Flotilla Sailing Holiday - Whitsunday Rent a Yacht

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How a Flotilla Sailing Holiday gives you the Freedom to Explore

Take your adventure up a notch and go beyond the Whitsunday Islands to the Great Barrier Reef on a flotilla sailing holiday.

Whitsunday Rent a Yacht is the only charter company in the Whitsundays which offers flotilla sailing holidays. So many people dream of ‘cruising’ the Coral Coast and visiting the outer Great Barrier Reef, this is your chance to live that dream with the freedom to explore this spectacular part of the world.

What is Flotilla Sailing?

In flotilla sailing, you sail as a part of a group of boats. One of the boats is a designated lead boat with a highly skilled skipper who is there to lend a hand and help with navigating further afield. Flotillas are perfect for people who do not want to charter without the support of a guide.

Experienced sailors will also benefit from joining one of our flotilla groups. The sailing route goes beyond the boundaries set for regular bareboat charterers to more adventurous locations such as the outer reef and Cape Gloucester. 

You can opt to sail as a bareboat charter within the group or to sail on a boat which is also skippered.

How a Flotilla Works

Our flotilla sailing groups have a pre-departure route planned.  Daily navigation and activity updates occur regularly with the lead vessel as well as being able to call on support and open channel radio communications with your leading skipper at all times. Sailing in company with other chartered bareboats will give you the confidence of knowing that you are guided by an experienced Master Mariner.

You will be visiting spectacular North Coast Anchorages, remote coastal resorts and snorkelling on the outer Great Barrier Reef; all areas you would not be able to access on a private bareboat charter outside of a flotilla group.


Flotilla sailing holiday

Common questions we get asked about our flotilla sailing holidays

What are the differences between a regular bareboat charter & a flotilla?

​Bareboating in the Whitsundays is a unique type of holidaying experience.  You choose a vessel size and type most suitable for your group and skipper it yourself around the designated Whitsunday cruising area.

Flotillas are similar in a way, only we allow you to charter further than a regular bareboat holiday.  You will charter with fellow like-minded sailors through the Whitsundays and to the outer Great Barrier Ree​f.

Why should I do a flotilla instead of a regular bareboat charter?

For some charterers, exploring the Whitsundays on their own can seem daunting.   Joining a flotilla takes this facet out of your holiday utilising the experience of the lead vessels skipper to guide and assist with the navigation, ensuring you have a stress free holiday. 

If you're an experienced sailor, joining a flotilla holiday group is a fantastic way to explore areas you would not usually have access to.  You can up your adventure depending on your experience level. In fact, you can pretty much go where you like as long as you meet the group at the designated overnight moring.

What is the experience requirements needed to attend?

Each vessel requires one person onboard that has at least ten days or 200 NM as a skipper on an equivalent sized yacht or an RYA Day Skipper certificate.

However, if you are not yet confident or experienced the alternative to do is hire a sail guide to embark on this journey with you.  They can do as little or as much sailing required by you, they will be there to assist with anything you need as a second mate.

Will there be any free time during the flotilla?

​Yes, at each stop you will have the freedom to explore the anchorage on your own or as a group.

Will there be social activities?

Yes, there are plenty of opportunities to socialise when you are a part of a flotilla.  Mealtimes and the time you take to explore can be done with other flotilla sailors. Our schedule also includes welcome drinks and dining ashore at Cape Gloucester.​

Do we need to hire the whole boat?​​​

We have two options available for flotillas; you can sail by the cabin or hire the whole vessel.  Sailing by the cabin is ideal for the guests who are travelling on their own or who want to journey aboard the lead vessel, with nothing to think about except enjoying the experience.

The whole boat option is available to those who have the required amount of experience and need to accommodate a larger amount of people.  If you do not have the required amount of experience but still need the space of a larger vessel you may hire a sail guide.

Your Whitsundays Flotilla Itinerary

We have crafted our itinerary to be a mix of adventure, exploration, sailing opportunities and relaxation.

Day One: Check-in briefing & welcome party

Arrive mid-afternoon at The Whitsunday Rent a Yacht base in Shute Harbour. You will be greeted by your flotilla leader and shown aboard your vessel where you will be given time to familiarise yourself.

Later that afternoon we will begin the welcome party, this is where you will meet your fellow sailors & our lead vessel operator will go through a brief of the itinerary.

The rest of the evening can be spent socialising and enjoying the start of your fantastic new sailing adventure.


Flotilla sailing whitsundays


Day Two: Hook Island Northern Bays

You will wake up to the beauty of Shute Harbour and enjoy your first breakfast aboard your vessel. A briefing will follow which covers how to safely operate your vessel. You will then prepare to set sail through to the Whitsunday Islands and arrive at your first night's anchorage, Hook Island.

The northern bays of Hook Island are perfect for swimming & snorkelling around the fringing reefs. You may even want to get out your kayaks and stand up paddleboards. (Available to hire).

Day Three: Hook Reef (outer Great Barrier Reef)

After exploring the fringing reefs of Hook Island the group will venture to our next night’s anchorage, the outer Great Barrier Reef. We will spend the night near the Hook Reef which is pristine with amazing coral. That evening you can cross a dream off your bucket list, spending a night on The Reef and waking up to explore one of the wonders of the world.

Day Four: Cape Gloucester via Gloucester Passage 

In the morning we will move through Gloucester passage heading towards our next stop, Cape Gloucester.  We will drop anchor so sailors can take the tender ashore and enjoy an afternoon and evening meal at the relaxing Cape Gloucester Resort in Hydeaway Bay.

Day Five: Cape Gloucester & Gloucester Island

We will enjoy a full day exploring Gloucester Island and everyone is given the chance to soak up some free time.

Day Six: Gloucester Island to Double Bay

We sail across to explore Double Bay which is often calm and perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding and even fishing.


Flotilla sailing


Day Seven: Double Bay to Shute Harbour 

Once we have returned to Shute Harbour we will disembark and make sure you are all able to return to your accommodation easily.

For those catching flights or with travel plans to consider, we offer the opportunity to sleep aboard on your charter yacht at Shute Harbour while it is docked at our pier. This can be a great way to save on accommodation costs and to also enjoy unwinding from your trip at stunning Shute Harbour.


Flotilla sailing map


Thousands of adventurers have chartered the magnificent Whitsunday Islands, but not many people have the opportunity to take a charter further afield. Join one of our flotilla sailing groups and be amongst the first bareboat charterers to venture out to the Great Barrier Reef and explore rarely visited locations in this special part of the world.





Join us in the Whitsundays and experience the adventure of a flotilla sailing holiday

Contact us 1800 075 000 or sales@rentayacht.com.au