We receive this question often via email or chat. You may have not decided on your future destination and maybe you want to explore a new place. But what should you look out for when choosing a sailing location? You can rent a sailing yacht at the most beautiful places in the world, and for every water sports enthusiast, there is a suitable place to go sailing. We are happy to help you on your way and tell you about the best places to sail!
Your sailing holiday may be determined by the holiday period and the travel distance. Close to home, for example, as the Netherlands offers sailors a unique combination of inland water, inland seas, and the open sea. If you prefer sailing on a sunny day, then there are already countless possibilities for a sunny sailing holiday in Europe. However, a subtropical destination far away is also possible. Tubber is here to give you some tips to take into account when choosing a sailing destination.
The wind and the itinerary
In the Netherlands, we are dealing with a strongly varying wind force, blowing in different directions. It is a characteristic of our country as in popular, foreign charter areas, the wind often blows more constant from the same wind direction. Wind force and wind direction have an influence on your sailing plan and route, especially if you rent a bareboat (a boat without skipper) and determine your own itinerary. For this reason, it is essential to plan stops and final destinations. Even though you might be attracted by the wind, what if you have to catch the plane on time? If your car is in a nearby port, then you are generally a bit more flexible.
Sailing route and sailing distance
Instead of sailing in a loop, while returning to the port of departure, you can also opt for a one-way sailing trip. As you board from one port you can disembark in another harbour. The advantage of one-way sailing is that you can travel a greater sailing distance. For example, with a flotilla sailing holiday, you can sail from port to port with a small fleet. Flotilla routes are mapped out for easy navigations with not too long sailing distances, which enables you to enjoy the beautiful route. Most flotillas depart and disembark in the same port, but there are also one-way flotillas.
What wind is suitable for sailing?
Throughout the year, you can always sail somewhere in the sun. If it is winter in northern Europe, good ideas for sailing holidays are around the equator and in the southern hemisphere. We can include in our choice of the best places to sail: the Caribbean, Maldives, Seychelles, Thailand, Australia, and Polynesia.
But let’s get back to the wind and your route in a specific area. In the Caribbean, for example, the wind blows from the east. Bear in mind that you have to avoid the hurricane season from July to December, as the sailing services might also be not available.
Along the Greek and Turkish coast, the wind blows mainly from the north. But in the spring on the Ionian Sea, it is practically windless, laid back for the novice sailor, but less challenging for the sporty sailor.
Flow and tides in sailing
Currents and tides are a factor in determining the route to be sailed. In the North Sea and the Wadden Sea, for example, we must always take the tides into account and keep the tide table close at hand, while there is hardly any difference between low tide and tide in the Baltic Sea. Where many islands are close to each other, like the ones in the Indian and Pacific Ocean, water flows between those islands as it is being pushed up. We have a soft seabed in the Netherlands, but abroad you will often find reefs, rocky bottom and ditto coast. For example, atolls are surrounded by a coral reef and that is of course not suitable for anchoring.
Swell and wave
The depth of the water influences swells and waves. Even though a large part of the Netherlands is below sea level, the water is much shallower than elsewhere. But from a relatively constant depth without obstacles. The IJsselmeer is about 4 to 6 meters deep, and the Dutch part of the North Sea reaches barely 45 meters. For comparison: in the Mediterranean Sea, a depth of 500 meters or more is no exception, not to mention the fathomless depths of the oceans. If the water in the Mediterranean Sea turns lighter blue, then you must be aware of a shallow and a reef that can rise steeply.
Monohull or catamaran
Many sailors prefer a type of sailing yacht, a monohull (single hull), or a catamaran. Aside from preference for sailing on a specific yacht, you can say that a catamaran is very useful in shallow, sandy bays. Moreover, you have fewer problems with fluctuations. This is also a reason a catamaran is chosen more often if the travelling party takes into account seasickness. Nevertheless, on a monohull, it is easier to get around places and ports where there is less space.
Choose a sailing holiday that suits you!
So, when determining your sailing holiday, several factors play a role, and you have to predict situations! Do you find it challenging to choose a destination? Let us advise you, and we will know from experience what is suitable for you.
In any case, you can already prepare yourself for a sailing holiday abroad in the Netherlands. On the one hand, by gaining sailing experience in different areas with changing circumstances, and on the other by taking sailing lessons. There are useful short courses that prepare you for sailing! Lessons are about the actions to be performed in a foreign sailing area, such as anchoring and mooring at moorings. For the less experienced sailors, a flotilla is a must! This is due to the reason that guiding ship sails along, and the skipper can provide assistance if needed. Finally, you can choose to charter the type of sailing yacht that you are used to. So there are enough options for everyone to experience a fantastic sailing holiday around the best places to sail!
This post is also available in: Nederlands