How To Pick a Perfect Sail Yacht For Charter In 10 Steps

Your Guide For a Perfect Sail Yacht Charter In Croatia

Luka-kalember
Luka Kalember, Marketing Manager
02/02/2023

At present, I am working within the charter industry. But at the same time when it comes to the experience of sailing, I was not born into this, nor am I a native to this industry. This fact is just the reason this blog might be worth reading.

As someone who remembers the outside view towards sail yachts and yacht charter, I hope it helped me to write a more friendly and understandable blog that answers the question “How to pick a perfect sailing yacht for charter”.

I believe you will get to know which sailing yacht suits you, or better said what you are looking for.

How to pick a perfect sailing yacht for charter in 10 steps:

  1. Define and know your sailing squad
  2. What type of experiences do you want to have?
  3. When are you going sailing?
  4. Price factor, how important is it to you?
  5. Transit log, price inclusions & price extras
  6. Being smart during the inquiry process
  7. Sailing routes
  8. Packing
  9. Traveling
  10. Arrival day

STEP 1 – Define and know your sailing squad

The number of people and your relationship with them have a great influence on the selection of your Sail Yacht. You will spend time with them on board for a week or two and it is an important first step to define.

For instance, you can be traveling with your family; spouse & kids, perhaps two families. Depending on the age of the kids you may need a more comfortable room where your child will sleep with the parents. If the kids are more independent, they can share their own room, perhaps a bunkbed cabin which will enable you a bigger amount of potential Sail Yachts to Choose from.

Family Examples: 

Dufour 390 Grand Large / 3 Cabin

Two Families with a baby each and a skipper. This party needs bigger rooms because the babies sleep with the parents. A 3 Cabin Sail Yacht such as our Dufour 390 Grand Large is a perfect choice. One cabin per family and a skipper’s cabin will fit this group perfectly.

 

Dufour 430 Grand Large / 4 Cabin

 Another example would be two families with two adult children and skipper. The age of the children greatly changes your needs as they need their own cabin(s). A 4 cabin Sail Yacht such as our Dufour 430 Grand Large is now a better option for this group – the parents can have their own cabins, the children can decide to sleep in the bunk bed cabin or the bigger cabin where they share the bed, the skipper will get the latter. 

 

Dufour 520 Grand Large

 

Dufour 460 Grand Large

Other solutions would be our Dufour 460 Grand Large with parents sleeping in the stern cabins, each child having one of the front cabins and the skipper will sleep in the saloon while choosing our Dufour 512 Grand Large will put the group in the same cabins but the skipper will have his/her own bunk bed side cabin.

Of course, you may not be traveling with your family but with a group of friends. You can choose to either put two people inside each cabin and then calculate how many cabins on a Sail Yacht you need, or you may all want to sleep alone in a cabin.

Another example would be a business group, taking your partners or colleagues for an incentive trip. Consider the level of importance of every individual, male/female count, as well as the fairness towards the group.

For example, a business party of 9 people can easily fit on board any of our 5 Cabin Sail Yachts. These would be our Dufour 500, Dufour 512, Dufour 520 & Dufour 530 Grand Large models. But, when you look at the layout of the Yacht, the front and bunkbed cabins are not as comfortable as the ones located in the stern. If this is a business department of people who work closely together and have an active relationship then being „cramped“ on one Yacht is something that actually benefits their bonding & spending time together.

On the other hand, if this group is comprised of You + 8 important partners then your logic shifts the other way. Each partner should have his/her own cabin. This opens a variety of choices – smaller yachts, or a couple of big ones. Here at Ban Tours, we are used to communicating a variety of such options. Having 3x Dufour 390 Grand Large models vs. having two Dufour 530 Grand Large can be a great price difference. It can also reshape your experience, consider 3 smaller sail yachts sailing, competing. Or perhaps an extra room on the stern on two bigger sail yachts will have a greater impact, because you will be anchored at some beautiful cove, firing up the barbecue and jumping from our swimming platforms.

In short, get to know your group & have the following questions answered.

  1. How many people are Sailing?
  2. How many people are sharing a cabin & how many do not share a cabin?
  3. Is the skipper an extra person on board or the skipper will be someone from your group?
  4. What type of a group are you; family, friends, business group or something else?

STEP 2 – What type of experience & activity are you looking for?

Now that you have your group defined you will wish to communicate with everyone and define what you want from your sailing experience. There are numerous options, and I will share a few.

First, you may be a group looking to sail from one Island to another, always sleeping in the marinas overnight and leaving the mornings to explore the Island settlement.

Should this be your wish it automatically influences what you surely don’t need from your Sail Yacht. A power generator (and air conditioning) is something you will not need; in addition, you will most probably not need to carefully look at the size of the Yachts water tank. All marinas in Croatia have electrical power & water on each berth. In addition, each marina in Croatia is very well equipped with showers, toilets, restaurants & bars, and almost always right in the center or within the town you are visiting. This means that you do not need a very big refrigerator as you can stock up on needed food & drinks each day.

To conclude, an air conditioning + power generator system will not be needed, and should you be deciding between a couple of yacht options the size of the water tank and refrigerator will not be a major factor.

Second, you may be a group who will use the sailing yacht mainly to get from one place to another, exploring as much land as you can. This kind of group puts more emphasis on places they are visiting rather than the sailing yacht itself. It is logical to define the minimum level of comfort and yacht size and then to look for less pricy options.

Third, you may be a group that wants to take every moment possible to sail with the wind in your hair. These groups usually spend most of their time anchored in some bays. It is important to choose a Sail Yacht probably with a mainsail that drops into a lazy bag. Also, experienced sailors will want the possibility to rent a gennaker/spinnaker for sailing. Fridge & water tank size is of greater importance as well.

To conclude, this group will find it important for a sailing yacht to have a mainsail that drops into a lazy bag, having the possibility to rent out a gennaker/spinnaker and also usually to have a Genoa foresail.

In short, define a type of experience you wish to have with the following questions answered:

  1. Are we looking to sail most of the time, feel the adrenaline and drop the anchor wherever until the next day?
  2. Are we looking for Island Hopping, spending time overnight at the marinas, and exploring the islands?
  3. Are we looking for complete isolation, being on anchor away from other people, and enjoying nature and our privacy?
  4. We want some sailing, some islands, perhaps the best of both worlds?

With these questions defined you are more likely to help your Charter personnel find you a perfect Sail Yacht for your holiday experience. 

STEP 3 – When are you going Sailing?

Some crews know exact dates, and some have preferred seasons they wish to sail. It is important to know that the whole sailing season, traditionally lasting from April to October, can be looked through 3 parts; pre-season (April, May), season (June, July, August), and post-season (September, October).

Pre-season is usually the time when Sail yachts are priced the lowest. And for budget concerned groups it is a perfect time to find good prices. Pre-season usually has significantly fewer crowds, both at the sea and in various places you visit. In addition, there is significantly less pressure to secure your berths for overnights in the marinas on time.

The so-called high season brings the best and warmest weather. During the high season all bars, restaurants, and shops are open for extended working hours. It is also the time when Sail Yachts cost the most as the demand for them is above average.

Lastly, the post-season period is usually the time when you actively go sailing as the weather (wind) conditions are perfect. People also look to post-season if swimming is not as important as far lesser crowds and a better feeling of being „off the grid “.

Keep in mind that more and more charters have prices that differ week by week throughout the whole season. If you are not set on the exact week when you wish to sail ask for the prices in the week before and after the one you are considering. You can possibly find a better quote. 

STEP 4 – Price factor, how important is it to you?

All of us want to know the answer to the question “How much does it cost to charter a sailing yacht?”.

There are several things that impact the price of your Sail Yacht charter, and it is good to know them all.

A part of this question is partially already answered in the step above. Depending on the part of the season you wish to sail the price can vary greatly. It can range somewhere up to 30 – 40%. This percentage is also the reason I wrote an individual step (step 3) about different parts of the sailing season.

The age of a Sail Yacht is also a factor that contributes to price significantly. Newer Sail Yachts evolved for the charter market in a certain way. You can expect things like a swimming platform, stern grill, and possibly a stern sink & fridge. The mentioned amenities are usually all included on larger Sail Yachts. The newest, smaller, Sail Yachts can now usually have identical amenities as the bigger ones.

The best example is perhaps our Brand New Dufour 530 Grand Large. This 5 Cabin Sail Yacht has Bow Thrusters, Air Conditioning, Power Generator as well as a Swimming Platform, Stern Barbecue, Sink & Grill, and a Stern Fridge. On the other hand, our Dufour 360 Grand Large, one of the smallest Sail Yachts in our Fleet also has a Swimming Platform, Stern Barbecue Sink & Grill. This level of „things“ found on a Sail Yacht, regardless of size, is often on newer Sail Yachts.

Talking about the price difference between same-sized yachts, if we compare Yachts no more than 9-10 years apart, the price can usually vary up to 30% depending on their age.

Another factor that has a significant impact on the price of your Sail Yacht Charter is the equipment on board. Equipment in a broad sense includes things like an extra refrigerator, air conditioning, power generators, thrusters, swimming platforms, and grill as well as some of your additional wishes like an icemaker, gennaker/spinnaker.

Having an identical Sail Yacht model with Air Conditioning & Power Generator and one without this equipment can usually be a difference of up to a couple of hundred euros. Speaking of which, on January first, 2023, Croatia entered the eurozone (and Schengen as well!) so you can expect a faster entry into the country and no need to switch to the old national currency, Kuna.

There are two things that impact your price but certainly have a good reason. They are the priority check-in, and „non-refundable” insurance (or so-called damage waiver).

When you rent a Sail Yacht a standard agreement across the market is that you are guaranteed embarkation at 17:00h latest. However, this time of your embarkation and departure can be shortened greatly. For example, here at Ban Tours Yachting, we have a Premium Priority Check-in, which guarantees embarkation by 12:30, and also a Priority Check-in which guarantees embarkation by 13:30.

The damage waiver, or as we call it Premium Insurance works that you pay a fixed amount of money to the charter company and that is the maximum amount you will have to pay in case of some damages. Here at Ban Tours Yachting, it is formed of a non-refundable and a refundable part. It is usually significantly less than the amount of money the charter company will have to temporarily block on your credit card in case of damages (which is returnable).

For example, a standard deposit insurance for a 5-cabin sail yacht, fully refundable in case of no damages, costs 2500 euros. At the same time, premium insurance for the mentioned 5-cabin sail yacht would cost you 320 euros non-refundable + 350 euros refundable in case of no damages. To put into perspective, in case you have damages the Premium Insurance would cost you 25% of standard deposit insurance, and with no damages a mere 12% of the standard deposit insurance.

The price is always an important part of your decision, but always consider 10 steps as a whole to make the best option (rather than the one that might cost you your whole holiday experience).

My 2 cents is that you should define your needs with the help of all other steps, define priorities you will surely have, and ones that fit the category „maybe“. Then look at Yachts which check all your marks and compare. 

STEP 5 – Transit log & price inclusions, price extras

Another obligatory step you will encounter during your booking process is the Transit Log. While there is a sufficient number of explanations online, I personally find them too complicated for the rest of us. A Transit Log is an obligatory cost, apart from the yacht rental price, usually ranging between 150 – 600 EUR.

Consider it as a basic cost that arises from the simple fact a yacht will be used. Somebody must clean the yacht, someone has to pay the gas to fill her up, the internet must be working, others need to clean her, and so on.

For example, here at Ban Tours Yachting, the Transit Log includes:

  1. a)     Dinghy
  2. b)    Outboard Engine
  3. c)     Full Tank(s) of Gas & Water
  4. d)    Cleaning
  5. e)    Ready Made Bedlinen & Sheets
  6. f)      Towels
  7. g)     Cockpit cushions
  8. h)    200 GB Wi-Fi

Different charters have different things included in the transit log. So right after the bare yacht price, this is the first thing you will want to pay attention to & compare.

If something is not included in the transit log, it is most certainly found in the “extras” section. You will find things like skipper rental price, ordering food & drinks on board, gennaker or spinnaker, and so on. But as said above keep an eye on what is included in the transit log, and if it is not how much does it cost? (Wi-Fi or Dinghy for example)

Round up all steps (costs) to be able to compare and find an offer that suits your needs. 

STEP 6 – Be smart during the inquiry process

I wanted to provide some good insights that will help you make a quality decision. Personally, I believe this is best achieved by asking the right questions. 

If you are looking for Brand New Yachts

As you might know our world in 2023 has changed somewhat over the last 3 years. It is only logical that some parts of this change arrived in the charter market as well. If you are considering chartering a Brand New Sail Yacht be sure to ask about the delivery date of the Yacht. Ever since Covid, there have been delays in production caused by supply chain issues and other factors. Over the last two years, 2021 & 2022, the typical delay in production/delivery of a sail yacht was 3 – 6 months. I know for a fact that things are way better this year, but it is only reasonable to ask this question and try to find out more.

For instance here at Ban Tours Yachting, we decided to close the booking periods for our Brand New Dufour 530 (2x) & 470 (4x) Grand Large models in the first half of the season. We only think it is fair to communicate this fact openly. I am proud of the fact that we blocked way more potential periods than needed. And for those of you in the booking process, we provide more in-depth information.

If you are looking for Older Yachts

I can use a different angle for the same introduction written above and say that the past few years hit everyone with rising overall costs. This put a strain on the companies’ balance sheets & cash flow. If you are looking for an older yacht, that potentially has a more attractive price you will want to ask about the state of the yacht. Each Sail Yacht has things that should be done every year, or two years, regularly checked upon, and so on. The sea & overall usage have their toll, so it is only reasonable to ask for the service record of the yacht. Ask what is being done to prepare your yacht for the upcoming season. This is a safety issue above all, but also an issue where you decide how important is the answer provided to you compared to your budget.

We have a blog explaining our Premium Technical Standards. A process that takes place during winter, when each Sail Yacht goes through the process of winter maintenance.

Here is the LINK should you want to find out more.

STEP 7 – Sailing Routes

It is always smart to research where you want to sail. Each of us is different but having a basic understanding of where you will want to sail benefits all. Knowing basic distances, time spent on sailing, where you will find yourself overnight, and other facts will improve your sailing experience greatly.

If you went through some of the first steps (1,2,3) then you will know what you are looking for. Thankfully enough Croatia will provide you with an almost endless amount of Sailing routes & combinations of what to see and where to go. With short sailing distances & a whopping 1000+ Islands, Inlets & Islets it is simply, as we call it, Made for Sailors.

In our blog section we have covered some islands within central Dalmatia, the cool thing about them is that at the end of each one you have a list & coordinates of cool coves perfect for anchoring. Take a look at them HERE. You may also benefit from some routes we provided. They are created within google maps so you can easily use them on your phone. Here is the LINK.

STEP 8 – Packing

As in the previous step, our blog section also contains a text called “The ultimate sailing checklist” which explains what to pack for your sailing vacation.

No matter which Sail Yacht you decide to charter packing is also one thing that can provide a better (or worse) sailing experience.

I will leave you with a brief list of key areas to think about. For those of you who want to go through the list in depth feel free to read The ultimate sailing checklist HERE.

Key areas to think about when packing for Sailing;

  1. Documents
  2. Electronics & Chargers
  3. Leisure time
  4. Packing & clothes
  5. Misc

STEP 9 – Traveling

When it comes to traveling, you will either arrive by car or fly in by plane.

Should you be arriving by car make sure to find out the costs and availability of parking within the Marina. Croatia has thankfully remained a fully safe & secure destination. Your vehicles are also watched. To have this researched is a good benefit.

If you are arriving by plane, I think the best option is to arrange a transfer with the help of the Charter company you rented a Sailing Yacht. It is wise to ask if they work with or have some regular contact who can provide reliable transfers. 

STEP 10 – Arrival day

Arrival, Your first day has started!

If you did not experience chartering a yacht then the insights provided will be of good use.

When you find parking, do not unload all your luggage. In fact, in most cases, do not unload any of your luggage. What you should do is find the charter office, let them know that you arrived and kindly ask them to give you a call when your time for the check-in procedure at the office has come.

The procedure covers some formal steps that are important to speak about. First is your accommodation tax, mandated by law for every (nautical) tourist. Then you have to pick up your Sail Yacht documents, and keys, go through the info about emergency numbers, extras if you ordered them ( or are going to order right on spot), Security Deposit or Premium Insurance (damage waiver) if you have chosen to pay it on spot.

Croatia has entered the Schengen zone as well as implemented Euro from January 1st, 2023. We think this is fantastic news and brings all EU citizens ease of traveling as being in their own country. We really love what we do, and love that we are able to do it in Croatia and kindly ask you to help all of us who are working hard. Ask for a receipt for every service or product you buy on the spot, some of them may be tax deductibles if you live within the EU.

When you are finished at the office you will know your boarding time & check-in process that will be carried out on your Yacht. I would like to point out that the time spent between you finishing in the office and beginning on the yacht is impacted by 2 things. One is payable, you can decide to purchase so-called “priority check-in”.

If you did not purchase a priority check-in then it is important to know that a standard charter contract guarantees you embarkation at 17:00 latest. The sail yachts for priority check-in crews are inspected, cleaned & prepared first, then the rest of the fleet goes through the same process.

The second thing you can do is to be communicative. Charters ask and appreciate when you are able to inform them about the planned time of your arrival. They also highly appreciate that you inform them, in case there have been delays in flights, or roads during your trip. Also, Charters really appreciate when you fill out all asked documents (crew list) and be reachable. This way you have a much better chance to have your check-in sooner than later.

In between, see if you need to buy water, food, or drinks, or have ordered them from a provisioning service and are awaiting/checking your delivery. Drinks are always a good option, and I am sure possibilities for lunch or ice cream, after all, it is your first day!

 

So to summarize, look at your arrival day through these main topics:

  1. Office / Check-in Time
  2. Yacht / Check-in Process
  3. Time between office/yacht and your departure

I hope this Blog has given you an answer to the question of how to pick a perfect sail yacht. The experience is not that complicated but is largely unknown, the main reason why I believe the steps are of good use.

If you are looking to charter a sailing yacht feel free to e-mail us @ [email protected] or search for a sail yacht yourself @ www.bantoursyachting.hr .

Cheers!

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