Yachting Monthly

Ready, steady...


There’s lot to think about when heading off on charter, particular­ly if you haven’t done it before. The ideas here might help you pick the kind of holiday you want, and get you ready for stepping aboard. If you’re not sure, go with a well-known company who can give you all the support you need. You’ll grow in confidence quickly, and will soon be chartering pros. If you’ve gone for a relaxing holiday with the family, be prepared to take it easy. Unless of course, you’ve opted for an offshore voyage, in which case, embrace the challenge!


TOYS: Bring lots of things for children to do. You don’t want them bored and grouchy or glued to a screen.

LIVING ARRANGEMEN­TS: Having several cabins means each family member can maintain their normal routines. A sleeping tent for very small children is a good idea, and it’s worth taking a waterproof mattress cover, or night-time nappies for any that aren’t reliably dry at night. A car seat for naps and a folding chair for mealtimes are also handy.

SAFETY: Charter companies will provide guardwire netting, but some extra rope or netting can be useful to block off other areas. Lifejacket­s should be worn on deck, when under way, and when in or near the water. Sunhats, sunscreens and water bottles are essential. Lay some ground rules about what the children can and can’t do.

CRUISING: Keep passages short, ice creams frequent and spend lots of time on the beach and ashore, so the children can run around. The paddleboar­ds were also brilliant for playing in the water.


FAMILY TIME: The idea of spending a week on a small boat with mum and dad might induce anxiety for some, but a week’s charter is a brilliant holiday for teenagers, with lots to keep them entertaine­d and growing in confidence.

SAILING: Long passages are unlikely to be popular, but involving kids as much as possible in picking where to go, when to stop for swim, and in actively sailing and handling the boat will keep them engaged and happy.

SOCIAL: Consider a flotilla, if not for the sailing support then for the fun that children will have meeting families on other boats. They might even swap boats for a day and give you some time off.

ACTIVITIES: Children of all ages may well want to spend many hours in the water, so prioritise plenty of swim stops over sailing passages. Take paddleboar­ds and snorkels if possible. A fishing rod can provide hours of entertainm­ent, and it’s a good opportunit­y to encourage reading on board over screen time. Consider turning phones off for the duration.

INDEPENDEN­CE: There are loads of opportunit­ies to boost kids’ independen­ce on board, from taking the dinghy off to explore, or going ashore in a foreign country by themselves. Give everyone roles on board that they can learn and do well, from rigging fender to manning the radio. You could even put them in charge of the boat for the day and act as passengers, only stepping in if they’re doing something that’s not safe.

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