Down in the sunny Caribbean, the trade winds are blowing, the beers are cold and the turquoise water's delightful.
back in a boom cycle again. Whether we're talking about sailing grounds in the Med, the South Pacific, the Caribbean or North America, hotels, restaurants, shops and yes, anchorages, won't be nearly as busy now as they were a few years ago, or will be a year or two from now. And with fewer potential customers around, we'd bet you'll find that shopkeepers, restaurateurs, and service staff will give you better and more cheerful service everywhere you go. If you've tried to book a boat in the past with only a few months lead time before your travel date, you probably found a limited selection of boats. But these days, you're likely to have a wider range of boats to choose from, even on relatively short notice. You say you just don't have the cash this year? Well before you completely give up on the idea, allow us to share a little creative thinking. If you've splurged in the past and rented a boat on your own — say, just you and your spouse, lover or kids — you may not realize how affordable chartering can be when you split the cost of a four-cabin bareboat between four couples. If money is tight, remember also that monohulls are generally much cheaper than multihulls, yet the accommodations are almost as nice. Many longtime sailors would agree that the thrill of sailing is actually much greater aboard a monohull — you know, responsiveness of the wheel, the adrenal thrill of burying the rail, and the ability to charge upwind on a tight beat. If you and your boatmates agree to cook most meals aboard, you're total outlay will obviously be substantially less — and hey, you spend money to eat at home anyway, right? While we're on LATITUDE / ANDY
Is A Summer Sailing Vacation In the Cards For You? Although it feels as though we're just beginning to dry out from that exceptionally wet winter, we're happy to remind you that summertime is just around the corner. And that means it's time to get serious about making summer travel plans — which we hope will include a sailing vacation. We'd bet that nearly everyone reading this would love to do a charter cruise this summer, but we suspect that many of you are holding off on making a commitment due to the uncertain state of the economy. So let's discuss money matters a bit, and strategies for making that dream trip happen. Even though most financial pundits tell us that the !@#$%^& recession is finally ending, most consumers are just beginning to loosen the white-knuckled grip they have on their hard-earned greenbacks. Rather than following that 'herd-like' thinking, consider this: With fewer people allowing themselves to spend money on vacations these days, prime travel destinations everywhere — including prime sailing venues — will be much less crowded this summer than in future years, when we'll (hopefully) be
MAINE WINDJAMMER ASSOC / JEFF GREENBERG
With reports this month on Summer Charter Options and Strategies for Making Them Affordable, a former Californian's explanation of why he loves Exploring Panama Under Sail, and thoughts on the 'Schmutzwasser' Conundrum.
the subject of frugal chartering, we should mention our good buddy's 'coffin bag' approach to provisioning. Back when our kids were young and we were even more broke than we are today, we and some similarly budget-conscious parents were dying to get away to the warm Caribbean sun. So we took a deep breath and rented a big boat. Because our budget was very tight, we made trips to Costco and Trader Joe's a few days before flying out and loaded the 'coffin bag' to the max — it got that name because this huge nylon duffle bag was literally as big as a coffin. Inside it we stuffed all sorts of non-perishable staples, plus the kids' favorite snacks and cereals. Although we ended up with some broken crackers and squashed cookies, that unwieldy cargo conveyance served us well, and probably saved us a couple hundred dollars in on-site provisions. Besides luxury crewed chartering and bareboating, there are other means of chartering you may not have considered before that can be quite affordable. For example, in popular sailing destinations
The May 2010 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.