How To Organize A Perfect Sailing Holiday?

By Kanika Dabra - April 30, 2020

Going on a sailing holiday sounds much fun as it feels like travelling off the beaten path and feeling free on an idyllic break. However, how to organize a perfect sailing holiday might be challenging for some who never done it before. One thing is for sure, to have an unforgettable trip a good amount of preparation is needed.

If you decide to rent a boat for your next holiday to experience the wonderful feeling of sailing on the open sea, here is a detailed step by step guide on how to organize a perfect sailing holiday.

Step 1: Choosing the Crew

Sailing is one of the most beautiful ways to travel around the world. To get the most out of this experience, you might as well choose the people you are going to sail with. It’s crucial, because who is going on a cruise is going on an adventure. This also means spending time together for a week.

A few questions to ask yourself to define your crew:

  • Will you be sailing as a couple, with family or friends?
    Define the number of adults and children and thus the number of cabins required. If you have a person who needs less comfort, you can have them sleep in the lounge area of the boat.
  • Are some members of the crew able to drive the boat?
    If nobody knows how to sail, you will have the possibility to take a skipper at the time of your reservation. You will have to think about reserving a cabin for him.
  • Are there any people likely to get seasick?
    A question that should really not be neglected, it can save you from many problems on the open sea. Due to its stability, a catamaran, would be better to people who are likely to get seasick.
  • What type of holiday are you planning?
    Do you prefer a rather idleness, festive, cultural, water activities: diving/snorkelling? You have to make sure that you satisfy everyone’s needs as much as possible so that everyone can find their way around.

Step 2: Selecting the destination and dates

After carefully confirming your crew, it’s time to get down to business: validating the holiday location and dates.

Firstly, everyone must communicate their availabilities and their travel desires. Depending on the returns and the chosen season, define several destinations.

Make sure that the chosen location is easily accessible (airport nearby) and that the time slots and flight prices are suitable for everyone. Note that most rentals on houseboats are from Saturday to Saturday.

Finally, to simplify the organization, don’t hesitate to send a survey to your crew to get everyone to agree.

Step 3: Estimating the budget

You should list all the items of expenses for your trip: flights, boat rental, the skipper if necessary, overnight stays in the port, supplies (food and drink) and trips. Take into account the seasonality because prices vary greatly from one month to the next.

  • Airline tickets: easily compare flights on Google Flight
  • Boat rental: On average, a sailboat costs between €800 and €4,000 per week depending on the destination and the season. For a catamaran, expect 50% more. The most budget-friendly months for a trip to the Mediterranean are April, May, September and October. You should also know that the bigger and newer the boat, the higher the price! And don’t forget the extras: cleaning, airport transfer, additional insurance, paddle…
  • The skipper: If nobody knows how to sail and you need a skipper to operate the boat, book the services of a skipper. Count about €150 to €200 per day, or €1,050 to €1,400 per week, plus the cost of the cabin and the meals.
  • Nights in the port: It depends on your program but you can count 2 nights/port. Prices vary between €20 and €90 per night depending on the destination and the boat.
  • The fuel: for sailing boats, the consumption is estimated at 1.5-2L/h while the catamaran is 3L/h. Allow between 40 € and 150 € for a week.
  • Supplies for the week and the outings

With this overall budget, you can estimate a price per person for your crew. By leaving off-season, without a skipper, you can get there for less than 500 €/person for a week in the Mediterranean.

Step 4: Reserving the boat

The idea at the beginning is to make several requests for quotes on a selection of boats (on your favourite rental site). This will allow you to have access to a detailed rate per boat. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to talk to a boat rental consultant who will be able to direct you easily.

Interested in a boat? You will be able to ask for an option to book the boat. This gives you time to validate this choice with your crew.

Finally, confirm the boat’s reservation permanently. You will generally be asked to pay a first deposit of between 30% and 50% of the rental amount. The balance is due 40 days before your departure.

Stage 5: Preparing for the cruise and life on board

We advise you to prepare as much as possible for the duration of your cruise so that, once you get there, you can sail with a clear head and a light heart!

  • Create a sailing programme: itinerary, route plan, stopovers, documents, anchorage areas, refuelling areas…) and share it with your crew.
  • Analyze a few days before departure the weather conditions and carefully prepare your suitcase. Don’t forget your license and of course your passport!
  • Think about the formalities linked to the Check-in and Check-out (permit, crew list, inventory etc …).
  • Plan for supplies: food and drink stocks for the week
  • Conduct a safety and departure briefing for your crew.
  • And last but not least: plan for the unpredictable! The more we plan ahead, the more perfect the cruise will be!
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