The nuts and Bolts of a Yacht Charter

Ready for the yachting vacation of a lifetime? Ready to explore the incredible history and cultural riches in the cradle of Western civilization? Ready for the beauty of the marvelous islands, bays, cities, towns and villages of ancient Greece, Turkey, Italy, France or Croatia?

Your decision has now been made – now let’s look at the “nuts and bolts” of the process, that is the subject of this article and hopefully, you will find answers to most of your questions here.

BUDGET

First, it’s a always good idea to come up with a budget that you feel comfortable with. There are several components to the budget:

The return Airfare to your port of embarkation.
Possibly a night or two at a hotel in your port of embarkation and disembarkation.
Land transportation, tips.

Then, the actual charter itself – chartering a yacht, catamaran or sailboat n the Med is not for the faint-hearted. Prices will be in Euros which are worth more than US Dollars. As of the date of this writing, you will need US$1.25 to purchase 1 Euro. So, 10 Euros will cost you US$12.50; 100 Euros will cost US$ 125.00 and so on. The official exchange rate changes daily so you need to keep your eye on it.

Land excursions during the charter, if you wish to go ashore and explore the local points of interest and sample a restaurant or two you may need land transportation. The captain will organize this activity, but you will still need to pay.
Tipping the crew after the charter – In the Med crew gratuity is usually between 5% and 10% of the base charter rate.

BREAKING DOWN THE ACTUAL CHARTER COST

There are several components to the total cost of the yacht as follows:

  1. Base Charter Rate of the Yacht. (the cost of the boat and the crew)
  2. Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA) that would be anywhere from 25% to 40% of the base rate. (this covers fuel, food and beverages and other sundries if applicable)
  3. Re-positioning cost, if applicable. (the vessel you choose may be in a different location)
  4. Gratuity for the crew.

Motor yachts have a higher APA than sailing vessels due to the fuel costs.

LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT YACHT

Use a charter broker that is associated with and has access to the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association MYBA official contracts and availability listings. These brokers are very knowledgeable about all aspects of yacht chartering in the Mediterranean and have access to the literally, hundreds of vessels of all sizes that are available for charter in the Med.
You will need to provide your charter broker with as many details about your group as possible i.e. number of guests, number of cabins required. Obviously, some guests can share a cabin and others cannot.

The broker will need to know the GENERALLY preferred location that you would like to explore. For example, the Greek Islands, The Amalfi Coast of Italy, The French Riviera, Corsica and Sardinia, or other location.

The broker will need to know the preferred dates and ports of embarkation and disembarkation. AND if those dates and locations are at all flexible.

BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR YOUR CHARTER

The Mediterranean yacht charter season starts in May and ends in October. The second half of May and June are ideal since they are uncrowded, however the water is still cool for swimming.

July and August are the most popular months since the schools are out and the whole of Europe is on vacation for one month or the other.

September is the best month since again, it is uncrowded, and the water is still warm from the summer heat. October is a little riskier but still doable.

PREPARING YOUR ITINERARY

The basic rule is DON’T TO TRY TO COVER AS MUCH TERRITORY AS POSSIBLE during your charter. As tempting as this may be, boats are SLOW. The more miles between your stops, the more time you’ll spend sailing and less time exploring and getting the maximum benefit from your hard-earned dollar.

A reasonable daily sailing distance is 50 to 100 miles between ports on a motor yacht, but even this may be too much for a sailing vessel that travels about 5 miles per hour on an average.

If sailing is your thing and you want to spend as much time on the water as possible, there are other less expensive options than the Mediterranean. The Med should be a leisurely experience, spend some time in the places you like, take time to visit the historic and cultural icons that seem to be around every corner and in every port of call. Relax and experience the marvelous and varied cuisine.

Typically, our clients like to have breakfast early while under-way, sail all morning, have a light lunch on board or ashore around 12 Noon or 1 PM, go ashore in the afternoon to explore the destination, take an evening meal at one of the many great local tavernas or trattorias, and then on to a late-night watering hole to finish up the day.

Ultimately it will be the captain who is responsible for getting you safely from one port to another, so his advice is invaluable before firming up an itinerary. In practice, it will be a joint effort by you, your charter broker and the captain of the yacht who will pool their knowledge and come up with the best itinerary that fits your available time and your main interests.

MAKING IT EASY

Milk & Honey, 125-foot Palmer Johnson yacht with woman snorkeling

Your specialized Mediterranean charter yacht broker will take care of all the details. This is our job – it’s what we do. Tell us either generally or specifically what you are looking for, we will send you a short list of yachts, either motor or sailing, that meet your requirements and your budget.

You choose the boat, and then we write up the very detailed charter contracts, collect the funds and remit them to the vessel’s management company where they are held in escrow. No funds are given to the boat owner during the initial stages. Subsequently, 50% of the charter fee plus the APA is remitted to the owners about a week before the charter date and the balance after the charter has been completed.

Security is a very important element, given the substantial amounts of money that change hands during charter transactions. Our clients need to feel that their funds are secure and protected at all times during these international transfers.
We hope you have found this article useful. Specially if you have not actually chartered in the Med before. The process is a little different than say, chartering in the Caribbean (we do that too) and given the additional complications of currency, contracts, taxes and individual country requirements, we humbly suggest hat you look at a specialized broker like us here at Luxur Yacht Vacation, a division of American Yacht, LLC.

We look forward to serving your charter needs in the Mediterranean and beyond.