So now that you know, that a luxury vacation on a crewed yacht is within your financial reach; that it can actually be done for $300/person/day including food, drinks and watersports, what is the next step? Which kind of boat is best for you? How do you find the right crew? Who can teach your son to windsurf and introduce your daughter to diving? Where should you go?
This is just an overview of where to go, which boat to chose and who can help you. There will be more in-depth articles in the future.
Location, location, location…..
There are hundreds of crewed charter yachts in the Caribbean, mostly concentrated around British Virgin Islands (BVI) in the north and the Grenadines in the south.
It is with good reason that the BVI has become the sailing capital of the Caribbean. Amongst the 60 islands and cays of the BVI, only 4 have more than 100 inhabitants and you can find anything from bustling streets to rain forest and from funky beach bars to secluded anchorages. The waters are well protected by the outer islands, keeping the sailing smooth and comfortable and the islands are so close together that sailing time can be kept to 1-3 hours.
In the Grenadines the distances are longer between the islands and the waters less protected. However, it is also less crowded and a good alternative with the lighter breezes in the summer.
So if you are new to sailing and if you not sure about your “sea-legs”, I can highly recommend to start your life as a sailor in the BVI.
Sailboat, catamaran or motor yacht
Old fashioned sail boats ï¿½ or monohulls ï¿½ as we all know them are an exhilarating to sail on ploughing through the water. They come in all sizes and accommodating 2 ï¿½ 8 guests and can be an affordable option for a romantic getaway.
Most catamarans have 3 guest cabins or more and are great for family vacations and larger groups. They do not heel over while underway like the monohulls, and have lots of space both inside and on deck.
Motor yachts are spacious, comfortable and fast. You are being transported in style and comfort on a yacht that almost feels like an apartment or hotel suite. If patience isn’t your strong suit and you just want to get to the next destination quickly, this might suit your temper the best.
Roughly said the prices start around $2000/person/week, but vary a lot from boat to boat. There are many reasons for this, as the boats are different in size, brand, age, equipment etc. Besides that it is the owner of the boat who decides the price in the end, but if it is un-realistic, he does not get any charters!
Charter yacht brokers
To book a charter you need to find a charter yacht brokerage like Amazing Charters. As any other job, this profession requires a very specific knowledge and your usual travel agent will not be able to help you.
The charter brokers spent a lot of time inspecting boats and getting to know the crew. There are boat shows in different locations each year, where they meet with the crewed yachts of that particular area. At these shows the brokers are gathering facts and personal impressions, meeting new crew and checking on upgrades on yachts they already know. Besides an in-depth knowledge of the yachts, it is also important, that the broker is well travelled and knows the different destinations, where the charters take place.
All brokers ought to be sailors them selves (but that is not always the case!) to keep the expectations on a realistic level and make sure the vacation becomes a success. . It takes several years of hard work to get sufficient knowledge to guide the clients.
There can be many advantages to selecting a broker from the area where you want to spend your vacation. The Caribbean islands and their boating communities are quite small and the local brokers will know the crews and boats quite well. Broker coming from abroad can only gather information at the boat shows and will often have to visit 60 ï¿½ 70 boats in 3 days!
Working closely with their clients, all the broker’s knowledge becomes the base for matching them with the right yacht and especially the right crew! If you are going on your first yacht vacation, any 45′ catamaran might do, but who is going to chat to your Swiss grandmother who only speaks German? Which crew loves having children onboard and who are best for honeymoons? These are all questions you can ask your charter broker.
In short, the crew is more important than the boat, so: “Match-maker, match-maker make me a match….”