Frequently Asked Questions
What type of yacht holiday suits me?
Use our Experience Builder and we will be able to suggest the yacht holiday most suited for you. There are three main categories of yachting holidays: bareboat, skippered (bareboat with crew) and fully crewed. You can see further explanation on each of these options below. If you don’t have sailing experience then a skippered or crewed option is for you.
What is a bareboat charter?
- A bareboat charter is where you rent a fully equipped yacht without a skipper and crew. The yacht is yours for the duration of the charter and has everything you need on board. Your Helm broker can arrange for the boat to be provisioned before your arrival and any extras you require to be on board. The boat is your responsibility and the itinerary is completely up to you. You will be provided with an area and boat briefing upon check-in, and will have the full support of the local base staff should you have any questions or require assistance during your charter.
- Yachts available to bareboat charter range from 32ft right up to 60ft and include a wide variety of of monohull sailing boats, motorboats and catamarans from all major shipyards. Use our Experience Builder to find the perfect yacht for your next holiday.
- To bareboat charter you will need a practical sailing licence, such as RYA Day Skipper, International Certificate of Competence (ICC), or ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising Certificate, along with experience on an equal size boat. In the British Virgin Islands and Thailand, you do not need a licence, but will be required to show a sailing resume demonstrating experience of being in charge of an equal size boat. If you are not sure if your licence is suitable please check with us.
- In Croatia a VHF (marine radio) licence is also mandatory.
What is a skippered charter?
- A skippered charter means adding a qualified skipper to a bareboat arrangement. This is perfect for a first sailing holiday, as no experience is necessary. A skipper can also be added for those that would like someone on board with local knowledge and to assist with the sailing.
- You can be as involved or un-involved in the sailing of the vessel as you wish, and the skipper will be happy to teach you to sail.
- A skipper is hired to make your week as enjoyable as possible; they will have local experience and will be able to make recommendations on where to go and what to see.
- Prices range from 130 to 200EUR per day for a skipper + their food, and you need to make sure you allocate them a cabin.
Can I add a hostess?
- A hostess can be added to any bareboat or skippered charter
- They will keep your yacht clean, prepare drinks and snacks, breakfast and lunch, as well as helping with provisioning.
- A hostess costs 100 – 150EUR per day + food, depending on destination.
What is a crewed charter?
- A crewed charter is a luxurious escape, akin to a 5 star hotel but with a different view every day.
- .A professional captain and crew will pamper you and provide a seamless experience.
- An on-board chef will prepare gourmet cuisine, or the crew can assist with reservations at the best onshore restaurants.
- You will find an amazing selection of facilities, activities and equipment.
- The experience is uniquely tailored to all of your personal preferences.
- To find your perfect escape use our Experience builder (Link) to build your tailored experience
What style of Yacht should I choose?
Use our Experience Builder and we will be able to suggest the yacht style best suited to you. Below you can see the advantages of the four categories of available boats.
- Sailing performance – monohulls sail upwind more efficiently then catamarans and feel more powerful as they heel over
- Responsive sailing, better for learning how to sail
- Economical: charter price, fuel costs and mooring fees are cheaper
- Greater number of available yachts
- Lots of space
- Stable platform, great for people new to boating
- More comfortable at anchor, similar to apartment style living with seamless indoor/ outdoor integration
- Shallow draft – can venture into shallower waters
- Two engines allow for easy manoeuvrability
- More space for crew – often 2 separate crew cabins in the bow
- Larger, more functional bathrooms then equal size monohulls
- Not reliant on the wind - offer great performance, stability, volume and comfort
- More expensive to run. Having no sails, a motoryacht will use more fuel during your holiday. We can provide an estimate for the boat you’re considering
- Ultimate luxury – generally crewed, motoryachts tend to be more comfortable and luxurious
- Amazing value – Gulets in Croatia, Greece and Turkey offer more boat and facilities then similar priced motor or sailing yachts.
- Always with crew – sit back, relax and let our crew do the work and look after you.
- Ideal for people not used to boating, but want to experience a holiday on the water, as they feature most comforts found in a villa
How do I choose the right charter yacht?
- Consider your group size, the make up of the group, and the number of bedrooms/ bathrooms you require.
- Age of the yacht – newer yachts are more modern and fresher looking. This does not mean older yachts are not worth considering. We only chose yachts that are in excellent condition and have been looked after meticulously.
- Level of comfort – tell us the level of comfort you are used to or are looking for and we can make suitable suggestions. Your budget is also an important factor.
- The activities you would like to do during the week play an important role, as some yachts are much better suited then others for certain activities.
- Use your broker – we are here to help you every step of the way and to make sure the whole process is as easy as possible.
Where should you go?
- Use our Experience Builder, and let us make suggestions based on your answers.
- Consider your group requirements, whether you are looking for lively towns, quiet bays or a mixture of both.
- Are you seasoned sailors, or would calmer more sheltered waters be more appropriate?
- What’s the best time of year to go? For the most stable weather June to September in the Mediterranean, and November to May for the Caribbean and Thailand.
- Rental of the yacht and crew (if specified) for the contracted period.
- Yacht equipment.
- Any extras you have confirmed with your broker.
- Dinghy, GPS and nautical charts, stereo and cockpit speakers, safety equipment to meet the requirements of the flag-state, bedding and towels will be provided but sometimes there is a local charge for this, this will be clear in your charter offer/ contract.
- First and last night in the yacht’s home marina.
What extra costs should I budget for?
- Is Fuel included? Generally your yacht will come with a full tank, which simply needs to be topped up at the end of your charter, meaning that you pay for what you use. If you would like an estimate for this cost please ask your broker.
- Mooring fees. If you moor in a harbour, town quay, mooring buoy or even in some anchorages you may need to pay a fee. The price can vary depending on location, and size of your yacht. Ask your broker for a more accurate price. Generally, in Greece and Turkey you tend to moor on town quays, which have a minimal – nil charge.
- Food and drink for your crew (if hired). On a bareboat charter it’s best to just provision for an extra person. When eating out you can invite them to dine with you, or give them 10-15 euros so that they can take care of themselves. On a crewed yacht this cost is included in the charter fee, and the crew will take care of themselves.
- Food and drink for you. We can arrange for the provisions to be on-board waiting for you!
- Extras. Any extras you want to have on-board, such as paddleboards, kayaks or a larger dinghy for water sports can be discussed with your broker.
- What is an outboard? An outboard is an engine for the dinghy that you will use for getting from your yacht to the shore. When you are offered a yacht it will be clear if this cost is included or an extra. If it’s an extra, talk to your broker about whether an outboard is necessary for the kind of cruising you want to do.
- Airport transfers. We are more then happy to organise airport transfers for you.
- What is an APA? The APA stands for Advanced Provisioning Allowance and is paid with the final balance for crewed charters - it is designed to cover the cost of all of the extras you are likely to incur on your charter
What is the security deposit?
- An amount you leave as a deposit against any damage you may cause to the yacht. It is fully refundable and usually taken as a pre-authorised credit card transaction on check-in, which is refunded at the end of the week if no damage is caused. Examples of when a charge may be deducted from the security deposit are as follows:
- Specific damage to your yacht (ie breakages or blockages caused by you)
- Damage caused as a result of negligence
- When there has been a grounding and a diver is required to check under the boat for damage
- Not returning the boat to the contracted marina on time
- Damage caused by a third party where you didn’t properly report the incident
- You will not be charged for breakages that are a result of ordinary wear and tear
- It is possible to insure your security deposit, simply ask your broker for details of how to do this.
What do I need to know for on-board living?
- Can I play Music? All yachts have the facility to play your own music. Just make sure you bring an AUX cable (headphone to headphone) to plug in your mp3 player/iPod/phone.
- Is there a first aid kit? Yes, all yachts come with a fully stocked first aid kit.
- Will the yacht have an electric supply? Yes, when you are plugged into the mains at a harbour, or if your yacht has a generator. Otherwise you will be able to use the yachts batteries, just like in a car - in this case you should bring 12 v chargers for your appliances, or a 12v inverter.
- How much room is there for luggage? Fairly limited, but depending on the size of your yacht. Tip – bring folding bags that can be stowed easily.
- Will there be Wi-Fi? Most yachts have on board Wi-Fi available; ask your broker if your yacht has this option.
- Can I pre-order provisions on board? Yes, we can supply you with a provisioning list, or if you have hired crew, a preference form so that your yacht can be stocked before your arrival.
- Will I get Seasick? As our destinations are all in protected waters, it is unlikely that you would get seasick. If you often suffer from motion sickness, it is advisable to see your pharmacist to get some sea sickness tablets that you can take at the start of the charter, until you get used to the motion of the boat. You will normally only do relatively short passages each day, then be in sheltered bays, or in marinas.
- Can I cook on-board? Yes, your boat will come with a fully equipped galley with a gas cooker/ oven, fridge and everything on board you will need such as cutlery, glasses, plates, and saucepans.
What’s a typical day like on-board a yacht charter?
- A yacht charter is a unique kind of holiday, that gives you the flexibility to really experience a destination and see a completely different view to the majority of land based tourists. A yacht charter is not all about the sailing and often you will only actually sail for 1-3 hours a day, perhaps broken up by a special and secluded lunchtime swimming spot. A typical day will include lots of swimming, sunbathing, and exploring unique destinations.
- To see what a typical week on-board can look like please browse one of our case study pages, like the bareboat experience.
What Should I take on my yacht charter?
- Travel documents. As you will be traveling abroad please make sure you have the correct documents for the country you are visiting, a valid passport, and visa if required. If you are not sure please ask your broker. Those on a bareboat charter will also need to take the original of their sailing licence, and VHF certificate in Croatia.You should also take your boarding instructions, which will have all details for your charter, including local contacts.
- Soft-sided luggage. Much more practical on-board to stow then hard cases.
- Shoes - boat, street, and water. On-board you will need to wear bare feet, or soft, white soled clean shoes that aren’t going to mark the boats teak or decks. You should bring a different pair of shoes for exploring the towns, and going out in the evening in. A pair or water shoes (reef shoes) are also a good idea for exploring in the water or round the rocks.
- Swimwear. This is the most important item of clothing; you will find you end up living in it!
- Fins, mask and snorkel. This is often supplied so check with your broker, but if your planning to spend a lot of time in the water it is generally more comfortable to take you own gear.
- Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. Polarised sunglasses are by far the best on the water, please make sure you don’t have oil-based sunscreen as this can stain the teak and sun cushions, you should use at least 30+ as people tend to burn more on the water.
- Sweater or fleece. Particularly if you’re going early or late in the season, the nights can get cool.
- Beach towels. These will often be supplied so please check with your broker.
- Book. There’s nothing like relaxing in the sun with a good book.
- Electronics. Ipod/ mp3 player can be played through the yacht’s stereo, but you will need to take an AUX cable. You should take a 12v charger for your essential appliances, unless you are on a larger boat with a generator. Be sure to remember your camera!
- Waterproofs. Even in summer, a windy afternoon can be cool, a waterproof jacket can make a passage much more enjoyable.
- Medications. Please make sure you bring your prescription medications with you, foreign scripts are not honoured in Greek Pharmacies.
- Ear Plugs. If you are a light sleeper a pair of earplugs can be a saviour, particularly in Greece and Turkey where you will spend a lot of nights on town quays.
- In General. Most people going on yachting holidays pack a lot more then they require, you will find you spend most time on board just in your swimwear and a t-shirt, so a few pairs along with some shore gear are all that you require.
- Can we arrange flights? Yes, on certain holidays and destinations - enquire with your broker. Generally, we feel it is better value if you supply your own flights – but do not hesitate to ask if you need some assistance finding the best flights or connections.
- Can we arrange transfers to the yacht? Yes, it’s as simple as selecting this on your yacht booking page.
- How do I find my yacht? We will provide you with full arrival information three weeks before your charter with all the information you need. This will include: the name of your yacht, the address of the marina and where your yacht will be within it, local contact details, details of your transfers, suggested itineraries and a number to ring should you have any problems.
- If I arrive early can I leave my luggage at the base so I can explore? This is generally not a problem; please let us know in advance so that we can make sure space is set-aside for this
- What time can I pick up the boat? Depending on the yacht and the destination, usually 17:00 on the first day of your charter
- Want an early check in? In some cases, it is possible to organize a VIP pack which includes a 13:00 check-in - ask your HELM broker for details.
- What time do I have to disembark? Generally, the disembark time is 9am, meaning you come back to the marina the evening before your last morning.
Booking and payment:
- How do I reserve my yacht? Once you have selected your preferred yacht, contact your HELM broker who will assist you, or simply follow the instructions through your online portal. You will receive a login for this after completing our Experience Builder. For confirmation we will require a deposit, which is between 30% - 50% of the charter fee.
- Is paying online safe? Yes! We trust all of our online payments to Braintree who are a secure online payment specialist company that is owned by Paypal. By entrusting the payments to Braintree we can be sure that the latest encryption software is used. Braintree is a validated Level 1 PCI DSS Compliant Service Provider and on Visa's Global Compliant Provider List and MasterCards SDP list
- Please note that payments for fully crewed charters need to be by bank transfer, your broker will advise on this.
- Balance payments (usually 6 weeks before the charter) will need to be paid by bank transfer.
Can I pay by bank transfer?
Yes we always accept payments by bank transfer, you will be provided with our bank details on booking, simply state your booking reference number as the transaction reference.
- How many payments are there? 2 payments of 30% - 50% to book, and the balance 6 Weeks before your departure date. If you would like to split this payment between members of the group we can facilitate this.
- Is the yacht insured? All charter yachts are fully insured under marine insurance policies against loss, damage and third party indemnity. When you book your yacht, you are fully responsible for it. In the event of loss or damage to the yacht, your liability is limited to the amount of your security deposit unless the damage is caused by your negligence.
You will not be liable for damage caused by another boat as long as you are able to provide evidence. It is your responsibility to provide the information from those involved, including a witness statement from a third party. All yachts have third party damage insurance.
- Can I insure my security deposit? Yes, damage waiver insurance is either available direct with the boat owner, or through a 3rd party insurance company. Ask your broker for details.
- Do all charters run from Saturday to Saturday? Mostly in the Mediterranean. Crewed charters however, can start on any day. In the Caribbean and Thailand, charters can start any day of the week, and be for any duration. If you cannot start on the normal start day please discuss possibilities with your personal broker.
- Why do you not display prices on your website? After we understand what it is you are looking for, we suggest yachts on a bespoke basis which you can browse online in your portal. By offering yachts this way we make sure all yachts offered cater to your needs, are offered at the best price and suit your budget.
Why do you not have search functionality on your website?
- We believe having our enquiry based around your needs delivers a better experience and more efficiently delivers you the best yachts. Instead of searching through pages of results where there are identical yachts leading to confusion, our holiday builder takes into account all of your requirements so that we can suggest the most appropriate yachts for you to browse using your unique login. In this login area you can browse the most appropriate yachts, receive tailored advice, and book and hold the yachts online.
- On our yacht pages you can search a range of yachts available in our destinations, if you like a particular yacht simply ask us to quote that model for you. Because one of our brokers checks every offer you can always be sure you are getting the best yacht at the best price.