Join Date: Feb 2009
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Re: Any info on crewed charters
You may want to make some decisions well in advance of approaching any company:
1. First, is this primarily a Vacation on a Sailboat or is it Using Some Vacation Time to Become a Better Large Boat Sailor?
That decision will drive how much emphasis you put on comfortable accommodation, quality of food, sightseeing on land, going to interesting restaurants, snorkeling expeditions before lunch and so on versus sailing for 7 or 8 hours straight.
It will also help you decide on a location: some places have better wind and offer opportunities for all-day passages, while others are better for gunkholing and boast great resturants and bars, while still others have much better snorkeling sites.
2. Do you want both a Captain and a Cook?
If you do not include a Cook, either you or your wife will be spending a significant amount of time below, preparing food, serving food, and cleaning up after meals and snacks for yourselves and the Captain. This may not be what you want to do during a vacation focused on the experience of sailing a bigger boat.
Some people plan to eat at restaurants most evenings. While this reduces the meal preparation effort, it also constrains your sailing choices. You may not be able to anchor for the night in a location remote from a restaurant. And it will significantly drive up your cost.
2. What role do you want the Captain to play?
Is he or she there only to be a safety backup and expert resource while you and your wife plan the cruise, do all the navigation, sailing, motoring, mooring, and anchoring? That is, do you want the Captain to coach you while you learn by doing?
Or, is he or she there to take on those responsibilities while you and your wife act as his or her crew?
This is an important decision because not all Captains are, or want to be, good coaches. Sailing and training are different, though not incompatible, areas of expertise.
Finally, you will need to choose between chartering a crewed boat that is owned by (usually, though not always) a Captain and Cook couple versus one that is owned by a company (such as The Moorings) through whom you would engage a Captain (and Cook, if you want one).
There is potentially a lot of difference. Owner-chartered boats offer a personalized experience analgous to what you have in a great bed-and-breakfast. The owners are proud of their boats and the cuisine they offer; they want you to have a wonderful time in their home. The fact that it is their home, however, means that an owner-chartered boat may not offer many (or any) opportunities for you to sail the boat or participate in navigation decisions (never mind do the work yourself under their observation). Because the boat is usually their home as well as their livelihood, they are understandably cautious about handing over sailing to someone who might put it on the rocks.
We've chartered bareboat, bareboat with a Captain only, and on owner-chartered boats. All were wonderful --- but dramatically different --- experiences.
Best wishes for a wonderful time!