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Sailing holidays for all the family

Enjoy a great activity holiday . . .

Sailing your own yacht provides fun, excitement and challenges to wake up your senses and make you feel alive. There's always time for a swim off your yacht or a walk to a market or cliff-top view. Or just relax - there's no rush and no timetables. Every day is different and every day there are magic moments - an exhilarating reach under full sail, dolphins next to your yacht, snorkelling over sunlit reefs. In the evening there are charming little harbours with long histories or anchorages under starry skies.

Share the fun with your family . . .

Children, especially teenagers, love sailing holidays. There's so much going on afloat and ashore - it's such an adventure and no time to get bored! There's plenty they can join in as crew - plotting the course, weighing anchor, setting the sails. Swim ashore for an ice cream from the beach bar, take a trip in the dinghy to explore some caves or plan a picnic in a secluded bay. They might even turn off their i-pods and talk to you! A pirate's treasure map goes down well with younger children so they can plot their course.

It's excellent value and so convenient . . .

Your yacht provides self-contained accommodation with plenty of cabins for everyone. Every night you'll be in the best harbourside location or in your own secluded anchorage - a different place to discover every day. It's the ultimate multi-centre holiday without all the packing and unpacking! All the yachts have a fridge and cooker onboard and self-catering for breakfast, lunch and snacks helps keep the costs down, especially if you have hungry kids onboard.

Families come in all sizes, ages and experience . . .

From the gentle breezes of the Ionian to the bluewater sailing in Grenada, there's a sailing holiday to suit your family. Talk to us and we'll find the perfect family sailing holiday for you.

Families choices

  • Overview
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    Yachts on anchor in the Ionian, Greece

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    Family sailing in the Saronic Gulf, Greece

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    A beautiful bay in the Ionian, Greece

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    Ionian flotilla, Greece

    TombBay_600x400

    Tomb Bay, Turkey

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    Mooring in Athens, Greece

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    Cold Water Bay, Turkey

    Top 3 choices for sailing with kids:

    1. Ionian Islands in Greece - light winds, short hops & calm seas. Our flotillas from Palairos offer easy sailing for families.
    2. Fethiye Bay in Turkey - sheltered sailing & great swimming. Family-friendly flotillas give access to this unspoilt area.
    3. Saronic Gulf south of Athens - reliable sailing with history & culture thrown in. We offer bareboat & flotilla sailing here.
  • Yacht charter
    Yacht charter

    Yacht charter sailing holidays for families

    If you have sailing experience, charter a yacht bareboat. Spend time with your family or bring along some friends to share the adventure.

  • Flotilla sailing
    Flotilla sailing

    Flotilla sailing holidays for families

    Everyone enjoys the reassurance and friendliness of a flotilla. During school holidays there are usually other families on the flotillas so the kids can make new friends.

  • Learn to Sail
    Learn to Sail

    Learn to sail holidays for families

    No previous sailing experience necessary on our Learn to Sail holidays. Learn to sail together on flotilla in Greece or book an RYA course and gain your certificates.

  • Sail and Stay
    Sail and Stay

    Sail and stay holidays

    A sailing holiday is a perfect vacation but why not add a few days or a week ashore in a beach hotel or villa before or after your sailing.

Top questions

  • What experience & qualifications do I need?

    To charter a yacht bareboat or on flotilla, you should have an RYA Day Skipper qualification or RYA International Certificate of Competence (ICC) and be assisted by at least one competent crew.

    For charters in Croatia, one member of the crew will also need a VHF licence.

    RYA qualifications can be obtained by RYA sailing schools in the UK such as Hamilton Sailing or Torbay Sea School or alternatively choose from one of our overseas centres in Gibraltar, Greece or Turkey.

    For Caribbean and Tropical charters, formal qualifications are not compulsory, however, you should be Day Skipper standard and be assisted by at least one competent crew. A brief sailing resume should be provided to outline your experience.

    In Greece, Turkey and Croatia you have a choice of bareboat yacht charter or flotilla sailing holidays, providing maximum choice at all experience levels.

    Add a skipper to any of our bareboat yachts if you don’t have the experience to charter bareboat or if you would like a helping hand with a larger yacht or a guide to a new cruising area. The skipper will be a competent local sailor and perfectly capable of sailing the yacht. He will encourage you to get involved as crew, although he is not an instructor. You will have to allocate a cabin for the skipper's use and provide him with food and drink.

  • What is the best age for children?

    Teenagers really enjoy sailing holidays. There's plenty they can join in as crew but there's still plenty of time to relax on deck with a book or i-pod. Teach them a few useful knots at the start of the holiday and delegate specific tasks so they know what their role is, eg when mooring up who's doing anchor, fenders, stern mooring lines? Get them involved in chart plotting, helming and setting the sails. Even a washing up rota seems more fun onboard a yacht! Take a friend along or join a flotilla if they want company.

    Younger children love being onboard a yacht. Under 12s aren't much help as crew but they really enjoy all the activity of sailing along, going ashore in the dinghy and falling asleep in a cabin. Do take a life-jacket for under 8s - as well as wearing it on the yacht, they'll need it swimming off the yacht and in the dinghy.

    Toddlers are the most difficult crew members. If possible invite another person, couple or family along so there is at least one adult who can be in charge of young children with no other crew jobs to distract them, especially coming in and out of harbour. Child netting can be fitted as an optional extra and will be attached along the side rails, but it does not fully enclose the deck area so cannot be considered an enclosed playpen.

    Lifejackets are provided on all charter yachts. Check you have child / junior jackets before you leave the marina. Young children should wear a lifejacket at all times above deck and in the dinghy (especially at night!). For children under 8, we recommend taking their own lifejacket that you know fits and that he/she likes wearing.

  • Where is best for families?

    Your choice of destination may depend on various factors:

    Do you want to sail on flotilla? You may want the security of sailing with other yachts and with flotilla staff who are onhand to give assistance. You may want to meet other families with children. We have flotillas in Greece, Turkey, Croatia and France, so there's one to match your sailing experience.

    Are you looking for somewhere sheltered? The children may be younger or the family may not be so experienced. The Ionian in Greece is a family favourite for its gentler winds, shorter distances and picturesque bays for swimming.

    Perhaps the children are older and you want to visit somewhere interesting? Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Italy all have ancient histories to explore. Sailing on the French Riviera gives an opportunity to practice speaking French.

    The Caribbean is an idyllic holiday destination for all the family. The sailing is best October through to June. The British Virgin Islands provide safe, sheltered cruising with white sandy beaches and superb snorkelling.

"We have just returned from a fabulous 2 weeks sailing from Fethiye. It was easily the best experience we have had with perfect sailing weather throughout. The area around Fethiye Bay is lovely and there is plenty of historic and natural interest as well as beautiful clear water for swimming and great food. Our flotilla leaders, Mike and Debbie are the best we have come across and have to sing their praises! They have so much sailing experience and an excellent knowledge of the local area where they have developed good relationships with local people, that helped to make our visits to restaurants etc even better. We will definitely be visiting Turkey again-would love to sail with Mike and Debbie again-but have been impressed with the maturity, experience and humour of other Nautilus leaders on other trips as well, so, as they say, we'll be back!"

Fethiye flotilla 2016 - M.O.

Sailing Qualifications

To skipper a bareboat charter or flotilla yacht, you need to hold a practical sailing certificate equivalent to RYA Day Skipper Practical qualification or RYA International Certificate of Competence (ICC). You must also be assisted by at least one competent crew member over the age of 18.

For charters in Croatia, Malta and the Canaries, at least one member of the crew or the skipper will also need a VHF licence.

RYA qualifications can be obtained by RYA sailing schools in the UK or alternatively choose from one of our overseas centres in Gibraltar, Greece or Turkey.

For Caribbean and Tropical charters, formal qualifications are not compulsory, however, you should be Day Skipper standard and be assisted by at least one competent crew. A brief sailing resume should be provided to outline your experience.

If you don't hold the relevant qualifications then why not add a skipper?

Sailing Levels

Level 1

Winds force 2-3 (4-11 Knots)combined with generally shorter distances. Good for beginner or intermediate sailors. Line-of-sight navigation but basic knowledge of charts and ability to plot your position required.

Level 2

Winds force 3-5 (7-21 Knots) with approximately 15-20nm per day. Intermediate experience required. Predominately line of sight navigation but an understanding of how to sail in open water.

Level 3

Winds force 4-6 (11-27 Knots) with mileage of approximately 20nm+ per day. Ideal for experienced skippers looking to venture out to new destinations. Day skipper standard but with experienced crew would be recommended.