Helm’s insights into ‘The Best Places for Yachting in 2019’
If you’re yet to book your holiday for 2019, why not make a change from the same old routine and set sail on a luxury chartered yacht? Cruising between land and sea is – without a doubt – the ultimate luxury getaway, and with picture-perfect destinations in every corner of the world, sailing holidays are becoming ever more popular with couples, families and friends alike.
Yachting offers escapism in a way that no other holiday can- you wake up every day with complete freedom, excited to see where your boat will take you next. You may also be surprised to hear that sailing holidays aren’t as expensive as you may think. In fact, it’s no more costly than renting a self-catered villa or luxury hotel.
Still not convinced? If you’re struggling to picture the scene, we’ve put together a list of the best places to charter a yacht in 2019, so that you can dip your toe into the magical world of yachting in some of the most sought after locations on the planet.
The British Virgin Islands – a dream yachting holiday
Also known as the BVIs, the British Virgin Islands are a relatively recent addition to the world sailing map, but they have certainly made an impact. Comprising of around 60 Caribbean islands with only a few of them inhabited, the BVIs offer ultimate peace and tranquillity- with sailing conditions to match.
With consistent trade winds, line-of-site navigations and sheltered anchorages, it’s no surprise that the waters surrounding these islands invite more yachts than anywhere else in the world. These calm and clear conditions are ideal for sailors who want a smooth ride.
Begin your BVI sailing adventure in Tortola, where you can charter a yacht from Sopers Hole Marina- a charming Caribbean harbour which opens up to a sea of islands ready to be explored. There’s plenty to see along the way, including Virgin Gorda which is home to the Baths Marine Park. You’ll see impressive granite boulders and sail through mystical pools and caves.
Be sure to stop off at Anegada, where you can catch a glimpse of the island’s resident pink flamingoes as they cool off in salt ponds.
For the adventurous type, snorkelling over the RMS Rhone at Cooper Island is a must. The wreck is a steamer ship which sunk in 1867 and remains impressively intact, offering a window into the history of the Caribbean.
A yacht charter in Southern Thailand
When you charter a yacht in Thailand, you’ll be warmly welcomed by friendly locals, taste deliciously vibrant food and gaze over breathtaking scenery. Although Thailand has become a popular destination with younger travellers, when you charter a yacht on the southwestern coastlines of the country, you can enjoy the serenity of the Andaman sea, far from hectic gap year-goers.
Most yachts set sail from Phuket – otherwise known as the Pearl of Andaman – where you can see everything from rain-forests and mountains to white sand beaches and rock formations protruding from the ocean.
Further down the coast and a highly recommended spot for 2019 is Krabi, the main town of a larger province of the same name. It remains fairly under the radar in comparison to the more popular Phi Phi islands, which are just a short sail away if you’re after a Mai Thai at a beach club. The coastline off Krabi looks similar to Halong Bay in Vietnam, with craggy limestone outcrops and still turquoise waters.
If you want to experience island life and escape the mainland, Ko Lanta is the perfect diving spot where you’ll see manta rays, turtles and even whale sharks. It’s also a foodie’s heaven, with authentic restaurants serving up aromatic southeast Asian delicacies.
For ultimate peace and tranquillity, Ko Muk is one of southern Thailand’s hidden secrets. As it’s more difficult to get to from the mainland, it’s mainly a stop for passing sailors so you’ll be part of the exclusive club. Why not hop off your yacht, grab a kayak and explore the magical caves and sandy inlets?
Sailing the Caribbean in Antigua
Sailing the Caribbean has to be on everyone’s bucket list. With laid-back locals, sweet-sounding reggae to match sweet fresh fruit and the whitest of white beaches, what more could you ask for? Although navigating your yacht between all of the Caribbean islands makes for an idyllic sailing holiday, we’ve singled out Antigua because it’s the sailing capital of the Eastern Caribbean.
It offers two very different sailing experiences- on the eastern side you’ll battle the long swells in the boisterous Atlantic, whilst in the west, you can effortlessly cruise through the harmonious Caribbean Sea all year round. In fact, the western side of Antigua is probably the steadiest of all Caribbean anchorages.
When you explore Antigua by yacht, life’s a beach. There are over 365 coral pink bays surrounded by a colourful coral reef- a paradise for marine wildlife and holiday-goers alike. You can sail over to Barbuda, Antigua’s chilled out neighbour and a much smaller island where tropical birds outnumber people. Be sure to anchor in Deep Bay- you can dive under the surface armed with just a snorkel and feast your eyes on The Andes, an impressive shipwreck from the 19th century.
In late April you can join your fellow seafarers to enjoy the delights of Antigua Sailing Week. This historical event is an annual Caribbean sailing regatta which hosts plenty of fun-filled shoreside events along with epic sailing races like the Round Antigua Race.
Sicily – filled with popular sailing spots!
Italy’s coastlines offer plenty of popular sailing spots, with many sailors chartering yachts to glide down the Amalfi Coast or cruise along the Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. However, for a healthy dose of Italian food, culture and scenery without the crowds, why not charter a yacht in Sicily?
Sicilian cuisine is famed the world over- with Italian flavours at its heart but peppered with Spanish, Greek and Arab influences. Meanwhile, Sicily’s history is similarly multicultural and is the ideal location for visitors who are keen to learn more about Italy’s fascinating past.
You should start your cruise in Palermo, a vibrant cosmopolitan city affectionately named the Golden Basin of Sicily due to its stunning architecture and magnificent natural harbour. Epic mountain ranges surround a pristine ocean- the perfect place to anchor up and soak up some sensational Sicilian sunshine.
The crystal clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea which surround Sicily is home to a number of extraordinary island landscapes. The Aeolian Islands are a volcanic archipelago which offer a slice paradise with seas as clear as the Bahamas.
Of the six main islands of the Aeolians, Stromboli and Vulcano are must-sees. From Stromboli, you get an impressive view of a monumental volcano which, although considered safe, still smoulders over the cobalt ocean. To get up close to the action, sail over to Vulcano where you can hike to another volcano’s edge and cool off in the famous mud baths. We’d recommend stopping off for just a day here though- the sulphurous stench can get a little overwhelming!
Helm: Unforgettable International Yachting Holidays
If you’re itching to pack your bags and start your 2019 island hopping adventure, Helm offers bareboat, skippered and crewed yachting holidays, setting sail from eight stunning destinations.
Our yachting locations include our 2019 picks, as well as plenty of other beautiful areas including Croatia, the Balearic Islands, Greece and Turkey. To explore our destinations and plan the sailing holiday of a lifetime, visit our website.