Can I just come for a holiday?
Absolutely! With 2 of us doing the actual sailing, you can just sit back and enjoy being wafted from one island to the next. No experience necessary. If you want to pitch in, you’re welcome to do that too.
Do I need to know how to sail? Do I have to learn?
No, and no, absolutely not – you’re very welcome just to come along for the ride!
If we inspire you to want to learn, then so much the better. We specialise in helping people who may never have been on a boat before learn to sail and progress to a level where they are able to take a charter boat of their own for their holidays. But if you prefer just to be wafted around the islands, there will be no pressure on you to do anything other than relax.
How many people can you take on a boat?
Do I need to be able to swim?
Non-swimmers are not excluded from yacht sailing, but will be required to wear a lifejacket at all times and the skipper must be informed.
All participants in dinghy sailing must be able to swim well enough to be able to stay with the boat and remain safe in the event of a capsize.
Do you offer children's sailing?
Yes, and the RYA has a dinghy sailing scheme specifically aimed at children. We don’t specify a particular minimum age since all children are different – our youngest guest on our yacht Cloud Nine was just 3 years old! However, if children are to take an active part in sailing, they must be mature enough to have developed co-ordination and balance and to understand and follow instructions. In practice this means school-age as a minimum for instruction. Parents are, of course, responsible for their own children and will obviously want to look after them, especially if they are very young.
Do I need to be able to speak fluent English?
It certainly helps and you will probably enjoy yourself more. However, our skipper is fluent in German (and can manage French and Dutch as well) so there shouldn’t be many communications barriers. The exception is RYA courses (both practical and theory courses); it is a requirement of the RYA that all courses are held in English.
Why do your holidays usually run from Tuesday to Tuesday?
For two very good reasons:
- Direct flights from Germany to Preveza run on Saturdays and Tuesdays, and Tuesday flights are much cheaper, starting from around € 60 each way
- As Saturday and Sunday are primary changeover days for almost all the charter yachts in the Ionian, some of our favourite spots therefore get very busy mid-week. By starting and finishing on a Tuesday, we are able to visit these locations in peace and quiet while other yachts are at their home base. You are also able to join and leave the yacht without the weekend crowds and without having to navigate around lots of other people’s luggage on the pontoon or dock.
If you would like to extend your holiday to 10 or 14 days but prefer to stay on land the rest of the time, we can advise on hotels and villas in the area.
Sounds great! How do I book?
If you want to book any of our activities, please contact us or call 079 277 0623. We will send you a booking form to complete and, where applicable, a health declaration to sign. Please send these back to us as soon as possible.
How do I pay?
For holidays and practical RYA courses, a non-refundable 50% deposit per person is required at the time of booking your holiday or yachting course. The remaining balance is due 8 weeks prior to the start of the trip. Payment is required in full at the time of booking if this is less than 8 weeks prior to the start of the trip.
For theory courses, we will send you an invoice at the time of booking, which constitutes the formal contract and obligation between us. Owing to some expensive experiences, we must take a non-refundable 25% deposit by EC or credit card when you confirm (verbally or in writing). The balance is then due 10 days from the date of invoice or the start of the course, whichever is sooner. Unless otherwise agreed, payment must be made in full before your course.
Bank transfer is our preferred method of payment. We can also accept payment by EC card, Visa and Mastercard. There is a 2.5% surcharge for payment by credit card.
Your place is not guaranteed until your deposit is paid. If payment is not received on time, you will not be able to take part in the course. Any outstanding debts will be subject to a late payment fee of CHF 50 and we reserve the right to pursue debt collection proceedings if all other recourse has failed.
What information do you need from me?
It is a condition of participation in all activities that you provide us with full contact details. As a minimum we need your full name, address, phone number and/or mobile number and e-mail address. Details of next of kin / an emergency contact and a health declaration are required for all participants in on-water activities.
You will be able to provide all this information on the booking form and health declaration we send you when you book. Bookings are not deemed definitive until we have received these back from you. We advise you to “like” our Facebook page where you can interact with us and your fellow sailors, including co-ordinating travel arrangements.
Are food and travel included?
Travel is not included in our pricing; there are just too many options and variables. Please ask us for advice and to confirm your travel arrangements are workable. You can co-ordinate with other clients on the Sail YSL Facebook page.
We usually provide the essentials such as condiments, tea, coffee, milk etc. and all holidays and practical courses include breakfast on board. Apart from our Treat Yourself all-inclusive package, we then ask clients to chip into a kitty. €50 per person per week is normally a good starting point, depending on how often you want to eat in tavernas versus cooking on board.
What's on board the yacht? Do I need to bring my own lifejacket?
Bedding and ordinary towels are supplied but not beach towels. There is usually snorkelling equipment available on board too but feel free to bring your own if you prefer.
Galley equipment is supplied but if you have any special needs or requests, it’s advisable to bring your own supplies. We generally have condiments and other basics on board.
A useful tip is to bring a tube of hand-wash liquid to cut down on the amount of clothing you need to pack – and there are clothes pegs on board too 🙂 We provide a packing list to guide you.
Our yacht is equipped with adult-size automatic gas-inflating lifejackets and harnesses for the maximum capacity of the yacht, and a few children’s foam lifejackets in various sizes. Buoyancy aids are provided for use on our partner’s dinghies. If you prefer to bring your own lifejacket(s) or buoyancy aid(s), please feel free – but we’d advise against using automatic gas-inflating type lifejackets on dinghies!
A more comprehensive list of Cloud Nine’s equipment can be found here.
If you would like to buy your own specialist clothing, please get in touch – as a Gill reseller, we can offer you a discount.
What should I bring? Do I need special clothes?
The most important thing to bring is a sense of humour and a sense of adventure! On a more practical note, we provide a packing list and dinghy sailing information list as appropriate on booking.
Do you run RYA practical courses?
Yes, with our partners at Jolly Parrot, Horizon Watersports and Seafarer Training – see our RYA FAQs.
Will there be people doing a course on the boat while I'm on holiday?
As a matter of principle, NO! Of course it’s fine if you come as a couple or family and one of you wishes to do a course while the other(s) just wants a holiday. But we would never expect you to put up with people repeating manoeuvres while you just want to sit back and relax.
It’s chucking it down with rain, there's a storm, it’s freezing, there’s no wind…
Your skipper will be keeping a weather eye on the forecasts and adapting day-to-day plans accordingly – your safety is our priority.
Under Greek law, charter yachts are not allowed to put to sea if winds of Beaufort force 6 or higher are forecast. Typically dinghy sailing will take place in winds up to Beaufort force 5 (or more for experienced sailors) and will be suspended during thunderstorms and for 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard.
If there is no wind, then our sails will not work, but don’t worry! We have a powerful auxiliary engine and can still tour the islands. It’s obviously disappointing for all of us when the wind isn’t in our favour but the beauty of our holidays is that, more than just sailing, they are a unique way to explore the Greek islands.
If conditions are unsafe for sailing, there are plenty of nice bars and tavernas – as well as land-based exploration – to keep you happy: that’s the beauty of the Ionian! We also keep packs of cards on board. I’m afraid we can’t give any refunds as the weather – despite our best efforts to emulate King Canute – remains stubbornly outside our control.
The final decision on conditions lies with the Skipper or Beach Manager, who is legally responsible for your safety.
What happens if I'm ill and can't travel? Or if I need to cancel my booking?
If you are ill and can’t join us on the yacht, please let us know immediately as we will have to update the crew lists.
What happens if you cancel an event?
We hope we don’t have to, but nobody can predict the future. If we do have to cancel an event for any reason, the fee for that event will not be refunded but can be credited to a future event.
What about liability?
All activities are undertaken at your own risk. A waiver form must be signed for every person on the water.