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Bareboat or crewed?

The biggest doubt in yacht charter is the difficult choice with the question, ‘bareboat or crewed?’ When it comes to such a situation, certain basic facts should have to be considered before taking a decision. Even in bareboat charter, two options are available. One is to sail the boat yourself, provided you have the necessary sailing and skippering experience obtained through formal training and adequate sailing of a yacht on the high seas. If you have no experience, then you could still hire a bareboat but you could add an experienced skipper for the entire duration of the sailing trip. Otherwise, you could have the skipper with you until you become fully familiar with the nuances and techniques of handling the yacht and then proceed on your own.

Even though specific licensing or certification might not be necessary for chartering a bareboat, the yacht hiring companies would definitely enquire about your skippering
experience of a boat similar to the one that you wish to hire. In this aspect, when the question ‘bareboat or crewed?’ is raised, an authorized certification from a sailor training company about your ability to handle the boat would be of great help. Several sailing training companies provide a course on ‘live aboard cruising’ and issue an appropriate certificate. However, the yacht hirers would also require that the person hiring the bareboat have actual sailing and skippering experience, before agreeing to charter the bareboat.

For this purpose, most of the yacht hire companies would request you to fill up a form and submit it to ensure that you have the necessary capability to handle the yacht without any risk. In case the hiring company gets any doubt, then your request would be bluntly refused. The decision of that company could not be questioned. Normally, the yacht hiring company would ask the following questions to decide on the decision, ‘bareboat or crewed?’
  • What are the geographic areas that you had previously sailed?
  • What is the largest yacht that had been handled and skippered by you?
  • How many days of sailing have you done so far?
  • What is the most recent sailing history?
  • How many years have you spent in the past on yachting?
  • What types of boats and yachts had been skippered by you? Specify the yacht type, length, location, and number of days
  • On how many occasions had you picked up the yacht from a mooring, docked the yacht over 30’, and anchored the yacht over 30’?
  • Do you possess working knowledge of navigation in coastal areas?
If your answers to the above questions are found satisfactory, then the question ‘bareboat or crewed?’ would become irrelevant and you would be able to charter a bareboat without any hassle. Otherwise, you should necessarily go in for a crewed yacht charter. As such, it is advisable to undergo a formal sailing course under an able trainer or a skipper and obtain a certificate, if you are too keen on bareboat chartering. It could never be denied that bareboat hiring is one of the most exciting pastimes in the world.

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