Plain Sailing

Frequently Asked Questions


We've tried to answer as many questions as possible below, but if you still don't have the answer you need then just give us a call (0800 612 8210), grab us on Live Chat, or get in touch & one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible. 


CHARTERING A YACHT

Anyone can go on a sailing holiday, and they are the perfect way to relax, get closer to nature, master a new skill, or feel the adrenaline rush of racing along in the wind.

They’re perfect for families, couples, small groups of friends, big groups of friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and just people who know each other through a club.  The activity of sailing a yacht requires communication, so they’re even suitable for solo travellers who want to get to know people!

You need to be qualified to charter a yacht or catamaran on your own, but you can charter a yacht or catamaran with a skipper (who will help to drive the boat, and keep it safe) for the week for a very reasonable supplement.

Having a holiday in a boat allows you to explore places well off the beaten track and really escape from it all – but without ever being more than five metres from a fridge, your own bed, and someone to talk to! 

We love sailing holidays, and you will too!

Ok, so you are new to sailing, and are not sure which boat you will need, so let’s get back to basics and start at the start. Obviously there are boats of different shapes and sizes, so which one is best for you?

Firstly, if you’re a qualified sailor, you probably won’t be reading this, but I’ll say it anyway: to charter a yacht ‘bareboat’ means to basically just take the boat – but unfortunately you’ll need to be qualified by the RYA (or international equivalent) before you can charter a yacht in this way. If you are not qualified, then you will need to hire a ‘skippered’ boat – which is where the boat comes with a driver, who will stay with the boat (and help drive it) during your trip, and will probably become a friend as the trip progresses! All skippers are very friendly, mostly helpful, usually funny, and almost always have a long stream of sailing anecdotes to share! So if you are new, you’ll need a ‘skippered’ boat.

The next thing to consider is how many friends you have that are coming sailing with you? The average yacht will fit in 4-8 people quite comfortably, but you can get a bit bigger or smaller if required. The ‘berth’ is how many people the boat is for, so select the ‘berth’ you need for your trip, then add the dates of your planned trip, a rough location of where you want to start and end your trip, click search, and you are away! 

You can filter the results by price, boat length, the age of the yacht and even by features (such as air conditioning or bowthrusters)..

Clicking on a boat will give more details about it and enable you to compare a few different yachts. In general, all will work for you. Click to book, make the payment, phone your mates to tell them about it, scream about how excited you are about it, then pack your bags and prepare for a fantastic holiday!

Our full guide to booking a sailing holiday might also be helpful.

To charter a yacht ‘bareboat’ means to basically just take the boat – but unfortunately you’ll need to be qualified by the RYA (or international equivalent) before you can charter a yacht in this way. If you are not qualified, then you will need to hire a ‘skippered’ boat – which is where the boat comes with a ‘driver’ or, in nautical speak, a ‘skipper’, who will stay with the boat (and help drive it) during your trip, and will probably become a friend as the trip progresses!

All skippers are very friendly, most are very helpful, they are often fun guys or gals to have around, and almost always have a long stream of sailing anecdotes to share!

Sailing is ostensibly the same regardless of whether you are on a yacht (‘monohull’) or a catamaran (‘multihull’), since they both have the same sail configuration to harness the winds, and both use the same seas, marinas, bays and anchorages.

The key difference is about space inside the boat – a catamaran is often two times wider than a yacht, meaning there is more space.  The extra space allows them to be a little more comfortable, with more, bigger and grander spaces to sit and enjoy being on a boat.  Catamarans are also easier to control under motor, as they are impacted less by the wind.

However, Catamarans tend to cost more to charter than a yacht, and people claim it is a less pure version of sailing because the boat doesn’t heel over in the same way, and there is less adrenaline.

Both types of sailing are great fun!

To charter a yacht, you will need to complete (and pass!) the RYA DaySkipper award, or higher, or international equivalent. This will usually cover you to sail a charter boat during daylight hours (but not during the night). A fuller list of valid international sailing qualifications is here.

In Croatia, either the skipper or one of the crew also needs to have a valid VHF licence.

The Yacht Charter company will need to see a copy of your DaySkipper license, as well as a Passport or Driving License (to verify your identity). Images of these can be uploaded into your user account so that they can be submitted to the Charter company ahead of your booking (to make the check-in process quicker and easier) – but it is likely that they will still need to see these documents (briefly) in real life. The charter company  will also need to take your credit card detail to  process a refundable a security deposit (which will be returned in full if the boat is returned undamaged), similar to when you hire a car.


BOOKING

For yacht and catamaran charters in Greece and Croatia, our charter partners give us a pricelist in euros.  Because the pound is currently quite volatile against the euro, we pass these prices directly on to you.  At the checkout, you can choose to pay in GBP or EUR for the deposit.

The exchange rate of the Euro versus the pound might change between making the booking and paying the final balance (six weeks before the charter start date) – the final balance is held in euro’s, so the cost in pounds will be translated at the exchange rate in place on the day you pay it. 

Booking is super easy: simply search for a yacht or cataraman by entering the dates, size and location of the boat you would like to charter, as well as whether you would like to charter ‘bareboat’ (just the boat) or ‘skippered’ (with a skipper to drive the boat if you’re not qualified to sail it). 

You can then filter the search results to find your ideal yacht or catamaran.  Select which boat you would like to book, then follow the straightforward booking process, including adding any extras to the yacht. If there are any problems, or things that you don’t understand, then feel free to give us a call to speak to one of our UK-based team, or catch us on the LiveChat. 

You’ll only need to pay a 30% deposit upon booking, with the rest due six weeks before the charter start date.

For bookings in Greece and Croatia, your yacht or catamaran is booked instantly, and you should receive a confirmation email.  In addition, one of our team will be in touch to have a chat about your plans and to check that the boat you’ve booked is the right one for you. 

For bookings in the UK, unfortunately we don’t currently operate in real-time with our charter partners, so we’ll need to check the availability of the yachts before we confirm your booking and price – please bear with us, and one of our team will be in touch to confirm everything shortly.  Don’t worry - we won’t process any credit card payments until the booking has been fully confirmed.

For Croatia and Greece: yes!  We have live availability and pricing, so just go ahead and book – you don’t need to contact us for a quote.

For the UK: not yet – we’re working on this, but for now, we can only confirm the booking after we have checked the availability of the yacht with our charter partners.  This usually takes less than 24 hours, but please be patient.

Prices are set by each individual yacht owner, since they are the ones who own the boats – so we can’t do anything about the prices. However, the back-end of the system is quite sophisticated, and allows them to set different prices depending upon the time of year it is, whether there are any big local events going on, how many days you are chartering it for, etc… so changing the dates could have an effect on the price of the booking.

Charters listed on our site in Greece and Croatia give the week-long only price, so if you’re interested in booking a short or long charter which isn’t a multiple of weeks, then contact our team via our freephone hotline or LiveChat.

We’re confident that we have the best prices on the market, and we’ll gladly beat any genuine quote that’s better than ours (if you can find one).

We accept all major debit and credit cards, which means that you can book rightaway.  We don’t charge any extra for using a credit card.

Normally, we’ll take the 30% deposit by debit or credit card, and request you pay the final balance by bank transfer to minimise bank transfer fees.

Yes - if you're booking well in advance you can secure the boat of your dreams for just 30% of the full charter cost!  The rest of the money needs to be paid when you are 6 weeks away from the start of the booking.  Or you can choose to pay the full amount straight away if you prefer.

If you're booking with less than 6 weeks to go then you will be required to pay the full balance when you make your booking.

Optional extras, such as bedding, clothing or food and drink, must be paid for when you are ordering them – but this can be done when making the original booking, or at any point up to 7 days before you pick up the boat.

For Greece and Croatia, availability is in real-time, so bookings are secured as soon as you’ve paid the deposit, and you should get an email from us to confirm your booking.

For the UK, we need to confirm the availability of the boats with our charter partners before we can confirm the booking.  We won’t process any debit or credit card payments until we know if the boat is available.  Please be patient, and we’ll email to confirm as soon as we can.

Bookings can be amended by contacting your dedicated Customer Manager, who will have been in touch to confirm the booking and talk you through the next steps.

The Customer Manager will help you add (or remove) optional extras, such as bedding, insurance, wifi, food and drink, outboard motors and safety nets, as well as confirming early or late check-ins.

Bookings can be cancelled by contacting your dedicated Customer Manager (who will have been in touch to confirm the booking and talk you through the next steps). 

As part of your booking confirmation, you will receive details of the cancellation policy – often there is a charge for cancellation which increases the closer you get to the charter date.  If you need to cancel your booking, please get in touch with your Customer Manager as soon as possible.

Typically, you will have to pay 30% of the booking if you cancel with 3 months to go, 50% of the booking if you cancel with more than 1 month to go, but the whole 100% of the booking if you cancel with less than a month to go.  Unfortunately it can be expensive to cancel.  That said, most companies will give you a pretty much full refund (less admin fees), if they manage to charter out your yacht to someone else, and we'd do our very best to try and make that happen.


OPTIONAL EXTRA / FEES

The optional extras you can book are dependent on what the Yacht Charter company offers, and can be added at any time from making your booking up to 7 days before the trip!

In Greece and Croatia, bedding and a small towel are generally included, but if you wanted a larger beach towel you’d need to add it on.  In the UK, no bedding or towels are included.

Other optional extras that are available include all sorts of sailing toys, such as Spinnaker / Gennakers, Outboard Motors, Snorkelling gear, Fishing Rods, Stand Up Paddleboards, Wake boards, as well as more practical extras such as Wifi or Yacht Charter Security Deposit Insurance

Optional extras should be on-board the boat when you arrive, or will be given to you as part of the check-in process. If the yacht charter company forgets, then do please remind them :)

Yes! Optional extras can be added up to seven days before you make your trip. To add a few extra luxuries to your booking, please speak to your dedicated Customer Manager.  They’ll be able to add (or remove) optional extra’s, such as bedding, clothing, or food and drink, outboard motors, safety netting, etc… 

Bookings - including optional extras - can be amended or cancelled by contacting your dedicated Customer Manager (the person who called you to confirm your booking).


CHECKING-IN

After your booking is confirmed, then you can relax: we will keep you informed (by email, mainly) of what (if anything) you need to do.

A few weeks before your charter begins, we will telephone the lead booker to reconfirm the details, find out your travel plans (so that we can let the yacht charter company know when you are likely to arrive) and check that you are happy, excited, and ready to go!

You will receive a ‘booking pack’ which tells you what exactly you have booked, where you will need to be, what you need to bring, etc… as well as key contact details.

Our full guide to checking in might be useful to read too.

The Yacht Charter company will need to see a copy of your Day Skipper license, as well as a Passport or Driving License (to verify your identity). Images of these can be uploaded into your user account so that they can be submitted to the Charter company ahead of your booking (to make the check-in process quicker and easier) – but it is likely that they will still need to see these documents (briefly) in real life.

The charter company will also need to take your credit card details to take a refundable security deposit (which will be given back in full if the boat is returned undamaged) similar to a car hire deposit.

The simple answer is yes.

As you will be taking a seriously expensive piece of kit away for a few days, then it is normal to have to pay a security deposit - this is so that any the owners can charge you for any damage you cause to the boat, just like it happens for car hire.

The security deposit is normally a ‘hold’ amount on a credit card - assuming there are no problems, then you should expect the charter opertor to cancel their ‘hold’ and no charges will be taken from your credit card.

The boat will be inspected when you return it to the marina, so you should agree any re-charge costs with the yacht charter company before you leave the marina.

If you're worried about the size of the Security Deposit, you can get Security Deposit Insurance, which is non-refundable, but does cover you for any damages.


COMPLAINTS

Oh no. You’re either a bit of a pessimist if you are reading this before your trip or you’ve had a bad experience in using this site – in which case, we’re really sorry, and we’ll do everything we can to try to make this better.

It’s probably best if you give us a call so that we can take down all the necessary details, but feel free to contact us via the contact us form, or drop us an email or Live Chat and we will respond as quick as we can.

Give us as much information as you can about your experience, and we’ll do what we can to sort it. If it’s an issue with our site you have, then we’re super-sorry, and we didn’t mean it – honest – and we are trying our best. If it’s an issue with one of the yacht charter companies, or their staff, then it may be best to take it up with them directly, but we are happy to intervene on your behalf if you prefer. We take a common sense approach to complaints, and we have good relations with all the people who offer services on our site.

As a side note, and for the benefit of those people who are reading this before they go away, it is usually always best to try and resolve any issues as and when they arise, and directly with whoever is the source of the issue.

It is also a good idea to resolve issues before leaving feedback about the yacht or the charter company, since it may just be a misunderstanding or a miscommunication.


FEEDBACK

Feedback, as the name suggests, is left after a charter has been completed - we call / email everyone who has chartered a yacht with us and request that they provide feedback on both the boat and the yacht charter company they got it from. We encourage them to be honest - which will hopefully help other people who are looking to charter a yacht.

We continually review the feedback for each company to ensure we only work with companies that offer an exceptional customer experience.

From March 2018, we also charged feefo.com to get feedback from PlainSailing.com customers - they are independent feedback specialists in the travel sector, and will put on show just how brilliant our own Customer Services are! :D


If there are any questions not answered here, please get in touch with us.