When you charter a boat and sail it yourself, you’ll choose between a power boat, sailing catamarans or sailing yachts (monohulls). For those new to bareboating & living onboard for several nights, deciding which boat is right for you can be a little overwhelming.
You’ll have a fantastic experience in the Whitsundays no matter what boat you book. The Whitsundays are, after all, the best place in Australia to charter a yacht. Plus, you won’t be short of things to do and places to explore – with plenty of time for unwinding too.
But the boat you select is, after all, your home on the water. So it’s worth considering the below pointers to help plan a comfortable sailing holiday which will be one to remember.
Choosing the right boat for your sailing holiday
When deciding on the right boat to charter, ask these questions
- How many people are you sailing with and who are they?
- What type of boat do you need? A catamaran or monohull?
- What is your budget?
- Do you want to add a professional sail guide or skipper to your charter?
It’s tempting to look at each boat and focus on the details. Things like air conditioners, fridge space and water makers can seem significant. But we suggest, when making a decision, bring it down to these fundamental questions and then start weighing up the bells and whistles.
Factors to consider when booking a charter boat
Who are you taking on your sailing holiday?
Spending a week on a boat will be more comfortable when space and sleeping arrangements are considered. Will your group need more privacy? Or are you a close unit that won’t mind sharing one bathroom?
Those sailing as groups or multi-generational families will find more ease of living on a catamaran. Many larger boats have cabins with en-suits and some boat, like Chantilly and Point of Sail, have incredibly spacious and luxurious “owner’s cabins”.
Pay attention to a boat’s bed configuration, berths and heads. Kids, for example, can fit in the smaller forepeak bunks on boats like It’s All About Me. Other vessels, such as the Kayamai or Lady Lynne, have fold-out couches, great for those on a budget or with minors.
If you’re planning a romantic getaway with your significant other, you may find a smaller cosy monohull like Summer Breeze is ideal. It will also be much more cost-effective.
What type of boat do you need? A catamaran or monohull?
Many people wonder if they should book a catamaran or a monohull.
Simply put, a catamaran has more space, and a monohull is easier to maneuver underway with a more robust sailing performance. Monohulls tilt (heel) to one side and sail closer to the wind.
Whereas a catamaran has more stability when moving and at anchor. They are broader than monohulls and often have several living spaces with outdoor cockpits seamlessly opening to the large indoor saloon. Cats also have bigger refrigeration and freezer room and are easier to cook in when underway.
If you spend a week on the boat, the need for space and privacy will be magnified. So when deciding on what boat is suitable for your group, make space a priority.
If sailing is a little daunting for your first time, all boats in our fleet, monohulls or catamarans, can be maneuvered by a motor.
Those who want to learn about sailing while on their charter will find this resource helpful: Preparing a crew of beginner sailors.
What are the boat’s specs?
With the type of boat decided, you may want to look at some of the living details. Consider fuel and water capacity, the size of the kitchen and equipment such as a microwave and the bed access and configurations. Extras like a BBQ, outdoor fridge and aircon are also worth noting.
Each boat in our fleet has a page which lists all of its specific details. Simply look up the boat you want to hire and scroll down the page to see what it comes with.
How much are you willing to spend on your charter boat?
As with most things, price is a major deciding factor when determining which charter boat is right for you.
As a general rule, catamarans are more expensive to hire than monohulls. Size, quality, features, and amenities all play a role.
When you charter as a group, it reduces the per-head costs. Those in a group looking for a bargain can find a monohull with a cabin configuration similar to some catamarans; take Gi Gi, for example.
You can use the form on our website to get an idea of price. Just put some dates in, and available boats with quotes will come up. It’s worth noting that with Whitsunday Rent a Yacht, the longer you charter, the cheaper the nightly rate.
Aside from the type of boat, other factors, such as seasons, contribute to boat hire costs. You can learn more about them here: What does it cost to charter a boat in the Whitsundays?
Do you need support to charter a boat & can your boat accommodate a professional crew?
Booking a charter boat as a bareboat hire can feel daunting. For those unsure about their arability to handle a boat, there are options to add a sail guide; in some cases, larger vessels can have a skippered service.
Sail guides and skippers will need a private cabin and their meals provided.
A sail guide is there to show you how to manoeuvre and operate your boat. They can stay on your charter for as little or as long as you like. Some people book a guide for one night, while others choose to have one for the duration of their charter.
A skippered service is provided on high-end boats like Point of Sail, our Leopard 50. Point of Sail has four cabins with private en-suites as well as a self-contained crew cabin. Rather than showing you and your crew how to operate the vessel, the skipper takes responsibility for the boat.
Booking a charter boat and sailing the Whitsundays at your own pace is a dream holiday. Once you choose your crew and boat, the only deciding factor is where you will go – and trust us, you won’t be short of choices. Once you’ve chartered a boat and got a feel for it, you’ll probably book a bigger boat next time!