It’s the perfect weather for sailing, and we’ve found some of the best vessels for your most indulgent seafaring fantasies. Whether you prefer a lavishly appointed tall ship, a set departure on a specialty small ship, a fully crewed charter, or to captain and crew your own boat, there’s a company to fit your needs and a suggested destination on where to set your coordinates.
For those who need to take that first step away from a mega-cruise ship, but are a little leery of medium-sized sailboats, Star Clippers is a great first sailing cruise experience. Both the Star Clipper and Star Flyer (pictured) are 360-foot-long clipper ships that can accommodate 170 guests in barefoot-luxury fashion. Also, itineraries in the Western and Eastern Mediterranean don’t put you on the open ocean for too long. In the Western Mediterranean, you can stroll Corsica’s white sand beaches before pulling in next to superyachts at Monte Carlo and St. Tropez. In the Eastern Caribbean, you can admire Game of Thrones scenery in Malta and then drink in the historic beauty of Sicily and Greece.
Smaller than Star Clippers but still quite spacious for a sailboat, Island Windjammers’ two beautiful vessels have a passionate customer fan base who plan their years around their sailing vacations. Tall ship Diamant offers a “private yacht experience without a millionaire price tag” from her home port in Grenada. Sagitta is a 120-foot motorsailer tall ship with two Caribbean homeports. Her French West Indies itinerary stops at tiny undiscovered islands like Dominica and Iles de Saintes, allowing plenty of time for world-class diving and exploration, before winding up in beautiful St. Lucia.
AdventureSmith is a broker specializing in small ship cruising, both full-ship charters and set departures, and represents over one hundred ships. Founder Todd Smith is recognized by Condé Nast Traveler as a leading expert in small ship expeditions. His sailing trips travel to incredible destinations like remote sand spits in the Indonesian islands, finding a way to leave other ships behind, and arriving at untrafficked places even in tourist hot spots. For example, pictured here, a serene moment at Darwin Lake on Isabela Island in Galapagos.
Y.CO – The Yacht Company
Y.CO – The Yacht Company is another charter yacht broker, but also handles luxury yacht sales worldwide. While the team members live an active version of the “yachting lifestyle,” often racing in Europe’s most prestigious superyacht regattas, they also understand the appeal of a relaxed afternoon in the sun. Y.CO has trusted connections and gorgeous vessels in the most tucked-away corners of the earth. No matter how remote the destination, their dual promise is security and the ultimate luxury standard. They’ll also visit destinations not attempted by many cruisers, but reachable on Y.CO luxury sailing yacht Twizzle, such as Borneo.
As the “sharing economy” continues to boom, it makes sense that sailing enthusiasts would want a HomeAway/AirBnB for boats. However, safety and security are always a concern for boat owners and renters alike. But Peer-to-peer rental/charter marketplace GetMyBoat.com aims to allay these by pre-screening boats before listing them, and providing insurance through XInsurance. It’s free to register for the site and free to list your watercraft (once they’re screened). The site also just launched a peer-to-peer review function.
If you’re already somewhat familiar with the sailing world, and you’re an experienced enough sailor to want minimal crew, and/or you appreciate utter flexibility, GetMyBoat.com is a great resource for a spontaneous vacation or a year at sea. A search for any popular sailing locale like the Balearic Islands, for example, returns a wide selection of possible rentals, short- and long-term, from bareboat to fully chartered, in all price ranges.