Sailing Holidays – Best Sailing Holiday Options

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A laser sailing holiday is an adventure-filled activity that can be shared with the entire family. But before we explore several different holiday programs and packages available, let’s take a closer look at the different types of sailing holidays in general.

We have chosen to look at a total of nine basic types sailing holidays. Depending on where you live in the world and what individual operators offer, there may be subtle variations to several of them.

Types of Sailing Holidays

Bareboat Charter

The bareboat concept is where you hire a yacht minus the crew. In other words, you are renting a bare boat. It should include all equipment required and a bareboat charter is geared towards experienced and qualified sailors.

If you can handle a boat, trip planning and hold an ICC and RYA Day Skipper Certificate, you are set. An RYA Coastal Skipper Certificate would be better and depending on the vessel, you may require additional certifications. This can all be determined when you book the rental.

There are many great charter companies around. For example, check out https://plainsailing.com/ that offers bareboat and skippered options.

Cabin Charter

This option is more geared towards the less experienced sailor. Essentially you are booking space for yourself or a party of individuals to occupy one or more berths in a multi-berth yacht.

Small vessels can generally sleep 5 and others can sleep 10 or more.Don’t expect a private cabin and be prepared to be in close quarters with someone else you may not know.

Crewed/Skippered Charter

This is another option that is designed to provide a sailing holiday to those who are not experienced or do not feel comfortable with a bareboat charter arrangement. As the name implies, you would be hiring a boat complete with a qualified skipper or complete crew.

Cultural/Cuisine Based Sailing Holiday

The name suggests the general theme of these sailing holidays. A cultural one includes an itinerary that features stops at various historic sites with sailing as the mode of transportation between locations.

A cuisine holiday features stops at different locations to taste different styles of food with sailing as the transportation between stops.

Family Dingy Regatta Week

This family-friendly holiday event is targeted at dinghy sailors and feature races for children and adults. For the less serious in your family, there are non-competitive variations. Social events are also including which can range from barbecues to evening discos.

There are also places where yacht and dinghy events are combined bringing together different racing and sailing experience levels.

Flotilla

This type of sailing is relaxed and allows sailors with some experience the opportunity to sail their own vessel by day and access to a group of experienced sailors nearby for support if something comes up.

There will be a pre-arranged itinerary which will include everything from scheduled overnight anchorages and a route that will be an easy pace to enjoy.

You can take your whole family on this adventure with each participant traveling at their own speed within their level of experience and still meet up together by the end of each day.

Sailing School Course

Think of this as a summer camp where you can holiday for a week and earn a RYA Day Skipper or Coastal Skipper certification at the end. There are sailing schools that focus on yachts with others aimed at dinghies.

These courses of varying length can be found all over the world, with many designed for children to introduce them to sailing. Others are for adults wishing to learn the sport of sailing as a hobby or for competitive pursuits.

Boy on Sailing Holiday

Shore Based Dinghy/Windsurf Holiday Clubs

Amateur sailors, ranging right up to the more experienced looking for a bit of fun on the water, are the perfect fit for these types of holidays.

Essentially you have access to all the equipment you need and assistance to get on the water. There are also training courses you can take with the selection available when you first book your holiday.

What makes these an attractive option is that if there are members of your family who do not sail or have no interest in it, being on shore allows them the ability to participate in other activities ranging from sightseeing and shopping to just soaking up the sun on the beach.

Yacht Regatta Events

This is specifically for the experienced yacht racer. You or a group can charter a vessel for your own use or you can get in on the action by becoming a crew member for someone else.

These race events are for the more serious and are not so much for the casual sailor. They can range from day sailing up to multi-day events.

Sailing Holiday Sites and Destinations

Whether you are after:

  • a laser sailing holiday,
  • a holiday windsurfing, kiteboarding or sailing on any other type of dinghy, catamaran or yacht, or
  • a holiday where you can simply enjoy spending time in or around the water...

there are many different options available around the world that can cater to your specific requirements.

Many of the examples below are in idyllic locations. Many also have packages with varying inclusions, meaning that you don't have to worry about organizing accommodation, transfers, meals, flights, etc.

Whether you are a master sailor or a total beginner, there are different options available to suit all levels and requirements. And it's not just for laser sailors - many destinations have a range of boats that you can try.

Have a look and you may just be inspired to add one of these destinations to your wish-list for your next holiday.

Here is a review of some of the better sailing holiday sites worth considering for your next sailing vacation:

Minorca Sailing

Varied and flexible are words used to describe the program design at Minorca Sailing. They have several options available for the entire family.

The sailing program is organized and structured starting with morning group tuition followed by continued afternoon instruction with daily racing opportunities.

Depending on the weather conditions your day may be filled with sailing, learning new skills or perfecting existing skills. Qualified instruction can result in RYA certification from Basic Skills level to Performance Sailing. Certificates and log books are an additional cost on top of the included tuition.

Sailing Programs

Minorca Sailing features learn to sail programs for beginners, improvers and advanced. You can also opt for something called The Gentle Option where you get to sail around with a qualified instructor doing all the hard work.

The dinghies available for use include:

  • Laser
  • RS Aero
  • Optimist
  • RS Tera
  • D-Zeros
  • Pico, plus others.

There are also asymmetrics including:

  • RS Vareo
  • RS 200
  • RS 400
  • RS 500
  • RS 800s
  • Laser 2000
  • 29er, plus others.

Your programs include instruction plus video training.

Accommodations/Rates

You’ll be staying in self-catering villas or apartments or in the Hotel Port Fornells which is a bed and breakfast location. All sites are conveniently located near restaurants, shopping, and moorings. You can dine out or stay in with many villas containing built-in BBQs for your use.

Different packages are available depending on your preference but can include all tuition, accommodation, flights, and transfers. Prices fluctuate depending on the time of year.

For more information on Minorca Sailing, click here.

SailLaser Lake Garda

SailLaser Lake Garda features dinghies you can hire or charter for events or regattas along with courses and camps. Dinghies available include the Optimist SailQube, Club420, Laser Pico, Laser Bahia, Laser Vago, Laser (4.7, Radial, and Standard).

SailLaser is a great place to holiday to participate in a sailing course or camp. It is also a great option if you are looking to participate in a regatta and use a boat that is not your own.

Charters

The Lasers used here are all 2015 hulls with XD spec rigging. You can charter anything on the site in order to participate in any scheduled event. Special arrangements can be made for events not already on the SailLaser calendar.

Charter rates are quoted at €85 per day including VAT.

Sailing Programs, Coaching and Courses

Children between the ages of 8 and 15 years will find SailLaser has a comprehensive selection of youth sailing courses and camps. They typically run between two and five days in duration and include a well-balanced mix of on and off water activities to keep participants interested and engaged.

The courses in the curriculum compose of four stages with all of them costing €280 each. Each stage comprises of a 2 day of sailing course, with theory lessons, and double water session (morning and afternoon), with wetsuit, boots, spray top and lifejacket included:

  • Stage 1 is a basic beginner course where launching, recovery, steering, basic boat part knowledge, and basic sailing are taught.
  • Stage 2 is designed as a follow-up course.Basic sailing skills, rope work, and collision avoidance make up the additional layers of this course level.
  • Stage 3 moves into being able to launch and sail a dinghy on a triangle course in moderate conditions.
  • Stage 4 adds launching and returning and sailing with a crew in a triangle.

On top of this, they will soon have available foiling courses for the new F101. So make sure that you keep an eye out for that!

SailLaser will organize adult sailing courses with any type of boat in their fleet. They will also organize Laser coaching, a special sailing training for specific regatta preparation.

As you can see, they want to provide you with the best experience possible. Just ask for more information.

Accommodation/Boats

SailLaser is based out of 2 locations...  Torbole sul Garda and Campione del Garda, They are mainly based in Torbole, but can also organize activities in Campione del Garda.

Torbole does not have any accommodation but is a well-known sailing club in Italy. It is located at the northern end of Lake Guarda.

Based in Campione del Garda, Univela hostel is known as the Olympic training center for the Italian Sailing Federation. It is designed and built for sailing and includes on-site accommodation, classrooms, changing rooms, a drying room and a restaurant. Individuals and groups welcome.

As mentioned above, the boats used on-site include but are not limited to Optimist SailQube, Club420 and a variety of Laser dinghies.

SailLaser features all-inclusive holiday packages ranging from dinghy sailing to regatta event participation to rentals for leisure. Rates are available upon request. For more information on SailLaser Lake Garda, click here.

SailLaser Lake Garda

Neilson

The network of locations you can access through Neilson is very impressive. You can book a wide range of holidays at one of nine different beach clubs in Sardinia, Croatia, and Greece. Some of these facilities are also RYA training centers featuring courses for all sailing levels.

Sailing Programs

With regards to dinghy sailing, the beach club holiday centers offer inclusive tuitions on various sailing course levels including Beginner, Intermediate and Sailing Clinics, and Racing. Windsurfing is also featured at one of the beach club locations.

Children eight and younger can participate with a parent or guardian while those nine and older can join adult courses.

The Hot Shots program is designed specifically for young sailors and is an add-on costing £195 for one week and £390 for two weeks. The progressive course structure builds upon each previous level making learning to sail fun and interesting with in and out water elements.

Accommodation/Boats

In addition to sail and stay style holidays, you can book flotillas, skippered flotillas as well as bareboat holidays. The beach clubs offer beachfront locations close to nearby villages where shopping and dining are available to enhance your sailing holiday.

Vessels used include Hartley (10, 12, Supernova and Wayfarer), Laser (1, 2000, Bahia, Dart 16, Pico, SB3 and Vago), RS (16 Catamaran, 100, 200, 500, 800 and Feva) and Topper (Argo, Omega, Topaz 14CX, Topaz 16CX and Vibes).

Rates

Neilson features regular inclusive package ‘deals’ on their beach club sites. They are based on occupancy by 2 adults and range from

You can also enter the dates of your stay for a quote.

For more information on Neilson, click here.

Wildwind

Greece and Mauritius are the destinations offered for sailing holidays through this company. With over 30 years experience in the sailing holiday industry, Wildwind is considered one of the top choices of experienced sailors around the world.

Sailing Program

RYA certified instructors provide the course training that is designed for all skill levels ranging from novice to advanced sailors. The programs include a well-balanced approach mixing in water and out water instruction to build and enhance your sailing skills.

Accommodation/Boats

Hotel style accommodations are located either on or near the beach which provides instant access to sailing instruction and practice time. There are also several social activities incorporated into the holiday ranging from beach BBQs to music filling cocktail evening activities.

The sailing fleet is comprehensive and extensive. Wildwind states they have over 70 boats waiting on shore for you to use and they include Catamarans (Hobies, Tornado), Dinghies (RSs, Lasers, 29er, 49er) and Keel Boats (Laser SB3). You are sure to find the right boat for your experience level each day.

Rates

Prices differ depending on the time of year. For Wildwind sailing packages, prices (based on 2 people sharing a room) range from:

  • £845 for 7 nights /£1075 for 14 nights, to
  • £1275 for 7 nights / £1725 for 14 nights.

There are additional offers available and can be discussed at the time of booking. There are also several add-ons.

For more information on Wildwind, click here.

Key Lime Sailing Club

This sailing club provides rentals, sailboat use for in-house guests (at no additional charge) and cottages for stay and sail style vacations. You don’t even have to be a sailor to enjoy social activities and sightseeing on board a skippered vessel touring the region.

Sailing Program

The sailing club is home to the American Sailing Academy which is staffed by qualified instructors. Courses include basic, intermediate and advanced levels where you will learn all the skills required to confidently operate a boat safely on your own.

Accommodation/Boats

There are several cottages and a house on site with nightly rentals ranging from $175 to $375 USD. The cottages are different sizes with sleeping space ranging between 2 and 8 people. There are also various package deals available with special rates.

The vessels available for use include a custom 40-foot Catamaran with a built-in water slide and 22-foot Catalinas so you should be able to find exactly what you need. In-house guests get to use the sailboats for free, otherwise, they can be hired out for $250/day.

For more information on Key Lime Sailing Club, click here.

Bitter End Yacht Club

The Bitter End Yacht Club is located in the picture-perfect location of Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. With average temperatures from between 26°C / 79°F to 31°C / 87°F, it's an ideal climate for hitting the water at any time of year.

The club fleet numbers over 100 vessels and you have access to them when you book a 7-night stay.

In addition to sailing, this venue includes a number of activities to keep everyone in your family or group entertained. Walking, hiking, snorkeling, sailing course, sunset cruises and parties are all on the program.

Sailing Program

Qualified instructors provide the training required in an Introduction to Sailing Course. The goal is to prepare novices to experienced sailors with the knowledge they need to safely sail in and around this Caribbean getaway holiday destination.

There are also many other programs and certifications on offer, including Basic Keelboat Certification, and intermediate and advanced programs. For more information on the different options, click here.

Accommodations/Boats

Duplex cottages are divided into 3 types of rooms – Reef, Horizon, and Garden Rooms. Different sizes come at different rates with rates available at the time of booking. Many have spectacular views.

As mentioned, the facility has over 100 boats available, including Lasers, Hobies, Optimist Dinghies, Kayaks, stand-up Paddle Boards and racing Yachts.

For more information on Bitter End Yacht Club, click here.

Where To For Your Next Laser Sailing Holiday?

Laser Sailing Holidays

As you can see, there are a number of ways to enjoy your sailing hobby while on holiday with these sailing destinations. You will find they are flexible enough to accommodate everyone, even the non-sailor in your family or group. Remember to clarify what is and is not included when you book your dates.

An easy and sensible way to keep on track with you laser sailing holidays is to have a checklist handy with questions you can ask when making arrangements. This way you will remove a lot of the guesswork and you can fill in the details not found on the websites.

For many people (myself included) that enjoy sailing, we have been on holidays and been disappointed in the options available when wanting to go out for a casual sail. Quite often the boats at beachfront locations are:

  • really poor quality,
  • in such demand that you can't have a good go,
  • so limited in range (often they just have 2 or 3 catamarans for the whole resort)
  • so expensive to hire and cost a fortune on top of your already high prices that you have already paid.

Holiday destinations have come a long way, and these options listed above are some good examples of how the resorts are trying hard to turn things around and cater well for the tourists. It's good to see that some places have a wide range of boats that you can use.

There are many more great destinations out there. A lot of people don't realize that some resorts and clubs have facilities like this. So I urge you to look into these destinations above, as well as look further abroad to make sure that wherever you stay next has some good sailing equipment for you to use.

Whether or not you are a laser sailor, there are some great packages and destinations available. So if you are keen to experience something different, or just to get away and spend some time relaxing on the water, why not consider a sailing holiday for your next getaway.

Have you been on a sailing holiday? Was your holiday specifically booked with sailing in mind? Where did you go? How was it? Please share in the comments section below...

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