Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

A Caribbean sailing holiday is waiting for you - now!

by Lee Mylchreest on 21 Dec 2011
Bequia SW
When winter gales set in or the cyclone season arrives the dream of a sailing holiday means you have to think of somewhere like the Caribbean. But how much skill is needed, where to go and how to do it? Can you crew on someone else's boat or do you have to charter your own? Once chartered, will you be on your own or can you sail with others? In the Caribbean all these options are possible..


Beginning sailors:
If you are a beginner sailor, there's no need to discount a sailing vacation. In fact, you could use your holiday to earn a bareboat certificate at sailing schools based in the Caribbean. In just about a week, these courses will turn a novice into a sailor ready to take a boat out on their own.

Going bareboat:
If you're a confident experienced sailor, then going bareboat is probably the way to go. However, going bareboat doesn't have to mean you're completely on your own. If you want to sail your own boat, but are (sensibly) a bit short on confidence, you can take a skipper with your party - they cost less than $200 a day, but of course that will be one fewer berths you'll have for friends on the boat. If you want some added luxury, you can also take a chef, or pre-packed meals (which don't occupy a berth).

Sailing in company:
Whether you want the security of sailing with other boats or would just enjoy some extra company, think about a flotilla. A flotilla is when a group of boats, usually arranged by a charter company, follow a lead boat and travel together on a trip.

This style of sailing is popular and is great for those who have just completed a bareboat certification class. Sailing in a flotilla doesn't necessarily mean always following the leader. Sailors can choose to be as independent as they want. This type of sailing also offers a great social aspect, as many of the boats will meet up at night for dinner or Caribbean cocktails.


Choosing your boat:
This is best discussed with the charter company. Describe the make-up of your group - a family with kids will want a completely different boat from a group of friends who want to include diving in their holiday. Some boats have top of the line entertainment systems, spa services, or everything needed for scuba diving. Some sailing holiday enthusiasts may be looking to participate and learn to sail, while others want a completely hands off vacation sunbathing on the hull. Explain in detail the experience you want to have to the charter company so that you'll be properly matched.


The value of a charter broker:
Charter brokers can fulfill a need, specially with help to choose the right boat, and crew if you are needing a crew. Naturally when you speak directly to a company they will tend to optimise their own suitability. A charter broker knows the ropes and has had plenty of feed back. They will only recommend crews and boats others have had positive experiences on, so clients can rest assure they too will have an amazing vacation.

A broker can match the number of guests, interests, and preferred locations with a crew and a boat suitable for their wants and needs. Charter brokers are also available to answer any concerns about sailing in the Caribbean, from seasickness to hurricane season dates.

In addition, the broker will hold the charter payment in escrow. This is great for travelers who are worried about paying upfront for a disappointing vacation.


What to bring:
Lay out all you think you'll need on your vacation, then cut it in half. It's important to pack light on any sailing trip as space is often very limited. Remember to also bring lots of sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a light long sleeve shirt. Please don't take a suitcase - take a soft sports bag, which can be folded and stored more easily.

Approximate prices: According to a Moorings spokesperson, the price of renting a boat varies from $400 to $1,800 a day for the boat, regardless of the amount of people. For example, a monohull 37ft may cost about $2,300 for five days with a maximum of six people, while a larger catamaran will cost upwards $5,000 for five days.

The price of a chartered boat varies greatly on the size and luxury amenities. 'For instance, on a large, luxury catamaran, the cost per person with 8 guests on board can be $5,000/week all inclusive,' said Yates. A midsized catamaran will cost about $2,500 per person per week. An even smaller and affordable catamaran will cost even less at under $1,800 per person per week.

Which destination will I choose?:
There are so many it's hard to tell, but if I had to make a quick answer, it would be either the Windward Islands or the British Virgins (BVE). Sailing the Windwards is a delight in that the string of islands is north/south and the wind is coming from the east/north east. This means that, apart from short gaps between the islands, you are always sailing in the lee. What a delight that is, the each island has something charismatic of its own to offer. On the other hand, sailors in the Virgin Islands can visit several islands in a single day, which, in part, is why the Virgin Islands are the most popular sailing destination in the Caribbean.

Yes, sailing in the Caribbean is more than just a vacation, it's a lifestyle. You'll be able to enjoy the freedom of sailing where you like, cruising between small, lush islands, anchoring at private coves, swimming at secluded beaches or visiting the villages, experimenting with the local restaurants, shopping for souvenirs and hiking the mountains. It's all up to you.

Do your homework, but no matter what you decide, you can be sure that at this time of year when sailing is difficult in other places, you are bound to have a fantastic vacation if you sail the Caribbean.

Giacomo Yacht SalePredictWind.comKZRaceFurlers

Related Articles

Coast Guard, locals launch search after empty, homemade raft found
Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England also activated the Rhode Island Taskforce for assistance. The Coast Guard launched a search for a possible person in the water Saturday after an unmanned, homemade raft was found drifting in Mt. Hope Bay, near the mouth of the Taunton River on the Massachusetts and Rhode Island border. A good Samaritan alerted Coast Guard watchstanders to the empty raft at about 7 a.m.
Posted on 13 Aug
Early-storms one indicator of active Atlantic hurricane season ahead
Today NOAA issued the scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Today NOAA issued the scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Forecasters are now predicting a higher likelihood of an above-normal season, and they increased the predicted number of named storms and major hurricanes. The season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010.
Posted on 12 Aug
Keep the water out with Zhik’s new Superthermal Hydrobase
The lower arm and leg of the new Superthermal Hydrobase is made from a water-repellent, stretch woven fabric We’ve all done it - and fished a rope out of the water, pushed the rudder down or stepped down the slipway one foot too far and gained that unwanted wet sleeve or leg.
Posted on 9 Aug
Coast Guard searching mid-Atlantic region for 73-year-old sailor
The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue French sailor between North Carolina and New York City Wednesday. The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue French sailor between North Carolina and New York City Wednesday. Watchstanders in the fifth Coast Guard District Command Center in Portsmouth received a report at 7 a.m. that a 73-year-old sailor named Joseph Calland aboard the 39-foot sailboat Nennette is overdue.
Posted on 3 Aug
Int Moth Worlds - Zhik returns to its spiritual home at 2017 Worlds
Zhik is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Zhik, the innovative sailing apparel specialist, is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships. And, ten years on, the Moths are returning to their spiritual home on Lake Garda. Zhik and the International Moth class are virtually synonymous with each other.
Posted on 20 Jul
Cheeki Rafiki - Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter
Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter The Director of Stormforce Coaching, the company that ran Cheeki Rafiki, is set to face retrial for manslaughter over the deaths of the four crew. They were 700nm from Nova Scotia, returning to Southampton after racing in Antigua when the keel feel off. It is said that previous groundings had weakened the keel bolts....
Posted on 17 Jul
Rytov continues to defend lead at 2017 Melges 20 European Championship
On the eve of final day at Melges 20 European Championship Russia's Igor Rytov & his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command On the eve of the final day at the 2017 Melges 20 European Championship, Russia's Igor Rytov and his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command. Thanks to a very consistent performance thus far, they are inching ever closer to capturing the top European title and trophy.
Posted on 15 Jul
Get better wave forecasts from PredictWind and ECMWF
Predictwind is well-known for accurate wind forecasts but now leads the way with accurate wave forecasts PredictWind is well known for its world leading accurate wind forecasts, but did you know Predictwind also leads the way with accurate wave forecasts?
Posted on 12 Jul
Centennial Transat builds bridge to a flying future
The Queen Mary 2 won its battle with the four 30-meter trimarans, as expected, in upwind conditions for the sailboats The race was timed to mark a hundred years since American troops arrived on the shores of France in WW1, and it also brought together all of the fastest Ultimate trimarans for the first time as the class begins to take flight.
Posted on 7 Jul
X-Yachts announce the new X49 as the latest member of the 'X' range
In 2016, X-Yachts launched the new pure ‘X’ range which included the X4³ and the X65.  In 2016, X-Yachts launched the new pure ‘X’ range, which included the X43 and the X65. This range was exceptionally well received by both press and clients, with more than 50 yachts sold in the first year. The ‘X’ range incorporates the best elements from both the Xcruising range and the Xperformance range into one beautifully designed performance cruiser
Posted on 6 Jul