We are providing regular updates on this page for those of you concerned about the Coronavirus situation and the possible impact on your holiday.
Last update 4 Jul 2020
In line with UK Government advice as well as that of the authorities in our host countries, we have re-started operations in all our main destinations in the Med. From the 1st July, Greece has re-opened its borders and tourist establishments, and there are now direct flights from Europe to several regional Greek airports, though direct flights from the UK will resume after July 15th. Croatia, Italy, Spain and Turkey have also confirmed that they are now open to visitors.
Quarantine requirements on arrival or on return to the UK from most European countries including Greece, Croatia, Italy France and Turkey have just been lifted, whilst the Foreign Office Travel advice has also been adjusted accordingly. On this basis, have re-started skippered and bareboat charters in these countries as well as tuition and cabin charter, with flotillas restarting from July 4th in Greece and Croatia whilst our Beach Clubs are already open. We are continuing to contact all those guests affected by flight cancellations and other restrictions individually to discuss the various alternatives on offer. In most cases where holidays have been cancelled, we are encouraging our guests to re-book at a later date either this year or if required, also in 2021, all with no cancellation penalties or change fees.
At present, with restrictions for the UK originating guests having been generally lifted, most holidays operating from July onwards are scheduled to go ahead as normal, For those affected in some way, or who are unable or unwilling to travel regardless of your 2020 departure date, we recommend you contact us as soon as possible to discuss the options open to you. Whilst we have allowed some flexibility on collecting holiday balances where these are overdue. our fleet owner partners will no longer hold yachts indefinitely, so we must now insist on the timely settlement of holiday balances.
If you wish to discuss your arrangements, please contact us, and we will happy to advise on the current situation and what we can do to help.
The Seafarer office is open as usual, though with some of our staff working from home and still able to answer calls thanks to our IT and telephone system set up.
We will update this page as more information becomes available.
In the meantime, we wish all of you the best and look forward to better times soon.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Holidays Booked In Summer 2020
Whilst holidays are already operating in Croatia and Greece and our other Mediterranean destinations, some flights have been cancelled by some airlines in July. We are monitoring the situation closely through all available channels and will continue to inform our guests as soon as possible if there are any changes in our host countries, changes to flight arrangments or to UK FCO advice. If there is a major change we will inform those guests who were scheduled to travel earlier first and we are being as flexible as possible on booking changes according to your circumstances.
What If My Holiday Is Affected?
Our commitment to a personal service doesn’t end with your booking – we will do our best to offer you the maximum flexibility possible – this will vary from booking to booking, and our team will work to offer you the best option for your holiday and circumstances.
Deferring Booked Holidays
If your holiday with us has been cancelled, we hope you will choose to defer your holiday to a future date rather than cancel completely. If your holiday is scheduled to go ahead but you wish to defer, please note that you may incur penalties. We work with many suppliers, fleet owners, hotels, airlines and agencies – talk to us about your booking and we will give you the latest information on what may be possible in your case.
If your flight is booked through us and is cancelled or changed, we will contact you. If you have booked your own flight and this is cancelled or changed please get in touch and we will do our utmost to work out alternative arrangements.
You Are Ill Or Self Isolating And Can’t Travel
If you can’t travel due to illness or restrictions please get in touch and we’ll look at possible amendments to your holiday. If the holiday is still scheduled to go ahead, you should be able to claim on your travel insurance if this is the case.
What Is The Situation With Refunds
Given the very large number of holidays that have already been curtailed in this unprecedented crisis, we are encouraging guests to re-book for a later date, or if this cannot be decided yet, to accept a credit note which can be applied to a later booking. The credit note will still benefit from financial protection under the ATOL and ABTA schemes and does not disqualify you from receiving a refund later if you change your mind. This is in line with ABTA guidelines, recognising that payment of large numbers of refunds now would be unsustainable for any company.
How We Are Keeping Your Money Safe
We would like to remind you our flight inclusive package holidays are ATOL protected. More information can be found on that ATOL website: https://www.caa.co.
We are also proud to be members of ABTA which provide financial protection for holidays and charters without flights. We have been following ABTA guidelines during the Pandemic and you can see additional information and advice for travellers from ABTA on this link: https://www.abta.com/
How Is Seafarer Coping In These Circumstances
This is our 25th year and whilst it will certainly be a year to remember, it is indicative of our long experience and our strength and resilience, given the many international crises we have had to deal with over the years.
We have a very experienced and dedicated team who have been working hard to keep our guests up to date and change holiday arrangements where required, liaising with airlines and our various overseas suppliers and partners. This can be very difficult with long waits on the telephone often being required when calling suppliers as well as fast-changing official restrictions and advice. We have been coping with all of this well and our guests generally find it easy to contact us either by telephone or email.
How Soon Are Holidays Expected To Return To Normal
The situation is beginning to return to normal across most of Europe and our popular Mediterranean destinations, with Greece and Croatia in particularly having been almost COVID free Several airlines have announced that flights are resuming from early or mid-July. It should be noted that the decision to re-start our beach clubs and all of our flotillas has depended not only on UK Government advice and the lifting of restrictions but also on those applicable in the destination countries.
On the positive side, our preparations for the season are now complete and yachts are already on the water and ready to go. Beach club facilities are now open, with our flotilla and beach club staff largely already in position.
What Additional Precautions Are In Place For Holidays That Do Go Ahead
With the restart of operations whilst the virus is still active, guests and crew will need to complete a health questionnaire prior to travel. Additionally, we have implemented an enhanced cleaning and sanitisation regime on all vessels. This had already commenced prior to the lockdown on our training vessels. The safety of guests and crew is a top priority for us, so holidays and courses we operate apply protocols that are in line with the advice of the WHO, FCO, and the health and maritime authorities in our host countries. For a summary of these measures click here.
We Look Forward To Welcoming You Aboard Soon!
Coronavirus Safety Measures
We would love you to enjoy your holiday with us, and in these unusual times, we would like to make you aware of the measures that we are taking to minimise the risks to you and your party when travelling. You will receive some additional more comprehensive information from us in your ticket pack before you travel, but here are the main steps we are taking to help keep you safe.
In-resort, all our base personnel, transfer drivers, airport representatives and other staff will be fully briefed and trained on personal protective measures and will comply, where practically possible, with all recommended and required additional local safety measures. As everyone knows, these rules and regulations change regularly, so please be aware that additional measures may be in place when you travel, and hopefully, they will decrease soon and become a thing of the past, with brighter times ahead.
- All yachts will be sanitised and disinfected before check-in
- Unfortunately, we won’t have snorkels and masks on yachts – feel free to bring your own
- Anti-bacterial handwash and hand sanitising gel will be provided on all yachts
- Masks and gloves will be available if you don’t bring your own
- Lifejackets will be sanitised and kept ashore between each charter
- Bed linen and towels will be delivered in sealed bags directly from the laundry.
- Yacht briefings, check-in will be conducted in the open air on deck.
In addition to the above:
- All briefings will be in the open air with appropriate distancing measures in place
- We will advise against guests visiting other yachts during the flotilla
- For group meals, there will be individual tables outside
- There will be take away & delivery options available at all stops
- There will be a programme of activities such as quiz nights, kids activities and visits to points of interest with appropriate social distancing measures in place
Training Yachts & Cabin Charter
We’ll be employing all the measures detailed in the yacht section, as well as:
- All briefings will be in the open air with appropriate distancing measures in place
- We will advise against guests visiting other yachts during the flotilla or voyage
- For group meals, there will be individual tables outside.
- There will be take away & delivery options available at all stops
- On training yachts, the saloon berth will not be available to book.
- Disposable masks, gloves and hand santitser will be available onboard if guests don’t have their own.
Nikiana Beach Club
The total number of guests in the hotel will not exceed 75% of total capacity to aid social distancing
- All rooms will be cleaned to the standards set by the Ministry of Tourism
- All check-ins will be conducted outside
- All TV and air conditioning remote controls will have special covers
- All restaurant staff will wear the correct PPE as designated by the local authorities
- We won’t be using buffet service but instead serving to tables
- Tables will be further apart to allow for social distancing but the kitchen hours will be lengthened to allow for this
- Hand sanitiser will be available at all times
- We will have a booking system for sunbeds and disinfect each day
- Sunbeds will be grouped with two metres between each group
- The swimming pool will be limited to 10 people at one time
- Guests will be encouraged to use the toilets in their rooms
- ll briefings will be conducted in smaller groups with social distancing
- When queueing for boats social distancing will be in place
- Dinghies & other equipment will be disinfected after each use
- Guests will get a buoyancy aid for the entirety of their stay
- When ferrying to mooring boats just one group plus driver
- Teaching will mainly be conducted from a powerboat
- All European aircraft have had their cabin air filtration systems upgraded to the equivalent of operating theatre standards whilst air is renewed every few minutes. Masks must be worn on board at all times
- All airport transfer will adhere to government regulations on social distancing and masks must be worn
- Private transfers are available on request
- Quarantine requirements have been lifted in both directions of travel (UK from July 19th) in all main Mediterranean destinations.
- Sample COVID 19 testing is implemented at some airports on arrival. If you are selected, you will be asked to stay in your accommodation for up to 24 hours to await the test results and all clear. This will be a small sample of arrivals.
We hope we can start removing some of these measures as soon as we are able, but in the meantime we will keep you updated as often as possible.
The Seafarer Team
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First UK Summer Flotillas for Seafarer
We at Seafarer are delighted to announce our inaugural English South Coast flotilla for Summer 2020.
We are planning two one week flotillas led by an experienced Seafarer lead crew on our Bavaria 36 training yacht ‘Nashira’. We’ll be sailing from Shamrock Quay Marina, Southampton. Our first week will head West to explore the coast towards Weymouth and the picturesque Isle of Wight. For more adventurous sailors, we have a Channel Islands itinerary planned for the following week with longer distances and more challenging tides. If you’re feeling really adventurous both weeks can be combined to make an ideal two week break. Both itineraries include a rest day ashore.
There are a number of accommodation options available on these flotillas: matched Oceanis 37s, a choice of several 4 cabin yachts up to 44ft, and even the opportunity to stay onboard the lead boat. You can even join with your own yacht for a modest fee. For those not wanting to take public transport you can drive to our Southampton base where free parking is available for the duration of the flotilla.
Our Proposed Itineraries
Weymouth Route - Level 2+ Tidal (8 Days)
A great route for those who have been on a few flotillas before and are ready to further the tidal element of their yachting repertoire. The legs themselves are not long but expect more variable weather conditions and more navigation marks than in the than the Mediterranean typically has to offer.
14th August 2020
Friday 14/08/2020 – Embarkation from 16.00 in Southampton
Saturday 15/08/2020 – Lymington (17 nm)
Sunday 16/08/2020 – Poole (18 nm)
Monday 17/08/2020 – Weymouth (28 nm)
Tuesday 18/08/2020 – Weymouth (rest day)
Wednesday 19/08/2020 – Studland Bay (22 nm)
Thursday 20/08/2020 – Yarmouth (16 nm)
Friday 21/08/2020 – Southampton by 12.00 then disembarkation (18 nm)
22nd August 2020
Friday 21/08/2020 – Option for those staying on lead yacht to embark
Saturday 22/08/2020 – Southampton to Lymington (17 nm) (late morning departure – early embarkation possible)
Sunday 23/08/2020 – Poole (18 nm)
Monday 24/08/2020 – Weymouth (28 nm)
Tuesday 25/08/2020 – Weymouth (rest day)
Wednesday 26/08/2020 – Studland Bay (22 nm)
Thursday 27/08/2020 – Yarmouth (16 nm)
Friday 28/08/2020 – Southampton (18 nm)
Saturday 29/08/2020 – Disembarkation
Channel Islands Route - Level 3+ Tidal (9 Days)
A very challenging flotilla for those looking for a true smugglers adventure. This is a higher level than any of our other flotillas and there will be long open water passages and big tidal ranges in the Channel Isles. For those up to the trial, the rewards are amazing with some wonderful locations to visit by yacht.
29th August 2020
Saturday 29/08/2020 – Embarkation Southampton
Sunday 30/08/2020 – Poole (35 nm)
Monday 31st/08/2020 – Cherbourg (65 nm)
Tuesday 01/09/2020 – Guernsey (45 nm)
Wednesday 02/2020 – Guernsey (rest day)
Thursday 03/09/2020 – Jersey (28 nm)
Friday 04/09/2020 – Dielette (30 nm)
Saturday 05/09/2020 – Lymington (76 nm)
Sunday 06/08/2020 – Southampton (16 nm) then disembarkation
Chris Lorenzo, managing director of Seafarer, said:
“We are very excited to announce our first flotilla in UK waters.”
“We have specialised in yacht charter and flotilla sailing in the Med for 25 years, as well as our beach club holidays and sailing schools, but this will be our first UK flotilla venture from our training base in Southampton. We hope it will attract sailors who want to visit the beautiful south coast and Channel Islands and we recognise that many of our clients want a flotilla operating closer to home that they can easily drive to. ”
How much does it cost?
The cost is £795 per person in a shared double cabin or £2995 for chartering a whole 3-cabin Oceanis 37ft yacht for 1 week. Boat owners can join in the flotilla for a modest charge of £200 per yacht for 1 week or £300 for 2 weeks. If you are interested in booking, pop us an email or call on the number below.
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Start Training as a Skipper during lockdown
Have you ever wanted to train to skipper your own yacht but have never had a chance? Well now could be the time. With the current situation, some people have found themselves with less on their hands than normal and Seafarer has put together some amazing theory now, train later packages where you can start with an online theory course right away.
What the packages include
For those who are new to sailing or haven’t got much experience on a yacht, this package is perfect. You can start the Theory part immediately and work it at your own pace and then do the Competent course at your convenience when this is allowed again. When you’ve completed the Competent Crew and the Day Skipper Theory you’re ready to take the Day Skipper Practical and then the ocean is your oyster. This Seafarer package includes the following;
New to Sailing Package - £1245
RYA Competent Crew Practical
RYA Day Skipper Theory (Online Course)
RYA Day Skipper Practical
For those who already have RYA Competent Crew or previous sailing experience, they might be able to go straight for the Become a Skipper Package. This includes the following;
Become a Skipper Package - £795
RYA Day Skipper Theory (Online Course)
RYA Day Skipper Practical
How the Theory Course works
The Day Skipper Theory course, run by our partners Navathome, allows you to learn at your own pace, and is ideal for those without any navigational experience. The course takes approximately 40 hours to complete, with a two part assessment at the end of the course. Course material will be delivered to your door before you start, including the RYA Day Skipper theory pack and the Day Skipper course notes.
How the Practical Courses work
The RYA Competent Crew and RYA Day Skipper Courses are both run over 5 days at Seafarer’s Solent Sailing School and can either be run over a week or a number of weekends. Each training boat will have an Instructor and up to 5 students. You will stay on the boat for the duration of the course and visit different harbours in the Solent Area. For more information on Seafarer Solent School click below.
Is this course suitable for me
The sport of sailing is accessible to everyone and Seafarer tailor their courses for anyone who wants to feel the wind in their face and go and find an adventure around the next headland. If your worried theres a reason you can’t get on the water give Seafarer a call and they’ll try to find a way.
How to book
To book one of these packages give Seafarer a call on 0208 324 3118. For more information about the RYA Training Scheme click below.
Seafarer's favourite sailing films
While were all stuck indoors self isolating one way to lift the spirits for upcoming sailing adventures is watch some films about adventures on the ocean sea. The situation we find ourselves in has endeavored us to write a list of some of our favourite sailing films whether its crossing oceans under sail, hunting down a French Privateer or winning the Americas Cup. This list is not exclusive and we would love to hear from you with any other ideas.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
“She’s twice our numbers and twice our guns, but surprise is on our side”.
Based upon the novels of Patrick O’Brian Master & Commander follows the British Frigate HMS Surprise as it chases the French Privateer Acheron from the coast of Brazil to the Galapogos islands. Despite being outclassed by the French ship Captain Aubrey feels duty bound to continue the chase round Cape Horn with some dramatic sailing scenes on a Napoleonic man-o-war. “Lucky Jack” is joined by his friend and ships surgeon Stephen Maturin who makes use of their time on the islands to make important natural discoveries. The film is a sweeping epic of a time where sailing ships crossed the worlds oceans and these small worlds were held together by the personalities skils & bravery of those who sailed them.
Having lost the Americas Cup to for the first time in its history, Will Parker sets out to to work with his former girlfriend on an experimental new boat to win back the biggest prize in our sport. The film starts with some amazing onboard International 14 racing before moving into the desert for the design of the boat and ending with the cup itself in legendary 12metre yachts. The film is part adventure film and part romance set against a backdrop of breaking the rules of the sailing establishment. Look out for “The Whopper”.
Captain Ron (1992)
For a more lighthearted sea romp, Captain Ron is the perfect distraction. When a middle-class Chicago family inherit an old wooden sailing yacht from an uncle they head to the Caribean to pick it up. They’re joined by the characterful Captain Ron who gives them more of an adventure than they planned for but ultimately teaches them to love the ocean. The film is a well loved family comedy with some beautiful Caribean scenes.
Swallows & Amazons
Both the 1974 & 2016 versions of this timeless classic make for compelling watching and chart the adventures of a small band of children during a holiday in the lake district. Upon arriving at a holiday house they find a single sailed dinghy called the Swallow and set out to sail her through many scapes including coming up against the similar Amazon. The films are full of water based exploits including navigating into a rocky harbour with the use of lights as transits but its the sense of adventure that really stands out.
In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl set out to prove that the Polynesian Islands had been settled up people from South America and set out in a traditionally made raft to prove it could be done. This epic journey of 4300 miles was recorded at the time in the 1950 documentary film of the same name and the 2012 Norwegian Language historical drama.
Post-Apocolyptic Bonus - Waterworld
Our current situation certainly feels a little bit like the end of the world and what better way than on a homebuilt trimaran. In a future world of endless sea our hero played by Kevin Kostner battles jet skis to find the mythical land and has many adventures on the way. Although not a success at the time the film has something of a cult following and you can’t beat that Triamaran in full sail.
Hope you enjoy the list, theres more to come. Do leave a comment of any great sailing films you would like to share with us.
We are celebrating our 25th birthday this year
And to mark this momentous occasion we wanted to share with you 25 valid reasons for you to book your next summer holiday afloat with Seafarer. Of course, many of you already know us well enough to not need reminding and have either already booked or will soon be doing so, but have a read anyway, you may discover something you didn’t already know about us. last but not least as our birthday present to you, there are some great offers around the ’25’ theme so read on !
We are sorry if we come across as somewhat obsessed with the number 25 at the moment (though it took less than 25 people less than 25 days to compile this list) but it is our 25th Birthday after all. If it’s your 25th birthday as well, we will sing you ‘Happy Birthday’ buy you a bottle of wine and a birthday cake whilst you are on holiday with us!
Watch this space for a number of events both in the UK and abroad to mark Seafarer’s 25th Birthday.
At Seafarer we endeavour to respect and protect the natural environment in which we sail as well as the laws, people and culture of our host countries.
We have recently introduced a number of initiatives on our yachts and beach clubs with sustainability and environmental protection as a central aim. For example, on our yachts, we have introduced eco-friendly bio washing up liquid and hand soap, all our yachts are equipped with holding tanks, we are abolishing single-use plastics and providing reusable water jugs, we have introduced reusable shopping bags made from recycled sailcloth from our old sails ( donated by our trusted supplier AP Sails of Thessaloniki in Greece), we have provided fishing nets on all flotilla yachts so guests can catch floating plastic, and we recycle things like used engine oil, sails, old anchor chains and other materials. Since last year, we also give our guests the option of purchasing carbon offsets at the time of booking. Another new initiative is that we are trialling electric outboards this year at our Corinth base.
Our staff and lead crews always advise on issues such as avoiding pollution through the use of appropriate eco-friendly detergents on board our yachts, correct use of holding tanks and disposing of litter responsibly. We will also encourage you to conserve water which is an increasingly scarce resource in these communities and to sail rather than motor whenever possible. To this end, we have introduced a weekly lowest engine hours competition with a £50 holiday voucher prize, on every flotilla we operate.
We advise on local regulations of which you should be aware. Additionally, we actively promote the history and culture of our host countries and endeavour to participate positively in the local economy and communities. For example we try to make use of local suppliers, staff and materials wherever possible. We support local events as well as support and encourage local conservation or recycling initiatives. A good example being the voluntary cleaning of the sea bed in Syvota harbour, Lefkas by our flotilla and instructor team last October, aided by volunteer clients and locals. We are planning more such events and initiatives in 2020,
In this way we are hopefully doing our bit towards the common goal of ensuring that these beautiful and largely unspoilt areas are there to be enjoyed by future generations.
Watersports for all at our Greek Island Beach Club
2019 was a great year at Nikiana Beach Club with loads of people getting on the water and many smiles all round. A few times I remember looking around and seeing empty sunbeds and a bustling sailing area which is always nice. Here is an overview of what’s new and what’s going on at Nikiana Beach Club this season.
Hobie 15 & Laser Replacements
As part of the ongoing upgrades to our cat fleet, we are looking to get a Hobie 15. The 15 is a great beginner catamaran being both easy to sail and exciting at the same time. It will be an excellent addition to our Dart 16s and Hobie Pacific. Our Lasers are another boat that gets a huge amount of use so we’ve decided to replace half the fleet this season. All boats will have full XD controls and choice of 3 rigs.
New Buoyancy Aids & Windsurf Trainer Rigs
This year we’ve teamed up with Rooster to replace our buoyancy aids with the Diamond Overhead model. This gives unrestricted movement and a great fit for all body shapes. There’s also a large front pocket for any bits you want to take on the water. For those learning to windsurf, we’ve teamed up Tiki sails to replace all our trainer windsurf sails giving a larger choice and more sizes.
RYA Advanced Courses
With our large and varied fleet of dinghies and a great area to sail in, we’ve been running RYA Seamanship Skills and Sailing with Spinnakers for a number of years with great results. Two years ago we started running the RYA Performance Sailing course which good sailors the knowledge and confidence to take out some of our faster performance boats and sail them with trapeze and spinnaker. This season we will be starting the RYA Day Sailing course which gives you the skills and experience to do small boat cruising while in our own island paradise.
Level Up Weeks
Following the success of previous Level Up Weeks in 2018 & 19 were back for 2020. The week gives you the opportunity to Level Up your sailing or windsurfing skills with 18 hours of free RYA Tuition in the following areas
- Beginner Sailing
- Intermediate Sailing
- Advanced Sailing
- Beginner Windsurfing
- Beginner Yachting
Package from £499 including flights from London Gatwick, transfers and B&B Accommodation. This year they will run on the 3rd May, 21st June & 27th September.
Solo Traveller Weeks
Nikiana Beach Club has always been a super sociable place to be and is perfect for those travelling solo. This year we have Solo Traveller weeks on the 7th June & 6th September with no single room supplement and some special socials throughout the week. The week is a perfect time to meet other watersports enthusiasts and lovers of the greek way of life and we’ll help team sailors up for some of the larger boats.
During Half Term (24th – 31st May) & Summer Holidays (28th June – 30th August) we run our relaxed and fun Kids Club at Nikiana. Anyone between 7 & 17 can join and depending on age and sailing ability we will split into up to 4 different groups. Each group will have a 3-hour session each day with around 2 hours Sailing, Windsurfing or Suping along with plenty of games and on the water fun. We also run a kayak trip later in the week taking the group out of the sailing area to a distant shore to get ice creme. Although sailing and windsurfing sessions will include tuition those looking to learn more might want to look at our RYA Courses (Stages for those 6 – 13, Levels 14 up).
All in all its looking to be another cracking season at Nikiana with loads going on and lots of jollity on and off the water. Give us a call on 0208 3243118 and we can answer any questions you may have.
The first week of our new flotilla, sailing from Phuket
It is 0430 UK time on a cold January Sunday in England, and I am wide awake, having travelled back less than 24 hours ago. My mind is full of the images, tastes and sounds of my trip to Thailand to join our new flotilla for the first week. My eagerness to write some of my thoughts down hopefully gives you an idea of the impression I have been left with after my first visit to this amazing country.
Day 1 - Phuket Yacht Haven
I arrived in Phuket airport after 2 six hour flights, via Doha in the middle east. I flew with Qatar airways, and the interconnection was hassle free, a welcome chance to stretch ones legs. Arriving in Phuket, the 35 degree heat envelopes you immediately, and reminds you of how far you have come. It’s not oppressive, just warming.
Jumping in a cab I headed for our base, Phuket Yacht Haven Marina, only 20 minutes away. Turning into the marina entrance, you pass palm and rubber tree plantations before emerging at the water’s edge, 2 minutes from the pontoons. The Deck (the marina bar and restaurant) is a typically swish marina spot overlooking the yachts, happily missing the one marina aspect we can live without, the prices – a Pad Thai and a cold beer will cost you around 250 bhat (around £6.50) – and that’s expensive for Thai standards. Once you settle in, walk 5 minutes to the north to the Living Room or Papa Mama (both rustic spots on the shore) and the prices tumble.
Day 2 - Phuket Yacht Haven to Koh Hong
After a beautiful sunrise, we strolled to the Living room restaurant for a main briefing and breakfast before setting off for the day. We are in tidal (and often shallow) waters here, so more focus on sailing and navigating than the mooring techniques. Getting out into the open water and the 10 knots of breeze means sails up and trimmed (yes, even on the lead yacht!) and away we went – down the river, leaving most of civilisation behind us. Hong is Thai for “room” and Koh Hong gives our first taste of what this means in these islands – the iconic columns of granite, with often a hollow centre. We anchor in 5 metres close to Koh Hong and its time for a punch party – with a difference. We dinghy into a cave (no engines, so as not to startle the bats) and emerge into an inland lagoon. No going ashore, so a raft with all the tenders is our venue, utterly stunning and completely to our selves now the day trip boats have gone. Its breathtaking and blows everyone away. Best punch party venue ever. Fact.
Day 3 - Koh Hong to Chong Koh Yao
After a morning swim (as you do), we head out – all together, as the channels north get shallower. First stop is Koh Phing Kan, better known as James Bond Island, the setting for “The Man with the Golden Gun” – its full of tourist boats during the day, but we get as close as we can – one to tick off the bucket list. Navigating east across the shallows, we all go our separate ways, some heading off for a sail, some to explore the smaller islands and hongs along the way. We head to another Hong – Koh Roi and venture into this one on foot, across pure white sands. Inside is a sensory overload – the sounds of the birds only drowned out by the resting chirps of the thousands of fruit bats roosting in the mangroves….its paradise. After an hour taking it all in we weigh anchor and head down to our overnight stop on the south of Koh Yao Noi. A floating village of fishermen watch as we tender ashore and, after politely declining the offer of a taxi, we stroll the 2km to the aptly named Good View restaurant. This isn’t a touristic island, and the stroll passes the locals going about their day – mending boats, doing their washing, skipping home from school, all with mangoes, bananas, limes and pineapples growing by the side of the road. As a foodie, this really starts my journey, with a chilli soft shelled crab and pineapple rice ending off a perfect day.
Day 4 - Koh Yao Noi to Rai Lei Beach
Another day, another Hong….this one is also Koh Hong, but this is the Krabi one (the larger town on the mainland to the east). This one is navigable at high(ish) tide, and once inside, this is a huge lagoon, around knee depth, bordered with mangroves and white sandy beaches. We have a cracking 20 knots of breeze for a sail, but you wouldn’t know, being completely surrounded by the sheer granite cliffs. Out we go, and off we sail, getting a healthy 8.2 knots from our trusty Bavaria 36, on a close reach down to Rai Lei, and civilisation, backpacker style. Rai Lei is busy, the longtail boats buzzing past, carrying those less fortunate than us yachties.
Ashore is lively, will loads of bars and restaurants to cater for the largely bohemian crowd. Grab an ice cold beer, relax and maybe get a bamboo tattoo whilst you chill…hey, when in Rome….
Day 5 - Rai Lei Beach to....somewhere on Koh Pu
We were recommended by our incredibly knowledgeable colleague in base to get to Koh Pu – its how Phi Phi Don was 20 years ago, she said……she was right. This is off-grid, relaxed beach life at its best. You’re not getting the co-ordinates from me…..we will tell you when you get there! (anyone remember “The Beach”?) This is a place to die for. My heart rate went down 50% when I stepped ashore. A couple of little restaurants, an amazing waiter who (with almost no convincing) had me order the freshly caught Barracuda with red curry sauce – I would happily see out my days on that dish alone. There are beach bungalows available for rent…..definitely the next holiday for my family is sorted – the image of my boys playing on the unspoilt white sand has to become reality.
Day 6 - Koh Pu to Koh Phi Phi Don
Today is the day. We all (very reluctantly) leave Koh Pu and head west, to probably the most famous islands in Thailand, Koh Phi Phi Lei, and Koh Phi Phi Don. Phi Phi Lei has been made world famous as the location for the film “The Beach” – its a shame old Leo wasn’t a yachtie, because the week has already given us more serene breathtaking places. Thankfully for the island, Maya beach is now off limits to tourists – but you can get close enough for a decent photo. It is beautiful, and the steps taken by the locals to stop the hordes has paid off – the coral reef is recovering, the sea life is back.
After some photos, and to imagine what it would be like without the longtails, day tripper boats and the speed boats, its time to head north, and into the vortex. Koh Phi Phi Don is insane…..but insane enough to make it still a worthwhile place to stop. Parties on the beach, fireworks, fire jugglers, madness everywhere…..go exploring the back streets and see just how far the rabbit hole goes…..
Day 7 - Koh Phi Phi Don to Phuket Yacht Haven
Our final day. The wind gods see fit to provide 20 knots from the east, and the 30 plus miles back to base gurgle past under sail alone, a glorious beam reach to take us back and remind us that this can’t be the last time to sail here.
We refuel back at base, a relaxed and simple affair, as everything has been. Back on the quay its time for a posh shower, to sit down, order a cold one and process the sights and sounds of this enchanting place.
Farewell to the Land of Smiles
There are many things that contribute to a perfect holiday. Thailand is, without a doubt, one of the most enchanting places I have ever visited, and one of the best places I have ever sailed. The scenery is stunning, the food is amazing, the people are the warmest, friendliest hosts and the culture is fascinating.
Thailand has a well deserved reputation as being known as the Land of Smiles. I can see why. Find the time, find the means and come sailing with us in Thailand. If you enjoy it as I did, you won’t be able to stop yourself smiling…..I know I can’t.
For more information or availability, you are welcome to call one of our sales consultants on 0208 324 3118. If you’d like to hear more about the day to day of boat life in Thailand, I am happy to talk. Your only issue will be getting me to stop….JC
Girls Only Courses in Greece and Southampton
New for 2020 we’ve started running girls only training courses at our bases in the UK and Greece. We will be running RYA Competent Crew and RYA Day Skipper along with weekend refresher courses and mile builders. These are taught by our resident female instructors. We believe that sailing should be accessible to all, and we have girls of all ages come to learn with us in a supportive and fun environment.
The wonderful sport of sailing should be open to all and in the past sailing has been seen as a male-heavy sport. We want to change this and believe sailing should be for all no matter their age or gender. In the past, we have found that there is a lot of nervousness among couples on our flotilla surrounding what they would do in an emergency. We believe that specific girls only training is a great way of providing confidence and skills for those of all levels and reverse some of the gender bias yachting has been known for.
Our girls only training courses encourage a calm environment where we operate a yacht as a team. We welcome all questions and maintaining a safe, supportive and fun environment is the main objective. Our previous students have found this can give an excellent confidence boost and see a real development of sailing skills. Many of our students come alone, but we also welcome small groups and don’t forget these courses are open to everyone.
RYA Competent Crew
RYA Competent Crew is an excellent introduction to the best sport in the world and is open to all levels of ability.
RYA Day Skipper
Perfect for those with sailing experience to the competent crew level and an understanding of the theoretical side of the day skipper syllabus. This course takes the final and most important step and upon completion will allow you to be the skipper.
Refresher Training & Milebuilders
Our refresher & mile building courses offer the opportunity to work on any aspect of sailing. This has a loose syllabus that lets you focus on the skills you want to develop.
Seafarer Training Ionian - Lefkas, Greece
Our training yachts in the Ionian operates alongside our flotilla, providing a tremendously social environment. This course can even be completed while sailing alongside your family on one of the other flotilla yachts.
RYA Competant Crew & Day Skipper Courses
- 3rd May
- 26th July
- 4th October
Prices from £649
Seafarer Training Solent - Southampton, UK
We also have several training weeks at our Southampton school a perfect opportunity for a weekend pre-holiday refresher or a full competent crew or day skipper course (Monday to Friday).
RYA Competant Crew & Day Skipper
- 11th May
- 22nd June
Weekend Refresher / Milebuilder Sessions
- 25th April
- 9th May
For more information or availability, please contact one of our consultants on 0208 324 3118.