Dream Yacht Charter - Copyright Messe Düsseldorf/Tillmann
By Marcus Krall, (Expert) Boatman
Chartering a yacht is a great (and also affordable) option for spending an exclusive dream holiday on the water. Charter customers experience coastal tourism from a new perspective.
Charter holidays are becoming more and more popular – after a shaky start due to the pandemic the 2021 season took off at full blast and yacht brokers delighted at numerous enquiries and bookings. Many companies registered at least twice the turnover than in summer 2020 which had a rough ride due to COVID. “We are posting a 97.5% plus worldwide and even as much as 115% in Greece. Demand is clearly higher in countries and marinas that are easily accessible by car from Central Europe and have a stable local market such as France or Italy, for example,” says Fanis Kiriacoulis, CEO of Kiriacoulis Mediterranean, one of the biggest yacht charterers in the world, and adds: “And yes, demand for charter yachts is really higher than for regular tourism.” The chance to explore the most beautiful ports and beaches from the deck of a yacht, to be entirely independent from any potential contact restrictions onshore, is something stimulating avid demand at present. And although – like in many other luxury segments – the sky’s the limit for charter prices chartering smaller yachts for some four to five persons is by all means affordable even for average earners.
Smaller yachts between 10 and 15 metres long are already available at affordable prices; in Greece or Croatia, for example, prices for a yacht of this kind (excluding crew and skipper) in high season start between EUR 1,000 – 1,500 per week. However, low prices are not the only advantage of small yachts. They can also drop anchor in quiet, shallow bays, access to which is barred for larger yachts due to their draft. At marinas you will nearly always find a berth with a smaller vessel. And when it comes to convenience, most of the smaller yachts also offer sufficient room and amenities to spend relaxed holidays – especially as a family or a couple.
How to Book a Charter Yacht
To charter a yacht, charter companies first have to find you a vessel that meets your needs. There are numerous online portals you can use to browse and compare. Once the dream offer is found you next ask for a quote. If you like it and book it, you will first receive an order confirmation and then the invoice. Only then will the charter contract be sent – often by surface mail. Here you should check the charter contract always features the charterer’s details (name, address, telephone, e-mail), the port of departure and destination, the charter dates as well as the desired yacht. As a rule 30% – 50% of the charter price is payable immediately, while the remaining amount is due 4 weeks prior to departure. Only after the second payment will customers receive the final documents containing information on the mooring and contact person, a boarding pass if need be and a map of the location.
Before making any reservations, however, you should make sure you meet the necessary conditions for sailing the yacht. Although sailing on the high seas officially does not require a licence, most sailing charters require a relevant proof of qualification – this means you have to prove a specific number of nautical miles sailed on a similar vessel. For yachts chartered with skippers or so-called crewed charters, where a yacht is chartered complete with skipper (and crew), a sailing or boating licence is, of course, not needed since sailing the yacht is left to others.
The following list shows which licenses are required in which European country:
Baltic Sea Sport Boat Licence Sea for yachts with carriage requirement: marine radio operator’s licence, certificate of competence for alarm devices
Netherlands Sport Boat Licence Sea/Inland Waterways for boats from 15m and powerboats faster than 20km/h
France Sport Boat Licence Sea
Greece Sport Boat Licence Sea, second crew members with a sailing licence or at least proof of experience
Italy International Sailing/Boating Licence (ICC), with built-in radio: marine radio operator’s licence
Turkey Sport Boat Licence Sea, charter companies often ask for a Sport-Coastal Ship Licence
Croatia Sport Boat Licence Sea, marine radio operator’s licence
Spain Sport Boat Licence Sea
The right choice
You should take your time when selecting the yacht and, hence, your sailing area, because this makes or breaks your dream vacation. People who charter boats should be clear on their expectations about their trip. When selecting the destination and route take the resilience and experience of your fellow-travellers into consideration. If only adults are sailing, the tour can take a little longer than with just your (inexperienced) partner or smaller children on board.
Also give some thought to what is important to you and your party at the destination: a beautiful beach, an interesting city or absolute tranquillity at an anchorage. Beginners should opt for quieter sailing areas located in the vicinity of ports/marinas which are quick to enter. Also factor in that mooring fees can vary widely, depending on whether you anchor the craft off the coast or opt for a berth in a marina. Most ports ask for moderate prices. During peak times substantially higher mooring fees might be due though.
Do you plan to cook and eat together on board often? Then you need a spacious pantry. Will you be sailing southern areas? Then your life on board will revolve around the cockpit. If your destination is in the north then you should pay attention to a roomy and homely salon.
Over the past few years there has also been a strong trend towards twin-hull catamarans. Compared to their “single-hull relatives” catamarans are far calmer on the water while offering plenty of space making cruising more comfortable. Furthermore, you can often moor in a marina with a catamaran. Thanks to their low draft these twin-hull vessels can come really close to the coast and therefore find space for anchoring in almost every bay. And while keel yachts occasionally bob around when anchored, on a catamaran you are guaranteed a calmer night.
On your Own or with Support?
The type of charter cruise is an equally important decision. With so-called bareboat charters holiday makers charter a yacht without crew or skipper. They are responsible for everything – from chartering the course to catering – but also have all the freedom. This, of course, makes particular sense if the journey is the destination rather than covering a pre-planned route. With a flotilla charter you would follow the same route with several other yachts and have the option to ask the accompanying vessel or, naturally, other crews for support.
However, those with no or only little experience at the helm of a yacht or who simply do not want the bother of planning routes and moorings, should charter a yacht with a skipper. In this case the chartered yacht will be sailed by a professional skipper – at times with a crew – so that relaxation on the water is at the forefront. For single travellers there is also the option in this category of renting a bed on a yacht via a chartered berth. In most cases these individuals will then sail with strangers and an experienced skipper – a good opportunity for sailing beginners to acquire experience or simply make contact with like-minded people.
Many experts agree that the charter market will recover completely and even experience an upswing by 2023 – if not before. After all, coastal tourism is trending. And by 2030 – according to estimates of the World Tourism Organisation – the number of tourists travelling internationally will rise from 1.2 billion (2015/16) to some 1.8 billion. In 2015 alone to the tune of 608 million people travelled to Europe; just under 350 million of these were attracted by the Mediterranean.
Many regions are already working on making coastal tourism more sustainable in view of rising demand. Venice has already taken a major decision with its cruise ship ban. Will fewer cruisers mean more yachts? Quite possibly… An outstanding opportunity to gain an overview of the various yachting and charter options, furnishings and suppliers will be provided by boot Düsseldorf, held from 22 to 30 January 2022. In Halls 13 and 14 boot has many suppliers on board with whom plans for summer 2022 can be discussed in detail.
About boot Düsseldorf boot Düsseldorf is the biggest boat and water sports show in the world and the meeting point for the entire industry each year in January. Exhibitors present their interesting innovations, attractive new developments and maritime equipment. The next boot will be held from 22 to 30 January 2022 in Düsseldorf. The 9-day trade fair occupying 220,000 square metres in 17 exhibition halls welcomes the international market while offering exciting insights into the whole water sport world. Everybody’s taste is catered to. Focal themes are boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sport facilities, beach resorts and charters. Find all necessary information on the website of boot Düsseldorf, boot.de.
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