Vacationing on a yacht conjures up images of celebrities and the super rich living it up to the max off an exotic coast. But yachting need not be for the top percentile alone: several local and international companies offer hiring options that could have you cruising towards the holiday of your dreams, be it for a day or a longer getaway. Chartering a yacht is not quite as straightforward as hiring a car, but familiarising yourself with the ins and out of what’s involved might spare you the headache of surprise costs, and help you navigate your way to the best option for your life aquatic.
WHERE TO CHARTER?
Where one chooses to charter depends on the type of experience you seek. With options across the globe, one can choose a day trip across Table Bay or a week-long cruise through the Caribbean: it’s really up to you. Unlike on a cruise ship, you can even decide on your daily destinations and how long you stay at individual harbours.
TYPE OF YACHT
Deciding on the kind of experience you want is crucial, as this will determine your choice of yachts. For people who don’t want to fend for themselves, a crewed yacht is the best option, as logistics such as cooking and navigation will be taken care of. If you are looking for more independence, then a bareback charter will suit you better, assuming you have the skills to navigate the seas yourself. Once that is decided, the next consideration is whether to hire a catamaran or a monohull.
Of course, the type of vessel you choose will influence your experience, so make sure to consider the options carefully. A trick to keeping costs manageable involves looking at recently launched vessels, but if you’re looking for the esteem of decking on a “pedigree” yacht, such as one famed for once belonging to a celebrity, be prepared to dig a bit deeper into your pockets.
A YACHT FOR ALL SEASONS
Your choice of high or low season will have an effect on the base price of the yacht. Travelling during the high season or during special events, such as the Monaco Grand Prix, New Year’s, or the Cannes Film Festival, will see a significant increase in pricing. A trick can be to travel just outside of the peak season, which means you can still enjoy the same weather, but won’t need to cough up quite so much.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
In addition to the base price of chartering your chosen vessel, there are several additional costs to consider, including food and drink. Of course, costs are dependent on taste (Cristal, anyone?) and how deep into the coffers one is willing to dig, but in the world of yachting your limits are really up to you. Food will be one of the biggest costs, depending on how you want to dine.
But your body is not the only vessel that will need to be fuelled, as your yacht will also need to be powered. How fast the vessel you have chosen travels, as well as how long you plan on staying at sea will obviously play a part. On-board toys, such as jet skis, will also need to be fuelled, so be sure to keep those costs in mind. On the days when you’re not traversing the seas, harbour and dockage fees will also need to be paid to the relevant authorities.
Positioning is, of course, a factor as a front row seat to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will set you back a lot more in docking fees than in a quieter bay. While at sea, communication is another important factor, as are options for satellite communication or internet access. Should you wish to have your charter depart from elsewhere than its home dock, you also have to factor in the delivery fee. Don’t forget to include insurance costs.
THE SEA AIRBNB
Brokers are the best way to help you find the best yacht for your needs, and the launch of Sailo in 2014 has gone a long way towards taking the hassle out of hiring a yacht.
Sailo facilitates direct boat rentals from owners, based on your needs: much like the model employed by Airbnb. Owners list their boats for rent, and consumers are then able to tailor their choice depending on what is available on the market across a range of popular yachting destinations around the globe. The company is the brainchild of Adrian Gradinaru, who founded Sailo after having a bad personal yacht-hire experience. Sailo currently has thousands of yachts you can book, from overnight trysts right through to longer vacations.
TEAM MONO VS STEAM CAT
When it comes to choosing a yacht to take you on your next adventure, one consideration is the type of yacht to charter. At the heart of the argument is whether to take the traditional monohull or a catamaran. The choice depends on your needs, but if you are weighing your options, here are some pros and cons.
The catamaran no doubt offers more room with its multihulls, including better shelter for different weather conditions.
The stability provided by the catamaran also means a more stable ride, with less seasickness for those people whose sea legs are not quite as developed. This also obviously means a better rested vacation, with anchorage proving to be more stable and less topsy-turvy. From a safety point of view, the catamaran has an additional engine: should one fail, the other can keep you afloat.
But not all is lost for the monohull lover, as monohulls do tend to operate better on the seas from a sailing perspective. With their sleeker design, monos also manage upwinds better by slicing through, compared to the bulkier cats. There is also better availability of the monohull, despite a growth in the popularity of cats. Cost wise, catamarans are more expensive, so a hiring monohull can mean a significant saving.