Having worked in luxury travel for over 10 years I have spent surprisingly little… well in fact no time on private yachts. The reason for this was that I’ve never worked with a company that offered them and annoyingly I’m not blessed with numerous billionaire buddies. So when I heard that Scott Dunn was to launch a brand new sailing product combining affordable sailing vacations with top notch service I signed myself up immediately. The experience was truly amazing and I would recommend it to everyone. There are, however, a few things to know about before embarking on your own sailing vacation, so below I present my top five tips for first time mariners.
1) You’re the boss
The most important thing to realise about having your own yacht for the week is that your time is completely your own, as is the itinerary that you choose to take. Upon arrival at the marina you will sit down with your captain and he or she will take you through some idea of where to go and what to see, but it is completely dependent on your preferences. If you love to swim and snorkel you can plan for the clearest coves and calmest swimming spots. If culture is your thing then the pick of the islands most historical villages and sights is at your fingertips. Don’t be afraid to change your mind either once your journey is underway. There is always another option of what to see or do just around the corner and your captain is sure to be an absolute expert having likely sailed these waters for many years!
2) Sailing doesn’t always mean sailing
Our boats come in two types – sailing catamarans and power catamarans. The latter as the name suggests has no sail and relies on two powerful engines to get you where you want to go quickly. This is a little less romantic but does have the advantage of spending more time indulging in the more entertaining parts of life on a boat and less time lounging on the deck passing the time as you get from place to place. Saying this, there is nothing quite like gliding across the waves in complete silence as the huge sails tower above you. One thing to note is that the wind is a fickle creature and sailing with the sails is only possible with certain weather conditions. This means that more often than not you may still find yourself using the motor even if you do have a sailing catamaran. I was surprised at how little time we spent sailing but overall would still opt for the sailing experience over the power catamaran.
3) The inconveniences of the conveniences
Whilst life on the boat is definitely a luxury experience it is important to remember you are still on a boat and certain rules do apply. As with a lot of vacations in the Mediterranean, the toilets are “sensitive”. Unlike some boats they do have a proper flushing system but paper goes in the bin under the sink. For me that was no issue, summer vacations across the Mediterranean had prepared me well for such treatment but this is something to bear in mind. The second difficult factor about the bathrooms is they are understandably on the small side. I’m 6ft and was just about able to squeeze myself in and out of the showers, any taller and it would be a little tricky!
4) Prepare to eat well
One of the most fantastic things about life on board is the food. You will usually find yourself enjoying fresh fruit, pastries and wonderful produce picked up each morning for breakfast whilst you are moored up in a marina. Lunch is taken on the move, and my favorite spots were always deserted coves, perfect for a quick go on a stand up paddle board whilst lunch was prepared, then returning to the boat to find an array of fresh salads that would put Ottolenghi to shame. Dinner is somewhat more lavish with the most amazing ingredients picked up locally each day – we had a fantastic barbecue, wonderful freshly-caught shrimp and the most delectable seafood. The chefs are excellent but again totally flexible and will speak to you about the menus, selecting the ingredients that you want to suit your tastes.
5) Now use your imagination…
Once you have done your first sailing vacation you are sure to be totally hooked. Scott Dunn is concentrating on sailing vacations in Croatia and the Caribbean for the time being but we can offer all sorts of destinations across the Mediterranean from Greece to Italy and even the Balearics. Use your imagination and we are here to help. Further afield we can also help with sailing vacations in the Seychelles – one of the most spectacular sailing destinations in the world.