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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection

Have you considered a captain only crewed boat - there is a difference.
March 2008

You would like to charter a bareboat but you don't have enough sailing experience. One's instinct is to think of a bareboat company and add one of their skippers. We would certainly discuss each bareboat company with you, but we might also suggest one of the private crewed boats that offer captain only charters. These boats don't have the heavy overhead of a bareboat company and can sometimes offer a lot more boat for less.

Here are some examples:

Kirk on charter yacht ShiwaraEven in high season, this 63', three cabin monohull charters for $7,000 plus expenses, but in July and August the price drops to $5,600 plus expenses, and these prices include the captain. She is heavily booked for this winter, but is running a special for the window she has open, between May 19th and June 2nd. Kirk, the skipper, is a 32 year old Texan, though he has also lived in Australia and Malaysia. He has a wonderful, casual personality and plenty of sailing experience - he sailed a 38' cat across the Pacific. He was a diving instructor for 11 years, and loves to surf - he carves his own custom surf boards!

Trish on charter yacht SerendipityTrish, the skipper on this Beneteau 50, is a nature enthusiast and has a wealth of knowledge about the ecology of the islands, both above and below the water. She loves to travel and has sailed her 38' wooden ketch to many interesting places, including The Azores, West Africa, Argentina and Uruguay. A fascinating lady. $6330 winter, $5750 summer, plus food etc. for up to 6 guests.

Mobbsie on charter yacht Lionheart This Privilege 47 cat can accommodate up to 8 guests for $9000, including all the water toys, fuel etc. Charterer is responsible for provisions, beverages and dockage. 'Mobbsie' is from Australia, where he was a professional surfer, building his own boards. He is an ASA sailing instructor for those wishing to learn. A great boat for families.

'Calibogue II'
Terry on charter yacht Calibogue This nice Gulfstar 60 has a magnificent master cabin aft, a nice V berth cabin and a smaller over/under cabin. She offers great value at $6000 plus food and beverages etc. Terry is from England and has taught sailing professionally. He has spent many years in the islands and knows them well.

So what are the advantages of a private captain-only charter
over a skippered Bareboat?

We feel the biggest advantage is that you know who your captain will be and we can describe him to you. For a fully crewed charter, we have always felt that the crew is more important than the boat and this holds true for a captain-only charter. The bareboat companies allocate a skipper just before the charter and there is no 'matching' of captains to guests.

In addition, chances are the boat will be more luxuriously equipped, with such things as A/C, water toys, nice furnishings and electronics.

The yacht is not tied to a marina so the charter can start and finish anywhere. Most captains will help you buy provisions at the local stores or even buy them ahead from your shopping list.

Unlike bareboat company captains who move between boats, a captain for a private charter yacht stays on that boat and is therefore very familiar with the yacht's idiosyncracies and maintenance schedules. The private yacht will normally be older than a bareboat, but the boat's condition is generally comparable or better as it is used less and has a permanent skipper looking after it.

Generally a private yacht provides better value, considering all the above. As a guideline, once the cost of a skipper and the required insurance are added in, a classic or Club Line Beneteau 50 from a good mid range bareboat company costs around $7500 to $9000 in winter and $6000 to $6500 in summer. A 44 to 47 foot cat would be $10,500 to $11,000 in winter and $7500 to $8000 in summer. These prices would be higher for newer 'premium' bareboats.

If you are thinking this could be a good idea, maybe you should also ask if perhaps a fully crewed yacht isn't the answer - the chef, food and wine only add a bit to the cost! The less expensive crewed boats are often cheaper than many skippered bareboats when all the extras are added in. Ask us. We book both types of vacation and can describe the differences and advantages.

Having said this, if you are using this charter as a way to gain experience to eventually bareboat, we would generally book you with a bareboat company, because when you take the big step and sail by yourself, it's less intimidating if you are familiar with how the company operates.

Both options have their merits, and we can easily help you decide which is best for your group.

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
24B US Route 1, Edgecomb, ME 04556

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