run through the pages in this section will probably enable you to rule out some of the options and save you some reading later.
Other choices, such as where to fly from and how to book often get forgotten. If you book with a holiday operator they will generally encourage you to take a standard package which is less work for them to organise and often cheaper (for them) too. Yet some operators will tailor their packages and of course you can always put your own package together. Check the flight options page for details of where you can get to from your local airport(s), or for the nearest departure point for your chosen destination.
Putting your own package together is not as hard as it sounds and can offer great rewards in delivering both a holiday better suited to your needs and at a cheaper price. But however you book, timing is important. Late bookers don’t always get bargains, especially if you are particular about when you go or what yacht you charter.
Finally, don’t be put off by fears about sea sickness, safety or local disturbances, be they exploding volcanoes or civil strife. Thousands of people go sailing each year without incident and the natural tendency to avoid any country that’s recently made the national news can have advantages. Whilst you obviously don’t want to go sailing in a war zone, things are often much less dramatic than the news channels suggest and heading for an area that others are avoiding can make for both a cheap and pleasantly quiet holiday.
All that’s left to do then is pay up, but first you might like to understand what financial protection you get from the different ways of paying and how, if you’re paying by credit card you can avoid at least some of the almost inevitable credit card surcharge!