Baring it All: Trends in SAIL’s Bareboat Charterers

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It’s no secret that SAIL’s readers love to charter. In fact, over half of all subscribers plan to charter in the next two years. And what’s not to love? Chartering combines sailing and vacationing, allowing you to sail someone else’s boat in a foreign and wonderful place, and bring your family and friends along for the ride.

Still, no two charterers are alike, and we wanted to discover exactly what defines our charter readers. This summer, we sent a survey to over 20,000 readers, asking them to divulge their charter-trip preferences, and we learned a lot.


First, a picture of the average SAIL charterer:

  • At home, he owns a monohull between 26 and 30ft long (28%)
  • He goes on charter between February and April and sails a four-berth (45%) monohull (87%) for one week (71%)
  • He prefers to provision his own boat (59%), to have an individual briefing (41%) and sail alone, not in a flotilla (92%).
  • In a perfect world, he’d have the option of early boarding (47%), a generator with A/C (47%) and perhaps a watermaker (34%).
  • He sails with family (73%) with friends (67%) but leaves the business associates at home (2%).
  • His favorite place to charter is the BVI, but he’s been known to raise a sail in the USVI, the Mediterranean and Florida.
  • When planning his trip, he makes his decision based on the price of the charter, the charter base location and the size and condition of the boats.
  • He’s got no interest in driving a power cat (73%).



And now, here’s how the rest of the answers broke down:

1)   Do you own a boat?

2)   Please indicate the overall length of your largest boat.

3)   Please indicate where you have chartered in the past two years.

4)   How likely is it that you would charter in the same location for consecutive years?

5)   When chartering, do you prefer to use a pre-provision service or provision your own boat?

6)   When you charter, do you sail a monohull or catamaran?

7)   When you charter, who do you sail with?

8)   When you charter, which activities, if any, do you typically engage in? (Check all that apply.)

9)   On average, how long are your charter trips?

10)   When you charter, how many berths do you like to have on board?

11)   When you receive a chart and boat brief, do you prefer an individual or group briefing?

12)   When choosing between charter companies, which seven factors are most important to you?

13)   Which extra amenities would you most like to have aboard your charter boat, if any?


14)   Have you, or would you consider chartering a power catamaran?

15)  Have you ever participated in, or do you plan to participate in a flotilla?

16)  Did you take a sailing course in preparation for your charter?

17)  Was your course on a catamaran or a monohull?

18)  Please select your top three favorite months to charter.

Survey conducted by Signet Research Inc., Cliffside Park, NJ, June 2012

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