Try these sailing vacations, perfect for first-time sailors, and discover why vacations (and life!) are sometimes better by boat.
If you think summer is over – think again! Fall is the perfect time to book a sailing vacation. Crowds are gone. The water is still warm. Prices are low. Sea captains have empty weeks to fill. And the vibe is super chill as busy season is over.
Sailing vacations are a relaxed alternate reality; a watery micro-universe that melts away stress. There are no TVs. No pools of screaming children. No reminders of what you needed to get away from. Just sunsets. Cocktails. Incredible vistas. And the gentle rocking of the sea as the water’s negative ions work their magic on your soul.
But what if its your first sailing vacation?
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you go:
Book a catamaran. Rather than a tippy sailboat, catamarans are like floating living rooms with lots of space and a front trampoline area that can be converted into a comfy lounge area with pillows. And you can place your cocktail or wine glass on the table without fear of it spilling.
Choose your destination well. Protected harbors, deep water, and short half-day sails between islands (that are within sight) make for easy navigation. Archipelagos are often ideal and offer a variety of itineraries within short sailing distances.
Time it right. Book too early in the season in the Mediterranean and the water can be icy cold. Or you risk high wind and choppy water in the Caribbean during hurricane season. Take heed of the seasons for wind and temperatures and plan well.
Bring a boat captain. Or hire one! Make sailing easy by having at least one seasoned captain on board who knows how to sail the boat you’re on. And who understands where to be when on the water. Antlos.com is a great resource for independent sea captains and boat charters.
Tempted to turn on your vacation email responder and sail away? Then try one of these 5 amazing destinations that are perfect for beginner sailors.
1. Sardinia, Italy
There are two sides to sailing in Sardinia. Pure glitz. And au natural. It’s your choice. You can either go fancy pants à la Costa Smeralda in a rhinestone bikini and rub elbows with the who’s who of Milan. Or venture almost anywhere else on the island and drop your jaw in awe of its stunning sea cliffs and white sand beaches that plunge into the turquoise sea. Sardinia’s Maddalena Archipelago National Park is a first-time sailor paradise with seven (almost) uninhabited islands. But then if you want to mix amongst the posh locals, sail south east and dinghy in to the legendary Cala di Volpe where you’ll feel like a rock star. And might even see one.
2. Hvar, Croatia
Part of the Dalmatian archipelago in the Adriatic Sea, Hvar is a sailor’s delight. Almost always sunny, it’s a hotspot for both the swank yachting scene and for those looking for a private getaway tucked in isolated coves and the gorgeous but relaxed port town of Stari Grad. While most sailors prefer to stay along the coast, Hvar’s interior is worth a trip off the boat to experience the blooming lilac and lavender fields bursting with color and scents.
3. Ponza, Italy
Just a few hours from Rome, Ponza is a gorgeous unpretentious island. It has a fun and happening port town lined with outdoor restaurants and bars where you can dance all night. Stunning not-to-miss highlights while cruising Ponza’s dramatic bays and points are: Cala Chiaia di Luna, Cala di Feola, Cala dell’ Aqua, and the famous Roman pools. Other perks are the Italian sea captains/gourmet chefs like Mauro Boccitto. You will eat better on his catamaran Che Vaja Bien than in many restaurants in Rome!
4. British Virgin Islands, Caribbean
Protected tranquil turquoise waters make the British Virgin Islands a top destination for first-time sailors. Located in the Sir Francis Drake Channel in the northeast Caribbean these islands are full of idyllic sailing conditions. Not to mention the famous beach bars on white sand beaches along with the occasional uninhabited island to explore. Classic stops include: Jost Van Dyke’s Soggy Dollar Bar, Peter Island, Norman island, and “The Baths” which are often described as the Eight Wonder of the World.
5. Phuket, Thailand
Exotic and stunning, Phuket has been a longtime favorite of travelers for decades. But sailing takes your Thai experience to an entirely new level. On the Andaman Sea, Phuket is surrounded by incredibly lush islands, some of the most famous being: Phi Phi, Raya, and the Similans. Get your scuba certification because Phuket and its surrounding islands have world-class diving. Not to mention a delicious blend of Thai, Chinese and Malay local dishes that no doubt will spice up your trip.
So, dive in and start living your endless summer by sailing away into fall with one of these amazing watery dream destinations perfect for first-time sailors!
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Exotic asian ship, Stunning beach with white sand, Ponza Island, Famous Hvar yachting waterfront, Porto della Madonna, Silhouettes of children diving from the bow of a boat images via Shutterstock