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News  /  23rd June 2022

What we learnt at Travel Geeks: plan the ultimate sailing trip


What we learnt at Travel Geeks: plan the ultimate sailing trip

On 14 June, National Geographic Traveller (UK) hosted its Sunsail-sponsored event, Travel Geeks: how to plan the ultimate sailing trip. The panel consisted of sailing experts Dee Caffari, James Stewart, Richard Falk and Susan Smillie, and was moderated by NGT’s own Jo Fletcher-Cross.

The event began with tips geared to the absolute beginner. According to writer James Stewart, the easiest way to get into sailing is with a charter — hiring the boat, the skipper and some crew to show you the ropes. This allows someone else to take care of the decisions, but still lets you get a feel of being on a boat and sailing.

 “There’s charter sailing, where hired professionals look after you and you can be as involved as you want,” said James. “Then there’s flotilla sailing, for those who have some minor sailing experience. With flotilla sailing you’re in charge of the boat, but there’s a lead crew who guide you and support you throughout. You’re sailing in a fleet of boats, where you follow a lead vessel — travelling and sailing together.”

Richard Falk explained the types of sailing packages you can find, from hands-off charters with a crew to solo sailing trips, when it’s just you, your boat and the ocean. He said that chartering is a “very social way to do it”. When you’re more advanced, you can charter the boat yourself, be the skipper, the deckhand and manage the trip yourself.

When James first sailed with Sunsail, he said of his experience: “The skipper was amazing, she got us all involved, but we could do as much or as little as we wanted. There was a lot of learning on the go. It was quite a steep learning curve, but an amazing four days.” He concluded that a sailing holiday has a good balance of relaxation and adventure, it’s holiday that can suit everyone.

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