Sail Away - July 2006

Charter a PassageI think it’s fair to say that a significant difference between finding a passagemaking opportunity through a course or membership group (see page 60) and going the crewed-charter route is the wealth of options offered by the worldwide fleet of crewed boats. These have to do primarily with the size of the boat (from around 40 feet on up, and up some
Author:
Updated:
Original:
0706sa

Charter a Passage

I think it’s fair to say that a significant difference between finding a passagemaking opportunity through a course or membership group (see page 60) and going the crewed-charter route is the wealth of options offered by the worldwide fleet of crewed boats. These have to do primarily with the size of the boat (from around 40 feet on up, and up some more), the length of the passage (from a week on up), and the variety of the routes these boats sail.

At any given time there are any number of circumnavigating boats out there somewhere that are available for charters en route. Of these, some are operated by their owners, who feed the cruising kitty by taking on paying guests. Others have owners who join the boat from time to time and offer charters
in between.

There are crewed boats that base themselves in a particular area—say, the South Pacific, or the high latitudes. It’s easier than you might think to find a sailing charter at the bottom of South America, where the options include the Chilean glaciers, Cape Horn, and Antarctica. It’s not easy sailing, to be sure, but these boats are purpose-built and the crews have a wealth of experience. In addition, some of these Cape Horn boats do passages into the Pacific or Atlantic during their off-season.
One such boat is the 70-foot ketch Fernande, which is now on an extended family cruise in the Atlantic after 10 years in southern South America. The owners encourage active participation in all aspects of passagemaking, and you should get all the hands-on experience you want on a boat of this type (to get an idea of what’s involved, go to www.fernandexp.com).

Soren Larsen, a 145-foot brigantine based in New Zealand, is one of a number of tall ships that offer sail training on extended passages. The itineraries of these boats vary from year to year; in 2006 Soren Larsen’s itinerary included New Zealand to Easter Island (34 days) and then on to Tahiti via Pitcairn Island, the Marquesas, and the Tuamotos (49 days).
My go-to person for chartering exotica like this is Mary Crowley, who is herself a passagemaker and erstwhile delivery skipper.

Her company, Ocean Voyages (www.oceanvoyages.com), acts as a clearinghouse for many bluewater boats. Before you talk to her, or to any other charter broker, have your requirements sorted out: the kind of experience you’re looking for (and the kind of experience you have), where you’d like to sail and for how long, and when you’d like to go.

If you have a specific stretch of ocean in mind, you’re best off staying flexible; it may take considerable time to find a boat in the desired area. Be very specific about how much you want to participate in running the boat; on many boats you’ll be passage crew and expected to pitch in. Expect to pay $100 to $200/day (a ballpark figure); this could well be less than it would cost to fly the route in these days of high airfares. And the meals will be much better. —Amy Ullrich

Sail Away Archive

Less is More (June 2006)

Summer in the Islands (May 2006)

Caribbean Notes (April 2006)

Where to Go Now (March 2006)

Wedding Bells (February 2006)

Charter Cats (January 2006)

Related

QuarterdeckBuildingWatercolor

Bitter End Yacht Club 2.0

Amid the widespread devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria when they swept across the northern Caribbean in September 2017, the destruction of the iconic Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands was particularly keenly felt by sailors. The ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com The back door Satisfied with your headsails? So was I, until one day I took a long, hard look up the luff of my genoa, making sure I inspected the leeward side as well. The sail had plenty of life ...read more

02-Lydia12-01

Losing Sight of Shore

I arrived on the docks of Beaufort, North Carolina, in late April with two backpacks filled with new gear—everything I’d need for my first offshore passage. Though I’d been sailing for 16 years, graduating from dinghies to keelboats to a J/122, I’d spent my time racing and, in ...read more

Squall

The Face of a Squall

They are the worst of times, they are the best of times There’s a fabulous line from an old Paul Simon song that I often sing to myself while sailing: I can gather all the news I need from the weather report. It is part of the magic of sailing, this ancient process by which we ...read more

ntcktshtrstk

Cruising Southern New England Waters

One of the most wonderful childhood vacations I can remember was back in 1971 when my best friend invited me to his family’s summer home on Nantucket Island. For a 10-year-old kid, this was a thrilling trip for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact it was also my ...read more

IMG_8287GR16Mykonos

Cultural Charters: Mykonos

In last month’s column, I covered the amazing mix of cultures that have called the Dalmatian Coast home over the centuries. Croatia cruising is like a smorgasbord of intertwined centuries, and the islands are a movie set. A little farther south, though, you’ve also got Greece, ...read more

cookinglead

Cruising: No Oven? No Worries

Many cruising boats, especially smaller ones, don’t have a conventional oven. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have all the baked foods you want, from bread to brownies to breakfast rolls to casseroles and even a roast chicken. All it takes is the right bit of gear and a ...read more