Discover the off season
Some of the top sailing destinations are a hive of activity in peak season. Understandably so – many of us are restricted in terms of vacation availability, opting to take a crewed yacht charter during summer break or the winter holidays.
If you’re a little more flexible in your travel dates, you can take advantage of some amazing offers outside of peak-season, without compromising on your charter experience.
If the idea of deserted beaches and less-crowded bars floats your boat, then read on to discover the off season.
Old Habits Die Hard
Traditionally, there has been a cyclical pattern of charter yachts moving between the Mediterranean and Caribbean to make the best of the seasons in each region. Yachts tend to spend the summer in the Med, taking charterers around the Greek Islands, Turkey, Croatia, Balearic Islands etc. As the Mediterranean season fades in fall, they usually then sail over to the Caribbean for the start of the new season.
This migration has been continuing for as long as charter vacations have been widely available.
However, some yacht owners and providers are now bucking this trend, choosing instead to keep their vessels in the same area year-round. One reason for this is to save making two transatlantic trips each year. However, the main motivation is that the charter market is changing. People are now choosing to travel at different times of year. This means yachts available in the Caribbean in Summer, and in the Mediterranean in Winter.
The Temperature Myth
The common misconception is that the Med is too cool in winter, and the Caribbean is unbearably hot in summer. Allow us to clear that up for you.
In the BVI, one of the top sailing spots in the Caribbean, the peak month is January. At this time, the average temperature is 82F (27.7C). Compare this to summer averages of 88F (31.1C). Now, consider the typical Caribbean charter activities of lounging on deck, taking advantage of the water toys on board, and evenings dining al fresco with beautiful sunsets and warm breezes. Will an increase of six degrees make these activities unenjoyable? Absolutely not. If anything, jumping into the sea to cool off will be even more satisfying. Remember, your yacht will be air-conditioned, so a good night’s sleep is guaranteed.
The Med has similar offerings, albeit not to the same extent. Depending on the destination, temperatures can remain mild, or drop off considerably. This is where ‘shoulder seasons’ really come into play.
These are the parts of the year before and after peak or off-season. Particularly in the Med, this is where there are some fantastic deals and very pleasant sailing conditions to be found.
Let’s look at Santorini, a favorite with those wishing to explore the Greek islands. In springtime and fall, you can experience temperatures of 68-72F (20-22C). This is a great option for those wishing to avoid the crowds of the school breaks. For some, the Meltemi winds that arrive in these parts in midsummer are a little intense. Therefore an off-season charter can offer idyllic views and peaceful sailing.
Mallorca is another very popular destination in the Med. In October and November, balmy days average 73F (23C). This is still a very pleasant climate for exploring the beautiful beaches and enjoying an early evening cocktail.
Over in the BVI, the fall shoulder season averages 80F (26.6C). You’re likely to find some great deals here in October and November. Spring temperatures are similar, with Easter temperatures around 78F (25.5C). The sailing conditions in the BVI are near-perfect year round.
Of course, if you’ve looked into chartering in the BVI you’ll have heard about hurricane season. Officially, this runs from June to November. In reality, most companies are still running regular charters until late August, and start again in mid-October.
Each crew that remains in the Caribbean during this time is prepared for the unlikely event of adverse weather conditions. In part, this is due to experience and vast knowledge of the local area. It’s also a requirement of insurance companies, and no captain or boat owner wants to take any unnecessary risks.
Hurricanes are never a surprise. The weather is monitored constantly, and any signs of changes are acted upon swiftly and calmly. For extra security, you can organise additional travel insurance to cover any eventuality that may arise.
Beyond the BVI
Whilst undeniably one of the top sailing destinations in the world, there’s more to the Caribbean than the BVI. St Vincent and Grenadines offer amazing island-hopping, without the limitations of hurricane season. The Bahamas are also a great summer option, with low winds and great fishing. Your yacht.vacations consultant can advise on the perfect Caribbean off-season getaway for you.
For full details about the luxury charter yachts available all-year round contact the experts at Yacht.Vacations.