Chartering A Yacht In The Whitsundays

Most of us that sail have from time to time either chartered a yacht or thought about chartering a yacht. As I live and work in the Whitsundays, and have been around the charter industry since 2003, and introduced non sailors to the world of chartering through conducting a number of charter rallies, I thought I would share some views on how to get the most from your chartering experience.

The Whitsundays offer a range of experiences for chartering, for couples, families or groups of like minded friends. To enhance the experience you can consider a mix of land based activities such as a pampering at a resort or self paced exploring in the hinterland, with time at sea on board. Either unwind before setting sail or plan a land legs day or two before returning home.

When deciding on the right yacht, consider who is coming along on board and whether you need the size and convenience of a cat, or the purer environment of a monohull; both are well catered for by charter companies in the Whitsundays with many options for price and size.

The important thing about chartering is to plan well but not too well; as sailing is often punctuated by several interesting surprises that makes it more fun and can appeal to the explorer in all of us.

To make your experience more enjoyable we would suggest you arrange to stay on –board your yacht the night before you set off. This can often be arranged. It helps everyone settle into the less familiar surroundings of your yacht and gets some of the chores such as provisioning and stowing gear completed. Saves a night accommodation also, and what a pleasure to spend a night surrounded by yachts of all types.

Make sure you all spend time with the charter company appointed briefer and get the low down on the best places to go considering the expected weather conditions and also listen up on the finer points of sailing the yacht. If you engage with the briefer, you will get real value that will set you up for a great holiday experience.

HillInletHave a basic plan of where you want to sail, including the must see areas of Hill Inlet, Whitehaven Beach, Butterfly Bay etc. Then be flexible with your planning as weather and the mood of everyone on board can impact what you do.

Choose to snorkel in the morning time before setting off on any day as this is when you are fresh and the fish are active, rather than later it the day when you are tired and the sun is going down.

If you find an anchorage you really like, think about staying longer and doing some exploring, you do not need to sail every day – a potential mistake some charterers make.

What makes chartering in the Whitsundays such a great experience from my perspective is the freedom you have to take things at your own pace from preparing great evening meals at isolated picturesque anchorage, to swimming with schools of fish, to learning how to navigate around tree lined islands, or making that single lee bow lay line to windward across the passage in full sail.

A further option that often provides variety is to spend a night at one of the islands such as Daydream of Hamilton Island. You can use the island facilities from the comfort of your yacht and provide a further dimension to the holiday experience.

When you come back from your charter, perhaps spend a day on shore in a resort to get your land legs before heading home.

So as we all know sailing is all about the journey and not so much the destination and chartering in the Whitsundays emphasises the excitement and the experience of sailing in a world heritage marine park.

If you want any advice on chartering in the Whitsundays please do not hesitate to call me and have a chat.

– Stewart Key

Stewart heads up our office in the Great Barrier Reef.