There is a wide range of boats to choose from when picking your sailing vacation home. There are monohulls, catamarans, trimarans and motor yachts. There are old boats and new boats. There are smaller boats and larger boats. And, for yacht vacations, there are yachts with crews and yachts without crews. In my next blog post, I’m going to discuss, for boats with crews, what is more important, the crew or the boat. But for this blog, I’d like to discuss the most important aspect of the yachts themselves, regardless of size, budget, crews or age.

So, in no particular order, and after running several hundred Caribbean sailing charters personally.

Here Are IYachtClub’s top 5 things to look for in your next charter yacht.

1. Toys: On most Caribbean sailing holidays, guests spend about as much time in the water as they do on the yacht. Toys are important. Look for a boat that has lots of large mats. Giant blow up animals are fun. SUP’s (stand up paddle boards) – Paddle boarding is awesome and easy. Kayaking, particularly late in the day and early in the morning is fantastic. All of those items,as well as snorkel gear, should be standard on any great charter boat. So, look for a boat that has something “else”… something special. Sub wings, foils, underwater scooters, snuba– these are all activities that you can’t do at home and all worth trying.There is perception by many that activities like tubing, water skiing, and wake boarding are important to the charter and that those activities will be much like the same activities on a lake back home. All of this is false. Yes, you can tube, ski and wakeboard for sure, but the chop keeps you from having the flat calm you get on a lake. The reality is that there are simply much better things to do.
2. Dry Heads: I don’t know where this term came from, but it is so important. Up until about 2008, and for many boats built after that, the shower and the toilet are in the same space. Look for boats with showers in a separate space. It sounds like such a simple thing, but the difference is huge and being able to keep the shower water in the “shower”, and away from everything else will make your week on a yacht charter much more enjoyable.
3. “Real Toilets” (Electric) . This is sensitive topic for a blog, but don’t let anyone tell you that a manual (pump) toilet is as nice as a “real toilet” (electric) . Even older boats can be upgraded. Do NOT book a boat that requires you to manually pump the toilet. For your next sailing tour, reserve a boat that requires the simple push of a button when your business is done.
4. Décor: For your next Caribbean sailing adventure, look for a boat that suits your “style” –sleek, bright&contemporary or something with a touch of old world charm…wood and traditional décor.Require your boat to have hardwoods, or any other solid surface floor as opposed to carpet. If an older boat, has it been upfitted/updated recently? The look and feel of “new” will enhance the time you spend and show the care that has been given to the boat you select. You want to feel welcome and at home in your home away from home.
5. Spaces: Regardless of how many people you bring with you on your yacht holiday, and regardless of how much you like them, you are going to want multiple places to spread out during your vacation for some treasured quite time. All yachts have a traditional “cockpit” area, with seating and a table for dining. Newer boats now come with Flybridges or a Sun Lounge – large second level spaces that are perfect when the boat is moving or at anchor. The best boats also have forward sitting areas. This could simply be bean bag chairs and a trampoline, bow peak seating making you feel like King/Queen of the world, or more elaborate spaces with built in seating and shade. One way or another, whether your group is 2 or 20 people, at some point you are going to want space. Make sure the yacht you choose for your next sailboat trip has enough different spaces to create some privacy when needed.

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