A Very British (Virgin Islands) Christmas!

Specializing in Caribbean charters, here are our top 5 reasons to charter a yacht and why the British Virgin Islands is officially one of the best places in the world to charter for your 2020 holiday season!


Escape the bleak mid-winter and spend Christmas 2020 island hopping between the white sand beaches of the British Virgin Islands. The world’s best sailing conditions, island hopping, world-class scuba diving grounds, and a Christmas day conch meal. All of this plus an unforgettable New Year’s Eve makes the British Virgin Islands the only place to charter a yacht this Christmas!!


Christmas day on the yacht

Whether you’re a seasoned yachtie or sailing around the best sailing grounds of the Caribbean is something you’ve always dreamt of, a yacht charter in the BVI is guaranteed to make 2020 your best Christmas yet.

Although you’ll be on a yacht in the Caribbean, don’t worry there’s still plenty of decorations to make you feel just at home. Expect to see masts with fairy lights going to the top, red and white bikinis and palm Christmas trees!

Spend this Christmas walking around the white sand-beaches of Anegada and join in the local celebrations! Chose from having your own personal crew onboard to sailing solo around the many BVI white-sand beached islands.


New years eve at Foxy’s

Be sure to head to the island of Jost Van Dyke to bring in the New Year. Foxy’s on the island is renowned as being one of the top 5 parties in the world on New Year’s Eve.

Instead of celebrating the ‘New Year’, this bar celebrates the ‘Old Year’s Night’, making this iconic location different from every other New Year Party on the globe.

Hop off your boat and enjoy being in one of the best places in the world this New Year. Be sure to catch the theme before deciding on your outfits!


December diving

Switch the traditional family board games on Christmas day for a scuba diving lesson! Scuba dives are an extremely popular Christmas day activity and really make it a Christmas day to remember.

The BVI waters surrounding the islands of Norman Island are renowned for being extremely clear during the months of December and January. The Caribbean waters are full of different corals, turtles, shipwrecks and thousands of different species of fish.

Surprise your loved ones with a diving course and give the gift of the ocean this Christmas!


A Caribbean Christmas lunch

Eat like a local and celebrate the festivities with a freshly grilled lobster or conch! Head over to the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda for your Christmas lunch, be sure to book early this year as most restaurants serving local Caribbean Christmas delicacies tend to get booked up very quickly.


Unrivalled weather conditions

The trade winds blowing across the islands of the BVI offer a consistent breeze, ideal for sailing and for keeping slightly cool during this period. Christmas is without a doubt one of the best times of year to visit the BVI due to long, sunny days with ocean breezes coming through in the afternoon and slightly cooler evenings.

The BVI is known for ‘line of sight’ sailing and protected bays for anchorages and sailing. Unlike other locations in the Caribbean, the waters in the BVI are usually a lot calmer than many other locations.


Aftermath of Irma

Despite the saddening damage, caused by hurricane IRMA in 2017, the BVI’s are being cared for and maintained. The process of rebuilding infrastructure has been a work in progress since the hurricane struck, however, the BVI is back on track and the boat standards and sailing grounds are as popular as ever.

Don’t let the damage caused in 2017 put you off from a yacht charter in the BVI this Christmas – the BVI is up and running. For current information, we please see our “what is open in the BVI after Irma” page, which is updated regularly.

Give Santa a change from the chimney and let him slide down your mast this Christmas! Get in touch today!

You went to Croatia without a yacht!?

Thinking of visiting Croatia this summer? Undoubtedly, the only way to explore the Adriatic Coast is by yacht. For groups of friends, Croatia provides the perfect blend between partying and enjoying secluded, tranquil bays on your own yacht! There are over 2000 islands scattered around Croatia’s waters and a lot for charterers to explore! It has never been easier for groups to enjoy a yacht charter. With international flights and an increasing number of boats to choose from, a yacht charter has never been more accessible in the Mediterranean!

Having chartered in Croatia on both bareboat and crewed yachts, broker Alice provides her insights into the Adriatic Coast and how to get the best charter boat. You can choose from a bareboat catamaran or a sailing boat charter with or without your own captain and a fully crewed motor or crewed catamaran charter to explore Croatia.

Choosing the right boat

Monohull

A monohull charter provides the classic configuration of a yacht. These type of boats are perfect for those who love sailing and for smaller groups onboard. If you are wanting to charter bareboat for the first time, a monohull is a lot easier to navigate, sail and to moor up in ports as the boat is smaller. Monohulls also tend to be less expensive however they compromise on space and are generally less comfortable than a catamaran. If you are looking to charter a monohull in Croatia, a Hanse is the obvious choice.

Catamaran

A catamaran around the Croatian islands of Split.

A catamaran is the ultimate boat for a group of friends. Catamarans range in size and can accommodate up to groups of 14 people onboard. Catamarans have space on the bow and inside for relaxing. They also give additional space to get peace and quiet onboard. For larger groups, the Bali catamaran range is a great option as the brand has resigned the fleet to allow for more space on the bow for dining, sunbathing and relaxing. I would recommend adding a skipper to the charter if this is your first time bareboat charter on a catamaran. Most catamarans comprise of four double cabins with space for sleeping in the convertible saloon.

A boat with a skipper and a hostess?

For a more luxurious experience, whether you are a sailor or not, be sure to add a skipper and hostess to your charter. Sit back and relax whilst the skipper navigates you to the best kept secrets of the Adriatic Coast. Local knowledge in these parts of the world allows you to see areas such as empty bays, coves, the best anchorages and the best tips for unforgettable restaurants. Think of eating freshly caught octopus, cooked under a bell with local villagers.. this is the additional value of a skipper.

If you choose to add a hostess onto the charter too, this will typically enable you to have two meals per day onboard. Fresh, colourful lunches on deck followed by a swim are a key part of the charter. Note that if you do add a skipper and/ or hostess to the charter you are required to pay for their provisions during the charter.

Offshore Activities

Nightlife

Croatia is known to be the next Ibiza. The island of Hvar has many beach clubs for during the day and even has it’s own island for a night club, visit Carpe Diem island for a very unique nightlife experience. The streets are full of secret, underground bars for after hours. If nightlife isn’t for you but a few glasses of wine after dinner are, many quaint bars are also to be found in every village. The Croatian wine is a must- try, especially on the island of Vis where you can visit a vineyard to sample the latest production.

Nature

The nature you can expect in Croatia consists of natural waterfalls, blue and green caves surrounding Hvar, mountains and breathtaking scenery. There is also the option to dive on wrecks and reefs to explore some of the Mediterraneans sous-marine life. Visit the island Bol for hiking in vegetative mountains, Vis for its Blue Grotto and Mjat for its natural beauty. If you want a more scenic charter, be sure to visit the Kornati national park during the charter. A tip would be to go rafting on some of the waterfalls surrounding Split prior or following your yacht charter.

The Itinerary and Sailing

The Boatbookings brokers will help you plan an itinerary that will suit your group. The islands surrounding Split incorporate a blend of partying, climbing, cultural visits, swimming in secluded bays and even scuba diving. Either start your yacht charter from Split or Dubrovnik to find the best boats for exploring the Croatian islands.

See below some photographs of a Boatbookings broker trip to Croatia in 2019. First-hand experience of the sailing itinerary, best boats and restaurant recommendations enables the Boatbookings brokers to provide impartial charter knowledge.

Contact the Boatbookings team to plan your charter today!

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.

4 Ways to Go Greener While Sailing

Often, a yacht charter vacation is an opportunity to be out on the water and getting back to nature. Therefore, many look for ways to be more environmentally friendly while enjoying a blissful getaway in locations such as the French Riviera, Amalfi Coast, Greece or the Caribbean. Whether you are chartering for the first time or are a seasoned charterer, it’s never too late to make changes to be more environmentally friendly on board

Waste Management

Responsible waste disposal and recycling are incredibly important onboard your yacht charter, especially when trash and garbage can quickly end up in the ocean, either by accident or as a result of careless behavior onboard. Keep all garbage and items to be recycled secured somewhere on the boat until you can permanently and properly dispose of them onshore. This way, you can enjoy your charter by swimming with nature, not with garbage.

Check out our green chartering page here!

Reduced Plastics

Many catamarans in the BVI and elsewhere in the world are now employing the use of reusable water bottles. Try to stock your boat with a few plastic products as possible. If you are chartering without a crew, purchase water in larger containers and then refill reusable bottles or glasses as needed. Having less plastic bottles and cups on board will not only benefit the environment, but it will also minimise unwanted clutter.

Eco-Friendly Products

Many are not aware that all on board fluids flow directly into the ocean. Therefore, opting for EPA-approved household products has a significant impact on the environment. There are many eco-friendly product options available, so all you have to do is read the labels and look for soaps, shampoos, conditioners, shower gels, and other common cleaning solutions made with natural ingredients. If you want to contribute to ocean conservation positively, only apply marine-safe sunscreen.

Carbon offsetting calculator

Leave Nature as You Found It

In locations from Tahiti to Sardinia, the beauty you’ll find is not possible in any other method. Observe and enjoy the natural surroundings, without disturbing anything along the way. When snorkelling or diving coral reefs, be particularly mindful not to touch anything with your body or equipment. Rather than taking home shells or dead coral as a souvenir, take a photograph instead. As travelers and sailors, most of the cruising and charter community has an interest in preserving the integrity of our premier vacation destinations and maintaining a respectful relationship with the environment. By sharing responsibility with small, thoughtful contributions, we can make a positive global impact, and leave a positive legacy behind for generations to come.

Contact one of our Charter Brokers today to book your Yacht Charter!

Top 3 anchorages in the Southern Ionian

Aerial view of Fiskardo port, Kefalonia, Greece

There’s a special place in my heart for the Ionian. I have lived, sailed, swam, and grew as a person there. From Lefkas to Kefalonia, these islands are what I called home onboard a 2015, 37ft Bavaria called PARIS.

She may not look like much, but this girl got us through some bad weather, sticky situations, and above all, our refuge.

Like many sailors who have sailed in one particular area, you tend to have your favourite anchorages – your ‘go-to’ place which is versatile and enjoyed by many a ‘crowd-pleaser’ if you will! Below I talk about my top three anchorages and why you should incorporate them in your itinerary.

Number 1. KIONI – Ithaki Island.

The pretty bay and harbour of Kioni on the small island of Ithaki.

Check out our 7-day bareboat sailing itinerary here!

Why?

  • Kioni, in my opinion, has the cleanest water due to how quiet it is. In the evenings you MUST go swimming! It’s absolutely teeming with phosphorescent algae which sparkle when disturbed.
  • You can, more often than not, find a place to drop anchor and tie off to a rock, and if there’s space, on the town quay.
  • The town is quaint, with a few stunning restaurants located along the harbour wall and up in the foothills overlooking the bay.
  • Fantastic holding, and normally fairly quiet.

Where?

Kioni pin drop.

Kioni is located on the northeastern tip, protected from the northwesterly prevailing winds. Many sailors tend to hot-foot it down to (big) Vathy located further south which subsequently means that Kioni is fairly quiet, even during high season.

In this lovely town, the time has stopped in the previous century

When?

This anchorage is best enjoyed overnight. It provides protection from the prevailing NW winds and is best viewed early morning!

Anything to watch out for?

A common phenomenon happens pretty much everywhere in the Ionian and that is the Katabatic winds. Most of the tiny anchorages in the Ionian are hidden and tucked away between hills. As the air cools, and the land is warm, it pushed air and funnels between the hills. From around 5:30 PM onwards it can get pretty breezy. It normally settles by about 7:30/8 pm so make sure your anchor is well dug before heading off for your fresh greek dinner!

Number 2. Foki Bay – Kephalonia.

Yes, before you ask it really is called that – and it is truly stunning.

White yacht moored in the bay of Foki beach with cypress trees in background, Fiskardo, Cefalonia, Ionian, Greece.

Why?

  • The Trees. I nicknamed this bay ‘Little Canada’ because of the Cypress trees that almost fall into the water.
  • The caves. Accessable by tender or simply swim in! Turn your outboard off just as you enter the caves as people swim in and out of them. The Caves were used for mining in the ’50s and still remain now. Don’t worry if you’re scared of small spaces as these caves are absolutely massive. They are so big you could easily fit a two-story house in them! Take a torch and enclosed shoes (don’t wear flipflops as some bits are quite steep).
  • The beach. Sometimes while sailing around you just need some time on a beach! Well, this bay has one. In the top right-hand corner is an adorable beach with a quaint taverna serving the best drinks!
  • You can walk into Fiskardo for some shopping, it’s around 1.5-2km walk.
  • The water is CRYSTAL clear!

Where?

Foki bay is based on the northeastern tip of Kephelonia, a stone’s throw (or 10-minute tender ride) into the famous Fiskardo, boasting up-market restaurants and beautiful jewellery shops.

When?

This is a perfect lunch spot, or evening stopover (if the winds are favourable). Great holding for lunchtime with the most stunning scenery to enjoy your freshly prepared lunch!

Foki Fiskardo with crystal clear and transparent water, Kefalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece.

Anything to watch out for?

In the high season time, the beach is buoyed off to protect the swimmers, make sure you don’t get caught up in there. Try and head as far in towards the beach as possible as most of the superyachts take the entrance area as its deeper. This will also protect you from the swell that is created from the passing ferries.

Number 3. One house bay – Atokos

Beautiful bay in Ionian sea, called One house bay.

Why?

  • The pictures speak for its self. One House Bay, characterised by the one house which sits by its self in the foothills.
  • The crystal blue water and picturesque beach are just some of the reasons you should stop over here!
  • Gorgeous scenery.
  • Deep blue water.
  • Excellent walking.

Where?

One House Bay is on the Southeastern corner of Atoko Island, East of Ithica island. The island is only home to goats, which the shepherd attends to every 4th day.

When?

A perfect lunch spot when travelling from the eastern islands to the western islands. If the winds are favourable, you can possibly stay here overnight, please bear in mind it offers little to no protection.

Getting first-hand knowledge about the area is key to creating a memorable charter. I have traveled extensively throughout Greece and the Meditterenian to visit destinations to provide you with the best recommendations and advice. Looking to explore the Southern Ionian? Speak with Alice today at an@boatbookings.com!