You may have heard us say this before, but sailing really is changing. It’s no longer the old boys club requiring millions of dollars, scotch, cigars and all the baggage that comes with that. Now it is possible to sail a yacht on a budget - as little as $700 per person per week. With the advent of companies like The Yacht Week and BucketLust, young people are diving into sailing.
Well simply put, it’s cool. It’s the lure of adventuring to remote islands, freediving with dolphins, exploring hidden waterfalls not to mention a few nights of epic parties. Now do all of this with like-minded people in their 20s and 30s while disconnecting from the grid and you have yourself an awesome experience.
But how expensive is sailing?
In the past, people wanting to sail needed to own or know someone who owned a boat. One route was to buy a yacht, say a Beneteau Oceanis 41. Looking at YachtWorld this is going to cost somewhere around $200,000 for a late model. Factor in 20% of the boats value for maintenance, mooring fees, winterization etc and you are looking at $240,000 just to get started. Given that the average private yacht is only used 14 days per year, this is a very expensive proposition, especially if you’re in the Sailing Virgins market: young professionals in their 20s - 40s.
Enter the bareboat charter.
Instead of purchasing the yacht yourself, in the last few decades, the idea of a bareboat charter, which is a fancy industry term for renting a boat, has become much more established. Charter companies like the Moorings allow you to rent a bareboat charter almost as easily as purchasing an Airbnb. Simply select the location you’d like to sail, the dates, the boat and you’re on your way.
Above are two pictures of the luxurious Beneteau Oceanis 38. You can rent this along with hundreds of other yachts for a few days or a few weeks. (Just check out that interior!)
How to sail a yacht for less than $700 per week
1. Earn your ASA 104 bareboat charter certification
Some of you might already hold this certification. If not, that's where we come in. This can be achieved in one week with our Intermediate Course if you have a bit of sailing experience. If not, we recommend two courses, a Beginner Course for your ASA 101 and ASA 103 and then an Intermediate Course for your ASA 104. See full course list here.
2. Gather 5 friends
One key to keeping sailing affordable is to spread out the cost across multiple people. What's interesting is that if you combine the right types of people, for us, likeminded adventurous people in their 20s and 30s, you actually create a better experience as the number of people grows. The more the merrier tends to be true in this case. Looking for tips on finding a perfect crew? Check out this blog. Looking for a few extra crew? Drop us a note and we can put it out to our network.
3. Head over to the Moorings.com
Or one of the other charter companies. Select the date you’re interested in. Seasonality matters a lot, with December - January being the most expensive while other months are much more affordable. Looking at the month of May, we can get a Beneteau Oceanis 38 for $3,264. We’ll also add in the damage waiver for good measure and we’re at $3,429 or $571.5 per person.
4. Procure the Essentials
What are those you ask? Food and alcohol of course! Surprisingly, these are cheaper than you’d think. After running hundreds of courses, we’ve gotten pretty good at eating and drinking well without breaking the bank by stocking up at the supermarket at the start of the trip. We estimate this at $100 per person.
5. Securing your boat at night
At night, you’ll likely tie up to a mooring ball and depending on the location this might cost $25 per night. So that adds up to $150 for the six nights of the week, adding an extra $25 per person.
All in for $696.5
All in, this brings us up to $4,179 or $696.5 per person for an epic week of sailing in the British Virgin Islands on a luxury Beneteau Oceanis with an awesome group of friends. While it might sound counter-intuitive, this is cheaper than most ski trips or cruise vacations. Not to mention there’s something to be said for the thrill of captaining your own yacht for an entire week.
Getting started is easier than you think. Sailing Virgins offer courses for individuals in their 20s to 40s in the beautiful Caribbean. We combined awesome instructors and incredible locations to create unforgettable experiences. We are the highest rated Sailing Academy in the Caribbean (over 100 Perfect 5 Star Reviews on TripAdvisor). Contact us to find out more.
**Side note**, if you take a course with us, one of the benefits is that we can use our connections to the charter companies to offer you around a 10% discount on the charter price. In the example above, this is about $450 in savings.