A BAREBOAT REVIEW OF 2006 AND SOME IDEAS FOR 2007
2005/6 was a mild winter for most of North America, which had many thinking “this isn’t too bad, so perhaps I don’t really need to escape the cold.”
Then a period of cold artic air had us scrambling to finding boats for those still in need of their warm weather Caribbean ‘fix’. Nevertheless, last minute charters were found, and clients were able to take a winter break to enjoy the warm weather sailing everyone dreams of doing.
As usual, the Christmas and New Years' bareboat charters were booked 6-8 months out making it difficult to find a late boat for those deciding to forego the holidays at home and have fun celebrating in the islands. Like the previous year, there was very little hurricane activity in The Eastern Caribbean and the summer months were busier than we have seen for many years. June, after school is over, seems to be very popular now.
January 2007 was our busiest month since 911, and bookings are sharply up for the season. In December and early January, the weather again seemed mild, but the boats were still very well booked. Then we experienced our ‘cold snap’ and the phones started ringing and web inquiries came pouring in.
The companies in The Caribbean added new model boats to their fleets and expanded their inventory, giving better availability and a wider range of choices (please check out Gordon’s article on new boats in 'New Boat News').
Footloose opened a base in St. Vincent in the ever popular Grenadines. Now we can offer you more options and prices in that area. Horizon Yacht Charters, Grenada, started offering a free pick up and start in Union Island (mid Grenadines) so you will be able to cover more sailing area during your 7 day cruise. They also opened a small base in St Martin that Gordon wrote about in last month’s article.
Flotillas became more popular in the BVI’s as new cruisers to the area wanted to be assured safe passage while not missing the hot spots and meeting new people. Sunsail and The Moorings offer this option and they really are a fun experience for those who join in.
For those of you planning a bareboat charter in The Mediterranean this summer, availability is already limited. The sailing season is shorter than in The Caribbean and the European clientele book early, particularly for July and August, but at this time we still have some choice boats open. You can get good rates in late spring and early fall, when places like Greece, Croatia and Turkey are still warm, but not as crowded, and the sailing is superb.
Another note on The Med - flotillas, while limited, have proved to be a wonderful choice for Americans chartering there for the first time. Companies such as Sunsail offer them for an extra $200-$250 a week. A client told me it was the best deal going, as he felt he had a personal guide, who not only knew the language, but guided them into anchorages and then told them the best place to sightsee, shop and dine/party. Also, he could get help if there were any problems with the boat. Plus, the client and his wife made some great friends!
For those of you wanting something very different, Sunsail has opened bases in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam offering truly exotic sailing in a far away location.
At Ed Hamilton & Co. we can offer you world wide service to make your dream sailing adventure come true.
We look forward to talking to you in 2007!
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||Ed Hamilton & Company
24B US Route 1, Edgecomb, ME 04556
Call Toll Free 1-800-621-7855 in the Continental U.S. & Canada
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