Sail Away

Sail­ing va­ca­tions with a twist

SAIL - - Contents - By Zuzana Proc­hazka

From wine and rum to kite­board lessons, these char­ters of­fer some­thing for ev­ery­one

Awarm breeze across the deck and an azure sea are enough for me, and it’s what I re­mem­ber most when I’m not on the wa­ter. But for many sailors, a long-awaited va­ca­tion had bet­ter in­clude more than trop­i­cal isles and quiet an­chor­ages. That’s why char­ter com­pa­nies have been ex­per­i­ment­ing with new twists on week­long ad­ven­tures to cater to a va­ri­ety of guests’ other in­ter­ests. Whether it’s food, wine tast­ing, ath­letic ac­tiv­i­ties or sail­ing with the pur­pose of learn­ing, you and your group can prob­a­bly find a tai­lored char­ter packed to the gills with stuff to do both all day and into the night.

FLOTILLAS

Many com­pa­nies spe­cial­ize in flotillas that com­bine the fun and safety of sail­ing with a group and the ex­cite­ment of ex­plor­ing new places while run­ning your own boat. Some com­pa­nies of­fer a lead boat (with a captain, a me­chanic and a host­ess) that guides up to 12 ves­sels on an itin­er­ary de­vel­oped with the help of their ex­ten­sive lo­cal knowl­edge. Other com­pa­nies like Zescapes put a captain on ev­ery ves­sel, set an itin­er­ary and help new sailors learn what cruis­ing is all about.

For an ad­di­tional twist, Sun­sail re­cently launched a “rum flotilla” in the Bri­tish Virgin Is­lands, an eight-day cruise that vis­its such renowned rum hotspots as the Call­wood dis­tillery in Cane Gar­den Bay and ar­ranges rum- pair­ing din­ners at Ocean’s 7 Beach Club on Cooper Is­land and the Bit­ter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda. Five flotillas are planned in 2017, with de­par­ture dates in June, July, Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.

If, on the other hand, san­gria is more your speed, dur­ing the months of July, Au­gust and Septem­ber, Sun­sail is also of­fer­ing flotillas in Mal­lorca in the Balearic Is­lands. Cathe­drals, stern-to moor­ing, caves and paella will be served up in spir­ited sail­ing con­di­tions in the Mediter­ranean.

OENOPHILES, FOOD­IES AND ATH­LETES

Ev­ery­one likes to eat, and some food­ies can think of noth­ing else but sam­pling lo­cal cuisines while on char­ter. Again, Sun­sail is serv­ing up ways to get the lo­cal scoop on food and wine for a mem­o­rable cruise that will sat­isfy the palate. Two tours in Croa­tia (Dubrovnik and the Dal­ma­tian Coast) and one along the Neapoli­tan coast of Italy of­fer vis­its to vine­yards and winer­ies with tast­ings of al­monds, olives, grapes, figs and hand­crafted meals. Sup­ple­ments to reg­u­lar flotilla pric­ing ap­ply.

On a more ac­tive note, other com­pa­nies now of­fer learn-to-dive or kite­board lessons as part of their char­ter itineraries. Call to ask about these kinds of com­bi­na­tion sails and look for more of these of­fers as younger char­ter­ers seek ways to burn en­ergy.

LEARN­ING AND RACING

Most char­ter com­pa­nies of­fer crewed char­ters and sail­ing in­struc­tion. Many oth­ers, like LTD Sail­ing in Gre­nada, also of­fer on-the-wa­ter class­rooms with in­struc­tion and ASA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion by the week’s end. How­ever, if you’re not look­ing for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and just want to see if char­ter­ing is for you, Hori­zon Yacht Char­ters in An­tigua now of­fers what it calls a “gen­tle in­tro­duc­tion” to sail­ing, a three-day char­ter that al­lows you and a friend to spend two days and two nights aboard with a “coach.” For new­bies and those who are cu­ri­ous about sail­ing but not en­tirely com­mit­ted to the idea, this is a great start­ing point.

Speak­ing of An­tigua, Dream Yacht Char­ter is now the of­fi­cial spon­sor of the is­land’s an­nual Sail­ing Week, and while it may be too late for this year’s 50th an­niver­sary event, you still have plenty of time to char­ter a boat for next year’s fes­tiv­i­ties to race or just spec­tate as se­ri­ous rock stars blast by. The par­ties alone are renowned and the mix of pro­fes­sional and new­bie sailors is like no other on Earth.

Fi­nally, The Moor­ings has the Amer­ica’s Cup wrapped up with crewed char­ters pro­vid­ing front-row seat­ing in Ber­muda. From mid-May to early July you can book a cabin aboard a Moor­ings 4800 or 5800 for an all-in­clu­sive luxury char­ter. You can also buy tick­ets to var­i­ous land-based spec­ta­tor ex­pe­ri­ences in­clud­ing the Louis Vuit­ton qual­i­fiers.

It’s tempt­ing to pack as much into your hard-earned time off as pos­si­ble, and spe­cialty char­ters are a great way to max­i­mize your time away. Just re­mem­ber that the view across the deck is what you’ll miss most once back at your desk, so take the time to sa­vor the quiet times as well. s

Some new friends en­joy a few beers on a flotilla in Mal­lorca

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