Yacht charter

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This guide is also known as: “The 8 steps towards a successful sailing holiday”.
  1. Where to sail
    Greece — The myriad islands that dot the Greek waters, together with the mainland, sport a coastline of 15000 km. These enchanting shores are much indented, offering shelter in natural harbours and a profusion of ancient history. Sailing Greece - Aegina island Eleven criteria to choose between these different areas and a Top 10 of the best Greek islands.

    Turkey — A sailing holiday along these captivating coasts combines the ancient Greek, Carian and Lycian cultures, with the present-day exotic smells of the orient. Pine clad mountains overlook translucent blue bays and marvellous ports. The Turkish cuisine is regarded as one of the best in the world.
    Sailing Turkey - Gulet cruises are the best and most luxurious way to see these beautiful Turkish coasts.

    Most Greek and Turkish ports can be reach by frequent (domestic) flights and ferries.

    Croatia & Adriatic Sea — Tranquil sailing conditions, blue water anchorages in lush green surroundings, venetian history and medieval castles: Šibenik, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik.

  2. When to sail
    Both in Turkey and Greece you can sail all year round. Yet, most sailing is done in the holiday season when sunny weather is almost guaranteed: more on the sailing season, and when to sail...
    Especially during the main charter season - July and August - the strong meltemi winds might affect your sailing trip in the Aegean. Also handy are wind roses for Turkey, Croatia and Greece.
    For ideal swimming or snorkelling conditions: detailed seawater temperatures.
  3. Bareboat, flotilla, crewed or gulet charter
    If you bring your own yacht there are lots of formalities.
    With a yacht charter in mind, a bareboat charter - without hired captain or crew - will give you total privacy and independence, yet besides you as skipper, a second member of your group should be able to sail. With more than 12 persons it is best to rent a second yacht.
    If you feel rusty, you can always hire an instructor for just the first day(s); also study the first 5 chapters of my navigation course, the flag etiquette, forecasting by clouds and the Mediterranean mooring & anchoring course.

    If you need more guidance a flotilla still offers a lot of privacy, while safely sailing along in a fleet of yachts towards the next port. You will skipper your own yacht, but a flotilla leader will keep a close eye on you. An added bonus for children is the possibility to make friends on the other yachts.
    However, if you find a flotilla too restrictive, yet a regular bareboat too much responsibility, you should consider the assisted bareboat charters, the golden mean.

    You will get full assistance with a crewed charter. Options are a skipper, hostess, cook as well as an instructor from a RYA or ASA sailing school.
    A gulet cruise is perhaps one of the most luxurious crewed charters around.

Sailing holiday in Greece - the Argolic port of Nafplion before a shower drifts in. The top of the Aphrodisias gate - Turkey. The enchanting island of Thassos in the north of Greece
  1. Type of yacht
    Only a small fraction of yachts in the east Mediterranean are motor yachts. Moreover, a lot of these motor yachts and motor sailers come fully crewed. For bareboat chartering you can choose between smaller motor yachts (~10%), catamarans (~10%) and a huge fleet of sailing monohulls: more on choosing your ideal charter yacht.
  2. Finding a reputable company - fleet owner
    Many members of the sailing community have shared their charter experiences with me.
    Advice on: It is highly recommended not to attempt last-minutes, since most last minute yacht charters are actually more expensive instead of cheaper. Therefore, best to book your sailing holidays 6 - 12 months in advance!

    Important advice!
    Only sign a contract with the fleet owner, not with an agent or middleman ! The yacht's name and the yacht's owner should be indicated on the contract.
  3. Itineraries
    The main charter bases are: Athens, Lavrion, Paros, Syros, Corfu, Preveza, Lefkas, Skiathos, Samos, Kos, Rhodes, Marmaris, Bodrum and Fethiye, Gocek.
    One-way charters between these ports should preferably be downwind, roughly speaking from north(west) to south(east), see these oneway itineraries.
    I have prepared itineraries for the Cyclades, the Ionian, the Dodecanese and the Argo-Saronic, and when there is more time: Itineraries up to several months and passages around the Peloponnese. Furthermore, it is possible to cross the border from Greece to Turkey and re-enter again, see sailing between Greece and Turkey.

    Combining the Ionian and the Aegean in 3 months.

    Sailing the Aegean one month and longer.

    Culture: ancient sites and temples and Greek cities & archaeology.
Poseidon temple at cape Sounion, south tip of Attica - Greece. Dolphins approaching our yacht near Fethiye - Turkey Symi port in the Dodecanese - Lots of Turkish gulets visits Greek waters too.
  1. Provisions and costs
    On a bareboat you buy your own groceries, water, fuel and pay harbour fees in a few marinas or ports. Yet, normally cooking gas, dinghy, GPS and linen are included in the charter fee. Outboard engines, spinnaker, extra anchor, airport transfer, etc. are extra. More on budget yacht charters.

    On a crewed charter, the captain and crew will pay their own dinner, yet a tip or gratuity at the end is customary.

    Gulet cruises are usually all-inclusive, yet extra harbour fees should be expected when a Turkish vessel enters a Greek port and visa versa.

    There might be extra fees for one-ways as well as charter periods outside the standard Saturday to Saturday. More on charter provisions and costs and which medication to bring to prevent seasickness.

  2. Register
    By registering you will join an active and critical sailing community that collects and shares information on sailing holidays and charter companies. When all is arranged please consider a donation to Kiva, the Help Burkina Foundation, or my own website, so that you can help keep this critical sailing community online.
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1 February 2019
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