Chartering a yacht is more than a guided tour — beyond the carefree travel, there’s an underlying serenity that must be experienced to be understood
Owning a boat is a wonderful pastime. One could rightly argue it’s both a hobby and a lifestyle — many enjoy spending their free time on the water, and even if given a choice, they’d still choose it over a landlocked activity. The boating lifestyle is built around adventures and exploration, from perusing your local lake to grandiose trips around the world. Chartering a yacht, while still all of those things, adds a whole new dimension to the experience. The complaints that sometimes come with ownership (maintenance, upkeep, scheduling, and so on) can be scuttled by hopping aboard a chartered yacht where things like anxiety and stress seem to magically get tossed overboard.
That’s the inherent beauty of the charter experience – the legwork is done for you, all you have to do is enjoy yourself.
For The Moorings, one of the world’s premier yacht charters, they provide not only an unforgettable experience, but also many of the unheralded perks that guests don’t realize can enhance the experience. It doesn’t take much convincing to get someone aboard a chartered yacht, but even still, few are truly prepared for the gravity of the experience until they step aboard.
The Moorings, who have offices in the best boating havens around the world, including a new office in Florida in 2021, their charter experience can be anything from bareboat sailing charters, to power catamaran charters, to skippered charters with a captain onboard, all the way to the ‘all inclusive’ experience with a captain, crew, and chef. The ability to organize every aspect, from dock to dock, at every possible level of comfort and accommodation, makes the charter experience not unlike picking from a dessert menu. When every option is delicious, there is no wrong decision.
But to satiate your hunger for adventure and guide you towards your next journey, The Moorings run what’s called a “matched fleet.” In lay terms, it means they have an exclusive partnership with Leopard Catamarans and Groupe Beneteau to keep the same vessels at all their locations. No matter where you go, you can find the vessel you’re looking for, and if you’re a returning guest, you have the choice to board the same boat from your last adventure. In other words, if you’re a globetrotter with a penchant for yachting, you can hop aboard the same vessel in Tahiti, Grenada, or the British Virgin Islands.
Seem like a tough decision? It is, but in the best way. But the boat decision is just the starting point — the beginning of the adventure. Unsure of where to go, or what to do? The Moorings employ a team of “vacation planners” who all train aboard their fleet — meaning they know the boats, the locations, and the local knowledge that turns an average sightseeing tour into an unforgettable day on the water.
The list of destinations they offer includes the U.S. Virgin Islands, The British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, Croatia, and more, so much like your boat choice, there isn’t a bad location choice, either. Departures out of St. Thomas in the USVI and out of Tortola in the BVI are the perennial favourites among new and returning clients alike. It’s not hard to understand why — the U.S. Islands are the only territory to have coasts on both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and the British Islands have been the go-to hideout for high-seas vagabonds since the heyday of piracy (Fun Fact- the famous novel Treasure Island and the sagas of Blackbeard all took place there — although it’s no longer a lawless tropical hideout. Quite the opposite, in fact). The Moorings even owns their marina in the BVI, meaning they’ve developed the property to be an epic launching point for your journey.
For Ian Pederson, senior marketing manager at The Moorings, the chartered yacht experience is everything people expect, but returning guests almost always remark they discovered even more than expected.
Therein lies one of The Moorings best features- freedom and flexibility. According to Pederson, “once you experience for yourself just how freeing it is to be aboard your own luxury yacht, and go wherever you wish in some of the world’s most beautiful boating destinations, and have exclusive access to some off-the-beaten-path areas away from the crowds – only then do you truly understand. When you see all the other tourists heading back home to their resorts, or rushing back to their cruise ship because it’s time to head off to the next place, and you have all the time in the world and nowhere else to be – that is a priceless feeling.”
Freedom is a large part of the boating ethos — the freedom to travel, to explore, to create memories. With The Moorings, there’s also the freedom to customize your journey, something that few, if any, other charters offer. So what are the limits to this freedom? Practically none.
The entirety of the trip is pre-planned, all you have to do is arrive. The Moorings handles everything from the charter itself, to flights, hotels, taxis, provisions, and even the water toys aboard your vessel. In other words, your vacation planners take care of the minutia so all you have to do is watch the sunset. Even more, to make the process as stress-free as possible all the inevitable mid-trip expenses are included in your original pricing. On sailing charters, options that typically cost extra are included in the price of the yacht, including the tender with an outboard engine, initial water, and fuel. There’s even a “4-Hour Guarantee,” which means that if a guest encounters a mechanical issue while on charter, the company will fix the vessel and get them underway within 4-Hours, as long as they are within the defined Cruising Ground.
When asked about his most unique charter, Pederson said “The most unique charter I ever put together personally was a bucket-list charter for a client who wanted to sail a yacht all the way from the Virgin Islands to Grenada, traversing nearly the entirety of the Caribbean island chain over the course of 2 months. This is definitely not the norm, but I think it speaks to the incredible infrastructure we have in place which allowed this client to stop at Moorings marinas all the way down the Caribbean island chain to re-supply, change bedding, towels, clean the yacht etc. throughout his trip. We allowed him to do this, leave the boat in Grenada and fly back to the States from there, and then we sailed the yacht back to the British Virgin Islands where it originated.”
So, where to, and with what boat? If you decide on one of The Moorings’ more popular destinations like, say, The Bahamas or Croatia, the world is your proverbial oyster. And what will be your chariot?
There are multiple options for both sailboat and power catamaran, but as it’s become clear, there’s no wrong choice. The most popular sailing catamaran among the fleet is the customized Moorings 4500L. The boat is a 4 cabin, 4-head vessel sitting 45 feet in length, which seems to be the ideal size for charter catamarans. The 4-cabin 4-head layout is perfect for up to 4 couples, or even multiple families to share the yacht comfortably. It’s also the latest generation of yachts in the fleet, meaning not only does it have the latest amenities, it’s also equipped with an elevated seating area that draws guests to the panoramic views. On the power catamaran side, the Moorings 534PC is the flagship and also offers a spacious 4-cabin, 4-head layout. With enough floorspace and accommodation for a large group of guests, the yacht resembles a custom-built home with full-size appliances.
While the past couple years have been anything but ordinary, one thing has remained constant — the desire to keep exploring. Travelers, boaters, and vagabonds of all types have been sitting idea too long, and the demand to get back on the water is strong. According to Pederson, “there was an underlying demand for travel, and for private charter vacations that was very exciting to see. We expect this demand to really come to fruition into next year and we expect 2023 to be a record-breaking year for The Moorings, and for the charter industry as a whole.”
For more information visit Moorings.com.