Sailing Holidays

Frequently asked questions

Before you book

Nautilus Yachting is one of the largest independent yacht charter agencies in the UK. Most of our clients travel with us regularly or have come through a recommendation of someone who has. Do call us. We are happy to offer the personal touch that is so often missing with larger organisations.

How do you benefit by booking your sailing holiday with us?

Information and advice - You benefit from our first hand knowledge of sailing in the Mediterranean and Caribbean so do ask our advice. We are happy to help with suggestions on yachts and cruising areas. 

Free service - We specialise in putting together the holiday that's right for you and pride ourselves on giving a courteous and helpful service. And our services are FREE so you pay no more than booking direct.

More choice - We act as UK partners with yacht charter companies based in all the best sailing locations round the world. This gives us a vast selection of yachts, catamarans and motoryachts for you to choose from.

Independence - Not being tied to one particular fleet means we can give unbiased independent advice about the best yacht for you.

Flexibility - It's your holiday and we try wherever possible to fit with your requirements. If you can only fly on a Sunday, we will find the holiday that fits.

Excellent prices - With our range of yachts and access to the best airfares, we have holidays to suit all budgets. Just compare our prices.

Flight-inclusive - If you want your yacht charter packaged with flights, we offer excellent rates on all charter and scheduled flights from the UK. As one of the few yacht charter companies with an ATOL licence (ATOL 3016) we can sell flight-inclusive holidays.

Financial protection - Nautilus Yachting is a fully licensed tour operator and holds Air Travel Organiser’s Licence ATOL 3016 and all our flight-inclusive holidays are fully bonded for your financial protection.

Reliability - We started trading in 1992 and have developed an enviable reputation in the charter industry for the quality and depth of the service we offer.

Convenience – Have a travel professional handle your holiday booking - we can book your hotels, car hire, airport parking, travel insurance, whatever you need.

Trade Associations - We are members of the Marine Leisure Association and British Marine Federation

Most charter yachts are privately owned and put with a professional yacht management company who handle the local bureaucracy, insurance, maintenance, cleaning, check-ins, etc. 

There is a good back-up service to cope with any problems. Contact the base by VHF or mobile phone for technical assistance and they will either come to your aid or send a local agent to meet you at your next port of call. All the yacht charter companies we use have 24 hour emergency telephone numbers and all have full-time technical staff at the base.

Yes, click here for ideas on family-friendly holidays

Click here for handy hints and useful advice on Sailing with Children

A security deposit is required for all charters against the possibility of damage to the yacht, loss of equipment or late return. The amount represents the yacht insurance excess and will depend on the value of the yacht. It is paid on embarkation by credit card authorisation and returned at the end of your charter, less any necessary deductions for damage you did to your yacht or to other yachts.

For some yachts you can pay a non-refundable security insurance which will either reduce or eliminate the security deposit.

All charter yachts are fully insured under marine insurance policies against loss, damage and third party indemnity. You are expected to take all reasonable care but in the event of loss or damage to the yacht and its equipment your liability is limited to the amount of your security deposit unless such damage or loss was caused by your negligence or wilful damage. It is important that previous sailing experience is correctly shown on the Booking Form for full indemnity of any risks.

If your yacht is damaged by another vessel it is up to you to get information from those involved in the incident, including a declaration from a third party. You should report any damage done in port to the harbourmaster.

This varies with the cruising area and the fleet although we always let you know with your initial quote which extras are included, which are obligatory and which are optional. The price tables on this website all state extras for each fleet. If in doubt, please ask.

Extras are usually payable on embarkation in local currency but some fleets do allow pre-payment in Sterling with your balance.

Extras which may apply to your charter:

  • Refundable yacht security deposit and/or insurance.
  • End cleaning 
  • Transit log in Turkey and Croatia
  • Cruising taxes in BVI, Grenadines, Cuba & Seychelles
  • Outboard for the tender
  • Cruising chute 
  • Skipper
  • Airport transfers 
  • Fuel used
  • Marina & harbour fees

Please ask which are included in your charter and which are extras.


In the Mediterranean, most charters are 7 or 14 days to fit charter flights. Charters usually operate Saturday-Saturday but some bases have Sunday or mid-week start dates to fit UK charter flights. HOWEVER some fleets offer odd durations and/or flexible start dates so please do ask us. Embarkation is usually 5pm on the first day and disembarkation is 9am on the last, leaving time between charters for cleaning and maintenance

In the Caribbean you can start on any day and charter for any duration, although there is usually a 5-night minimum. Embarkation is usually 12 noon on the first day and disembarkation is 12 noon on the last.

Yacht charter & flotilla

To charter a yacht bareboat or on flotilla you should be Day Skipper standard gained by sailing in the UK or on a previous flotilla holiday. You should be competent at handling a yacht in close quarters, anchoring and mooring in varying conditions, and be able to use your navigation and pilotage skills to plan a day passage and know your position at any time. You should be assisted by at least one competent crew. You will be asked to complete a short resume of sailing experience on your booking form. We reserve the right to provide a skipper on the yacht at your expense if the local staff deem it necessary for your safety.

At present you need an RYA Day Skipper qualification or RYA International Certificate of Competence (ICC) for charters in Croatia, Montenegro, Mallorca, Tenerife and Malta.

The RYA ICC will be ever more required by overseas port authorities but if you have skipper experience it is easily obtained in a day from RYA sailing schools in the UK such as Hamilton Sailing or Brixham Sea School  

Motoryacht charter

An international certificate of competence, eg RYA Day Skipper Practical (Motor) or RYA ICC (Motor) is required by the port authorities in Croatia, Greece, Mallorca and Turkey for bareboat motoryacht charters.

In the BVI a qualification is not currently required but you must show on your resume, motoryacht experience equivalent to Day Skipper Practical (Motor) - usually evidenced by owning a motoryacht in the UK or previous motoryacht charters.

The Mediterranean sailing season tends to fit charter flights from the UK which operate 1 May to 31 October. Luckily that coincides with the best sailing weather in the Med - hot dry summers - as opposed to their warm wet winters from November to March. May/June and September/October are popular months if you're not tied to the busy school holidays in July/August. 

In the Caribbean you can sail all year but the the main season runs 1 November to 30 June when the weather is superb for sailing. November and May/June are popular months to avoid the crowds. If you want to go in the summer holidays, go as early in July as you can or choose St Lucia or the Grenadines which are too far south to be affected by tropical storms. 


No. We can offer you a much wider choice of yachts than we could ever give with an online system. Without some interaction with a real person it is not always straightforward for you to choose the most suitable yacht in the best place at the right price. We are proud of our service and you pay no more for our advice than if you booked online.

Your best sailing holiday is one that meets your requirements exactly - the yacht, the cruising area, the flights, the price. Let us help with your holiday planning. 


Before you travel

All our charter yachts are well-equipped for cruising in comfort and you could step aboard without bringing anything but your beach towel and suntan cream.

For a sailing holiday, we advise travelling light. Your clothing requirements will be casual -several swim suits, wraps, shorts and T-shirts are the order of the day and you might like to pack a light sweater for the evenings. You may need to cover up if shopping in the local towns and markets. You will need shoes for exploring and for casual wear ashore. Deck shoes are normally worn onboard as they will not mark the decks.

Since there is limited storage on the yachts for hard suitcases, you should only use soft foldaway luggage for your belongings. Excess luggage or hard suitcases can not always be left at the base.

Useful items to pack:

  • lightweight waterproof jacket,
  • sun hat / cap,
  • sunglasses - with a neck strap to stop them going overboard,
  • non-slip deck shoes,
  • beach towel,
  • extra tea-towels,
  • sailing (or gardening gloves) for anchor work,
  • mobile phone & 12v car charger,
  • high factor, waterproof sunscreen. Use lotions, creams or gels as oils can be dangerous on boats,
  • keen swimmers should bring their own fins and masks although these items can be obtained locally they are only of holiday quality,
  • travel wash and liquid soap are always handy,
  • scented nappy bags are useful for toilet paper which must never be flushed down the yacht's toilet,
  • mobile phones - these work in the Mediterranean (but not in all Caribbean countries),
  • your own basic first aid kit, with plasters, antiseptic creams etc. We advise including seasickness tablets, insect repellent, antihistamine and something for upset stomach. Bring any personal medication you need to last the duration of your holiday.


In the Mediterranean yachts are not normally ready for embarkation until 5pm to give times between charters for cleaning and maintenance. If you arrive earlier you may be able to get onboard during the afternoon if the yacht is ready but this cannot be guaranteed in advance. If you arrive later you will be able to board your yacht any time during the night and have your check-in the following morning.

The yacht must be back at the base by 6pm on the evening before the charter ends and vacated by 9am on the last day to allow for cleaning and maintenance of the yacht between charters. If your return flight is later that day or in the evening you will be able to leave your luggage at the base while you spend the day on the beach or sightseeing. If you want to keep your yacht until you go to the airport you may be able to pay for an extra day's charter.

In the Caribbean most yacht charters run 12 noon – 12 noon although for arrivals after 6pm a sleep aboard rate is usually available. Some fleets operate Mediterranean times so please do check.

Most charter yachts have shore power fitted although this is not necessarily the case for older yachts built before 2003. This provides 240 volts mains power but only when the yacht is plugged in to a mains supply on the dock. This will be the case in most marinas but not in many fishing harbours. The sockets on board will be the continental type (2 round pins) so take a continental adaptor.

Shore power is the only possibility for using hairdryers – they consume too much power for the yacht’s own batteries. You can buy 12-volt hairdryers but because they are designed to be very low power they are virtually useless.

All yachts do have a 12-volt cigarette lighter socket. This will work at all times and is ideal for 12 volt chargers that you use in your car for your phone, iPod etc.

You can buy an INVERTER that will convert the 12 volts DC to 240-volt mains power even when no shore power is available. These are perfect for charging phones, cameras etc from mains power supplies and running appliances such as laptop computers, PDAs and computer games consoles that take little power. Most inverters have a maximum power rating of 75 – 150 watt. They can be bought from Dixons, Currys, Halfords, Amazon and Maplin as well as chandlers for about £15 - £25.

All yachts are fitted with car radio/CD player but you may prefer to take your music on an iPod or mp3 player rather than bulky CDs. Very few CD players have inputs for mp3 players. However because they all include FM radios you can use an FM TRANSMITTER to send the signal to the yacht’s radio. This will then play your music through the yacht’s stereo system including cockpit speakers where fitted. Most have sufficient range that they can be operated from the cockpit which adds to their versatility. These are again available from electrical shops (even at the airport if necessary) or on-line from Amazon / eBay for about £5 - £20

As for a hire car, you pay for only the fuel you use. You will have a full tank of diesel on departure and you are to return it full. All of our yachts have diesel main engines; it is unlikely that in one week on a 40' yacht you will burn more than 60 litres (about £100), but this depends on how much motoring you do, the size of the yacht and the sea state you encounter. This is a variable extra that you must pay. When filling the fuel tank, please ensure that you are using the correct filling point – diesel in the water tank is no fun!

These range from area to area and facility to facility. Commonly at a marina in Croatia or Italy, expect to pay around £1-1.50 per foot per night.

There are generally no charges for dropping anchor and coming ashore in your dinghy, although you will be charged in Croatia if you are anchored within a harbour.

In Turkey and Greece the mooring fees are minimal to none.

In the BVI and some other parts of the Caribbean you can pick up a mooring buoy and these are usually US$25/night.

For most bases we can send you a provisioning list for you to select items to be purchased and stowed on your yacht before you arrive. Some fleets make a charge for this service. In any event it is certainly more expensive than shopping for provisions yourself and you don’t experience the local markets and shops. 

Many fleets offer a starter pack at extra cost so you can arrange for some basics to be onboard when you arrive.



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