No reason to get nervous - the large charter bases are regularly busy or hectic at weekends when yachts are checking in and out by the minute. Charter base crews have relatively little time available to bring the returning fleet back up to optimum technical and visual standards, which, of course, the next charter guests expect. The charterer wants to get on board as soon as possible and start his well-deserved cruise. A conflict of interest seems inevitable, but in most cases everything runs to mutual satisfaction.
The best weeks...
With a bit of co-operative spirit, focus and the certainty of having the "best weeks of the year" ahead of you, the inevitable tasks of organization and administration can even be fun as a lead up to your cruise. An open eye and concentration on the part of the responsible persons in the crew are important when it come to taking over the yacht at the charter base. Do not be afraid to ask suppossedly "stupid" questions when anything about the boat is unclear. Your willingness to understand all aspects of the yacht is a signal for the charter company that you are interested in the boat and willing to run it properly. The charter base is a service company and they will be eager to answer all questions sufficiently and take care of your needs.
Find a reliable charter company
Do not let yourself be fooled by misleading "horror stories" about floating charter "wrecks", uninsured yachts or insolvent agencies. These very few and exceptional case must not lead you to uncertainty and mistrust prior to a first charter trip. Choose you charter company carefully, the great majority of companies deliver perfect quality.
And there are ways that help you find reliable companies. In Germany, for example, the AKC is a group of leading German charter companies organized in the German Marine Industry Federation (BVWW). Here you will find charter companies and agencies you can rely on. Have confidence in the experienced personnel of established charter bases, give asignal to the handover team about your willingness to co-operate. In return you will get every effort of the charter base crew to set you up for a perfect sailing holiday.
7 basics for a smooth check in and check out
The following tips will help you to an easy check in and check out of your charter yacht:
Report your arrival to the charter base office and make an appointment for check-in. Please do not yet bring your luggage on board, but stow it at the base until handover of the yacht is complete. Use the time to relax, draw up the shopping plan if necessary, familiarize yourself with the nearby locations for shopping. Check in: There should be no more than 2 persons on board at the time of delivery.
Check the inventory of the yacht carefully according to the transfer checklist, note the stowage location of individual items of equipment. Note any additional questions you may have. Give priority to the yacht's "life nerves" during technical briefing - engine, electrics, safety, sail control, navigation. The detailed operation of the plotter, for example, can be learned later from the manuals (check they are there!). Now is the time to answer additional questions and, if necessary, to clarify further equipment details such as children's life jackets, gennakers, outboard motors, etc. Skippers and deputies should use the time to familiarise themselves with the details of the yacht while a staff member is on board who can explain things competently.
Prior to departure
If the timing works perfectly, the remaining crew will have finished the shopping in the meantime and you can start stowing provisions. After the crew has occupied their cabins you should leave time for a break. A welcome drink on deck works wonders for your holiday feelings! And then turn to making the crew familiar with all the important equipment and safety features of the yacht. Particularly new crew will also need an introduction on how to use the toilets, pumps or the gas cooker on board.
Let the charter base crew know in rough details about your planned cruise. They are locals after all and will be happy to provide some insiders tips where to find nice spots, attractions or restaurants to visit. If any technical problems should arise during the trip, inform your charter base immediately. Without their prior consent no repairs should be ordered from any third parties, at all. The charter base usually has a well-assorted stock of spare parts, knows the yacht and should be able to fix most problems in no time at all.
Returning to the charter base
The charter base crew will appreciate if you take notes about minor defects and problems you found during the cruise. This way you can make sure that no problem is forgotten or overlooked and the next charter crew will board a yacht in good shape. After returning to the base, arrange a handover appointment with the base manager. When checking out, inform those responsible of all technical irregularities, even if they are not serious at first glance. Please indicate all losses. The base needs this cooperation, and will not ask the charterer to pay for a lost glass, for example.
Your journey home
Do not miss to have your home flights checked if neccessary and organise your transfer to the airport. Staff at the charter base will most certainly be happy to assist.
Matters of dispute
As anywhere in life, there is always the possibility that something goes wrong and a solution has to be found. In most cases, it should be possible to find fair solutions to matters of dispute right away. One point, though, that is not arguable is your time of return to the charter base. It is the skippers obligation to plan the cruise accordingly so that the agreed time of return is kept under all circumstances like for example bad weather conditions. The next charter crew is waiting and they have the same right to get on board at the agreed time as you had. Also read: