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Find out more about yacht charter

How to charter a yacht

The first thing to do to begin planning your perfect sailing holiday is to choose the right yacht. Off The Grid gives you the opportunity to choose between two main yacht types: sailing boats (monohulls) and catamarans. The choice you make depends not only on your sailing party, its characteristics and preferences, but also on the characteristics of the vessel itself. Some yachts are better suited for families and a relaxing holiday, others seem ideal for more adventurous types of people, yet others are the perfect choice for those who prefer skippered or crewed charters…

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    Some yachts are better suited for families and a relaxing holiday with a small group of friends, other seem ideal for more adventurous type of people interested in a hands-on yachting experience, yet others are the perfect choice for those who prefer skippered or crewed charters.

    The best way to make your final decision is to check out our yachts guide where you will find all the details concerning different yacht types and particular brands, such as yacht size, guest capacity, suitability for bareboat or skippered charter, and design characteristics. And don’t worry if after reading about the yachts you are still unsure which yacht to choose: just ask the Off The Grid team! Based on your needs and preferences, our experienced staff will help you select the one that is perfect for you.

Yacht charter guide

When choosing the yacht that best suits your needs, there are several factors that should influence your final decision. These include the age of the yacht, charter price, is yacht equipped with air condition and whether or not you wish to have a crew with you during the entire charter period.

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    When choosing a yacht keep in mind that newer yachts are considered safer and more reliable. With older yachts there is a bigger chance of a breakdown and an even bigger chance that some important equipment, available in more up-to-date yachts, may be lacking, so the initial savings may prove not to be savings at all. However, if they are maintained professionally and at a high standard, older yachts could prove to be a real bargain.

    It is also worth noting that lower-priced yachts may hide some bigger issues, so take caution when dealing with them. Don’t let the price of the charter yacht be the only criterion by which you choose your week-long home away from home. Instead, carefully consider the yacht’s condition, equipment and safety features to ensure maximal satisfaction.

    Finally, decide on the type of charter best suited to your needs, as there are three main types: bareboat, skippered or crewed. Bareboat charter is intended for more experienced sailors who own a valid skipper’s licence (certificates, permits and other necessary documentation) and does not include any crew except the one made of your guest party. If there is no one from your party who possesses the necessary documents, a skippered charter is the way to go. Skippers are professionals with significant sailing experience and local knowledge who will be responsible for your entire party as they steer the boat, anchor it, (help you) decide on the routes and keep you safe in general. If you prefer complete comfort and a carefree experience, crewed charter is the perfect choice. This charter type includes a larger crew (a skipper, hostess and, possibly, a chef) who will navigate, sail, cater and prepare meals for you based on your preferences.

Monohull yachts vs. catamarans

If you are unsure which type of yacht to opt for, here is a short guide to each type’s characteristics.

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    Monohull yachts…

    • …are more economical taking into consideration charter price, fuel costs and mooring fees
    • …offer better sailing performance, sail upwind more efficiently then catamarans, and feel more powerful as they heel over
    • …are more common, so there is a greater number of vessels to choose from
    • …offer responsive sailing and are better for beginners

    Catamarans…

    • …have a shallow draft, so they can venture into shallower waters
    • …offer a stable platform, which makes them more convenient for people new to boating
    • …feature significantly more space
    • …feature more space for the crew (often two separate crew cabins in the bow of the vessel)
    • …have larger and more functional bathrooms than monohulls of equal size
    • …are more comfortable at anchor
    • …are similar to apartment-style living with seamless indoor/ outdoor integration
    • …usually have two engines, which allow easy manoeuvrability

Cooking aboard a yacht

Unless you have added a hostess to your package (or you have arranged the Off The Grid team to do it for you), you will have to take care of food supplies. The first thing to decide is how much food to take aboard with you. We advise that you make a rough estimate of how much food each person from your party (don’t forget the skipper and/or hostess) will eat in a day’s time, multiply it by the number of days of your sailing holiday, and then add a bit extra, just in case (better to have to much than not enough!). Bear in mind that if your holiday takes place in summer perishable food tends to go bad somewhat faster, so the above estimate should be done only for non-perishables. We advise you to buy perishable food every other day or whenever you are in port and have a fresh food store at your disposal. If you are unsure of whether you’ll be able to restock during your entire sailing holiday, then make sure your non-perishable rations last for a longer period of time. Feel free to reach out to our team if you have any questions, we are happy to help!

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    When it comes to drinking water, we advise you to bring 2 litres per day per person. We know this seems like a lot, but spending prolonged periods in the sun will get you thirsty. Don’t forget other types of drinks as well, such as coffee, tea, soda drinks, soft drinks, beer, or any other type of liquor you might enjoy having during your holiday.

    A good way to prepare everything you need (and a bit more) is to plan your meals ahead. Think of what you usually have for breakfast (bread, butter, marmalade, pate, salami, different spreads, cereal, eggs, milk, orange juice, fruit, etc.), lunch (pasta, rice, meat, spices, potatoes and other vegetables) and supper, and be sure to bring a variety of groceries that will satisfy everyone’s taste and food preferences. Of course, you wouldn’t want to forget snacks between meals which are many people’s favourite (especially children’s), so bringing along some candy, chips, snack bars, biscotti, or dried fruit will come in handy.

    Another important thing to remember before venturing on a sailing trip is that cooking in a kitchen on a boat is by far more difficult than cooking in your own kitchen back home. The most important difference is the kitchen’s size: the one on the boat is incomparably smaller, has fewer utensils and a limited workspace (for food preparation and washing up), so simple dishes tend to be better. Also, you have to keep in mind that cooking is often done while at sea and the kitchen moves and heals together with the vessel, so safely storing all kitchen utensils, especially knifes, using non-slip mats and avoiding food that requires a lot of chopping is the best way to go. Finally, make sure your crew is familiar with how to safely handle the stove and its power source.

Children on a sailing boat

Having children with you on a sailing holiday is a wonderful thing, but even though it is a great opportunity for bonding, learning and lots of fun, certain precautions have to be made. Before going on a sailing holiday with your children, prepare them by explaining where you are going and what they can expect. It would also be wise to establish some safety rules for when they are on board, and keep enforcing them once you board the sailing boat.

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    Children safety at sea should be number one priority. That is why one of the most important things to bring along with you and install is a safety net. A safety net is a strong net (usually made of nylon) that is placed onto the boat’s railing so that it prevents children, toys, equipment, or animals from falling overboard. Attaching the net to the railing is quite simple and fast, and you can even ask your skipper to do it for you.

    Children like to keep busy and need to be entertained all the time, which can be quite tricky when at sea. That is why it is important to provide your kids with plenty of fun activities that will grab their attention, sometimes even for longer periods of time. Board games, playing cards, toys and colouring books are always a safe bet. Bringing video games or downloading some TV shows or movies on an iPad can help during times at sail. And don’t forget their snorkeling equipment so they get a chance to explore the underwater world as well as their fishing gear. Finally, try to organise short fishing excursions and fun outings to the shore (using dinghy if necessary), or plan to do some water sports.

    Children at sea tend to get hungry quite often, even more so than adults, so bring along enough (healthy) snacks to keep them full between meals. Also, bring along extra clothes for the children as accidents do happen and there may not be a chance to wash them immediately. Hats and caps are also recommended as they protect the children from direct sunlight. Small cuts and scratches are not rare, so while boats come with a first aid kit, bring appropriate band-aids and ointments. Do not forget about medical supplies – for sore throats, seasickness or even fever – especially is your children take proscribed medications. In order to prevent sunburns, bring along plenty of high SPF sunscreens.

    Remember, the sailing holiday you are taking should become one of child’s best-cherished memories, so even though you are taking every precaution necessary for a safe trip, let them have fun and do childish things we all did as children.

Pets aboard the yacht

Whether pets are allowed aboard a yacht depends entirely on the charter agency, so please make sure to check in advance. However, if you take a pet with you, keep in mind there are certain precautions you have to make and things you have to prepare in advance.

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    Firstly, make sure to bring with you appropriate and complete documentation necessary for your pet to enter the country (such as vaccination card) and that your pet is microchipped.

    If your pet is not accustomed to sailing, it might get scared and panic, so find a nice, cosy and secure place (usually below deck) for it to hide in during especially rough weather. It is a good idea to bring along some seasickness medication with you in case your pet does not feel well (consult with your veterinarian). As sailing entails spending long periods in the sun, pets, like people, can easily get sunburns. Taking with you some high SPF sunscreen and ensuring enough shade should do the trick in preventing any unwanted consequences.

    When aboard a yacht, toilet options for your pet are rather scarce. You need to provide a suitable place (a box, a piece of easily cleaned material, or something similar) for your pet to do its business in, or train it to do it overboard (not always convenient, as there is a risk of falling overboard).

    There are a couple more thing you shouldn’t forget: your pet’s favourite toys, its blanket or bed/seat, a collar, leash and muzzle for outings to the shore, a safety net to install on the yacht’s railing, and, possibly, a harness for easier recovery from the sea.

A guide to Croatian weather system and winds

There are several types of winds you may encounter while sailing along the Croatian coastline. Their main characteristics are given below.

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    • Tramontana/Tramuntana – a (very) cold wind from the north that often picks up quite suddenly. It is a forerunner of Bura.
    • Bura/Bora – very cold, dry wind from the northeast that often changes direction. Bura is characterised by heavy gusts, rough waves and excessive spraying, which can be particularly dangerous if you find yourself in the water.
    • Mistral/Maestral – mild wind, common for the period from April to October and excellent for smooth sailing.
    • Levant – cold, easterly wind common in February and March. When it is not especially strong, it is quite beneficial for sailing. However, sailing during Levant is only recommended to experienced sailors.
    • Sirocco/Jugo – warm, southeast wind, usually accompanied by rainy weather and a drop in air pressure. Sirocco may cause huge waves, so inexperienced sailors should avoid it.
    • Burin – a mild wind, usually occurring in the evening and at night very close to the coast.
    • Ponente – a rather dangerous, westerly wind that picks up quite suddenly. It is characterised by very strong gusts.
    • Oštro – mild wind from the south. Usually follows Sirocco, and does not last a very long time.
    • To learn more about weather in Croatia please click here!

Sailing in Croatia – a video experience

One ways charter

A one-way charter is a special type of charter in which pick-up and drop-off points are not the same. This setup is particularly convenient for those who wish to visit a larger number of places in a shorter period of time, or simply wish to continue their holiday in a particular port without having to return to the port they have already been in. Such a charter is a bit more expensive as the yacht has to be returned to the port where the pick-up was made (fuel and skipper costs). There are certain restrictions on drop-off times, so be sure to check the details with your Off The Grid travel agent.