Enjoy sailing in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote.
Today’s post shares some of the experiences that we and other sailors have had during our time as charterers.
We should say two types of ‘user’ can be identified within the charter industry: those with a qualification and those without. On the whole, sailors holding a qualification allowing them to handle yachts directly charter a boat and skipper it during the charter period.
Here we’re going to look at the second group, in other words, people without a qualification but keen to indulge in an open-sea experience on board a sailboat. Nautic Ocean is firmly committed to opening up the yachting world to anybody who is eager to enjoy sailing or learn more about this fascinating discipline.
The difference between a charter trip and an outing on a catamaran or schooner with 80 people lies in the personalisation of the trip. The passenger stepping aboard a charter sailboat will have the chance to actively take part in some of the manoeuvres, such as tacking or furling/unfurling the mainsail, and to discover how electronic instruments found on modern boats actually work. That said, the passenger’s wishes are always respected, because we understand that some will just want to worship the sun from the foredeck, others will be constantly taking photos from all points of the boat, whilst others might give the skipper the third degree, with questions like “What was the most violent storm you’ve ever experienced?”. Whichever the case, I can assure you that the skipper, as a true lover of the sea, will always love to hear questions like these and see how the crew are playing a hands-on role in steering the yacht.
The mission of a charter skipper is two-fold: to guarantee the maximum safety of the crew and the boat, and to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.
A proficient skipper will always:
- Introduce him/herself and warmly welcome the crew on board in at least two languages.
- Hold a short briefing on safety at sea and explain how to use lifejackets and where they are kept, how the distress beacon, life raft (if appropriate) and Channel 16 VHF work, and how to move around the boat. Depending on the length and distance of the charter, he or she will also talk about night-time sailing, weather conditions, etc.
- Encourage, as much as possible, the participation of all those interested in performing manoeuvres, or allow, in line with safety guidelines, the rest of the crew to enjoy their time on board sunbathing, taking photos or swimming when at anchor.
- On half-day or shorter outings, serve an aperitif or snack along with drinks. Most times, the skipper will not have a stewardess at hand to help out, unlike on larger vessels such as catamarans, schooners, etc., so he or she will be responsible for serving food and drinks. This will usually be when at anchor so as not to impinge on safety, and passengers must not start eating or drinking until the boat sets sail.
- Refrain from taking a dip with guests, as he or she is not there on holidays.
- Refrain from going shirtless or wearing over-revealing clothes, as this is not an image that a paying charter guest really wants to see.
- Know the area perfectly and, although not a tourist guide as such, point out sights we will see during the charter. For example, if we’re sailing along the Playa Blanca coastline near the Castillo del Águila, it would be great to hear that the castle is a military construction dating back to 1741 in order to defend the island from corsairs lurking around the south of the archipelago.
Many times, a simple outing on a sailboat is the trigger for a burning interest into discovering more about the world of sailing. This can happen to anyone, regardless of age or fitness, and sharing these moments with novices is one of the greatest satisfactions for all of us who work in the charter industry.