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are best for kids? Which offer the most interesting cultural attractions ashore? And which are the most exotic? Before we get into all that, though, let us clarify a few basics. If you've never chartered a bareboat before, you're probably wondering what skills you need to demonstrate, or documents you need to show, in order to rent a quarter-milliondollar sailing yacht. Actually, you'd be surprised how easy it is to qualify. Remember that all charter companies want your business, so they don't want to make requirements so tough that they scare prospective clients away. First, if you now own, or have previously owned, your own boat you'll easily be able to rent a boat of similar size or a bit bigger without a hassle. If you regularly crew on a decent-sized boat, and have a respectable sailing/racing resume, that will probably qualify you also. And while it's nice to show a competency certificate from a sailing school, such documents are not normally required. If you want to rent a catamaran, but have little or no cat experience, that's generally not a problem either. Again, if you own or have experience on a 38-ft monohull, you'll probably be allowed to rent a similar-sized multihull. Our advice is not to BS the sales staff. If you arrive at the boat and are obviously out of your depth, the check-out staff will definitely notice — and that could be embarrassing. If your resume's weak and your confidence is a little shaky, the better tactic is to request a captain for the first day or two. Within that time

A New Year Brings New Possibilities — For Worldwide Chartering If you're like us, whenever a new year approaches you tend to reflect on all the things you'd intended to do that didn't quite happen. You know, projects at work that you still haven't conquered, home improvements that still linger on your 'to do' list, and sailing vacations you experienced only in your dreams. Well, the arrival of a new year is a time for new beginnings and new goals. So we suggest you rev up your imagination and start conjuring up some brand new vacation fantasies. But this time we hope you'll actually follow through on them. Trust us, you'll be glad you did. If you're new to 'sail-it-yourself' bareboat chartering, you may not realize just how many well-established charter bases there are to choose from. As you can see by the map below, you can rent a latemodel bareboat from a reputable firm in just about every prime sailing area on the planet. (Many of these regions offer luxury crewed yachts also.) But with all those choices, which place should you visit first? The answer to that question has a lot to do with the makeup of your group, and the activities and attractions that you're most keenly interested in pursuing. We'll try to help you through the decision-making process here by approaching the options through several key questions that are often asked of professional charter brokers: Which are the best venues for first time charterers? Which offer the best sailing? Which

ALL PHOTOS LATITUDE / ANDY

With a report this month on How to Choose a Vacation Sailing Venue, plus miscellaneous Charter Notes.

most halfway-competent sailors can become comforable with handling the boat and managing its systems. The bonus in this scenario is that you'll probably come away with some valuable local knowledge — things like where the best snorkling spots are, where you can find a secluded anchorage, and which beach bar makes the best Planter's Punch. Having gone over the basics, let's try to whittle down the venue options:

Scotland

Scandinavia Italy Croatia Fr. Riviera Greece Turkey

Brittany

Balearic Islands Corsica Canary Islands Seychelles

Principal Charter Bases Worldwide

Gulf & San Juan Is.

Maine Chesapeake Belize

Thailand

Sea of Cortez Tonga

Malaysia Whitsundays Sydney

Tahiti

Bay of Islands Hauraki Gulf

Florida Eastern Carib

Profile for Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Latitude 38 Dec. 2012  

The December 2012 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 Dec. 2012  

The December 2012 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.