Yacht Charter in Scotland

The attractions of a sailing cruise in Scotland are well known, both to those sailors who return year after year, and to those who are keen to make their first voyage in these wonderful waters. True, there is often some pain when the well documented occasional inclemency of the climate can turn a planned leisurely cruise into something a little more challenging, but your experienced Scottish sailor is at heart an optimist. She or he knows that the vagaries of the weather are the price you pay for the uncrowded waters, magnificent scenery, and a warm welcome ashore.  The intricate coastline and innumerable islands keep open sea passage making to a minimum and you will spend most of your time sailing in relatively sheltered water and not far from one of many anchorages. It is one of the greatest of the many pleasures of sailing in Scotland to drop the anchor and relax in beautiful surroundings after an exhilarating day. Sometimes though, you will want to spend some time ashore and there has been a huge upsurge in recent years of facilities for visiting yachtsman, mostly community led and small scale, with the provision of pontoons, water, diesel, showers and wifi in many small harbours from the West Coast and Hebrides to the East Coast and up to the Orkneys and Shetland. These all help to enhance the cruising experience and support the local economy.

Not everyone has the necessary time or the finance to be able to own a yacht and, if you do, you might want to sail and explore different sailing grounds without the inconvenience of moving your boat from place to place. The solution of course is to charter a boat from one of the many companies offering bareboat (self sail) charter or take a berth on a skippered charter choosing from the wide variety of different craft available. For those wanting to learn to sail or improve their skills, there is no better training ground and RYA sailing schools offer courses from beginner to yachtmaster. So, a little bit more about what is on offer…

Bareboat Charter 

With a bareboat charter you get the whole boat to skipper and sail yourself. The choice of boats range from 32ft to 50ft+ and, unlike a boat you might charter in the Med or Caribbean, Scottish boats will be very well equipped and have to meet the exacting standards of the Code of Practice as specified by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. This means comprehensive safety equipment for all crew, all of which is regularly inspected and certified. It also means navigation aids including GPS, chartplotter, DSC VHF, wind, depth, and speed instruments and not forgetting paper charts and pilot books of course. A detailed handover precedes your charter and manuals will be on board to keep you right and help you run the boat systems. The boat will be well maintained and handed over in a clean condition. If you want to be sure of getting a well found boat, kept to the MCA standard as a minimum, then visit www.asyc.co.uk where all members boats have to meet the ASYC Code as well as the legal requirements of the MCA.  

Skippered charter 

A skippered charter boat is one with a professional crew. This can just be the skipper or, on bigger craft, there could be a mate or even a cook as well although it is more common for these duties to be combined. There are modern yachts,old gaffers, converted fishing boats, and purpose built mini cruise ships available. Nearly all offer places by the berth but whole boat charters are also available. There are many boats whose business is solely skippered charter but it is worth remembering that if you fancy a bit of hands on sailing without the stress of skippering, then you can charter a yacht and hire a skipper. Most charter companies will offer this service and some will be able to arrange your catering as well. This option is popular even with experienced skippers who just want to take the opportunity to relax a bit more with family and friends.

Details of the many boats available can be found at www.sailscotland.co.uk and at www.asyc.co.uk   

Sail Training 

A sailing course, whether it is mile building, for experience, or to attain one of the RYA qualifications is a rewarding experience. You will learn with an experienced professional who will improve your skills and build your confidence, and there is no better place to do this than in Scotland. Full details of the RYA training scheme can be found at www.rya.org.uk  In addition to the regular courses where it is usual to take a berth, it is also possible to hire a boat and an instructor if you want a more one to one experience or want to learn with your family. Many of the bareboat charter companies are also RYA training centres and would be able to help. 

More about the ASYC 

The Association of Scottish Yacht Charters is a trade association representing bareboat and skippered charter companies operating in Scotland. By choosing a member, you can be confident, knowing that your chosen company is an accredited member of a professional association. If you have concerns over the security of your payment, the Association operates a Trust account where your deposit and balance can be held until completion of your charter. Member companies

 operate an informal self help scheme. If you have problems or suffer a breakdown far from the home port, then there is a good chance there will be someone nearby that can help. In the unlikely event of a complaint, the Association offers an arbitration service and tries to find a mutually satisfactory solution. At any point during the booking process you can contact the Association for advice or information.
For peace of mind it makes sense to choose an ASYC member. www.asyc.co.uk  



Logo image with text link to Tarbert Harbour