Sailing Holidays Are the Way Of the Future
By Oscar Davis
With the world slowly starting to recover (in a few places at least), we wondered what impact it would have on the travel industry.
Limiting the Gas Guzzlers
While it has been a dream for green campaigners who have been seeing to try and limit the use of gas-guzzling airplanes, it has been a nightmare for anyone involved in the travel industry, with tourist hotspots, hotel groups, coach companies, all the way down to taxis and beach bar owners seeing an unprecedented drop in revenues, that looks like it will be here to stay throughout 2021.
With holidays in 2021 fast becoming about being able to keep away from the crowd so that you can ‘socially distance’ even while relaxing, you can see why customers are rejecting the usual mass-market hotels and city-break options.
Many fear that if they somehow managed to contract the Covid-19 virus, they would end up in a foreign hospital, without knowing the language, the quality of the care, or even the expense!
Sailing in Safety
It turns out that holidays that you can do while also being socially responsible are few and far between. You can go camping, but you need to stay away from any regular campsites (with their swimming pools, shower facilities, etc) and be happy to camp on your own, making your own entertainment and facilities.
You can go RVing or motor-homing, where at least you have facilities with you, but with the recent spike in motorhome prices and fairly small supply, you’ll be lucky to get hold of one.
Or you can try sailing – easily the best option when it comes to seeing beautiful scenery and being comfortable even in these crazy times. Chartering a yacht (or, even better, a catamaran) doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and there are some very real benefits.
Cut yourselves off
If you take a private charter yacht, you have the chance to completely cut yourself off from the world. In the Kornati islands, or in the less-visited tourist locations of Croatia and Greece, you can still go days without seeing anyone.
If your catamaran or yacht has a generator, you can enjoy your air conditioning, with the music blaring out at full volume, a glass of champagne in your hands, while you survey the private beach location you have secured for the night (for free!), before you head on-shore for a beach barbecue and to watch the sunset. There are no other people, apart from the Skipper if you need one.
Just a Skipper
Unless you have a boat captain’s license, you will need a professional skipper to guide your boat in and out of the marina (no mean feat when the wind is blowing, and hundreds of eyes watch your every move), and generally, look after the boat.
Obviously these guys will be sharing the boat with you, and so are routinely tested to make sure they aren’t able to pass on coronavirus to any of their passengers. Given that they are also at sea for six days of the week, mixing with just the eight passengers, they aren’t at too much risk of getting it either — so you can sit back and relax in their professional company.
Enjoy the Finer Things in Life
Some of life’s best pleasures are free – sunrise, sunset, and the glittering stars at night being amongst them. In a yacht, you can find and sail to the perfect locations for all. Want to see the sun set over Santorini, but without the hustle and bustle (and queueing!) that goes on at Oia? No problem.
Want to see the sun rise over the Eastern Coast of Corsica? Consider it done. Want to be in the middle of nowhere, with all the home comforts, under the bright starry night sky? Simple!
Hiking trips to remote campsites or fields, or even RVing are about as far from luxury as you can imagine, but you can have all the home comforts you want on a yacht or catamaran trip – all the things you need to really make it a holiday.
Running Water and Lots More
Whether that’s a nice cold beer (fresh from the ice-box in the cockpit), or the simple things like access to a big fridge, four burners and an oven, and running water.
You can have a king-size bed instead of a sleeping bag, with its own en-suite facilities, beautiful lighting and air-con. Throw in sun loungers dotted around the catamaran (just in case the sails put you in the shade), blue-tooth speakers and you can see it’s ideal.
And then factor in that you also have your book, wardrobe and all your usual travel things within easy reach at basically all times on the trip, and you can see why people choose this kind of easy holiday.
Get back to Nature
If you want to use your downtime as a chance to reconnect with nature, sailing is a great choice. You can sail to secluded bays, and only meet the wildlife that comes across your path – be it seals, dolphins or other marine animals.
You can snorkel in clear blue water in private bays. You can turn off the engine and use sail-power and the wind to send you effortlessly and silently on your way, save for the occasional gurgle or the lapping of the sea on the boat.
You can gaze out in all directions and only see miles of deep blue crystal clear sea.
Sailing is Opening Up NOW
One of the first areas to come back to normal is sailing – both the sports side but also the leisure sailing side of things.
In Montenegro, the country is quite ready to deal with the pandemic, and now the marinas and harbors are ready for travelers, with the delivery of essentials available direct to your boat, and even restaurant meals can be brought on board in some marinas.
They are back to normal and have already started holding individual sailing training, with sailing is one of the first individual sports which has got its approval for training.
In Croatia, the waters are already open as of May 25, with travelers no longer needing to spend any time in quarantine. In Greece, you can sail from June 15th if you are from 19 select countries who have done a good job of containing COVID, or from 1st July if you’re based in the rest of the world.
Italy opens up from July 1st, as do the Balearic Islands of Ibiza and Mallorca, and by mid July they expect to be sailing in the South of France and in all the other major sailing destinations in Europe.
It’s difficult to predict what impact the Coronavirus will have on travel in the longer term.
But you would expect a shift to more socially-distanced, private holidays, away from the mass-market mainstream resort hotels model that was working so well for the likes of Thomson and Thomas Cook all the way up until 2019.
It’s an exciting time to be a traveler!
Oscar Davis is a freelance writer based in Leeds, England.