The following type of sailing holiday are explained, there are of course many variations, and different types are more predominant in different parts of the world. Feel free to lets us know in the comments, of any alternative formats you have come across, and also share your top tips from your experiences.
Flotilla sailing allows those with little experience the opportunity to manage their own yacht by day, but in the comfort of knowing there is an organised group and support nearby if things get a bit tricky. The Flotilla will normally follow a pre-planned itinerary of overnight anchorages, in sheltered harbours with of course a suitable local restaurant. The pace isn’t hard, and it tends to be quite a chill-out holiday. A top tip, is if you have active teenagers who get bored easily, it to take the option of a windsurfer on-board, so they can blast out their energy when you reach your stops, allowing you to relax with your favourite glass of vino.
Cultural / Cusine Based Sailing Holidays
As the name might suggest, a cultural sailing holiday, is based around visits to historic locations and monuments. Sailing from location to location as a method of getting between islands or special places. Also as the name suggests, a cuisine based sailing holiday normal involves visiting different locations to taste different styles of food.
Commonly called a bareboat, a bareboat charter is the hire of yacht without a crew. Although the name might indicate that the boat is bare of all equipment, that shouldn’t be the case (but check first!). Bareboat charters are for the experienced, and hopefully qualified yachts person, who know how to handle a boat in the specific waters and also is capable of voyage planning. Any charter company would expect at least an International Certificate of Competence (ICC), which you can obtain if you hold an RYA Day Skipper certificate. However the level of competence to safely charter is more in line with the RYA CoastalSkipper certificate. Depending on the ‘flag’ of the vessel, you may need other certifications, for instance the ‘Short Range Certificate’ is the minimum qualification required by law to control the operation of VHF and VHF Digital Selective Calling (DSC) equipment on any British flagged vessel.
Many sailing holiday companies offer bareboat charters, and reputable companies should be able to brief you fully on laws regulations appropriate to your planned sailing area.
Crewed / Skippered Charter
So, if you are not so experienced or qualified to feel comfortable with a bareboat charter, you can charter yachts with a skipper & or a crew. They of course will be fully qualified (might be worth checking that!)
Chartering a whole yacht can be a bit expensive unless it is shred between several / many people. Certainly chartering a yacht with a skipper & crew would be out of reach of many single people, unless they have won the lottery. The solution is ‘cabin charter’, where you take one or more berths on a multi-berth yacht. Even the smallest yachts will sleep 5 and they don’t have to be massive to sleep 10, although arrangements can be quite ‘close’. Cabin Charter doesn’t necessarily mean you get a private cabin.
Sailing Shool Course
To some the ideas of a training course and holiday don’t go together. But for others spending a week sailing around the Solent whilst obtaining your RYA Day Skipper or Coastal Skipper qualification is an ideal antidote to everyday life. Of course its not just Yacht Sailing that can be learnt this way, there are many dinghy sailing schools in beautiful locations around the world that run week long courses, some designed for kids, some for the whole family. All these sailing course can be great ways of making new friends, as you are thrown into a new situation with a group of complete strangers, the physical and mental challenges of sailing soon create lasting bonds.
Shore based Dinghy & Windsurf Holiday club
These are very popular with enthusiastic amateur sailors and other that appreciate something to do, rather than sunbathing, on holiday. Shorebased holiday clubs have all the equipment ready for you to use, and people on hand to help you get on to the water. Many also run training courses within the club, normally you sign up for the courses at the time of booking. Being shore based, in a holiday location, means that any non-sailing family members can go and do tourist things, or sunbath, or drink at the bar watching you struggle at sea, whatever they fancy.
Family Dingy Regatta Week
A dinghy regatta week is suited to enthusiastic families of dinghy sailors, whether the kids sail and mum and dad don’t is really optional. Normally you will already be dinghy sailors with your own boats, waterproofs etc and you pack off a few hundred miles from your own club to enjoy another part of the country.
Henri Lloyd Falmouth Week starts with the Falmouth Classics event, providing a special atmosphere and superb spectacle to kick off the week. Then follows six days of competitive racing for keelboats, traditional craft and dinghies in the waters of Falmouth Bay, the Carrick Roads and the Harbour, with a Champagne Day on Wednesday. Activity on the water is matched by a lively Shoreside programme of daytime and evening entertainment, culminating in a magnificent firework display over the Harbour. With a Grand Prize Giving party in the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club at the end of the Week.
Regatta weeks are normally racing based, although they are often some ‘fun’ variations on racing for the less serious racer. Social events such as BBQs, beer tents and evening discos are the norm. Some, like the one mentioned, combine both yacht and dinghy events.
Yacht Regatta Events
Probably for the hard core yacht racers, to group together and charter (or crew a friend or associates or company yacht). The range is massive from the 1 day Round the Island Race around the UK’s Isle of Wight
The race regularly attracts over 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs
through to the niche regattas like Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, with a only a few, but stunningly beautiful yachts.