Sailing Tours: Frequently Asked Questions
sailing tours

Sailing Tours: Frequently Asked Questions

sailing tours

Sailing Tours: Frequently Asked Questions

No matter what kind of an informational meeting you may go to, you will likely hear the question asked at the end of the presentation, “Are there any questions?”. Then follows the statement, “There are no stupid questions!”. Whether you agree with that statement or not, there are many frequently asked questions made by prospective buyers, sellers, and interested parties in most business transactions. Here we will answer some of the FAQs in relation to sailing tours available around the world.

Where in the world would I find the most choices of sailing tours?

Considering that the greater part of planet Earth is ocean, sea or bay, it is no surprise that wherever you find yourself living, or on holiday, there are advertisements for sailing tours available in coastal waters or on lakes. Northern countries such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland are well known for sailing, fishing, cruising on the local waters, by locals who live there. It is not necessarily a tourist destination for that purpose however, as the climate in the Northern Hemisphere makes for a limited season of comfortable sailing. Countries in the Southern Hemisphere, such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and Argentina are more well suited to warmer temperatures and do offer sailing tours, but they are often too far away for average two week holiday-makers from Europe or North America. Therefore, due to location and climate, either the Caribbean Sea or the Mediterranean Sea are ideal for a variety of sailing tour opportunities. Ultimately, any island in the Caribbean is easily accessed from the USA and Europe because they have many other attractive tourism features and therefore regular flights are available. Grenada, St. Maarten, the US and British Virgin Islands all offer a wide range of unique sailing opportunities within their own cultures, resorts, and businesses.

How do I find the safest sailing tours?

Finding the safest sailing tour operators may take a little bit of research. Each tour company should be registered and approved by local authorities, to operate as a licensed sailing vessel, capable of operating with paying clients. Check each website’s reviews from previous customers. If possible find the credentials online for both the boat and the Captain. Any reputable sailor will post the certificates of seamanship accomplishments of their vessel and themselves. Do they offer safe payment options? If necessary, email or contact the crew to find out what safety features they have onboard, in case of emergencies.

What kinds of sailing tours are available on sailboats?

Of the many different types of sailing tours, the majority of sailing tours occur as day sails; half days - either morning or afternoon for 2-4 hours, full days - between 6-9 hours, or sunset cruises – between 2-4 hours. Some sailing tours offer overnight trips of varying lengths, from one or two nights to cruises that may be a week or more. Others offer fully customized sailing tours to meet your specific requests for type of tour and length of time for your sailing adventure.

How many “stops” does a sailing tours normally make?

The determining factor regarding the number of places a sailing tour will drop anchor or moor, is the length of time the sailing tour is away from port. Most day cruises will sail to one destination where it will drop anchor, have lunch, give time for snorkeling, sunbathing or walking on the beach, and then sail back to the home port. For overnight trips, a sailing tour will normally make numerous stops, depending on the distance between ports or islands to visit. Sailing on a circular route will offer the most variety of stops and places to see.

What kind of activities can I expect to experience on a sailing tours?

Sailing is not unlike being at an all-inclusive resort, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy different activities. The only difference is the scenery is always beautiful, often changing, and you have a swimming pool all around you 24/7! Snorkeling, swimming, suntanning, eating, drinking and socializing are the most common activities a sailing tour will offer its passengers. However, some will offer extra special activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, water toys, fishing, and scuba diving. Scuba diving is usually provided with notification before the tour and is an added expense to the cost of the cruise.

What can I expect to pay per person and what would that cost include?

The average cost for a half day sail is US$80-$100 per person. That would include almost one meal, drinks, and activities except for scuba diving and motorized equipment, if available. Half day sails are often scheduled daily and therefore are not entirely private sailing experiences. Bookings are done online. Full day sailing trips are the most popular with private groups of ten or more people, as many tour companies will give customers the full cost of the sailboat charter for the day. This cost can range anywhere from US$600-$3000 per day, depending on the size of the boat and the amenities included. Therefore, the cost per person can be reduced depending upon the number of people in the group. The more people, the less the individual cost. Full day sails generally include two meals, drinks, and the regular activities included in half day sailing trips. For those who book overnight sailing tours, it is advisable to contact the sailing tour operator to determine cost inclusive options. Many charge on a per day or per week format. Destinations will also be a determining cost factor in overnight sailing tours.

What if I have never been on a sailboat before?

Almost all sailing tour providers will welcome beginners as well as seasoned sailors aboard their yacht. Before going on a sailboat for the first time, determine your comfort level and decide if you will want to wear a life jacket for the whole time. It won’t take long before you start feeling calm about the movement of the boat and will move around freely, especially on larger vessels. The safest thing to do is to always have a steadying hand out, holding a handrail or a fixed piece of cabin furniture, so you do not lose your balance while maneuvering around the boat. Let the crew teach you how to be most secure while moving from the dock to the boat or from the dinghy to the boat while embarking and disembarking.

What is accommodation like on a sailboat?

Typically, sailboats have private cabins, sleeping one or two people either in a double bed or two bunks. The main cabin often converts the dining area into another double bed. The number of cabins will depend on the size of the sailboat. Also, depending on the design of the boat, there may be an open concept of sleeping quarters with curtains to give each person the privacy they need. Bathrooms, called heads, usually have manual pump toilets. Often there is one head per cabin on newer model sailboats. If you are fortunate enough to find that extra special sailing tour, you will be able to relax in a clawfoot bathtub at the end of a long day in the sun! No matter what style of boat you are on, the majority of the day is spent on the deck. You may even be tempted to sleep on deck, under the stars, with the warm sea breeze brushing against your cheek throughout the night.

What if I get seasick?

There are many remedies to seasickness available at the pharmacy. Seasick pills, or motion sickness Gravol is the most common over the counter remedy to be found. Some people wear wristbands that regulate the body’s motion sensors and give relief from that nauseous feeling. Looking ahead to the horizon is said to help, and it is definitely a good idea to stay in the fresh air on deck as opposed to being below deck in the cabin. Talk to the crew of your sailing tour. They will have the best idea of how to help you and will be able to supply you with the right remedy.

Will I be able to help sail the boat?

Being a part of hoisting sails, steering the boat, and pulling on lines to change the sails orientation, is always a highlight of any sailing trip. Even if you have never had experience, with the guidance of one of the crew, you will learn quickly how to be a helpful deckhand. Whether you are actively involved or you prefer watching others while you sit and sip a cool refreshment, watching the wind fill the sails and hearing the sound of the wind in the sails will fill you with a sense of peace and tranquility rarely experienced anywhere else.

What if I have to cancel my trip?

Each sailing tour operator will have a list of deposit, refund, and cancellation policies listed on their website. Be sure to read each one in order understand their terms. Normally, no deposits are refunded unless the trip must be canceled by the operator due to boat malfunctions or poor weather conditions.

Are there pirates?

Once in a while you may read an article about modern day pirates at sea and be understandably concerned that you may get boarded and robbed by those who have evil intentions. Sadly, just as o land, in any given location, there is a possibility that tourists will be mugged or assaulted, but just as on land, there are certain safety measures you can take to prevent the likelihood of such a thing occurring. Sailing captains put the safety of their passengers and crew above all else and will ensure all means of keeping you safe. The crew will be familiar with the area you are sailing in and take all the necessary precautions to secure the boat, its contents, and its passengers.

What are the chances of being caught in a storm on a sailboat?

Every good sailor will check all possible weather forecasts and marine reports for the immediate and future conditions on the sea, prior to leaving port. Wind speed, wind direction, condition of the sea, tide reports, currents, and weather warnings are all to be checked prior to weighing anchor for departure. This will significantly lower the risk of unexpected weather surprising you on your sailing tour. However, weather forecasts are not perfect, so in case an unexpected storm catches up with you at sea, leave the sailing to the competent expertise of the captain and crew. Put on a life jacket, stay calm, and find a safe, out of the way spot to ride out the storm!