What is bareboat charter?
Anyone who has a sailing-license can rent a boat and sail it by him- or herself, i.e. without the assistance of a professional crew. This is called 'bareboat charter'.
The 'lightest' license, e.g. a RYA coastal skipper certificate, is sufficient.
A charter contract runs per week, usually from Saturday afternoon until the next Saturday morning. Please click here for an example of a charter contract.
Bareboats are available between 28 en 54 feet. On every boat you will find a standard deck equipment (mooring-lines, anchor, sails, winches, etc.), navigational devices (charts, compass, GPS, binoculars, etc.), safety and galley equipment.
Because no boat is exactly the same, the charter company will provide for a technical check-in before you leave. A professional staff will go through the inventory with you and explain you all the mechanics on board. At your return at the base, the yacht will be checked-out, i.e. the yacht and its inventory will be checked to make sure nothing is lost or damaged.
If you rent a bareboat, the yacht is under your own responsibility. Therefore you will have to pay a deposit to the charter company, which they will refund at the end of your trip, when no damage has been caused by you on the yacht. Depending on the company, the deposit is between 1500 en 2000 euro. Nowadays more and more charter companies offer deposit-insurance. Instead of paying the full deposit, you pay once an amount equal to a certain percentage of the weekly rental cost of the boat, which reduces the deposit considerably.
You have to keep in mind, that the price you are paying for the bareboat is a 'bare' price, i.e., you will have to take some extra costs into account. These are the so-called 'options'. What is included as standard in the price and what is considered an option, varies a lot according to the charter company. Examples are autopilot, outboard engine, sheets and towels, spinnaker, airport transfers, custom fees. Always check carefully what you still have to add up to the weekly rental price.
Some companies offer the possibility of a 'one-way'. For an extra fee, depending on the destination, you can start or end your trip at a base different from the home-base. This has the advantage that you can visit more places, and allows you to choose an up- wind or a down-wind track.