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Family Sailing & Yachting Holiday Guide


About Sailing & Yachting Holidays - Holiday Companies
Family Sailing & Yachting Holidays

Family sailing holidays are the ultimate 'get away from it all' holiday. Experienced sailors can charter their own boat and enjoy the freedom of sailing when and where they choose. Those with less experience can learn to sail on holiday and gain a sailing qualification at the end of the week. There are many other options available such as chartering a skippered yacht or sailing as part of a flotilla. Children will enjoy helping out with crewing the yacht, messing around in dinghies, jumping off the boat, snorkelling, fishing and exploring beaches. There are many wonderful sailing areas to choose from so that you can find the right level of sailing for your family.

Types of Sailing & Yachting Holidays

There are 4 main types of sailing holiday:

> Independent Yacht Charters are available for experienced sailors with a skippers licence who wish to charter a boat for their holiday. With a bareboat yacht charter, you are taking over sole responsibility for the boat including skippering and crewing the boat. You are free to sail at your own pace following your own choice of route.
> Flotilla Sailing Holidays where you skipper your own yacht as part of a flotilla along a predefined route. You can make your way to the evening destination at your own pace stopping where you like along the way, but the lead boat will never be far away should you need the support. Flotillas are a very sociable form of sailing and provide the chance to meet up with other families at your destination each day.
> Skippered Yacht Charters include the services of an experienced skipper for the duration of the charter. Usually, the skipper will need to sleep on the boat, so you will need to charter a boat large enough to provide a cabin for the skipper too. Some companies offer the option of assisted sailing holidays where the skipper will stay on the yacht during the day, but leave each evening once you are safely moored.

Learn To Sail Holidays offer all members of the family the chance to learn the basics of sailiing and work towards sailing certificates. Instructors can often assess each family member at the level that they are working at, whether it be for crew (no minimum age) or skipper qualifications (minimum age of 16 years).

Accommodation Options

With most sailing holidays, you will sleep on board your yacht. For those that do not wish to overnight on the boat, some companies offer a 'stay and sail' holiday where you are based at a hotel on land and then you sail out each day. The 'Stay and Sail' option may appeal to families where not all members of the family wish to sail each day.

Age Ranges

Sailing holidays are best suited to children aged 6 years and above. However, experienced sailors may be confident enough to take younger children on board.

Sail Training Courses

Sail training courses can be followed to gain certification by either the RYA ((Royal Yachting Association) or IYT (International Yacht Training).

The RYA offer the following sail training qualifications:
RYA Start Yachting: A 2 day introduction to sailing and seamanship. There is no minimum age for this course.
RYA Competent Crew: A 5 day course covering basic seamanship, helmsmanship, navigation and meteorology. There is no minimum age for this course.
RYA Day Skipper: The RYA Day Skipper Shorebased course must be completed prior to this course. This course covers basic pilotage, boat handling and watch organisation. At the end of the course, the student will be able to skipper a small yacht in familiar waters by day. The minimum age for this course is 16 years.
RYA Coastal Skipper: The RYA Coastal Skipper Shorebased qualification must be obtained prior to taking this course. This course covers skippering techniques and passage planning. The minimum age for this course is 16 years.
IYT offer the following sail training qualifications:
IYT International Crew: Introduces sailing basics including ropework, sail handling, passage planning, safety and nautical instruments.
IYT International Watchkeeper/Flotilla Skipper: A 5 day course to equip the student to be a watchkeeper or a flotilla skipper on board a bareboat yacht, in fair weather, in daylight hours within sight of land.
IYT International Bareboat Skipper: An advanced course for those who have logged at least 200 nautical miles and 10 days at sea.
Sailing Gear

Lifejackets for all members of the family should be provided with your yacht. Check with the holiday company beforehand that they have lifejackets to suit the age of your children.

Other essential sailing gear that you wll need includes sailing waterproofs, non-slip deck shoes, sailing gloves and of course, your swimming costume.

Make sure that you plan plenty of non-sailing time for children to swim, snorkel, explore coves and take out the dinghy.

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