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Group Sailing with mates in the Whitsundays

Group sailing is about gathering your mates to share an incredible adventure, good times and unforgettable memories.

Sailing as a group in the Whitsundays is an unforgettable experience. After all, good times are always better when shared, especially when those times involve fishing, diving, swimming, sunshine, and tropical islands. 

When you hire a catamaran or monohull yacht for a bareboat sailing adventure, your group are in charge of operating the vessel yourselves. There isn't a professional skipper or crew; you guys are completely in control of your holiday.

Sailing at your own pace with your people is a pretty incredible experience. Plus, there are some bonuses too. In this post, we share the benefits of sailing with a group of mates and some inspiration to get you planning your next group holiday.

Group sailing

Hiring a bareboat in the Whitsundays

No license is required to hire a bareboat in the Whitsunday Islands.

Taking an expensive boat out without a crew can seem a little daunting. There are measures to ensure that everyone who hires a yacht in the Whitsundays is safe and taken care of.

All bareboat charter groups undergo an extensive training session before they can take the boat out themselves. It's ideal if one or two group members have some boating knowledge, just for confidence. However, if the group lacks experience, let us know while booking so we can chat through the ways we support those new to sailing.

Learn more about the basics of bareboating and activities you can do around the Whitsundays in our Ultimate Bareboating Guide.


Bareboating whitsundays group sailing

Benefits of Group Sailing

Sailing as a group is more cost effective

Many catamarans and some monohulls can sleep up to 10 people. When you split the costs of hiring a yacht between a group per head, it often works out to be cheaper than a hotel with sea views.

Bareboat hire costs are variable, depending on the time of year, the duration and the type of boat.

See the boat suggestions below to give you cost breakdowns per head.

Manoeuvring and sailing your boat is always better with more hands on deck

While there are many moments to sit back and relax while sailing the Whitsunday on a private yacht, there are times when your group will need to pull together to move from one anchorage to the next. The more hands on deck, the better.

It’s not essential to put the sails up while bareboating. However, there are some practical tasks which need to be managed. Daily occurrences are deciding where to go, navigating, picking up moorings or dropping the anchor, preparing the boat to "sail", and radio calls back to base.

For those keen on putting the sails up, having a group to help get Her underway makes things easier and is a real thrill.

Regardless of if you sail or motor, it’s always good to allocate roles while living on a boat. Decide who the skipper is, who the first mate is and even assign specific jobs like someone on radio scheds or picking up moorings. Role allocation makes sure everything runs smoothly, and there is less room for error. We don’t want anyone saying, "but I thought you were watching where we were going”.

Mates on a boat group sailing

Share food costs and preparation time

Sharing a meal at least once a day is always a highlight of any group holiday. It’s when everyone stops and comes together to enjoy the simple pleasure of food, company and perhaps wine.

Sharing the meal preparation and cleanup workload means everyone gets to have a holiday. Some groups create a meal plan roster before their trip just to make sure 4 people don't prepare to cook bolognese every night.

It's also possible to pre-order all or some of your meals through local provisioning companies that can arrange supplies or meal packs to be delivered to your boat.

Regardless of how you decide to orchestrate your meals as a group, sharing food costs is always a bonus!

group sailing whitsundays

Share interests and adventures

Perhaps the best thing about sailing with a group is mingling with the different people in your crew. It’s always good to have a few personalities to spend time with and share interests.

You might have some crew members who love fishing adventures and head off in the dingy along the coast. At the same time, others enjoy lazing on the beach with a book or hiking through the forests. Groups mean that everyone has an adventure buddy.

Sailing as a family group with kids a similar age is a great idea. It means the kids have friends to play with, which takes the pressure off having to entertain them. Family groups who sail with kids can also share minding the kids. Did someone say the mums can go off for a day spa or dads for a round of golf?!

Avoid crowds or sailing with people you don’t know on a tour

If you join a sailing tour, you’re likely to depart from Airlie Beach and head out to the Islands with a large group to set destinations. Group tours are great if you're short on time, travelling solo or want to have a fully crewed boat; however, you're not autonomies.

When you sail as a small private group, you have the freedom to explore away from tourist crowds and at your own pace.

We often suggest that groups sail for a minimum of five nights. Extra time ensures the crew has time to go with the flow and allows for bad weather days, which usually pass quickly, but it helps to have an extra nice weather day or two up your sleeve.

Group sailing whitsundays

group sailing holiday Yachts WITH PER HEAD COSTS 

The below boats are some of our recommendations for groups. We've included price breakdown examples, to show the costs per head when booking to sail as a group.

bareboating Chantilly Group sailing
Chantilly, Lagoon 400
5 nights in June = $6,550
$1,310 per night / 8 people
$163.75 per head, per night

group sailing Sisu
Sisu, Leopard 40
5 nights in June = $7,976
1,595 per night / 10 people
$159.50 per head, per night

group sailing happy hour
Happy Hour, Leopard 44
5 nights in June = $7,810
$1,562 per night / 10 people
$156.20 per head, per night

group saiing whitsundays Kayami

Kayami, Jeanneau 44
5 nights in June = $4,156
$831 per night / 10 people
$83.10 per head, per night

group sailing whtisundays

GiGi, Beneteau 43
5 nights in June = $4,156
$831 per night / 8 people
$103 per head, per night


A group sailing holiday on a private bareboat will be a fun-filled shared adventure with in-jokes, a few sunset drinks, morning coffees and loads of fun. Get in touch to chat about how we can help your group of mates have the shared adventure of a lifetime.



Join us with your mates for a group sailing adventure in the Whitsundays

  Contact us 1800 075 000 or