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Published: 20th January 2021
Heading into 2021 our attitudes to travel have changed and we’re all trying to figure out how we are going to continue our lives in a safer environment. Luckily for us at diYachting, we rent and sell yachts amongst all this chaos. Yachting has actually turned out to be something incredibly safe that has a controlled environment.
You can be reassured that all of the yachts we promote are all thoroughly sanitised between charters, crews are taking regular tests and daily temperature checks to ensure that both their guests and themselves remain healthy at all times. The best thing about a yacht is that there is no one else onboard that isn’t part of your charter party or crew, the chances of that random meeting with a person at breakfast doesn’t exist. The sea is your pool, and no other yacht at anchor is going to be within 2 meters so you are already winning at social distancing.
The travel industry’s current biggest issues are quarantine on arrival in winter sun destinations and further quarantine on your arrival home, I could tell you where you could go today but that may not be the case tomorrow, this has now presented a whole new element in the charter industry of last minute bookings – To be honest a yacht charter is something people normally plan months in advance and I spend long periods of time discussing itineraries, preferences, crews, yachts but suddenly it’s more what’s available here & now? Smart clients are ready to go and simply say, “ Great, we’ll fly this weekend!”
If I was to recommend somewhere in the Caribbean today, it would be Antigua, you need a negative test result within 7 days of departure for the island, once there, you need to socially distance and masks must be worn in all public places, there is currently no quarantine on arrival or on your return to the UK but by the time you receive this copy of SWM that may have changed! BA and Virgin Atlantic both restarted flights from London at the end of October, although currently suspended they are due to start again on the 13th December.
Antigua is one of the biggest Super Yacht hubs in the Caribbean, the island which includes Barbuda has 365 stunning beaches so plenty of anchorages to stop for swimming, snorkelling and lunch, you can even circumnavigate the island in a day or for the more adventurous head up to the sparsely populated Barbuda where one of the beaches stretches 10miles long. My favourite lunch spot has to be Catherine’s Cafe on Pigeon Beach by Falmouth Harbour, a relaxed beach front setting with good food and wine.
Having spent 12 years working on yachts, and 7 winters based in the Caribbean, at this time of year I reminisce about the sea, sun, rum and palm trees, here are some of my favourite places:
St Maarten, if I was in St Maarten today, my food diary would be breakfast at Zeebest for cappuccinos and their homemade french toast, followed by a journey to the French side and lunch at Kontiki on Orient Bay for sushi and rosé then sailing back to the Dutch side I would finish the day at Jimbos in Simpson Bay with margaritas and fajitas. Obviously between all this eating you’ll want to get out on the water; for the most amazing beaches you must go across to Anguilla and out to the Dogs islands to experience turquoise waters, turtles, & white sand beaches, it is truly paradise. You can easily go to St Barths, for great beach clubs, amazing shopping boutiques, French food and for some people watching, it’s where all the beautiful people go.
For the more rustic Caribbean you need to go south to the Grenadines, these islands are so different from St Maarten, this is the Caribbean you imagine from the Disney films “Pirates of the Caribbean”, small islands, less tourists, I don’t have a favourite breakfast hangout as it’s not that sort of place, instead you’d go for an early morning swim, most likely be the only people there, watch the pelicans diving for food, picnic on the beach and explore around the island on a moke. Some of the more famous islands of the Grenadines are; Mustique, Petit St Vincent & Canouan there are some fantastic resorts and boutique hotels where the rich and famous hide themselves away from the paparazzi; The Firefly & The Cotton House on Mustique, Sandy Land Resort on Canouan, Palm Island Resort. Virgin Atlantic start flying London to St Vincent from June 2021.
Looking into next summer and the Mediterranean, the season starts slowly in April and by June is in full swing, peaking in July and dropping off mid August.
Ibiza is still so popular that there are lots of yachts available for charter and you can take a trip across to the island of Formentera where people go to simply relax, enjoy the strikingly beautiful beaches and bathe in the sparkling sea. Book lunch at Juan y Andrea or Es Moli de Sal then head back to Ibiza for the evening.
Mallorca, the largest island in the Balearics, it is a big yachting hub and for years has topped Europe’s summer holiday charts, offering some wonderful sandy beaches, Es Trenc is my favourite, it seems to soothe the soul. A favourite lunch restaurant is Ca’s Patro March, which was featured in Hugh Laurie’s The Night Manager TV show, this is best reached by sea, with views over the bay and seafood cooked to perfection.
Moving across to France, Cannes, is a vibrant city with casinos, bars and beach clubs and nicely placed on the French Riviera, with great places to visit each day; the islands off Cannes are a popular place to spend the day at anchor, you can visit St Tropez, Antibes, St Jean Cap Ferrat, Monaco, again plenty of options for day charters to take you up and down the coast of the original playground of the rich and famous. Pampelonne Beach by St Tropez is home to some of the most famous beach clubs in the world.
Corsica is between the mainland French Riviera and Sardinia and is perfect for a quieter life, with lovely towns to visit like Calvi, Ajaccio, Porto Vecchio & Bonifacio there are also some beautiful anchorages and National Parks to explore by yacht. The private and exclusive island of Cavallo in the south is the Mustique of the Mediterranean. My favourite port is Bonifacio, the entrance is nestled in the towering cliffs, you wind yourself in and it then opens up into the port, the old town rests on the edge of these cliffs, you walk up from the port to enjoy the magnificent views across the Bonifacio Straits where you can see Sardinia on the horizon.
Porto Cervo, Sardinia, another playground of the rich and famous you need to see! The northern tip of Sardinia is absolutely stunning, a group of islands form the Maddalena National Park, you could spend a month here and never anchor at the same place twice, in the evening you’ll enjoy anchoring off Phi Beach, an open air restaurant and club with VIP area, nestled in the boulders on the waters edge.
Croatia is also back on a lot of people’s wishlist for 2021, it’s great to charter there as you can island hop each day from Dubrovnik or Split. From Split most people head to the island of Hvar, known as the Saint-Tropez of the Adriatic, a small town with beach clubs, bars and restaurants, what more do you need.
Greece, whether the mainland or one of the many islands, the choices are limitless, the choice of beaches endless, the Ionian Sea with Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkas, Paxos, Meganissi, Zakynthos to name just a few are all great for cruising, normally less windy than the rest of Greece making for flatter seas and easier passages, moving across to the Saronic Coast and Islands that have become a more popular choice in the last few years, also a bit more sheltered from the Meltemi winds, then heading out to the Cyclades Islands, you have Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, they don’t need an introduction, Santorini is the most instagrammed place in the world! So maybe not first choice if you’re looking to escape the crowds! Most islands offer day charters, Athens homes about 7 marinas so there are many yachts available from there that will take you on a cruise through the islands.
What makes a yachting holiday so special?
It’s a different view each morning, a different swim spot every afternoon, your own private chef providing meals with local ingredients and based on your pre holiday questionnaire, the yacht is like a hotel with cabins being cleaned each day, the captain will discuss the itinerary each morning or the evening before so you can pick where you’d like to go next – your charter is completely bespoke to you, created by me to your exact requirements. Contact me, Lizzie, today and we can start planning your next holiday of a lifetime.
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