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Sailing Vacations - The Ultimate Getaway


Don't Let Life Sail by Without Taking One of These

So many places to go and so little time... How about a nice winter getaway to the Carribean. Or a little cruise along the coast of Baja Mexico. Or cruising in the Swedish archipelago. There simply cannot be a more perfect vacation than one that involves sailing. A perfect mix of relaxation with adventure, you can plot your own course wherever the deep water will take you.

Sailing vacations can be enjoyed by anyone. These miniature adventures are not the exclusive domain of experienced yachtsmen. Anyone can simply pick up a phone and plan a sailing vacation getaway by contacting one of the many charter companies that exist throughout the world. You can go bare boat cruising (where you run the boat yourself), or go for a crewed charter, where no sailing experience is necessary.

 

Caribbean Vacations (Antigua, BVI, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Martin, Martinique, St Vincent):
The Caribbean offers lots of options for creating the ultimate, sailing vacation. With temperatures ranging from the 80’s to 90’s most of the year, it is a very accessible vacation destination, especially for sailing. There are tons of boats to charter with crews that will take you out for day-sails complete with scuba diving and catered lunches prepared on deck. This is one of the most relaxing ways to spend the day.

If you would rather have some privacy, you can charter your own boat to cruise around. There are plenty of good activities such as snorkeling, hiking, scuba diving or just relaxing on the boat and taking in the scenery. In the evenings, dinner can be enjoyed on the boat or you can easily pull into different ports to dine at a beach-side restaurant.


British Virgin Islands:

The BVIs are located approximately 60 miles east of Puerto Rico in the northeast Caribbean and are situated in one of the most protected sailing areas in the world, making it ideal for cruising. This area is great for individuals looking to take quick sails during the day (characterized as “line-of-sight” sailing because you can see your destination at departure) and there is usually plenty of secluded anchorage.

For easy provisioning, a company called Sunsail provides grocery delivery right to your boat http://www.sunsail.com/provisioning#

Things to consider:
- Mid-August to mid-October is the prime season for tropical storms so sailing will be less crowded then. If you’re an experienced sailor, this may be the best time to get some quiet time or a good deal. At this point in the season you should consider the Grenadines as this is located in the southern Caribbean and is less prone to bad weather.
- Winter trade winds blow from the northeast from 15-25 mph; Summer trade winds blow from the southeast from 10-15 mph
- Many bareboat charters provide discounts during hurricane season.
- There are two main seasons for yachting:
– Winter: December 15th – April 30th
– Summer: May 1 – December 14th
– Many yacht companies charge a premium for Christmas and New Years (about 10%)
- Family vacations: if you are booking a family vacation during summer school holiday you should plan to go in June or early July as this is when the climate is a bit more pleasant and there’s a lower risk of inclement weather.

Mediterranean / Greece (Corfu, Vounaki) / Turkey (Marmaris, Orhaniye, Turgetreis, Gocek) / Croatia (Kornati, Kremik, Dubrovnik)
Turkey
Gocek: Ideal for beginners with gentle winds and rich coastline sailing.
Turtugries: Better for slightly more experienced sailors. There’s an ancient city called Bodrum and quaint fishing villages along the coast.
Marmaris: Better for slightly more experienced sailors. Good cruising in the east or west.

Greece
Ionian: Line-of-sight navigation and easy, day-sail island hopping
Sporades: Better for slightly more experienced sailors. Go from island to island and stop off to enjoy the nightlife

Croatia
Located along the Adriatic, Croatia is an up-and-coming vacation destination known for its hospitality and sunny weather. Since it’s still more known for its unfortunate political history, it’s not yet overcrowded with tourists. With its medieval cobbled streets, ancient ruins, vineyards, forests, deserted coves and over a thousand islands to hop across, it’s both an ideal sailing destination and historic place to visit. From the Mediterranean cuisine, ripe with fresh seafood, to the ruins that dot the various islands and towns to world-famous lace-making traditions handed down through generations to being the origin of the neck tie, this country is full of surprises and interesting historical events. It has 8 national parks, four of which are in the mountains but one (Krka) is on the coastline and three are on islands (Brijuni, Kornati, and Mljet) and accessible to sailors. All told, it has 5,835 km of coastline and 1,185 islands (only of which 47 are inhabited).

Marinas range from fully modern to remote harbors. Winds generally blow 5-20 knots from the southwest. The best time to sail in this area is May and June but July and August offer calmer winds for easier sailing as well.

For specific information on the Marinas in Croatia visit the Adriatic Croatia International Club which runs 21 marinas around this country at http://www.aci-club.hr/aci.htm. If you’re the sporting type, this club hosts the ACI Match Race Cup

Istria Area: Istria is the largest Croatian peninsula. It is dotted with interesting, acropolis-like small towns and beautiful islands. Stop off in this area hike among the ancient monuments or to taste the wine and truffles. The largest truffle in the world was found in this area. Also, look for areas to have fresh oysters, mussels and lobsters. For a break from the sea you can visit the tourist resorts of Umag, Novigrad, Porec, Vrasar, Rovinj and Pula. In the summer you can find outdoor concerts in ancient Roman amphitheaters.

Kornati Area: Better for a bit more experienced sailors but one of the nicest parts of Croatia. This area literally has hundreds of uninhabited islands along its national park area. Ideal for scuba divers, this area was named “the cleanest body of water in the world” by Jacques Cousteau. Take a day off of the boat to enjoy the national park of Krka where you can find fishing, hiking, bird watching and swimming. There are good restaurants in the park where you can stop off for a bit of fresh seafood as well.

Kornati Sailing Stops:
Metlina: Though it is very difficult to reach via a long hike, Metlina on Kornat is a great place to take in the full view of the national park.
Dugi Otok: Sailing out to the bay at Telescica is a magnificent journey and final destination. In the fishing town nearby, Sali, there are summer celebrations of local folklore that includes illuminated boats that make an impressive sight.
Skradin: Boasts the incredible waterfalls a Krka which are accessible via the 75 kilometer river way that travels across the canyon creating lakes and waterfalls.
Sibenik: A historical town with the famous cathedral of St Jacob which is the largest architectural monument of the Renaissance in central Europe. In the summer, this town also hosts the International Children’s Festival where children’s theaters from all over the world participate. The nearby islands of Zirje and Zlarin also have coral and sponge diving.

Kremik Area: Boasts as well of ancient, friendly towns and also provides access to the Krka Falls. Usually, northwest winds of around 15 knots prevail.

Kremik Sailing Stops:
Primosten: One of the most coveted resorts of Croatia, it has cobble stone streets in the old town as well as an all-night disco where you can dance the night away to relieve your sea legs.
Rogoznica and Trogir: A center for art and culture, this town is only accessible on foot by small, stone bridges.
Brac: Famous for its incredible beaches, Brac also offers a variety of fresh, local goods from spices such as rosemary and sage to figs and nectarines. Vis, founded by Dionysius in 397 BC boast Croatian wines. The nearby Blue Caves has incredible snorkeling.


Dubrovnik Area: A well-preserved, medieval walled city founded in the 6th Century, Dubrovnik is a mix of Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque architecture. It has miraculously escaped damage from the war that has plagued many towns and cities in this country. The old world charm of this more than 1,000 year old city has been declared a UNESCO world Heritage Site. Around the city there are plenty of islands with sandy beaches. Nearby, you can explore the island of Lokrum, where King Richard the Lionhart landed in 1190. Nearby are also the Elaphiti Islands which is a great place to go swimming and snorkeling. Further along the coast, stop into small fishing villages to pick up fresh provisions.

Dubrovnik Sailing Stops:

Hvar: Boasting a beautiful harbor, lavender fields and an amazing rock maze

Sipan: called the Golden Island, this island has ruins worth exploring and a community of fishermen where you can purchase fresh catch of the day.

Mljet: is a national park located approximately 20 miles north of Sipan. It is the third most densely wooded island of Croatia and said to be the place where Odysseus got lost in its beauty for seven years, unable to leave the paradise. It has two lakes (Veliko Jeero and Malo Jezero) linked by a channel which boasts the Benedictine monastery in its center. This is an ideal spot to stop for anchor overnight as Okuklje, a village on the northern coast, provides good coverage for sailboats.

Korkula: Home to Marco Polo, this island is also known or its olives and wines. If you stop of here for a day, you can catch open air plays, music and other dance performances in the town square such as the Moreska Sword Dance which commemorates Croatia’s battles with the Turks.

Zadar: A coastal city on which is built a 9th century Church of St. Donatus

Slano: This town contains a small resort, pebble beaches and ancient ruins.

Ston: This town is popular for its oysters and mussels. It is located in an inlet on the main peninsula and also contains a medieval wall from the 1300s. This is also a popular sailing stop given its harbor offers good protection for sailors from inclement weather at Veliki Ston.

SailingStop Articles to Help you Get the Best Out of Your Sailing Vacation:

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Crewed Yacht Charters - The ultimate in luxury sailing. And you don't even need to know how to sail...

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Sailing Vacation Packages - Packages can be an effective way to plan a vacation if you know the basics.

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Virgin Island Charters - Virgin Island specific yacht charter information.

Sailing Charters in Greece - For information on the more popular charter companies in Greece read this article.



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