Skippered yacht charters (what to expect)


One of the many delights of a sailing holiday is that it doesn’t require you to ever take the helm or hoist the mainsail, let alone batten down the hatches. Unless you want to of course. And if you happen to be new to sailing or have sailing experience but just want to put up your feet while on holiday, a skippered charter is the answer.

The skipper is a qualified sailor whose job is to take care of the sailing and make sure your holiday as enjoyable and relaxing as possible, allowing you to join in with as much or as little hands-on sailing as you wish.

Want to know more about what’s involved if you book a skippered charter holiday? We thought you might and have put together the following guide which will hopefully answer all your questions.

Skippered yacht charters - What to expect

Skippered Yacht Charter | Helm

What should I expect on a skippered yacht charter?

  • Choice of stunning destinations
  • Freedom to create your own itinerary
  • Chance to relax on board and leave the sailing to a professional
  • An opportunity to learn some sailing basics under instruction from the skipper
  • Inside knowledge from a local expert who can take you to the best beaches and secluded bays
  • Privacy
Helm Skipper Holidays | Helm

How does it work?

Your skipper will be there to meet you and your group when you check in to your chosen yacht and be responsible for sailing you to your chosen destinations for the duration of your holiday. You can sit back and relax for the entire time or if you would like to use the opportunity to start learning some basic skills the skipper will be happy to show you the ropes (as it were!).

For many, a skippered yacht charter tends to be more about the holiday than the sailing. So having someone else at the helm will enable you to make the most of everything else a yachting holiday offers – swimming off the back of the boat, snorkelling, sunbathing on deck or simply relaxing in a hammock.

Helm Vulcano Aeolian Italy Charter Holidays | Helm

How far you go each day will depend on your itinerary, but on average the skipper will sail the yacht for three to four hours a day between morning and afternoon, stopping for lunch on the way. In the evening, you will dock at a port or harbour and then are free to either eat on board or go out for dinner.

We provide suggested itineraries for each destination, but you are welcome to adapt these as you please. Our advice is that you sit down with the skipper at the start of your trip and work out your preferred route. Also, if you have any specific ideas for activities – such as trying out water sports or visiting historic places of interest en route – just ask the skipper and he can advise on where to go.

Helm Skippered Yacht Charter | Helm

Who are the skippers?

Our skippers are professional sailors. They have excellent local knowledge, so can make recommendations on where to go and what to see. This gives you a huge advantage – they know where the best spot is for a tranquil lunch in a secluded bay and the best restaurants in town when you dock at night. They will even book you a table.

Explore the Caribbean | Helm

Where can I sail?

Skippered yachts are available at all our destinations, from the Mediterranean to the British Virgin Islands, the Caribbean and Thailand. For more details on our destinations, click here.

Helm Skipper Sailing Holidays | Helm

What sort of yacht should I opt for?

Your skipper will sleep on board with you, so you will need to allocate them a cabin. Otherwise, the type of yacht you choose is up to you. And of course, we are on hand to offer suitable recommendations based on the size of the group travelling and any specific requests you have.

Use our experience builder to help us create the perfect sailing holiday for you.

Helm Skipper Travel | Helm

Should I add a hostess too?

A skippered charter is a self-catered holiday, so you will need to buy enough provisions before you embark (and en route) for your group and the skipper. These will include food, drink, cleaning products and toilet rolls.

If you’d like a hand with the catering, you can add a hostess. They will keep you yacht clean, prepare drinks and snacks as well as help with the shopping. A hostess would prepare two light meals a day (usually breakfast and lunch) as well as two dinners during the trip

Bear in mind they too will need their own cabin.

Helm Skipper Boat | Helm

Anything else to be aware of?

The skipper is there to sail the boat and will always respect your privacy. That said, in our experience, our guests always form a genuinely close bond with the skipper during their holiday and are often sad to say goodbye!

Tipping is customary but not obligatory. It is however greatly appreciated by the crew who will consistently go above and beyond to make you happy. We generally recommend 5-15% of the charter price.


More Advice

For more advice on creating your perfect sailing holiday, email us at or phone (+44) 0207 632 7567

Create your skippered charter

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