Photo By tiarescott

Photo By tiarescott

Always dreamed of a little pirate adventure? Want a boat that takes you where you want to go, when you want to go? Do you want to be the captain of your own ship? If you answered yes to any of these questions then Bareboating — renting a yacht, crew optional — is your perfect adventure vacation.


Bareboating yachts are generally found in the 30-60 foot range, and you can find them on certain Caribbean islands, the Mediterranean, and a few other warm-weather vacation spots outside the United States. Your bareboating fee pays for the rent of the boat for a week or three, insurance, and standard boat trappings. Depending on your needs, fuel, food, and a crew cost extra.


A Little Bareboating Preparation Goes a Long Way

Bareboating isn’t for everyone. You should be in reasonably good shape and have at least basic boating skills. Before trusting you with their yacht, a bareboat company will expect you to have shown some navigational ability. You will need to demonstrate that you can dock and anchor a boat as well as handle it under power to one of their company experts. If you can’t do this, most bareboat companies will offer to hire a crew and captain out to you for your bareboat experience who can teach you what you’ll need to know next time, and who will also act as expert guides to help you find the best possible spots for snorkeling, sightseeing, and just hanging out. If, however, you want to show up at your bareboating excursion ready to sail, call your local Coast Guard and ask them about boating classes. Most will be able to help you with the basics, and those who can’t will direct you to others who can.


Connect with People from All Over the World while Bareboating

Bareboating itself is thrilling, but an added bonus is being able to meet the yachting community in the area through which you are sailing. Yachters are a small group, more exclusive than many clubs, and they are often thrilled to meet other boating afficionados, share information, and chat over a glass of wine while watching a scarlet sunset. Not only can you make great friends, you may even be able to make excellent business contacts for after the vacation.


While you can rent bareboat yachts sight-unseen, it’s a bad idea unless you’re going through a travel agency you trust. Without care, you could wind up with a rusted scow with a bad engine and worse sails. Spend a few days in your port selecting just the right boat for you, and familiarize yourself with the ports of call and interesting sights while you’re there. If you aren’t a sailor, you can take a quick sailing course while you’re choosing your boat as well.


A Few Final Words of Advice for Bareboating


When you go on your bareboating excursion, there are a few things to keep in mind. Pack light, and bring some warm clothes as well as slickers. Make sure everyone going with you is as excited as you are, and understands that bareboats mean tight quarters and some fairly hard work. Finally, make sure you get the extra insurance. Even a small accident can add plenty to your bill at the end of the trip.


That said, there are few things as thrilling as sailing the sea by yourself, setting your own schedule, seeing the off-the-beaten-track sights that you’ve always dreamed of. With good planning and a great crew hand-picked from your closest family and friends, a bareboat excursion could be the trip of a lifetime — or the beginning of a whole new lifestyle.

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Imagine Being Here for Free

Imagine Being Here for Free

Explore the World on the Open Water


Oh the life of a sailor; spinning the wheel, shifting starboard, and enjoying the sound and sights of the ocean with a beer in hand. That is the sight and life that I constantly watched, admired, and craved for growing up studying my grandfather as he would scrub the deck, careen the boat to one side, and holler out a stern warning when the boom came swinging around. There is something inherently special and undeniably spectacular about sailing and the life that comes along with it.

The problem is that a yacht is a luxury that, it seems, only a few can really afford, or at least that is the idea that has been put into all our heads. Sure it would be wonderful to lie on the deck and watch the sunrise while being far from land, but it just isn’t feasible with today’s economy, right? Wrong.  Even if you do not own your own boat, have no real sailing experience, and are short on money, your dreams of watching dolphins swim playfully alongside your vessel may not be as outlandish as you first imagine.

Many adventurous travelers are taking the slower, less traveled, route around the world and hitching rides home on yachts instead of opting for overpriced, highly taxed plane tickets. In fact, more people are getting away with this adventure and traveling the world by yacht every day, and it really is a viable and affordable opportunity. Of course a world plane ticket might be the easiest and most efficient way to see the world, but that was so yesterday. Instead of grabbing a backpack, a pair of comfortable hiking boots and a plane ticket, why not grab some flip flops, sunscreen, a mop and hop aboard a yacht?

Hardly seems believable that you can travel the world by yacht for free. However if you are determined and interested in seeing the world from a yacht then read along and keep these tips in mind. You may just be closer to living out your sailing dream than you ever thought possible.

Travel the Word on a Yacht Tip #1- A Willingness to learn is more important than Experience

Many people scoff at the idea of traveling the world via a yacht because they simply do not have any experience. How can you climb aboard a vessel and help it run its course without knowing what you are doing? The truth is that many skippers are more than willing to teach newcomers the ins and outs of sailing. They love what they do and love to share their passion and pass down knowledge. If you have the right attitude, are willing to learn and down with getting your hands dirty, then there are more than a few captains that will take you on as a crew member. Be committed to learning the basics, be willing to scrub the deck and you will be that much closer to living out your dream.

Travel the World on a Yacht Tip #2- Hard Work Equals Success

When you first picture traveling the world on a yacht you may imagine sitting back with a drink in hand and just coasting along clear blue waters. This may be the idyllic picture and a reality for luxury yacht owners, but isn’t really an option for the rest of us. You are not on a cruise and are not paying top dollar to be chauffeured around, thus you will be expected to help clean, cook, and even fix certain problems while at sea and while docked. It may be a little dirty or tiring, but the experience makes it all worthwhile in the long run.


Enjoy the Calm of Open Water

Enjoy the Calm of Open Water

Travel the World on a Yacht Tip #3-Take Advantage of Hostels

For obvious reasons, hostels are a top choice for people looking to travel on a dime but they offer a lot more than just a cheap place to lay your head. Use the resources in sailing communities and network around at hostels for opportunities and possibly work. You never know what jobs may be advertised on the local notice boards or which opportunities other travelers might be aware of. Get in touch with everyone you can and ask around, chances are that you will bump into someone with a sailing contact that you can get in touch with. 

 Travel the World on a Yacht Tip #4- Make Sailing Clubs your New Hang out Spot

High class yacht clubs usually require that you have an expensive membership before hanging out, however there are more than a few that are more casual and friendly .These local grass roots clubs are the ones most likely to have a plethora of opportunities and friendly skippers willing to hand out free rides, in return for some hard work.

If you really want to get in the know then try poking around at the bar and make nice with the bartender. The bartenders are usually the ones that have all the inside knowledge and a good idea of which skippers might be looking to take on some extra crew for a long trip. In fact bartenders are probably the first people you want to get to know anywhere, let alone just at sailing clubs.

Travel the World on a Yacht Tip #5- Timing, Timing and more Timing

Timing is everything when you are looking to travel on a yacht for free. There are major rallies and races all throughout the year which means that a number of boats set off from different destinations all the time. By finding out when big races and rallies take place, and getting to the right spot on time, you can practically double your chances of finding a spot on board.

For example the Atlantic Rally Challenge takes place in November and involves 250 yachts that set out from mainland Spain or Portugal. The goal is to make it all the way to St. Lucia for Christmas and there are a number of skippers in need of extra crew to make the trip.

The best part is that many of these rallies are based around comradeship and fun so the emphasis isn’t always on speed or doing things the right way. That is what makes joining the crew a rewarding and learning experience, and a great way to get from Europe to the Caribbean for free.


Not Exactly the Lap of Luxury

Not Exactly the Lap of Luxury

Travel the World on a Yacht Tip #6- Yacht Travel doesn’t mean Instant Luxury

If you want to plan a trip on a yacht just because you are intrigued by the luxury, then this probably isn’t the best way for you to go about things. If you are looking for a high class, top notch boat with elegant cuisine and nighttime entertainment, apply for a cruise ship job. If you want to travel on a yacht for the experience, to find a way to travel cheap, and to get in touch with the elements and learn, then this is for you.

A ride on the average sailboat will usually consist of very cramped quarters, basic facilities, and only the necessities. Most nights you may even have to sleep in shifts, while one crew member watches while the other one sleeps. Most boats will have more crew members than beds and you may end up on the floor quite a few nights. But if you are willing to rough it out and try new things, you might learn that a spare sail can make an incredibly comfortable mattress.

Travel the World on a Yacht Tip #7-Leave Luggage at Home

This is a given for most backpackers, but even more of an issue when traveling at sea. You are going to be working with very limited space and no captain is going to look kindly upon you dragging suitcases onto the vessel. When you have been at sea for awhile then you may even want to consider sending home some of the trinkets you acquired along the way in order to lighten the load. Clean underwear, sunscreen, and a bathing suit should be more than enough to get by most of the time.

Travel the World on a Yacht Tip #8-Make Sure this is what you want to do

Traveling for free on a yacht is not for everyone, it is as simple as that. It isn’t as luxurious as it first sounds, it can get cramped and it can get dirty. Some people that have done it cherish the experience and plan to do it over and over again. Others went stir crazy and quit on the trip before it even began. If you are easily bored, get seasick, or are claustrophobic, then maybe this isn’t the right method of travel for you. This is a time in life when you will truly come to understand what it is like to not have anywhere to go, or anything to do. The crew will become your family, and you need to be prepared for that.

If you love the idea of bonding on the open water, dining on canned beans, and getting in touch with isolation, this is the best way to travel. If you see yourself snapping out and contemplating strangling the crew and tossing them overboard, look at other opportunities before embarking on a two week trip from a desolate island.


It's a Dirty Job But Someone Has to Do it

It's a Dirty Job But Someone Has to Do it

Travel the World on a Yacht Tip #9- Don’t Expect to Make Money

Working as a crew member on a yacht is not a get rich scheme. There is a number of high paying and quality jobs for experienced sailors, but chances are you are not one of them. What we are talking about here is basically high end hitchhiking, and no one wants to pay to pick up a hitchhiker.

In terms of the actual financial issues it will all depend on the work you find and the skipper you work with. Some captains will be willing to support you for the duration of the trip in return for a good attitude and hard work. Others will expect you to pitch in towards food and supplies for the crew. Be sure that you discuss these ins and outs with the skipper before jumping onboard. The last thing you need is to be thrown overboard after claiming you left your wallet at home when it comes time to pay for fuel.

Travel the World on a Yacht Tip #10- Keep in Touch with Crew and Captains

Be sure that you collect and keep all the contact information of the people you work with on your first trip. While you may think that traveling around on a yacht is a one time thing, there is a big chance you will get the urge to get back out there and see the world from the water. The next time you are sitting in your cramped cuticle or stuck in your house buried under snow, it will sure be handy to have the information you need to get out. If you do a fantastic job it could even lead to full time, paid work. But that isn’t why you are doing this in the first place is it?

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All the Freedom in the World

All the Freedom in the World

A lot of people get so caught up in escaping their mundane lives and heading to the tropics that they forget some of the options available. There are so many websites, E-Books and offers focused around real estate abroad and business opportunities in foreign countries. Thus, it is mind numbingly easy to get caught up in all this advice and end up working just as hard in the Caribbean as you did back home. Is that the reason you want to escape in the first place? Probably not. You want to get abroad because you want more freedom, more flexibility and a more rewarding life each and every day.

Take some time to set your priorities before jumping abroad and figure out exactly what it is that you are after. If you are looking to start a mega corporation in the Cayman Islands and make big money, then all the power to you. However if it is the laid back and carefree lifestyle you crave, then you should look into all your options.

If you are fawning after the freedom that can come with living and working abroad then living offshore on a yacht is a magical idea. If you get too caught up in foreign investment and real estate you can get tied down quickly and never get the chance to explore the world the way you intended. With a yacht, borders are invisible and walls are taken down. If you have trouble deciding where it is you would love to reside, then this is the life you might want to look into.

From partying in Monte Carlo after dark to awaking to the sun kissing your skin in the Caribbean, every dream becomes viable when you invest in a yacht. You are not strapped into any one place and can invest into your home without fear of having or wanting to relocate. You can deck out your yacht with anything and everything you need and have the ability to change the backdrop to your life every single day.

Just imagine being able to cruise the Mediterranean one month and then sail through Sydney, Australia the next. All without having to uproot your lifestyle, your family, sell your home or get someone to take care of the dog. This is all a possibility when you choose the life of a sailor. With the development of modern technology when it comes to yacht design and the borderless bounds of the internet, this type of life is more attainable than you ever imagined. You can take your home office with you out into the open seas. Imagine sitting on the deck of your personal yacht, feeling the breeze in your hair, sipping a Corona while plugging away on your laptop. What more could you possibly ask for?

The leniency when it comes to the purchase and registration of yachts has made this dream even more attainable than ever. Countries like Panama offer extreme flexibility for people willing to invest money into their materials and you can take advantage of this. With a little bit of money saved up, a decent part time job online and a little research into what type of boat you want, you could be living the life many only dream about before your next tedious and dreary staff Christmas party. What a way to ring in the New Year!

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