Have a Question about Longterm Charters?
Edited by Amy Ullrich
A READER ASKS
Menno Speyer, who lives in Qubec, wants to know about longer-term charters. “We currently own a boat,” he writes, “but are considering selling it. We would still like to be out on the water for at least a month each year. We’re thinking of warm-water locationsthe Caribbean, the South Pacific, Asia, and other warm places. How can we find a boat?”
AND SAIL RESPONDS
Charles J. Doane, who enjoyed a long-term charter in the Caribbean a few years ago, offers advice:
“Some bareboat charter companies, particularly those based in the Caribbean, are willing to negotiate longer charter terms and will also allow you to take a boat one way from one base to another. They do not always advertise such deals but may be receptive if you ask. You may also be able to negotiate a slightly reduced weekly rate, but there’s no escaping the fact that this is an expensive way to get afloat.
“The most cost-effective way to charter a boat for a month or longer will probably be to find a private owner who charters out his or her boat on an occasional basis and is willing to make such an arrangement. Such an owner may offer a deep discount for a long-term charter, as it saves much bother. It would, however, probably be best to charter such a boat for a short period and then build on the relationship from there. Private owners chartering boats are easily found in popular charter grounds. They tend to take out small-print classified ads in both national and local sailing publications.”
Readers: Do you have any experience with a longer-term charter? Let us know how you found your boat. Contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please write “charter question” in the subject line.
We have received two reader-responses to the question posed in the last SAIL newsletter, about charter opportunities in Hawaii:
James L. Baker writes from Maui: “I have chartered from Honolulu Sailing Company (honsail.com) and have found Mike and his crew helpful, experienced, friendly, and with good, well-maintained equipment.” I checked with the company, which does have two bareboats in their fleet. They do require “more than BVI” experience.
Tom Champney, who describes himself as a “loyal SAIL reader for over 20 years,” shared this:
My wife and I chartered a skippered 50-footer Hunter out of Honolulu in the late 1990s with Honolulu Sailing Company. I gained my ASA ocean-sailing certification on the charter.
I agree with Ms Ullrich that the conditions in Hawaii can be difficult, with strong easterly trade winds and rough waters in the channels. In addition, the area is not so cruiser friendly; there are few moorings or protected anchorages. (I lived in Grenada for four years and find that the Caribbean is much more cruiser friendly.
Nevertheless, the cruise in Hawaii was a great experience. We left Honolulu and cruised up the coast of Oahu to Kaneohe Bay (a rough ride with a slog to windward in messy waves). We spent a day in Kaneohe Baya beautiful location and the following day sailed across the Molokai Channel to the southern side of Molokai. Halfway across the channel, the wheel steering failed (the steering cable broke), so we used the emergency tiller for the next three days until it was fixed in Maui. (An exciting time – getting the emergency tiller fitted in rough water.)
We spent the night at a small anchorage on the southwest end of Molokai (an old harbor used for gravel/sand quarrying). It was quiet with no other boatsand no services, of course. The next day we sailed along the southern coast of Molokai and crossed to the west side of Lanaia great sail in the lee of the islands. We spent a few hours in the harbor at Manele Bay so that I could sail into Lahaina, Maui, after dark (a requirement for the ASA certification). We anchored there for the evening and spent the next day exploring Lahaina.
Crossing the channel from Lanai to Maui, we saw our first Humpback whales. We cruised in the spring, when they gather in the waters around Hawaii. It was absolutely fabulous to sail the same waters with those magnificent animals. At night, in the cockpit of the Hunter, I could hear whales spouting nearbya sound I will remember the rest of my life.
After a day in Lahaina, we had a leisurely half-day sail up the Maui coast to Kapalua Bay. The following day, we crossed over to the northeast corner of Molokai and had a really nice downwind sail along the north coast of Molokai. We stopped for lunch at Kalaupapa Bay and saw the old leper colony there. fter lunch, we had another good downwind sail to the southeast end of Molokai where we anchored for the night in Kepuhi Bay. he next day we sailed downwind, again a really nice sail, across the Molokai channel to Honolulu.
So overall, I really enjoyed the Hawaii charter. A different experience than sailing in the Caribbean, the Chesapeake, or Long Island Sound, but in how many places do you have to tack to prevent getting too close to whales? We did that a number of times.