Charter Planning

Shopping ListIf you’re in the thinking-about stage of planning a charter vacation, you’re probably in the process of collecting information about the cruising ground(s) on your must-do-sometime list. How do you find out about the weather, the sailing conditions, the best itineraries? Tourist guides won’t be much help, and your local library probably doesn’t stock cruising guides.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Shopping List

If you’re in the thinking about stage of planning a charter vacation, you’re probably in the process of collecting information about the cruising ground(s) on your must-do-sometime list. How do you find out about the weather, the sailing conditions, the best itineraries? Tourist guides won’t be much help, and your local library probably doesn’t stock cruising guides.

For me, step one is visiting the Web sites of companies that have boats in areas I’m interested in; most post the kind of information I’m looking for. Check all the companies in that area; there’s plenty of info on Caribbean and U.S./Canada destinations. Save time by using the links on the lists of charter companies on sailmagazine.com. If you’re looking farther afield, try The Moorings and Sunsail for destinations worldwide, Voyage (Spain), and TMM (Belize).

Here are some other useful sites I’ve found in my cruises on the Web:
sailonline.com has a wealth of information on all things relating to chartering, mostly bareboating: advice for first-time charterers, cruising logs from around the world, difficulty ratings for charter areas—whatever.

charterwave.com is the Web site of Kim Kavin, an experienced journalist who is currently the charter/cruising editor of Power & Motoryacht. Not surprisingly, she focuses more on crewed charters and powerboats, but she still has useful information on bareboats in various destinations around the world. The site is well organized, the blog is interesting, and she’s not afraid to express her opinions.

Ed Hamilton is an experienced charter broker who books both bareboats and crewed boats around the world. Try his Web site, ed-hamilton.com, for basic information on both types of chartering (including costs) and on charter areas worldwide.

While I was getting ready for a charter in Greece, I started by studying the suggested itineraries on the company’s Web site. A Google search turned up sailingissues.com, which has almost everything you need to know to cruise Greek and Turkish waters, starting with figuring out which of the numerous cruising grounds is the best for you. Once I narrowed down the choices to the Ionian Sea, I supplemented my information by reading blogs on Ionian cruises (moderately helpful) and Lonely Planet’s Greek Islands volume to help me decide which islands to visit and what to do when I get there. There will, of course, be a chart briefing before we take off, so I expect there will be further refining based on unbeatable local knowledge.

I think it’s best to come to a chart briefing with your homework done and some questions in mind. Unless you’re chartering for more than a week (and even if you are), it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to see it all, and the distances you’re considering as a day’s sail may be something else entirely.
If you’ve come up with other Web sites you’ve found helpful in planning a charter vacation, please share them with other SAIL readers. Send your ideas to sailmail@sailmagazine.com, and I’ll pass them along.

.

Related

Waypoint.image.cd

Say No To Waypoints

Ever since they first appeared in my navigational toolbox decades ago I have been wary of waypoints. They certainly do seem helpful, these electronic flags we plant in the ether to guide us to where we want to go. But I noticed early on they also tend to distort our perception. ...read more

Lead-shutterstock_429247

A Cruise up Florida’s St. Johns River

The chart showed 45ft of vertical clearance, and I knew the boat should be able to pass under the bridge. Still, there was that nagging voice in my head that wouldn’t let me be. “What if your air draft calculations were wrong?” it said. “And if you’re just a little too high the ...read more

pic00

Installing a Helm Pod

Our 1987 Pearson project boat came with an elderly but functioning Raymarine chartplotter, located belowdecks at the nav station. Since I usually sail solo or doublehanded, it was of little use down there—it needed to be near the helm. When I decided to update the plotter along ...read more

Panamerican

Pan American Game Success

Team USA’s young sailors went to the quadrennial Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru this summer with high hopes, and returned with a good haul of medals—two Golds, three Silvers, and two Bronze. Gold medals went to Ernesto Rodriguez and Hallie Schiffman (Mixed Snipe) and Riley ...read more

190916-AC75

U.S. Team Launches First America’s Cup Boat

Fast forward to around 2:25 to see the boat in action. First day out and already doing full-foiling gybes: not too shabby! Hard on the heels of the unveiling of New Zealand’s first AC75, the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic team has now launched its first America’s Cup ...read more

GGTobCaysHorseshoeColors

Picking a Charter Destination

Picking a destination should reflect the interests of your group, says People often ask about my favorite charter destination, and invariably, I sidestep the question with one of my own: “Well, what do you want to do on your vacation?” Most often I hear an incredulous, “Why, ...read more

sinking

Waterlines: Chasing Leaks on Boats

Chasing leaks on boats is a time-honored obsession. Rule number one in all galaxies of the nautical universe through all of nautical history has always been the same: keep the water on the outside. When water somehow finds its way inside and you don’t know where it’s coming ...read more

BestBoatNominees2020-Promo

Best Boats Nominees 2020

Bring on the monohulls! In a world increasingly given over to multihull sailing, SAIL magazine’s “Best Boats” class of 2020 brings with it a strong new group of keelboats, including everything from luxury cruisers nipping at the heels of their mega-yacht brethren to a number of ...read more