Relax and enjoy the Scottish sailing experience whilst a full time professional skipper takes care of the boat and more besides! For those who want to have a holiday afloat, but do not necessarily want the responsibility of chartering or skippering a boat themselves, one of the many companies offering comprehensive sailing holidays may provide the solution.
The skipper is usually the owner of the boat and will often spend the whole of the season afloat taking people on sailing holidays around the coast. Customers may book anything from a single berth to the whole boat, and need not be experienced sailors as the skipper takes responsibility for the sailing and navigation. Guests are welcome to join in as much as they wish, particularly with the washing up, although some boats also have full time crew who will take care of this as well.
These holidays are usually fully catered and take place on larger vessels. Cruises may be based around a theme such as wildlife or a tour of some of the many whisky distilleries, whilst others may have a specific aim such as reaching St Kilda or climbing a particular mountain. Many of the boats have a particular ‘speciality’ such as gourmet cooking, walking, mountaineering or adventure sailing; a range of water based activities such as windsurfing, waterskiing or diving are also available on some of the larger boats. Increasingly, some of the vessels are venturing further afield to destinations such as Ireland, the Faroes or even Norway, offering the opportunity for customers to gain experience of passage sailing whilst in the safe knowledge that someone else is in charge.
Individual boats may offer guests the opportunity to take part in organised events such as the Malts Cruise, Scottish Islands Peak Race or West Highland Yachting Week, whilst the option may also exist to undertake a one-way passage on a few of the boats as they cruise to alternative locations during the course of the season.
Sailing holidays are available for different durations, ranging from a short day sail to multi-week trips. The duration offered will often be related to the area in which the boat operates – holidays of a shorter duration are more likely to be available in the Firth of Clyde and closer to the larger settlements where transport links are better, whilst further afield the duration is usually of a week or more. There is also an increasing availability of boats offering Corporate events, be it a day sail or even a long weekend. Most of the skippers will provide informal tuition for those who wish to learn, and some boats are also accredited RYA Training Centres offering a range of theory and practical courses.
There is a wide range of boats on offer for these holidays, together with packages for different budgets. The variety of boats also means that visitors can return year after year and have a different sailing experience each time. The available boats include purpose built steel ketches, modern fibreglass sloops and catamarans and wooden classics. Accommodation and levels of comfort also vary from private cabins with en-suite facilities to more communal living.
Whether old or new, wooden, plastic or steel, the boats are all fully equipped to ensure that you enjoy your holiday as much as possible whilst taking in the magnificent Scottish scenery and hospitality.