Doing some homework prior to embarking on a Bareboat charter will make all the difference. Charter companies will have first-hand knowledge on such things as seasonal temperatures, winds and weather, and mooring costs but here are some other points to consider when choosing a location and boat.
Mooring costs: In harbours and marinas are payable by you and based on the length of the boat. These can vary from zero to as much as 100 Euros per night.
- In Turkey for example along the Emerald coast going east out of Fethiye many of the overnight moorings are free if you eat in the restaurant adjacent to the quay or pontoon and have good on shore facilities.
- In Greece having sailed in the Peloponnese this autumn mooring fees were very reasonable; often only 5-10 Euros per night but on shore facilities for showering and toileting were in the places we visited, non-existent. Croatia in contrast has invested massively in Marina/ harbour visitor moorings with excellent on shore shower, toilet and laundry facilities. Prices reflect this and 2 years ago the marina across from Hvar charged me 100 Euros for an overnight stay for a 44 foot sailing yacht.
Mooring: The majority of harbours /marinas in Croatia, Turkey and Greece require you moor stern onto the quay/ pontoon. If there are lazy lines this makes mooring dead easy as long as the person with the boat hook is on the ball. It also means the bow anchor doesn’t need to be dropped. If it does then do so at least two boat lengths from the quay when reversing in. Not always easy to maintain a straight run in if the wind is beam on.
There were no lazy lines in Poros, Greece when I was sailing in the Peloponnese this October 2019 so all yachts had dropped their bow anchors when mooring stern on. This resulted in 4 adjacent yachts requiring a diver to come out the next morning and untangle a spaghetti of entwined anchors and chains. Expensive!
Eating in restaurants ashore: A quick rule of thumb when choosing a restaurant is this. The more touristy the location near, or on the water front is normally reflected in the prices charged. Searching out the less Ritzy restaurants in side streets is often a good ploy and if frequented by locals .... well, happy days! Turkey generally offers excellent value for money when eating out especially if you like fresh caught fish. Small restaurants often had little or no menu but took you into the kitchen to look at a fantastic array of fresh fish. You buy the whole fish
(often large) so check with your mates that everyone is into fish!
Remember as a bareboat charter there is no lead flotilla boat: There will be no crew briefing you about itineraries dangers, passage plans, weather forecasts, marinas, ports or anchorages so getting informed and staying informed is key to a successful and safe sailing holiday. Make sure you have a weather forecast App on your phone (try www.windy.com) and check before leaving port and during the day. Once you have booked your boat invest in an Imray Pilot book for the specific country /region (Approx. £28 quid on line). It’s a gold mine of info on harbours/ marinas, approaches, channels, reefs, dangers. Worth every penny!
Crew-things to consider: Ensure you have at least two crew members who have some sailing experience or have the RYA Competent Crew Certificate. As skipper it is not physically possible to helm, hoist and dump sails and moor the boat without misshape without the help of some competent crew. When considering a specific passage take into consideration sea and wind conditions and whether this is appropriate given the sailing experience or lack of it, of crew or family members.
The Boat- questions to ask: When talking to a bare boat charter company about a specific boat here are some relevant fact finding questions. Assume nothing!
How old is the boat? Go for something that is less than 10 years old. An older boat will be cheaper but may lack things that are important to you such as
Does it have a dirty water holding tank? If not, you can’t use the on-board heads while in port or marina. This is a major inconvenience- no pun intended! Older boats may not have a holding tank.
GPS, does it have a good sized screen close to the helm? Older boats often have a small GPS that is not that easy to see. I once chartered a yacht for a good price when money was a little tight, so great value, or so I thought. The tiny Garmin GPS was difficult to see even though placed close to the helm. A bigger GPS screen was above the chart table but necessitated someone going below to regularly check it.
Windless: gets your anchor up and down. However, they tend to wear out quite quickly if getting lots of use, which is quite likely if a charter boat. When was it last replaced? Maybe I was unlucky but two different charter boats from different companies had windless problems.
Booking flights: When you’ve made your decision on boat and location ask the charter company to keep the boat on hold until you have booked flights. They will normally keep it on hold for 2-3 days.
Check for extra charges: Is the price quoted exclusive or inclusive of end of charter cleaning fees, bed linen and towels, outboard and inflatable tender.