With the promise of package holidays very much still up in the air, and restrictive quarantine laws imposed for an ever-increasing list of countries, 2021 has so far been a waiting game full of pent-up anticipation for travellers.
With safety, isolation and new experiences all high on the priority list, a classic yacht charter holiday is a hugely attractive option for travellers looking to holiday before the year is out.
Connecting with our environment is high on the holiday agenda right now, and there is no better to do this, than at sea. With a focus on slow-paced activities brimming with meaning, investing time in the truly wild experience that classic yacht charter sailing offers lets you unhurriedly explore new countries and cultures, observe wildlife you would never previously encountered, reflect and reconnect.
Pause and ponder
Surrounded by clear expanse of glistening water and your friends or family for company, classic yacht charter sailing gives you the chance to experience maritime travel at its origin. Choosing to take the finest and not the fastest route is something that we rarely took time to do, pre-Covid. Taking it slowly, doesn’t come naturally to us. Getting swept along in the frenzied pace of life was the norm for many of us, accelerated by technology, convenience and constant connection.
Avoid the traffic chaos
When the gates are lifted the nation will flock to the sunshine and popular destinations will be packed with people. Sailing aboard a classic yacht charter is incredibly private, secluded and means you will only rub shoulders with the people you intended to.
Booking a classic yacht charter with your nearest and dearest means that holidaying exclusively with your household or extended household ‘bubble’ is entirely possible. With rigorous testing onboard for clients and crew, alongside frequent sanitising of the ship means that classic yacht charters are proving themselves to be one of the safest holiday options available in 2021.
Sail near or far
Whether you feel safer adventuring close to home or you’re ready to sail away to a far flung destination, a classic yacht charter offers an entirely different way to discover your surroundings. Compared to many countries in Europe and America, the Caribbean hasn’t experienced high levels of Covid. And the UK coastline stretches for some 6,000 miles and is abundant with geographical marvels that many have never witnessed from the ocean.
Tempted to try?
If you have a love of the sea, a spirit for adventure and a desire to sail away from it all, our classic yacht charters tick all the boxes. With a choice of beautiful, fully-crewed boats and worldwide destinations to choose from, we can tailor the ultimate chartered sailing holiday experience for you and guests, sooner than you think.
Give our team a call on 01872 487288 or email us to discuss your 2021 holiday plans.
COVID-19 brings difficult times for us all, but we are buoyed by the messages of support and help we have received from our guests, crews and the sailing community as a whole. Here at VentureSail Holidays, we are continually adapting to this new world as we all find a way forward to brighter horizons. We know there are still many questions that people need answers to, so we have compiled some COVID -19 FAQ’s and answered them as simply as we can. If you have any further questions about booking a sailing adventure with us, please do give us a call in the office.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Am I affected by the most recent delay in restrictions?
The majority of our boats are not affected by the delay to restrictions being lifted as their berth allocations fall within the guidelines as noted below. If you are affected, we are working our way through all voyages and will let you know as soon as any decisions have been made.
Will my 2021 booking go ahead?
Unless you hear from us, your voyage is due to depart as scheduled. We are monitoring the FCO and the WHO for updates and will be updating you with any new travel advice as we get it. Holidays outside of the UK may be subject to travel delays, so please check destination guidance before leaving. We are following all official guidance from British Marine and local government guidelines.
Will I need to take a test?
Most of our boats are now implementing the Test and Sail policy below and temperature checks will be taken by all crew and passengers throughout the voyage and instant tests will be onboard if there is any cause for concern. Please note that each boat has their own risk assessment and may operate slightly differently from another.
Covid Safe Sailing In light of the past year and the ongoing risk from Coronavirus, and as part of the ships own risk assessments, many of our boats will be operating a Test and Sail policy for the rest of the sailing season/or all restrictions have been lifted. We request that all guests take a COVID-19 Lateral Flow Test 72 hours prior to departure, and again on the day of boarding the vessel.
You can order your free test kits to be delivered to your home online here > https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests OR pop to your local pharmacy. Please bring a spare test from your free NHS kit with you for the day of boarding. All crew members will also take a test prior to new guests joining the boat.
We understand that many of our guests will have had the first and possibly the second vaccination by the time we start sailing, but due to the average age of our crews, it is unlikely they will have been all vaccinated and therefore our boats are implementing this Test and Sail policy as a duty of care to both guests and their crew.
Can I postpone my trip if I’m unable to travel due to COVID-19?
For bookings made before March 2020 you can choose to postpone your voyage. Any monies paid will be held as a credit note until December 2022 and can only be used for sailing with the originally booked vessel. Bookings cannot be transferred to another boat, unless that vessel is no longer available. Sorry, no refunds are available in this circumstance.
For bookings made from 2021 if you are unable to travel due to COVID-19 disruption, you will receive either a full credit note to the value of monies paid or a 75% cash refund and a 25% credit voucher if a full balance has been paid. If only a deposit amount has been paid, this will be held as a credit voucher. “COVID-19 disruption” includes affected travel plans caused by government restrictions. This credit note is valid for 12 months from the date of your scheduled departure and should be used in the first instance with the boat that was originally booked on. Please read our full terms and conditions here and the boats these terms apply to. Some of our fleet have different terms for COVID events, so please check when booking.
Can I cancel and get a refund if I no longer want to travel?
If you have a disinclination to travel that is in no way related to COVID-19, your booking will be cancelled in accordance with our booking terms and conditions or that of the vessel booking terms where those apply.
Can I get refund it I display COVID-19 symptoms before I’m due to board?
If you display COVID-19 symptoms up to 14 days before you are due to depart, you will not receive a refund but you will receive a credit voucher for all monies paid valid for 12 months.
What happens if my flights are cancelled but the trip is still going ahead?
If your flights are cancelled for reasons regarding COVID-19 and/or government restrictions, you will receive a credit voucher for all monies paid for your voyage. If your flight is cancelled for any reason, you will need to contact your travel insurance provider for compensation. We will not refund or credit any monies paid in toward costs of travel to meet the embarkation location.
What if I or another guests gets COVID-19 during the voyage?
If any person sailing on a voyage gets COVID-19 the vessel will follow their COVID-19 procedure. Each destination/port authority will run different procedures depending on where you’re sailing and government advice at the time. Most likely we will endeavour to get passengers off the vessel and onshore as soon as possible to either isolate or receive medical assistance if required.
What happens if the vessel has a COVID-19 outbreak before I am due to join?
If the vessel is required to quarantine in port for a time period that will affect your travel, we will offer you an alternative boat, if there is one available, or we will transfer your booking to a later date. Once a vessel has completed it’s quarantined it will be cleaned with an antiviral procedure to eliminate any chance of re-infection.
Do I have to pay my balance or can I wait and see what happens?
Unless you are told otherwise, please follow our existing terms and conditions for making payments as normal.
Is my money safe?
Yes. When you pay your balance, your money sits in a secure Client Account that is only accessed when the voyage goes ahead.
Do I still have to buy travel insurance?
Yes. We understand that travel insurance companies have been reluctant to cover any claims regarding COVID-19 or offer new policies with COVID-19 cover. You will still need to purchase the appropriate travel insurance as this covers you for a whole host of other eventualities while sailing.
Will I need to wear a mask?
You will need to bring a mask to enter most marinas/harbours and for when you go ashore if you want to visit shops etc to remain in line with government guidelines. You will, however, not be required to wear them once aboard as you will have created your own “bubble” with the other guests and crew.
Will I still get the same sailing holiday experience?
Yes – absolutely! It is our mission to ensure that your sailing holiday is the refreshing break you need. Aside from the need to wear face coverings ashore, once boarded, out at sea we will be entirely operating as normal, but please bear in mind we do have to adhere to all the latest government recommendations.
The North Coast of Spain is still relatively unknown on the tourist map which provides the perfect location for summer sailing and stunning anchorages in secluded bays. A perfect location for those wanting to experience warmer temperatures, escape the rat run and explore “off-the-beaten-track”
Rugged coastlines dropping to traditional seafront harbours and stretches of sandy beaches provide perfect locations for overnight stops and evening wanders. The Atlantic sea air provides great sailing winds and in the event of not so good weather, this coastline is teeming with inlets, fjords and hidden bays, great for sheltering.
Many of the seafront harbours and villages still rely on their traditional fishing and farming methods so you won’t be short of fresh produce and arguably some of the best and freshest seafood in Europe! Our Skippers love to hop ashore, hopefully timing their stop with a sweet traditional Spanish market where they can pick up the freshest produce to bring back to the boat. If the timing is even better, some of our boats have been known to liaise with local fisherman over the radio, rendezvous in the bay and exchange fresh fish for baked goods!
Wildlife in Spain is impressive and diverse due to its varied landscapes and its geographical location on the migration routes between Europe and Africa. Home to 635 bird species including kites, vultures, eagles and bustards this coastline is a prime position for bird watching so make sure you have your binoculars at the ready!
Adventure Sailing across the Bay of Biscay
Cross the Bay of Biscay with tall ship Maybe as she heads to Spain from Southampton.
Emma Jamieson, food blogger and first-timesailor, shares her experience of a week aboard Bessie Ellen in the Hebrides – it was love at first sight!
“Dolphins!” came the shout from Skipper Nikki at the bow of Bessie Ellen. We were whipping along at a nifty 7.6 knots – a cracking pace as she sliced through the waves on her merry way to the Hebridean Isle of Canna. Over in the distance we spotted them, jumping and diving in their hundreds towards us to play under our bowsprit.
Three days before, I had never set foot on a boat, and suddenly there I was, wind in my hair, wildlife surrounding me, helming a traditional tall ship on a trip round the Hebrides!
When I’d boarded – three days before – with eleven other travellers looking for adventure, I had very little idea the lasting impact this trip would have on me. From all walks of life and ages all of us bonded immediately as we gathered on deck for warming whisky macs and our first briefing. Within an hour of leaving Oban, we had hoisted the sails, learned to make fast, got our first taste at the helm and practiced knots! Anyone joining Bessie Ellen can get involved as much or as little as they want, but there is always something to do and see and learn, so few of us ever sat still.
Each day brought a new surprise. The sun rose and we were straight at it, scrubbing the deck, plotting our course for the day and taking turns on watch. Paddle-boarding surrounded by dolphins was a clear highlight, as was spotting minke whales and seals, wild swimming in remote coves or being surrounded by puffins and razorbills on the Treshnish Isles.
Our huge appetites from all the sea air were handsomely rewarded. We ate like royalty throughout the trip, with stellar meals apparating like Hogwarts feasts from a galley kitchen the size of a broom cupboard – from fresh baked bread to haunch of venison, Thai curries and homemade sorbet! Over evening meals by candlelight we played games, swapped anecdotes and even had a “pub quiz”.
All the fusses of terrestrial life seemed to melt away on board. Whilst there is no scrimping on comfort – from a spacious shower room and the cosiest bunks, I didn’t wash my hair or wear make-up once, spent most of my time with what looked like a tea cosy on my head, wearing ten layers and I couldn’t have given a monkey’s less.
When the final night arrived I could barely remember the day I came on board. Numbers were exchanged and all of us revelled in the lifetime’s worth of stories collected in even such a short time. A sail on Bessie Ellen is no mere holiday. It is a moment of spirit-filling, pure, unadulterated happiness and adventure suspended in time.