Home Travel Desperate for sun and sea? Here experts reveal how YOU can charter a superyacht… for just £17 a day

Desperate for sun and sea? Here experts reveal how YOU can charter a superyacht… for just £17 a day

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View of the port of Korcula town, on the east coast of Korcula island in Croatia

Chartering a yacht is like being given the keys to a floating kingdom. Step aboard and the sea is yours, drop anchor and dive into the cool, crystal-clear waters or discover a hidden cove and perfect taverna in a small harbour with no road access. It’s no wonder celebrities and the ultra-rich love yachting.

But don’t tell them: Renting one doesn’t have to cost a fortune anymore. Today, there are plenty of websites and apps that allow boat owners to rent out their yachts and speedboats (much like booking an Airbnb), eliminating the need to go through rental companies, which can add thousands of dollars to the cost of each booking.

You can rent them by the hour, by the day or, if you want to spend a holiday, get a yacht with cabins, which will allow you to sail along the coast for about a week.

In the Mediterranean, this freedom will cost much less than a luxury villa, even during school holidays, and on some yachts, especially catamarans, the accommodations are spacious and glamorous, with en-suite bathrooms and lounges.

Here’s our ultimate guide to chartering a yacht on a budget – from just £17 per person per day.

View of the port of Korcula town, on the east coast of Korcula island in Croatia

SKIPPER, COOK AND SERVICE OPTIONS

Getting the best deals requires some thought. First, you’ll need to decide whether you want a skipper or not. Bareboat charters are often called bareboat charters and are always cheaper. If you don’t want to pay for a skipper, one of you will need a licence before you can rent a boat, although some countries, such as France and Australia, will allow you to rent smaller boats (usually up to 5m) without a licence.

“A five-day course costs around £1,000 and will get you a catamaran charter for around £500,000, so it could be a worthwhile investment,” says Adi Tognarelli of plainsailing.com. He did his in Scotland, “but it would have been warmer in the Canary Islands and it costs about the same.”

If you don’t have a licence, you can opt for a skippered boat. In Europe, this will add up to £80-£200 a day. The skipper will be responsible for arranging moorings and ensuring there is enough fuel, and will usually accompany guests to meals.

Tourists can choose to add crew members, including skippers or even a private chef.

Tourists can choose to add crew members, including skippers or even a private chef.

“Having a skipper allows guests to relax and enjoy their yachting holiday,” says Boataffair’s Adrian Walker. “Plus, the captain is available at all times and can show them all those secluded beaches and wonderful little restaurants that make a sailing trip so perfect.”

Hire another crew member (£80-£200 a day) and they’ll do all the cooking and washing up. And if you want the full superyacht experience, you can keep adding crew, including private chefs, as long as your boat has room.

EXTRA COSTS

Keep an eye on costs. Aside from the crew, mooring fees at the port where you drop anchor for the night vary wildly. If you’re heading to Capri in Italy, mooring a 35ft (10m) boat will set you back a cool £110 a night, but in equally posh Cannes it’ll only cost you £16. Check where water toys are included, too, and where they’re an extra cost. A good budget should include all the included items (charter fee, VAT, other expenses, water toys, crew gratuity). Every Below Deck fan knows that gratuities are an important part of the crewed yacht experience.

CHOOSE A DESTINATION

Greece is a good choice even though people like Jeff Bezos and his partner Lauren Sanchez brought their yacht to Mykonos last week. So is Croatia. Both destinations offer gentle waves and great snorkelling and swimming spots. Prices drop in September, but the water is still warm. Scandinavia offers plenty of peace and quiet. France is generally a good value option.

And one last tip: download the MarineTraffic app before you set off. It will let you know how many other yachts are sharing the same stretch of sea or ocean and, best of all, how much they charge for a week’s charter, leaving you feeling proud of how much you’ve saved.

A view of Hvar, Croatia, which is a great spot in September as prices drop but the water stays warm, perfect for snorkelling and swimming.

A view of Hvar, Croatia, which is a great spot in September as prices drop but the water stays warm, perfect for snorkelling and swimming.

FIND THE RIGHT COMPANY

Click and browse

Founded in 2013 in France, it is the largest platform for the British and European market, although it covers more than 160 countries with more than 50,000 boats, including electric boats and jet skis. The search engine is one of the best: you can filter by location and year of the boat.

Example package: A Dufour 460 for 10 people, moored in Mandalina Marina, Croatia, starts from £170 per day (or £17 per person), excluding a skipper.

The interior of a Click&Boat rental boat, furnished with sofas and modern kitchen facilities.

The interior of a Click&Boat rental boat, furnished with sofas and modern kitchen facilities.

Borrow a boat

This website, which was set up in the UK in 2017, features over 50,000 boats in 65 different countries. The website is very well maintained, with plenty of filters and the add-ons it can offer, including optional airport transfers and concierge services. These can add to the cost, but they provide the feel of a superyacht for much less than the ultra-rich are used to paying.

Example package: A Lagoon 42 catamaran based in Bormes-les-Mimosas, France, sleeping ten, costs from £5,435 per week.

Sam’s boat

This French-owned website allows you to search for boats that do not require a license and the countries in which it is applicable. If you can be flexible, this website often offers good last-minute discounts.

Example package: A Lagoon 42, docked in Fethiye, Turkey, sleeping 10, starts at £423 per day, excluding a captain.

A comfortable bedroom on board the 13m Lagoon 42 boat, which can be rented for a few days or weeks.

A comfortable bedroom on board the 13m Lagoon 42 boat, which can be rented for a few days or weeks.

Get my boat

The playful name is a clue that this company is American. You can find everything from jet skis and hoverboards to slow-moving pontoon boats and motorless vessels, including kayaks, all from owners who don’t want expensive equipment collecting dust. Especially good for day cruises.

Sample package: A day cruise in Mykonos on a Bahia Fountaine Pajot catamaran costs £1,482 for up to 20 people, including a skipper.

Getmyboat offers everything from jet skis and hoverboards to slow-moving water pontoons and non-motorized boats, including kayaks.

Getmyboat offers everything from jet skis and hoverboards to slow-moving water pontoons and non-motorized boats, including kayaks.

Uber boat

If you’re looking for a way to book a boat and skipper that’s literally as easy as ordering an Uber, the company is expanding its boat offering. In Greece, Athens, Corfu and Santorini there will be Uber boats to take people to beach clubs, coves and beaches. A limousine boat will go to more than 200 pick-up and drop-off points in the Venetian lagoon. Seating six people, it will cost between €120-€150/£100-£121 per trip. Meanwhile, Ibiza will have a Sunseeker yacht for €1,600/£1,353 a day, including limousine pickups, a skipper, food and drink baskets and Uber gift bags, for up to eight people.

Ship Affair

Founded by British-Swiss couple Adrian and Natalya Philips in 2017, this company only deals in skippered and crewed boats, but you’re still likely to pay a lot less than if you used one of the fancy yacht brokerage firms.

Package example: A Lagoon 50 catamaran with two crew and space for 10 guests from Athens costs £12,000 in September.

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