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Category Archives: Frequently Asked Questions

Destination Italy: Where is Sardinia?

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Photograph of Cala Soraja Island of Spargi Sardinia Italy


SARDINIA AS DESTINATION

Sardinia has been on everyone’s radar for the past few weeks.  First, we heard how Steven Spielberg, with Gwyneth Paltrow in tow, ran afoul of the local authorities as the tender to his superyacht, motoryacht SEVEN SEAS cruised too close to island beachgoers.

 

PERINI NAVI YACHT CHARTER FLEET

Then, we reported on the Perini Navi yacht charter fleet preparing for early September’s sailing regatta against the beautiful backdrop of Porto Cervo, Sardinia.

 

WHERE IS SARDINIA?

So exactly where is Sardinia and what is the allure that draws so many sailors and visitors?

Map of Sardinia. Colored drawing.

Sardinia is Italy’s second largest island as well as the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is famed for its beautiful beaches and fascinating history. The nearest land masses are (clockwise from north) the French island of Corsica, the Spanish Balearic Islands, and the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, and Tunisia.

For Atlas lovers, the island of Sardinia is situated between 38° 51′ and 41° 15′ latitude north and 8° 8′ and 9° 50′ east longitude. To the west of Sardinia is the Balearic Sea; to Sardinia’s east is the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Over many centuries the island has survived countless invasions by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, and Arabs.  Local festivals on the island still reflect the long-lasting impact of those cultures.

Numerous castles, villages, temples and tombs cover the countryside, and with its perfect summer weather, tourists arrive in droves, some via Mediterranean yacht charter vessels, but many more via ferry service from the Italian mainland.

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Have you been to Sardinia?  Please tell us about your experiences!

For a sample yachting itinerary of the Italian Riviera, including Sardinia, contact our destination specialists at https://www.1800yachtcharters.com/book-now-contact-us/ .

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Electrolysis – Good for People…Bad for Yachts

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At the recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, FLIBS, we had the pleasure of taking a few of our best private luxury yacht charter clients (and dear friends) for a stroll along the docks.  The couple had recently completed the construction of another home on a lot overlooking the ocean, and they wanted to purchase a boat for weekend family outings.

We looked at the latest offerings from Germany’s Fjord Yachts, the innovative expandable-deck boats by Italy’s Evo Yachts, and the trendy Holland-designed boats of VanDutch.

However, the model that really caught the attention of our friends was a sleek, aluminum-hull day cruiser built by Vanquish Yachts – the Vanquish VQ54.  The boat is simply stunning – there’s no other way to describe it.

Vanquish54 yacht with white hull and red cushions

 

As we stood on the dock discussing the boat and the available color options, a passerby stopped and gazed at the boat.  “Beautiful,” he exclaimed. “Too bad it’s made out of aluminum – electrolysis is bad for boats.”   

As the man walked away, our friends seemed a bit confused.  “What’s wrong with electrolysis?” asked the wife.  “It’s a great way to remove unwanted hair!” 

“It’s a little different with boats,”  we said, and then we explained marine electrolysis, and the possible damage it can cause to a boat or yacht.

For humans, Medical Electrolysis is a clinical method of removing individual hairs from a person’s face or body. A device is used to destroy the growth center of hair with chemical or heat energy.

For boats, Marine Electrolysis is the result of potential current existing between two different objects. It is often caused by stray electrical current, and can be extremely destructive (causes corrosion) on boats made out of aluminum.

The results generated by medical electrolysis are all positive – people can remove unwanted hair, and it is a permanent fix.  With marine electrolysis, the results are not so good –  and if not caught quickly, the corrosive effects to an aluminum boat can cause great damage (holes, water leaking into the boat, etc.), and require expensive repairs.

corroded boat prop from marine electrolysys

Aluminum boats are also susceptible to another related culprit – Galvanic Corrosion.  This can occur when two dissimilar metals come into contact with an electrolyte and create a natural electrical current. Salt water can work as the perfect catalyst for galvanic corrosion.

Some examples of galvanic corrosion include:

  • Using dissimilar metals on the vessel that come into contact with the salt water, like steel bolts or copper-based bottom paint on an aluminum hull.
  • Mixing different types of bottom paint on the same vessel.
  • Mooring boats with incompatible hull construction next to each other, such as a steel vessel moored immediately next to aluminum vessel.

 

Our experienced clients and friends then asked, “If aluminum has so many problems, why are expensive private luxury yacht charter vessels like Feadship and Heesen yachts built out of aluminum?”

The answer is simple – aluminum is light, but strong (think of airplanes), and unlike yachts built from molds, aluminum yachts can be built to any size, allowing great flexibility and customization that can’t be as easily achieve with fiberglass and other composite materials.  As to the corrosion issues, manufacturers can take preventative steps to reduce and even eliminate the threats of marine electrolysis.  Yachts are fitted with monitoring systems which constantly check for stray electrical current, as well as anti-corrosion anodes to negate electrical issues below the waterline.

So, while someday you may want medical electrolysis to look and feel your best, you most definitely do not want marine electrolysis – ever…

Thinking about buying a yacht?  Consider our, “Try Before You Buy” program and rent the yacht for an extended “test drive” – on your own private luxury yacht charter vacation.  Up to 50% of the charter fee can be applied toward the purchase of the same yacht model.

For more information about private luxury yacht charters or purchasing a yacht through the 1-800 Yacht Charters’ Try Before You Buy Program, email 1-800 Yacht Charters at  info@1800yachtcharters.com or call us at 305-720-7245.

 

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Ever Wonder Why Lemon Is Served With Fish?

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LADY MARGARET

Recently, Anne, a friendly rival yacht charter broker, was in the islands inspecting yachts and meeting with crews.  While there, she had a chance to sample what she described as “mouth watering” salmon cakes, prepared by chef Bruna Tatarow onboard Horizon motor yacht Lady Margaret, a 64 foot Virgin Islands yacht charter vessel.   

 

LEMON WEDGES

Anne mentioned Bruna provided lime rather than the standard lemon wedges, and that got me thinkin’…

 

WHY LEMON?

WHY is lemon almost always served with fish?

I ran the question by the gang in our Puerto Rico yacht charter office (not sure why, but I figured our friends who live in the islands consume more fish than our meat-lovin’ team in the states). 

 

SAN JUAN ANSWER

The Puerto Rican team seemed to have an answer right away.  Maria, our office manager in San Juan, emailed this explanation:

“Originally, the lemon was served, not because it gave flavor to the fish, but because it was believed that the acidic juice of the lemon would dissolve any bones that might be swallowed.”

 

Photograph of a beautiful dinner prepared at a restaurant. The plate is dark. There is lighting on it. There is a tomato salad on the left side of the plate. There is a stack of fish held together with a toothpick and blackberry at the top at the top right side of the plate. There is a round dish of brown sauce between the salad and the fish.

Why is Lemon Used in Fish Dishes?

Wow…I had no idea…

 

Since I no longer feel as compelled to serve lemon with fish dishes, I’ll share with you Chef Bruna’s brunch-time recipe for spicy salmon cakes topped with a mango tartar sauce. Lime is her choice for tartness…
[Note: Thank you, Chef Bruna for the wonderful recipe and thank you,Captain Jan Robinson for the photo of the salmon cakes, from your Ship to Shore Cookbook.]
ENJOY!

Spicy Salmon Cakes with Mango Tartar

 

INGREDIENTS

Tartar Sauce:
·         1 cup peeled, diced ripe mango (1 large)
·         1/2 cup mayonnaise
·         1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
·         Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salmon Cakes:
·         Vegetable oil, for frying
·         1 lb cooked salmon, flaked
·         1 cup panko
·         2 eggs, lightly beaten
·         3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
·         3 tablespoons chopped shallots
·         1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         Freshly ground black pepper
·         1/3 cup cornmeal

 

DIRECTIONS

To make tartar sauce, whisk together the mango, mayonnaise, capers, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat 1/4-inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Put the salmon in a medium bowl and break it up with a fork, watch for bones. Add the panko, eggs, parsley, shallots, cayenne and salt. Season with black pepper, to taste, and mix well. Form the mixture into 12 cakes and coat them with the cornmeal.  Carefully put the cakes in the oil, 5 or 6 at a time, and cook until golden brown; about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Arrange them on a serving platter and serve immediately with tartar sauce. 

YIELD

1 1/2 cups

HOW TO RENT A YACHT WITH GOURMET CHEF

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Feadship Royal Dutch Shipyards

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Photograph of Feadship yacht underway. Solid white boat. Headed toward the lower right side of the photo.
FEADSHIP

A friend, unfamiliar with yachting asked me, “What makes a Feadship so special?”   I simply said,

Feadship is the Rolls Royce of the yachting world.

 

PEDIGREED

Aficionados of premium brand jewelry, cigars, furniture, and automobiles understand.  Enthusiasts draw to the brand’s pedigree and reputation of excellence.  It dates back to 1949.

 

WHY CHARTER ONE?

These yachts are synonymous with quality craftsmanship and the finest building materials.  Ironically, the builder embraced state-of-the-art construction technology.  It is now renown for modern superyacht designs and naval architecture.

 

PARTIAL LISTING FOR CHARTER

Here is a partial listing of the newest yachts built by Feadship Royal Dutch Shipyard and available for super yacht charters throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean:

81 meter 2011 motor yacht AIR:  
Photo of black hulled motoryacht, Air, running toward the right side of the photo

 

 

 

 

 

63 meter 2011 motor yacht LADY BRITT:  
Photograph of a large white superyacht at launch. She is anchored and has colorful banner flags having across the length of the ship. There is a large building behind her

 

 

 

 

 



53 meter 2009 motor yacht HURRICANE RUN:
Photograph of large white motoryacht running towards the right side of the photo

 

 

 

 

 


HOW TO BOOK A YACHT CHARTER

For a complete listing of available yachts for hire, just ask.  To book your own private luxury yacht charter aboard a magnificent name brand superyacht, contact our destination specialists at https://www.1800yachtcharters.com/book-now-contact-us/

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Ferry Service Launched Between Ft Lauderdale and Grand Bahama

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Picture of the profile of a high-speed ferry boat that goes to the Bahamas

 

While the popularity of Bahama yacht charters has increased in recent years, the availability of reasonably-priced airfare to the island nation has stymied many a potential luxury yacht charter customer.  Flights from South Florida to the Bahamas are often more expensive than coast to coast flights across the United States.  Not only that, but some clients are reluctant to fly to their destination and want an alternative in a ferry boat.  VOILA!

Fortunately a new alternative to traveling to and from the Bahamas has been unveiled.

 

BALERIA BAHAMAS EXPRESS

On December 16th, Balèaria Bahamas Express introduced inaugural high speed ferry service between Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) and Freeport (Grand Bahama).

 

PINAR DEL RIO FERRY BOAT

The 74 meter ferry Pinar del Rio cruises at 32 knots and can make the 76 mile crossing in 2.5 hours.

The service runs daily, except on Wednesday, with a convenient schedule that allows passengers from the USA to return on the same day after spending the day on Grand Bahama Island.

Pricing starts at $49.50 per person, one way, with first class seating available for $90 per person each way, plus local taxes.

Spanish-based Balèaria specializes in the transportation of people in the Mediterranean. With nearly 1000 employees and 15 ships in operation, the company ferried almost 3 million passengers in 2010.

The company is also working on establishing service from South Florida to Bimini in 2012.

BOOK A YACHT CHARTER VACATION 

Springtime is the best time to plan a yachting vacation in the pristine waters of the Bahamas.  Contact  the 1-800 Yacht Charters destination specialists at https://www.1800yachtcharters.com/book-now-contact-us/

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Fine Dining De Rigueur on Luxury Yacht Charter

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“We’re considering a New England yacht charter for this summer.  Should we plan and budget to eat most dinners ashore at local hotspots and trendy restaurants?  

Thanks, Penny R.”

Photograph of a white bowl with ricotta and wild mushroom lasagne in the center, sitting in a red sauce. There are green sprigs on the right side of the lasagne.

Ricotta and wild mushroom lasagne entree

1-800 YACHTCHARTERS RESPONDS

Dear Penny,There are many elements of a yachting holiday that make the overall experience memorable.  First, a clean, luxurious yacht. Second, a professional crew. Third, a great destination, like New England.

However, you’ll be happy to know that fourth, the meals and the total dining experience you can enjoy onboard will also be part of your lasting memories!

 

DINING ON A YACHT?

The chefs on most yachts rival the very best chefs around the world, and the meals they create are nothing short of amazing!

 

AN EXECUTIVE CHEF RESPONDS

Peter Williams, the executive chef onboard the 191-foot motor yacht CARPE DIEM was kind enough to pass along some samples from his galley.  

ENTRÉES

For instance,

  • Wild mushroom, roast pumpkin, spinach & ricotta lasagne with a tomato nage  & parmesan wafer (photo above)
  • Warm salad of lamb, arugula, artichoke, goats curd, roasted red peppers & chick peas with vincotto drizzle
  • Home made three cheese ravioli tossed in a tomato Napoli & fresh basil
  • Natural oysters with watermelon, blood orange & basil salsa
  • Bbq baby octopus panzanella, green olives, fetta, roasted red pepper baby spinach with lemon dressing
  • Fetta, parmesan, tomato & basil quiche with artichoke, crispy pancetta and caramelized onion salad with balsamic tar drizzle

 

MAIN COURSES

For example,

  • Rock Lobster tossed in a bisque cream with green pea gnocchi finished  with crisp shaved fennel & chive salad
  • Wild mushroom, asparagus & jindi brie cheese risotto with pine nuts, cress tendrils, and red pepper jam drizzle
  • Crispy skinned salmon fillet on a baked cauliflower tian, asparagus, cress and tomato salad with pomegranate & citrus drizzle
  • Fricelli pasta tossed with roasted peppers, olives, pumpkin, spinach, crumbled fetta & pine nut oil
  • Caramelized Pork belly, sweet potato gnocchi, wilted greens with sage beurre noisette
  • Fresh local seafood spaghetti tossed with basil, garlic, tomato, spinach & olive oil with side of aioli
  • Gourmet home-made pizza
  • Pancetta, roasted pumpkin & olives topped with fresh arugala & fetta, tomato, roasted red pepper & basil
  • Chicken, prosciutto, camembert cheese with cranberry sauce & fresh avocado
  • Garlic & Thyme marinated Lamb fillet on a chick pea ragout with steamed broccoli & red wine au jus
  • Grilled  tuna fillet on a truffle scented mash potato, steamed green vegetables with olive salsa & citrus beurre blanc

 

DESSERTS

  • Crème Brule with macadamia biscotti & rhubarb compote
  • Sticky fig pudding with butterscotch sauce & fresh cream
  • Coverture chocolate torte with poached pear & candied pistachio
  • New York-style baked cheese cakes (for instance, Chocolate Oreo cheese cake, Saffron white chocolate cheese cake, Raspberry white chocolate cheese cake)
  • Banana passion fruit pavlova, double cream with espresso brittle
  • Jindi triple cream brie, pepper wafers, spices date and pine nut pate
  • Milk chocolate panna cotta, dark chocolate torte with strawberry & mint salsa

 

SALADS

  • Chicken & avocado Caesar with parmesan, garlic croutons, crispy bacon & home made dressing
  • Roasted pear, goats curd & arugala salad with orange vincotto dressing
  • Persian fetta, roasted pumpkin & baby spinach salad with quince vinaigrette & roasted hazelnuts
  • Grilled haloumi cheese, pine nuts, grape & spinach fattoush salad with preserved lemon dressing
  • Classic Greek salad, tomato, cucumber, roasted peppers, olives & fetta with lemon vinaigrette
  • Arugala, peppered mushroom & parmesan salad with Peter’s homemade balsamic dressing

 

BREAKFAST SPECIALS

  • Today’s oven fresh muffins: banana, blueberry, white chocolate & strawberry
  • Seven fruits fruit toast with honey & cottage cheese
  • Crispy bacon, scrambled eggs, oven roasted tomato & toast
  • Vanilla pancakes with fresh strawberries, maple syrup & cream
  • Corn & chive fritta with bacon, spinach, avocado salsa & balsamic glaze

WHAT IF WE WANT TO EAT LIGHT?

The choice is yours!  You plan your menu with your chef.   Vegetarian?  No problem.  Kosher?  Absolutely.   Low cholesterol?  Certainly!  You decide what you want to eat.  If you decide to have the same delicious homemade pizza every night, it’s your choice!  This is YOUR vacation!  You can be as decadent as you want with menus and snacks. Your wish if your crewmembers’ command!

HOW DO I PLAN MY YACHT CHARTER WITH YOU?

Just call us at 1-800 Yacht Charters or contact us online at https://www.1800yachtcharters.com/book-now-contact-us/ TODAY!

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Girl Power – Women Make Splash As Luxury Yacht Charter Skippers

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Photograph of a woman in a nautical uniform. She is at the helm of a yacht. She is holding the ship's steering wheel. She is wearing a white uniform shirt and black shorts. She has mid-length straight blonde hair. She is smiling at the camera.

Female Captains on Yachts

ABLE BODIED SEAWOMAN?

It seems the commonly-used term, “Able-bodied seaman”  might need to be amended to, “seaman and -woman”  to reflect what might become a trend in the yachting industry – the emergence of female captains on mega yacht charter vessels.

 

WELCOME, FEMALE CAPTAINS

In an industry long dominated by men, a handful of skilled women are stepping to the forefront and taking the helm, and the responsibility, of operating both sail and motor yachts for hire.

(FEMALE) COMPANY PRESIDENT COMMENTS

According to Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters and SailAway Yacht Charters, today’s yacht owners look beyond gender when hiring a skipper. 

“Megayacht owners look for experience and professionalism, first and foremost,” says Sheeder.  “Skippers must be experts in navigation and safety, and considering many yachts have large crew complements, they must be equally-adept at  personnel management.  A skilled captain is a multi-talented person, regardless of gender.  Hiring the best and brightest is the goal.

 

 

PRESENTING 3 MOVERS AND SHAKERS

Three women leading the ranks of females at the helm.  These are, for instance, Captain Sandra Yawn (motor yacht DEFIANCE), Captain Danielle de Vere (motor yacht MARY JEAN), and Captain Carol Benbrook (motor yacht SEDATION).

First up, Yawn. Captain Yawn has recently taken the helm on Mangusta motor yacht DEFIANCE. It is a stunning 72′ speedster currently available for Bahamas and Florida yacht charters.  Yawn brings years of experience to her new position. She was the former captain of the 148 foot motor yachts TUSCAN SUN and 142 foot yacht, LADY J.

Second is De Vere. She leads a crew of 12 onboard the 163 foot Caribbean yacht charter vessel, MARY JEAN.  De Vere earned her stripes crewing at her family’s daysail business in Australia, as well as operating luxury live-aboard dive vessels on the Northern Great Barrier Reef.

Third female captain is Benbrook.  Before the sale of the 143 foot Heeson motor yacht SEDATION, Benbrook was the skipper of the popular Virgin Island yacht charter vessel for three years.  In a 2010 interview with yachting journalist Kim Kavin, Benbrook was asked how it feels to be one of the only female motoryacht captains.  “I think there are five or six of us now on motoryachts. I think it’s fine. People respect me. I’ve never had any problems,” she said.  

Is there added pressure on these women to be their gender’s pathfinders in the yachting industry? 
Benbrook doesn’t think so and says the real pressure is on the ship’s mate. “It’s harder, actually, as a first mate. There’s more prejudice there. You have to be physically strong as a first mate to move lines and such. It’s different than being a captain, where there’s absolutely no strength involved. It’s all about moving levers at the helm.”
We wonder – will we ever see the ranks of women skippers swell and match the number of male captains at the helm of yacht charter vessels?  Are yacht owners truly open to hiring, “the best and brightest?” 
Only time will tell… 
#yachtcharter #rentayacht #superyachtcharter
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Have you ever rented a private yacht or plane with a female captain in charge?  How was the experience?  Why do you think there are so few women to date at the helm of superyacht vessels?  Share your comments and testimonials with us below!

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Glorious Greece – The Perfect Summer Cruising

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Greece yacht.  Aerial photo of motoryacht Christina O.GREECE YACHT CHARTER

As a destination, Greece is a sensory celebration. It’s a dance with history and ancient gods, and a courtship between natural beauty and modern luxuries. It’s also an invitation to indulge in a slower pace and simpler pleasures, like savoring a taverna meal complemented by a fantastic local wine you’ve most likely never heard of.

 

TRAVEL BY YACHT

Of course, the ideal way to explore the myriad of small Greek islands is to rent a private yacht.    

For travelers with experience at the helm, a bareboat charter is the most affordable option for exploration.  Similar to renting a car, you do the “driving” by serving as your own skipper.  Yes, you and your travel companions must also do the cooking and cleaning, but when it comes to saving money, it is hard to top the appeal of a bareboat charter, especially sail boat charters as compared to power boats.

If you are not qualified to operate your own boat, or simply desire a hire level of comfort and amenities, some of the largest yachts in the world can be rented in the land of the gods.  

The famous yacht CHRISTINA O calls Greece home.  The private vessel of the late Greek shipping tycoon, Aristotle Onassis, this yacht offers huge deck spaces and the indulgence of an original mosaic-tiled swimming pool. In addition to the Jacuzzi, there are three public lounges, a gym, and a game room – and the famous bar where Sir Winston Churchill first met Jackie Kennedy.

When to go to Greece?  Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters recommends visiting Greece between May and  October.

We prefer the so-called “shoulder season” (May and September/October), since the weather is generally good, and you’ll enjoy more elbow room and often better prices in restaurants and gift shops.”

When to book a yacht charter in Greece?   NOW is the time to make your 2011 Greece yacht charter reservations.

For help in identifying the right yacht for your style and budget, call our specialists, toll-free at 1-800-YACHTCHARTERS (800-922-4824), or click https://www.1800yachtcharters.com/book-now-contact-us/

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How Do You Get To St Barts?

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Aerial photograph of the island of St. Barths in the Caribbean. Large island surrounded by blue water.

Where is Caribbean yacht charter island, St. Barts?

CLIENT QUESTION

“Dear SailAway – I love reading the blogs about the big yachts and all of the celebrities that hang out in St Barts during the holidays. I will be in St Martin for a hotel-based vacation, and while I can’t afford a luxury yacht charter, I would love to see St Barts. What’s the best way to get there?

 

EDITOR RESPONSE

Thanks, Terry. You have several options:

BY AIR

There are daily flights from Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) located in St Maarten (Netherlands, Antilles). It’s a short 10-12 minute flight to St Barth’s Gustave III Airport, located on the island’s north coast. The descent is a real nail biter for the fainthearted, necessitating a pass through a narrow break in a hilltop and a landing on the 280 meter runway that ends on St Jean beach.
Call +590 590 276541 for flight info.

BY FERRY

If you would rather avoid the short flight, several inter-island high-speed ferry services operate regularly between St Maarten and St Bart’s. It’s a 45 minute ride.

Voyager Ferry (daily travel between St Martin, St Barts and Saba)

+590 590 275410
www.voyager-st-barths.com

Master Ski Pilou (private water taxi transfer from St Barth’s to St Maarten Juliana Airport and Anguilla)

+590 590 279 179
www.masterski-pilou.com

 

 

Photograph of a catamaran sailboat at anchor, while charter guests sit with feet in the water or dive off and swim from the boat.

Rent a sailboat catamaran with crew

 

RENT A SAILBOAT

As to not being able to afford a yacht charter, Terry, you might be surprised. Megayachts are certainly very expensive, but many travelers prefer smaller, more intimate crewed catamaran charters for their yachting vacations.

 

RATE

A family or group of 8 passengers can rent a crewed catamaran for under $15,000 per week, inclusive of all meals, alcohol, crew, and LOTS of onboard watersports toys like bananas, wakeboards, snorkel gear, underwater scooters, SCUBA diving, etc.

 

TRAVEL TO ST. BARTS IN STYLE

For pricing, specials, and more general information to rent private yacht, contact the SailAway Caribbean experts at https://www.1800yachtcharters.com/book-now-contact-us/

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How to Avoid a Yacht Charter “Vacation From Hell”

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THE SITUATION

Recently, fitness expert Jillian Michaels took to social media to recount what she described as a disastrous Italy private luxury yacht charter vacation.  Michaels recounted arriving to find the yacht, “…not only filthy, but it had no hot water, no air con when not docked, no wifi, partial electricity, it was clearly in total disrepair.”  Via Facebook, the fitness guru warned her social media followers to beware of online scams. “These scams are becoming extremely prevalent…so be careful when you are dealing with rentals of any kind,” she wrote.

Michaels’ online posts were picked up by mainstream media and even profiled on Television’s syndicated newsmagazine, “Inside Edition.”

Collage of photos of crew members on a yacht, Jillian Michaels, and a private Italian charteryacht

 

Michaels’ comments lead us to two points:

*Was this a scam?  In our opinion – NO.

*Could more have been done to avoid what the press has coined as a “Vacation from Hell?”   ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!

 

SCAM?

“I’m confident this is not scam,” states yacht charter maven Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters, a company that specializes in discreet private luxury yacht charter vacations for celebrities and UHNWI’s. “While we were not involved in this charter, the client did use a professional charter broker from a well-known company – a competitor of ours with lots of experience and a solid standing in our industry.”   

In fact, that charter broker’s actions were scrutinized by the Ethics Committee of the Charter Yacht Brokers Association.  The Committee unanimously found the broker acted in good faith and did not commit any ethics violations.

Clearly, however, something went awry for the charter to end after just 4 days of an expected 12 day  trip.  Exactly what happened is still not clear, as both sides are pointing the finger at each other. Michaels feels she was duped, while the charter brokerage asserts Michaels was in violation of her charter agreement.

 

HOW TO AVOID BUYER’S REMORSE

If the yacht was, as Michaels asserts, “…in disrepair,” the question that must be asked is: What more can a prospective yacht charter customer do to ensure the yacht is fully operational and what we refer to in the industry as, “charter ready?”

Sheeder suggests two easy steps:

 

  • ASK FOR A CHECKLIST – Attesting all electrical and mechanical components required for a successful charter are fully-operational.  “We have a simple checklist similar to a pre-flight checklist used by a pilot to make sure a plane is safe and ready for takeoff,” says Sheeder.  “In essence, we are directly asking the Captain of the yacht prior to the execution of the charter agreement to confirm the yacht is in Bristol  (clean) condition, that the watertoys  (waverunners, tender, etc.) are fully-operational, the yacht’s generators and central air conditioning system are working correctly, etc.  We even directly ask if there are any foul odors emanating from the toilets and bilges, or fumes from the engine room.”

 

Sheeder then reviews the checklist results and informs the client of any issues, and the timeframe required to make the necessary repairs. “If we, together with the client, are not completely                 comfortable with the situation or the crew’s ability to guarantee an exceptional private yacht charter experience, we move on and look for another yacht.”

Sheeder revisits the checklist with the captain three or four days prior to the charter to see if any last minute problems have occurred. “Yachts are complex, mechanical vessels with many moving parts that can develop problems  – just like an automobile.  Many problems are eliminated or minimized by ongoing maintenance, but sometimes, things break unexpectedly.  By checking prior to the charter, we can inform the client of the situation as well as estimate the time it will take to make the needed repairs.  Most situations are minor and the charter can proceed with no unexpected ‘surprises’ for the client and their guests.”

 

  • REQUEST REALTIME VIDEO/CURRENT PHOTOS

Many charter brochures feature beautiful photos or videos of the charter yacht.  But how do you know when the photos were taken or when the video was shot?

Sheeder suggests using current technology apps to make certain what you see is what you get.  “We try to personally inspect the yachts we recommend to our clients, but a lot can change from the time we saw the yacht at a boat show or a private viewing, and the time the client charters the vessel,” says Sheeder.  “We have our online charter brochures date coded in our computer. If the images are old, we reach out to the yacht owner and his management team and request current photos.  Even casual videos shot on cellphones can capture the overall condition of the boat, and most crews are eager to show their vessel in the best possible light.”  

Sheeder also recommends apps like Apple’s FaceTime for iPhones, and Facebook Messenger and Google Duo for Android phones. “Short of the client’s inspecting the yacht themselves, there’s nothing better than a live video feed, with a real-time conversation with the crew, as they walk through and film the yacht and the client watches live.”    

 

If you’re considering a private luxury yacht charter for your next vacation, remember to probe beyond the tantalizing online yacht brochure.  Ask your broker if they use a pre-charter checklist and can provide current photos or real-time streaming video of the yacht in its current condition.  If they do not or cannot, consider hiring a broker who can go the extra step to protect your vacation investment.  By taking these simple steps prior to arriving for your charter, you can greatly minimize the chances of anything less than a memorable holiday at sea…

Winter is just around the corner.  Take advantage of pre-season specials on yachts based in the sunny Bahamas, South Florida, and the Caribbean.  Your private yacht charter holiday is only a phone call away.

Call  1-800 YACHT CHARTERS [toll-free north America +1.800.922.4824 or international +1.305.253.7245] for more information, or email:  info@1800yachtcharters.com  We are eager to plan The Superyacht Experience for you.

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