Inside the Sunseeker 161 Superyacht

The prestigious British shipyard Sunseeker continues to push the boundaries of yacht design. In collaboration with the Dutch shipyard Icon Yachts, the Sunseeker 161 will be the largest yacht in the manufacturer’s history. It will also be the first that they have ever built in metal. Sunseeker has already sold one hull and we look forward to many more models entering the Mediterranean charter market in the near future.

So what can you expect from the largest Sunseeker ever built?

The Sunseeker 161 will offer unrivalled deck spaces for alfresco dining, socialising with friends and holding cocktail events. Moreover, you will enjoy a plethora of sunbathing spaces and a contemporary beach club. Imagine anchoring in the cerulean waters of the Bahamas each winter before crossing to Croatia and the Greek Islands. Heaven!

Sunseekers are established and sought-after charter yachts. Their designs and features like zero-speed stabilisers make them extremely comfortable for the first time charter guest, as well as an experienced yachtsman. While you wait for the next models to be released, there is already a fantastic selection for you to try in 2020. AQUA LIBRA in Greece is one of our top recommendations which is already booking for summer 2021!

The Broker Team know the best Sunseeker yacht for your next charter. Whether it is a day charter on the French Riviera onboard the Predator 68 REHAB, or a week on the 28m Sunseeker PLAY THE GAME in Ibiza, you’re in expert hands. We look forward to making 2020 the best year of holidays yet!

Sail into Spring

February is over and March shows no sign of heating up, the winter blues set in.. Wave goodbye to cold temperatures and charter a yacht with Boatbookings for an unforgettable Spring experience. Broker Alice provides an insight into the best places to sail in March, April and May to escape the April Showers.

Where to go when…

March

The BVI

Undoubtedly, the best destination for sailing in March is the British Virgin Islands. The trade winds are reliable and the islands are more tranquil than during the Christmas holidays. These islands profit from excellent sailing conditions, a dry climate, reliable trade winds and an excellent island hopping- bar culture. Visit the baths on Virgin Gorda, the new Willy T’s, the wreck of the Rhone. If you are feeling adventures head across to Anegada for some unforgettable conch fritters!

Guadeloupe

Get a taste of the outdoors in Guadeloupe. Whether you’re into remote beaches, exotic hikes in rainforests or scuba-diving amongst turtles on and coral gardens, this is the sailing destination for you. Tip- for those into French diving heroes, there is a statue of Jaques Cousteau located just off from Pigeon island (Bouillante, Basse Terre).

April

A favourite month of the year in the Caribbean. This month homes in some unforgettable regattas, idyllic trade wind conditions and consistently warm temperatures.

Antigua Race Week

Head over to Antigua at the end of April to take part in one of the most competitive sailing regattas on the globe. Not only is the sailing amazing, there is a mixture of great Caribbean BBQ’s and social events taking place during the week. The infamous Lay Day takes place on a neighbouring beach and is a must-do activity!

May

St Vincent and the Grenadines

As the rain and wind season begins in the Leewards head down to the Grenadines at the heart of the Windward Caribbean Islands to catch the last of the Caribbean sun and winds. The Grenadines are a quieter alternative than the Leeward islands and are home to some of the lushest vegetation across the Caribbean.

Turkey

An up and coming charter destination, Turkey hosts some of the best wind and climate conditions for a charter in the Mediterranean. Unspoilt beaches, historical ruins, a unique cultural experience, secluded bays and excellent marina facilities make Turkey one of the best destinations to visit.

Get in contact with the Boatbookings team today to start to plan your Spring Yacht Charter!

Sailing with a Child

Even for the most seasoned of sailors, choosing the right yacht that meets your family’s needs on holiday is essential, whether in Greece, the Amalfi Coast or the Caribbean. We are often asked whether it is safe to take a young child sailing. This does, of course, depend on the yacht and location, but here are our top tips for sailing with children.

The Boat

It’s important to select a boat that is going to work for the kids. You don’t want them to get scared with the boat heeling over too much or them feeling unsafe. Therefore, I’d recommend a catamaran for first-timers, particularly as these are considerably more stable than a monohull. With a catamaran, the salon is spacious, providing the kids with a good amount of space in case of bad weather. In a monohull, the salon is downstairs with little outside visibility, which may result in seasickness.

Safety Net

If you have very young children on board, it may be a good idea to install a safety net before you start sailing. If you need this, it is best to add this option well in advance to avoid the yacht manager running out. The safety net offers good protection for children playing or sunbathing on the deck, and it stops any sliding overboard. A harness is an extra safety measure you might consider for protecting your kids when sailing.

Air conditioning

It is becoming more and more common for modern sailing yachts to have a generator, allowing them to have air conditioners and ceiling fans. This is of huge importance when with children as it allows you to quickly regulate their temperature in particularly hot weather and during the warmest part of the day.

Life jackets

It is essential to advise your broker about the age of your children to ensure the owner has life jackets in your child’s size. It is always a good idea to consider buying your own life jackets, particularly as children will wear these more than adults. A more comfortable life jacket that fits well will encourage children to wear life jackets at all times outside.

Itinerary Planning

Depending on your location, there may be long distances between certain destinations. Therefore, it’s always good to consider your itinerary to allow often breaks. In case of bad weather, it is always good to have a back-up itinerary. In situations where cruising does not permit stops, consider playing games with your children or giving them colouring.

Contact a Boatbookings Broker Today to book your family yacht charter.

Charter a Yacht for the 2020 Monaco Grand Prix

Are you looking for an exhilarating weekend getaway with friends in 2020? Look no further than the Monaco Grand Prix which takes place between the 21-24th March 2020. Monaco is the most exciting Formula 1 race of the calendar and the after-race events match the action on the track. There is no doubt that you will enjoy the best weekend of the year!

2020 Monaco GP Facts

Nelson Piquet famously compared driving at Monaco to ‘riding a bicycle around your living room’. The Monte-Carlo street circuit is renowned for being one of the most difficult race tracks to overtake in the world. The drivers will make 5000 gear changes over the course of 78 laps, making Monaco one of the most physically demanding challenges of the season!

The party atmosphere is electric throughout the weekend, which also coincides with the 2020 Cannes Film Festival. The world’s elite, celebrities and jet-set travel from all around the world to attend these iconic events. With exciting nightlife dotted throughout the city, your Boatbookings Broker will ensure you go to the most exclusive events.

Your 2020 Monaco GP Yacht

The Cerri 102 Flyingsport TOBY is one of our favourites for your 2020 Monaco Grand Prix yacht charter. With accommodation for 10 guests in 3 double and 2 twin cabins, TOBY is the perfect choice for private or corporate groups looking to host their Monte-Carlo event.

TOBY has a fantastic open layout for welcoming guests aboard. Imagine sitting on the bow with your best friends as Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen race past your private yacht! 2020 will see Hamilton will be gunning to match Michael Schumacher’s seven world titles but will face his toughest competition yet.

TOBY and the best yachts will be booked by the end of January so move fast to avoid missing out! Speak to the Boatbookings Broker Team today to plan an unforgettable experience.

Private Charter Vs Cruise

Thinking about having a holiday on the water, or planning to upgrade on your Bahamas cruise? Read here!

Price

Roughly speaking, you are looking roughly between  £750 –  £2,000 per cabin, 7 days, for a cruise liner. If you are going away with family, this could amount up to £2,250 – £6,000 – before you even start to factor in the extortionate dinner prices, and excursions.

For £6,000 you can charter a 2019 Catamaran with a skipper and have the yacht to yourselves. Of course, there are other costs to factor in but as a whole, when wanting to have a holiday on the water with the family, a private charter is more often than not, a better choice economically compared to a cruise liner.

Itinerary

Cruise liners are very good at having a set itinerary. You know where you will be on what day, and at what port. Due to the size, and with the number of bodies on board, it is imperative that they stick to a schedule (yes they leave people behind if they are not on board!)

Cruise liners are absolutely huge, often referred to as ‘death’ by sailors sailing past them and can pretty much go through any weather (within reason) allowing them to stick to their schedule.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d say I stick to a holiday itinerary about 40% of the time. I always seem to discover parts that I would like to explore more – with a private charter, it gives you the flexibility to do so. On your valuable week off from work, do you really want your week to be so structured to the minute? The answer is probably no…

Food and drink

How can I put this politely….. there are roughly 3000+ guests on one cruise ship, so expect mass-produced, soulless food. Now if that’s your cup of tea – great!!! A cruise is for you. If you, however, want personalised meals, often made with local produce, in a local way then a private charter is for you. The private charter chef will have received your preference sheets and created a bespoke menu based on your dietary requirements, likes, dislikes, allergies etc. Why would you ever opt for anything less?!

Comfort and atmosphere

Cruise liners, similarly referred to as a hotel on water, really does equate to what you pay for. The interior rooms are like a small motel, while the suites offer a more luxurious vibe (they do come with a hefty price tag). On a yachting vacation, regardless of it being a private charter or a cruise, you won’t really spend a lot of room in the bedroom. However, you will spend a lot of your time on the decks. If this is on a private charter, there is no better place to hang out than on the bow, or flybridge (if your yacht has one). On a cruise liner, you have the inside entertainment areas and outside areas such as the swimming pool. The seating works just like a hotel -first come first serve with 8 am sprints needed to ensure you get a place around the pool.

The bottom line

If you want to get up close and personal with the desired country that you visit, a private charter is for you. The flexibility and adaptability to your needs surpass anything that cruise liners could ever give you. To find out more, chat to one of us today!

Top 3 sailing destinations for newly qualified skippers.

So, you’ve just passed your skipper qualification and you’re looking for somewhere to test out your new skills. The only things is; where?! Seeing as 71% of the world is covered in water you have a lot of choices, but it’s making the right choice that will better your first experience as a skipper.

Number 1. The Ionian, Greece. (July and August).

Foki Bay, Ionian.

The Ionian is the perfect place to shake out the sails on your own! With protected anchorages and steady calm winds during the high season, it’s the perfect alternative to the Cyclades.

  • Most of the sailing is done by line of sight, so don’t worry too much if your chart reading isn’t slick yet.
  • Various anchorages offering great holding and even better protection from prevailing winds.
  • There are many town quays which means free moorings! If you cant get onto that, then you can always moor up to a restaurant for a free night. (You will have to eat in the restaurant).
  • Winds are very consistant F1/2 in the morning F2/3 in the afternoon and 90% of the time they will be north westerlies.
  • The Ionian is less saturated with yachts compared to the Cyclades meaning maneuvering/mooring is less stressful.

Number 2. French Riviera, France. (June and September).

Porquerolles, French Riviera

The French Riviera is not just for the rich and famous, its also for bareboaters too! You have the stunning Lerins islands or the picturesque Île de Porquerolles, located southwest of St Tropez.

  • Coastal sailing, always line of sight.
  • Protected anchorages between the Porquerolles islands. The water around there is similar to the Caribbean!
  • June and September is less crowded and less competition with the big superyachts
  • Enjoy beautiful french cuisine along the Cote d’Azur.

Number 3. Split, Croatia. (June and September).

Plakinski Islands 

Croatia is becoming one of the fastest-growing yachting areas in the world and it’s not hard to understand why. The island-hopping, line of sight sailing and picturesque anchorages creates a perfect place for you to test out your new skills.

  • Steady winds throughout the morning and afternoons
  • Warm weather, and ever warmer seas!
  • Easy anchoring, with mooring buoys at almost every anchorage.
  • Island hopping sailing, so you are able to do short stints and no exhaust your new crew.

If you are a newly qualified skipper, and need some advice on sailing locations do not hesitate to get in contact with us. We are all sailors, and travel experts, this means we are better to advise on your perfect charter holiday!

Your need-to-know guide to yachting in 2020

Boatbookings is recognised for its industry knowledge and professionalism. We are independent and our sole focus is to ensure you charter a yacht which matches your requirements. Don’t leave your vacations and corporate events to chance, leave it to the professionals. We are proud of our client testimonials and look forward to working with you in 2020.

Charter Broker Ben has highlighted the experiences you should book in the first 3 months of 2020 to make this year extra special. We can’t wait to supercharge your holidays! 

January 2020

With almost 80% of the prime summer dates and reputable catamarans already booked, it’s essential to move forward in January and proceed with your summer island-hopping adventure in GreeceCroatia, and the Amalfi Coast

Choose Greece’s Saronic Gulf for warm hospitality, Croatia’s Kornati National Park for isolated anchorages and the Amalfi Coast for mouthwatering cuisine. Selecting a catamaran will provide extra stability, low fuel consumptions and massive volumes to holiday in style.

February 2020

The half-term holidays are just around the corner and it’s time to start planning the major 2020 holidays. You have to book your BVI Crewed Catamaran and St Barths Motor Yacht charters for New Years now, or you will miss out on the quality yachts, experienced crews and your flights!

If you want to try something different, go diving in Indonesia’s iconic Raja Ampat, try surfing in New Caledonia or embark on a Thai culinary adventure from Phuket. There’s still time to book your last-minute Spring Break 2020 getaway to swim with the pigs in the Bahamas.

March 2020

You really should have finalised your dates for your summer Mediterranean motor yacht charter by March, or you will only have a handful of yachts to review.

Private yacht charters are bespoke and everyone has their own style. We can adapt any itinerary to suit your group; the French Riviera can cater to those looking for everything from Provencal farmhouse dining to Michelin starred restaurants in Monaco. Alternatively, escape the jet-set and explore the fortified towns of Corsica and dive into Sardinia for peace and tranquillity. 

The world is your oyster and we want you to make the most of it in 2020. Our Broker Team continues to travel the world in search of the most picturesque anchorages for water sports, sampling the best regional restaurants and making helpful contacts so your ideas become reality. 2020 will prove to be the best holiday season yet!

Whale Watching Charter Destinations

Southern Right Whale

Forget the crowded ferry type boats and create your own whale watching tour. See these marvelous creatures from the comfort of your own Sailing Yacht. There are several elements that you need to take into consideration before galavanting off to greet the peaceful giants. The WhitsundaysEscape has created the picture below, but this applies to pretty much everyone and everywhere!

Rules for whale watching in the Whitsundays
  1. Make as little impact to the whales as possible. If the whales are ‘logging’ (sleeping) do not rev your yacht and do circles around them.
  2. Admire them from at least 10-15 boat lengths apart.
  3. Donate to a local charity that is protecting the Whales so generations ahead can still view these magnificent giants.
  4. Educate yourselves on the whales. Some are shy, some are more inquisitive.
  5. Be respectful. If there are several yachts surrounding one whale its time to go. Don’t be that person. Lead by example.

FEBRUARY – MEXICO!

Taken off the Cape of Mexio.

Every year, thousands of Gray whales travel between Mexico and Alaska, this is one of the longest migrations in the water! From December to March/April time, they give birth in the warm and shallow waters off the Baja California, Mexico.

7 day Mexico Itinerary

APRIL – AZORES!

This picture was taken in front of Pico Island, Azores.

You name it, the biggest ones are there! Blue whales are the biggest animals to have ever lived on this planet – they are breathtaking large. There are only a few places in the world where you are able to see them, and the Azores is one of them! Blue whales pass the Azores on their way to the north – best time: between April and May. Plenty of other big whales pass by the islands, too, including Sei, Fin and the resident Sperm whales.

7 day Azores Itinerary

JUNE – NEW ENGLAND!

This picture was taken at Cape Cod. This is a bubble feeding technique whales use to catch a lot of fish in one time. They are doing this mostly in groups.

As the summer begins, any of the North American coasts are a great option! Specifically, around Newport, you have access to the Cape where sea wildlife is in abundance. Quebec, British Columbia, New England, Washington, and Oregon are among the best places in the world for whale watching. Most likely to see: Humpbacks, Fin whales and Minke whales on the east coast.

7 day Newport and Cape Cod sailing Itinerary

SEPTEMBER – AUSTRALIA! (Whitsundays)

Whitsundays birthing whales

Whales visit Australia from the cold seas of the Antarctic to give birth in the warm, shallow protected waters of the stunning Whitsundays. They can be seen from June – September. Whales are a common sight playing around the islands, and even far as the Great Barrier Reef. If you want to see the happy newborns joyfully breaching, the north-east coast really is the place to be!

7 day Whitsundays sailing itinerary

If you are looking to incorporate seeing these stunning animals into your charter please get in contact today so we can advise the best yacht and area to visit! If you have already planned your charter and looking for inspiration please take into consideration the 5 points listed above.

Sustainable Sailing

Broker Alice gives her insights about how to enjoy the most beautiful corners of the world on your yacht charter without causing damage to the environment. #catchsunsetsnotcarbon

What is eco-tourism?

Ecotourism refers to a country’s effort to conserve the environment, wildlife and natural resources. Many countries have invested in many schemes to increase eco-tourism and to encourage visitors to act responsibility and to respect the environment.

For those who are eco-conscious and want to steer away from mass tourism, a sailing yacht or catamaran is a perfect way to reduce your carbon footprint and to explore some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. A sailing yacht, without or without your own skipper onboard is the best way to visit many countries without making a negative impact on the environment. Greta Thumberg even recently tried out sailing to make a statement on reducing her carbon footprint.

The Boatbookings team built a Carbon offset calculator tool so that you can see the carbon you are putting into the environment and remain conscious of the effects of high carbon emissions during a yacht charter!

To keep carbon emissions to a minimum during a yacht charter, I would advise the below charters:

Alice’s 5 Eco-friendly charter destinations

1- The Atlantic Crossing

Capelinhos Volcan view from above – Azores

The Atlantic Crossing is one of the best ways to reduce carbon emissions. The crossing also distances you away from everyday life as phone signal is limited. Many larger boats do this crossing twice a year and require crew.

The Azore Islands are a part of the crossing and make this one in a lifetime opportunity even more exciting! These islands offer a break from weeks of open water. Many yachts offer the ultimate Atlantic Experience as they cross the ocean once a year. Be like Greta and live the ultimate green travel experience.

2- The Bahamas national park explorations on a lower-carbon emission catamaran

Pig Beach, The Bahamas

Yacht owners across the Bahamas use their initiatives wisely and try to reduce the charter carbon emissions. You can do a beach clean in the Bahamas and sail into the national parks. Ensure to try to use the engine as little as possible here. Natural wildlife such as iguanas, marine life, nurse sharks and pigs are prevalent throughout. If you have the chance, head over to the Abacos Islands to support the distraught community following the hurricane destruction and help the Bahamas become cleaner than ever. These waters are the bluest in the world and require high maintenance to avoid pollution and to reduce the negative effects of mass tourism.

3- Northern Sardinia Conservation Charter

Northern Sardinia is known for its national park La Maddalena. Take a sailboat or a sailing catamaran around this beautiful island and sail to Corsica to see some undisturbed beauty. This itinerary will allow you to discover some of the beauties of the natural world, including bright blue waters, marine life and plastic-free beaches. Efforts have been made to ensure that these waters remain unspoiled and that the area conserves all of the natural resources. Be sure to participate in a local scheme if you decide to visit Northern Sardinia on your yacht charter.

4- The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are renowned for eco-tourism and for containing some of the rarest, most endangered species on the globe. Before it is too late be sure to book your next yacht charter here to witness one of the remaining, unspoilt beauties of the world. Explore the widest selection of bio-diversity both on land and below water in the world.

5- Beach Clean-up in the BVI

As well as supporting the community and the effects of hurricane IRMA, take time to review the beautiful British Virgin Islands and to ensure that the islands remain green, clean and emission free!

Tips to improve your Carbon Footprint on your charter

1- Use the engine as little as possible

2- Limit fishing or put fish back in the water

3- Reduce plastic consumption onboard including excess packaging often found in the Caribbean.

4- Take water bottles on the charter and fill up at local facilities.

5- Participate in local schemes such as beach cleans to reduce your impact on the environment.

Speak to the Boatbookings team to discuss an eco-friendly yacht charter today.

What Sailing License Do I Need In The Mediterranean?

The age-old question which we as yacht brokers are asked on an almost daily basis.

When chartering in the Mediterranean, you must hold a sailing certification (and in some cases like Croatia, a VHF license). Almost all of the charter companies will not necessarily ask you for a sailing resume, but they will definitely ask you what license you carry.

If you have chartered around the Bahamas or Caribbean, you will know that you only need a sailing resume to charter, but this is not the case in the Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Italy, Croatia, French Riviera and so on.

So what license do I need?

Image result for ICC sailing license
A copy of an ICC license

Ultimately, port authorities in the Meditterenian need to see “Sailing license” written on your certification, any others like the USCG, or “Bareboat certification” that are sometimes issued by Flotillas will not be allowed. The best and foolproof certification you can get is the ICC or the SLC. These licenses are internationally recognised and can guarantee that you will be able to charter.

How can I get an ICC license?

To get an ICC, you must complete an ICC application form (LINK HERE) You can download the application form, from the website above or request a copy from the RYA Certification Department. You can get an ICC if you have done one of the below:

If you haven’t done any RYA licenses, don’t worry. You will just have to do a short assessment with an Approved Training Center.

What is the SLC™

The International Sailing License and Credentials (SLC) is a recreational sailing license valid for all yacht charter companies worldwide – you guessed it including Europe and the Seychelles!! To obtain an SLC, the candidate must already hold a national government boating license examples to follow:

  • National Coast Guard License (USCG)
  • ICC
  • RYA Day Skipper
  • NASBLA State Boater License for the USA
  • PCOC for Canada

Holding a government license means the holder already meets the technical legal requirement that many hosting countries require.

You will have to pass an online suite of theoretical knowledge courses and tests appropriate for bareboat chartering, log previous sufficient sailing experience and demonstrate sailing skills according to internationally established sailing standards.

If you have any queries with your license, please do not hesitate to check with us here!