Answers to all your questions

… and some you probably hadn’t even thought of yet!

Sailboat trips can inspire, relax, create the closest of friendships very quickly…. for some people.

But sailing doesn’t float everyone’s boat. Hence our very extensive FAQs – we want be sure that everyone knows exactly what to expect, and their idea of heaven-on-a-stick is about the same as their boatmates!

General Questions

Do I need to know how to sail ?

Not at all ! We get a huge range of experience onboard – from old salts who’ve been sailing for decades, to people whose closest experience has been floating a rubber duckie in their bathtub.

Total newbies – if you’d like to learn – great !!  We love when people are enthusiastic to get into sailing. But if chilling on the foredeck with a good book is more your plan, that’s fine too.   However, we do expect that if you’ve chosen an active trip like this, that you’ll get involved in the pitch-in, team spirit onboard.  If chilling and doing absolutely nothing is your idea of vacation heaven – you’d be much happier on a cruise ship.

For you guys & gals who are experienced sailors already – our skippers are MORE than happy to let you take the helm and tweak the sails as much as you like ! And perhaps pass on some tips like how the infamous “Med mooring” works….so you too can look cool as a cucumber as you glide in stern-to, whilst total pandemonium breaks out elsewhere :).

Basically, if you come packing a sense of adventure, humour, and team spirit –  yay!  You’ve found the right page.

Notes for Newbies

Never been on sailboat in your life? Don’t worry, you won’t be our first guest whose prior experience has been paddling round a duckpond.

If you love the water, being outdoors, getting away from the crazy crowds – chances are you’ll take to sailing like a duck to….um, a duckpond!

If you have a gregarious, team-spirited nature – you’ll love the social aspect of our shareboats. Our sailors often go from initial strangers to friends-for-life.

Worried about getting seasick? Yes, it happens sometimes. If you know that you are susceptible to motion sickness, we can give you plenty of tips on getting around this. The vast majority of people are just fine; after the first 24hrs, your body will adapt. If you get sick on planes, trains, automobiles and said duckponds… it might not be your best choice.

Please make sure that you are fully aware of the “cosy” space on sailboats. If you’ve never been aboard a yacht before, look closely at some interior photos of boats – and not ones taken with a super wide-angle lens!

Do be aware also that although you don’t need to be an athlete – sailboats need a reasonable level of physical agility. You need to be able to climb in and out of dinghies, navigate often narrow gangplanks, etc.

In short, if you thrive on adventurous new experiences, would prefer a family-owned pension to the Hilton, love the sun and the sea – you’re at great risk of falling in love with sailing. We feel it is only fair to issue a warning: Sailboat addiction is a chronic, incurable condition. You’ll never get over it.

Accommodation on board

With space being at a premium, most sailboats are configured with double cabins. Some are double beds, some can be bunkbeds or twins.

Some cabins have en suite heads (= toilet/shower), some are shared facilities.

Our shareboat prices are based on 2 people sharing a double cabin; single occupancy is sometimes available at 1.5 times the regular price.

If you are chartering the boat with your own group – it’s totally up to you how you sort out cabin arrangements!

What level of physical fitness is needed ?

You don’t need to be an athlete or a yogi to enjoy our trips. We’re very laid-back and cruise-y; we’re not out to win races nor battle 30 knot blows.

But you do need the balance and agility to climb in and out of a dinghy; on our Med trips – you’ll need to cross from the boat to the shore via a fairly narrow gangplank.

If you’re super-keen but not sure on this score – don’t be overly intimidated, just chat to us about it. We’ve had people onboard with conditions one would think a definite sailing no-no – and they have been wonderful!

A quick note on CPAP machines – these can be a challenge to a sailboat’s electrical supply; pls be sure to talk to us about this if it’s an essential for you.

Sailing itineraries

Our “sample itineraries” here on the website are just that – please don’t get too attached to them, like a train schedule!

One of the greatest things about being on a sailboat is the flexibility to change our minds and our route to suit personal preferences, prevailing wind conditions, etc. The start and finish points are fixed, of course – but all else is changeable according to the whims of the wind gods and those on board!

Flights, hotels and other “getting to” info

We at SeaScape do not arrange flights ourselves. To get the best deals requires full-time attention to the airlines, and that’s not our area of specialisation. Of course, we are always here for advice on the best route to research, local connections/ferries etc.

Transfers
We can always help with arranging taxi rides at the end of a trip – we have lots of great local contacts for this. Meeting arrival flights – it depends on which destination. We have detailed notes on all this.

Hotels
We have several which have been longtime favourites with our SeaScapers; more notes available on this. We don’t book these directly, but we can certainly point you in the right direction!

How long do we sail ?

Our trips are meant as vacations, not sail-training 🙂 – so we do our best to balance out about half a day on the water, half a day with time to explore ashore.

In the Med, the distances tend to be shorter; 3-4 hrs sailing time would be an average. We generally get up and out early in the morning, giving us plenty of time to sail – then time ashore later in the day. When it gets busy, it’s a great policy to be “out first, in first” – to get the best spots on the dock!

In SE Asia, the distances are sometimes longer – there will be some days when we might sail 5-6 hours to get to somewhere particularly spectacular. Most of our boats here are wide, spacious catamarans, with plenty of shaded space to spread out – so the extra time on the water isn’t exactly hard to take :).

What other costs should I expect?

Very few! That’s our whole philosophy of “No Surprise Extras”. In general, if it’s on the boat – it’s included. If it’s ashore – it’s not.

In the Med, our trips are mostly skipper-only – so we provide the provisions for breakfasts & lunches, and everyone pitches in to help. Dinners are always ashore in little local tavernas. A cook/first mate is sometimes available; this is at an extra cost.

In Thailand & the Philippines – we have amazing cooks onboard; they take care of all breakfasts & lunches. Dinners are usually half the time on the boat, half the time ashore. All meals on the boat can also be arranged.

The only other spending money you’ll need is for land activities; eg in the Med, you might rent scooters, jeeps, do some of the guided historic tours, etc. In Thailand, how could anyone resist those massages-on-the-beach! These costs are still all very reasonable, however.

Of course, if you decide to go hit the town and get into expensive cocktails, this will clock up a few extra $$s. Though all things are relative: you probably couldn’t spend as much on a night on the town as you would at home, even if you tried!

Note: There are a few dangerously enticing shopping spots; eg, Turkish bazaars, Thai markets… even those who claim to “hate shopping” have been known to sneak back to the boat with armfuls of goodies. You have been warned.

Can we bring the kids?

We don’t take kids on our shareboat trips. Sorry, parents – but an onboard mix of supposed grown-ups being “big kids” and the real variety don’t mix 🙂 We also get a lot of folks who’ve deliberately left their kids home for a break, who would be mightily unimpressed to find others on the boat.

However – if you charter one of our boats for your own family – no problem! As a private charter, we can create a totally “kid-friendly” itinerary. We do advise against bringing younger kids (under 5/6 or so) – it won’t be exactly a relaxing vacation for mom & dad unless the kids are already “boat trained”.

If you’d really like to bring your kid(s) with you and/or really like the social aspect of shareboating – we are often able match up compatible families to share one of our bigger boats. Or eg, solo parents travelling with their kids or teens. Just let us know if you’d like to explore this possibility.

Is there an age limit?

On a sailboat, attitude usually comes before age. One recent 73yr-old newbie sailor was helming in
25 knots within a couple of days and having an absolute blast!

We do need to emphasize the “physical agility” aspect here (but that’s not necessarily age-related!)

Shareboat

Is there a single supplement ?

Our shareboat prices are based on two people sharing a cabin; and no, there is no single supplement in this case.

Because of the necessarily compact design of sailboats, most cabins are doubles. Some are double beds, some are bunk beds or twin singles. We get lots of solo travellers, and most are happy to have a cabin-mate (don’t worry, we won’t put you “in the same bed” with someone of the opposite sex 🙂

If you’d really prefer to have a cabin to yourself – on most trips, we are able to offer that option, at a cost of 1.5x the regular price.

There are some trips (especially our “one-off” exploratory trips, where we rent boats from other owners) when we’re not able to offer this option.

Just check in with us for any particular trip you’re interested in, and we can give you the options.

I’m travelling solo, but don’t want to end up a “third wheel”

That’s what our “mostly singles” groups are all about.  It may not be ALL singles… and this is absolutely NOT any kind of “dating” deal.  But we can tell you which groups you are likely to fit best with, and don’t worry – there is no way you’ll end up with eg, a family & kids, and you don’t even have any wheels to spin!

Crew “match-making”

We know extremely well how important group dynamics are, and we always try to create compatible groups.  For instance, we would not put a group of partying 20-30yrs olds together with eg, a 60yr old couple celebrating an anniversary trip.

We care about this a whole lot, ‘cos as most of our boats are owner/skippered, we’re there onboard with you!

Being a small, personal company, we are able to get to know most of our sailors individually – you are never “just one more number on a booking form” to us.

How safe is this for solo women travellers?

It doesn’t get much safer!

First of all, you get an instant friend-group to explore new places and experiences with. If you want to go off on your own, that’s fine too –  if you get lost or whatever, the locals know us so well, they’ll  take you home to the boat 🙂

Secondly, our skippers are not there just to sail the boat. They are your go-to people for everything – whether it’s keeping an eye on boat dynamics (is that guy bugging you?) to “What’s appropriate to wear to the monastry / the beach bar / the Turkish baths, etc?”

We advise the usual caution when transiting through the bigger cities;   keep your street-smarts about you there. But in general, the places we have chosen as our favourite cruising grounds are very low-risk for solo women travellers. Sure, the Greek & Turkish guys may well try to chat you up; but if you make it clear you’re not interested – they’re fine and still totally friendly.  All of us female SeaScape team members feel a whole lot “safer” here than we would in our home “First World” countries!

 

What if they’re all weirdos?

A good point!  A 50’+ boat is still a very small space if you don’t get on with your crewmates. But—the fact is that 95% of the time, everyone on board gets on just great, and ends up really good friends. How come??

1) A very effective self-selection process! By definition, anyone who would choose an adventure vacation like this generally is an independent, flexible type, with a sociable spirit. In our experience, anyone who reads these notes and thinks “Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun!” usually turns out to be a pretty cool person themselves…

2) Just to be QUITE sure – not only do we have these very in-depth notes, but we also chat to all our potential sailors on email and/or on the phone before they book. We DO tell anyone who we don’t think is really suited that they should reconsider. We’re not doing anyone any favours by not being totally candid about this.

Obviously, we can’t make any guarantees you’ll love all your crewmates, but our success rate is pretty amazingly high
(check in with TripAdvisor and Facebook reviews from our previous shareboaters !).

Private Charter

Customised charters

Want to bring your own group of friends or family? Great !  We can customise a trip for you which suits your pace and places you’d like to go.

That’s within logistical reason, of course – sailing from Athens to Crete to Istanbul in one week isn’t going to happen! When you are looking at distances, allow around 5 knots as an average sailboat speed.

In the Med, our usual trip duration is a week; for Greece AND Turkey, we really need around 10 days to make it worthwhile with the extra paperwork and distances.  Sometimes we are able to offer shorter trips (only within Greece).

In SE Asia, our trip duration is more flexible. Our shareboat trips in Thailand are 8 days; and this is our favourite timeframe, to fit in all the best spots. But if you’d like something different – just drop us a line and ask!

Kids on board?  No problem with private groups! But we would recommend a minimum age of around 5-6 yrs old… unless your kiddie(s) are already used to sailboat life.  Otherwise, it’s unlikely to be exactly a “relaxing” vacation for the parents…

Greece & Turkey

What is the sailing season in the Med?

The best time to sail in Greece and Turkey is between late May and late Oct.

Earlier in the season is possible, but those glorious sunny-all-day Med conditions are not guaranteed; we can still get some dodgy weather early in May.  The Turkish season tends to extend a little later than Greece; it stays warm and calm longer, the “lights-off” time for most tourist businesses in Turkey is Oct 30.  In Greece, conditions can be a little unpredictable late in Oct (but it can still be a great time to sail, for those who hate crowds!)

Winds – the typical meltemi pattern of summer winds tends to follow the temperature.  It blows the strongest in mid-summer, and is calmer in early and late season.  In some parts of Greece (notably the Ionian), it’s a nice, predictable afternoon breeze; anywhere mid-Aegean or further east, forget any such reliability – the meltemi will blow when it feels like it!

 

Do I need a visa for Greece or Turkey?

For Greece,  most nationalities do not need a visa.  One notable exception is South Africa, where you must apply in advance. If you at all in doubt, pls check with your local Greek embassy.  Most non-EU residents get an automatic 3 month visa-on-entry.

Turkey – most nationalities do need a visa, but it is a very simple online process.  The cost varies according which nationality you are, usually from around 15 euros to sometimes up to 50 euros.  The most common is around 20 euros.

Please note, your passport must be valid for 6 months AFTER your overseas travel is completed.

What’s included?

We have a whole section on that right here!

But basically, if it’s on the boat – it’s covered; if it’s ashore – it’s up to you.

How much should I budget for dinner?

25 euros per dinner will get you a ton of food, and about as much wine as it’s possible to drink.

What is the sailing season in the Med?

The best time to sail in Greece and Turkey is between late May and late Oct.

Earlier in the season is possible, but those glorious sunny-all-day Med conditions are not guaranteed; we can still get some dodgy weather early in May.  The Turkish season tends to extend a little later than Greece; it stays warm and calm longer, the “lights-off” time for most tourist businesses in Turkey is Oct 30.  In Greece, conditions can be a little unpredictable late in Oct (but it can still be a great time to sail, for those who hate crowds!)

Winds – the typical meltemi pattern of summer winds tends to follow the temperature.  It blows the strongest in mid-summer, and is calmer in early and late season.  In some parts of Greece (notably the Ionian), it’s a nice, predictable afternoon breeze; anywhere mid-Aegean or further east, forget any such reliability – the meltemi will blow when it feels like it!

 

Do I need a visa for Greece or Turkey?

For Greece,  most nationalities do not need a visa.  One notable exception is South Africa, where you must apply in advance. If you at all in doubt, pls check with your local Greek embassy.  Most non-EU residents get an automatic 3 month visa-on-entry.

Turkey – most nationalities do need a visa, but it is a very simple online process.  The cost varies according which nationality you are, usually from around 15 euros to sometimes up to 50 euros.  The most common is around 20 euros.

Please note, your passport must be valid for 6 months AFTER your overseas travel is completed.

Is Turkey really safe for Westerners?

Of course! We feel way safer in Turkey than we do in London or Los Angeles, for example…

South East Asia

Do I need a visa for Thailand?

For most countries, you can get a visa-on-entry which is valid for 30 days.  If you wish to stay longer, you can extend this visa by another 30 days by visiting a local immigration office, and paying 1900 baht (plus often half a day of your time).

If you want to stay longer, you can apply from your home country and get a 60 day tourist visa.  This can then be extended for another 30 days (with ditto time & money involved as above).

Please note, your passport must be valid for 6 months AFTER your overseas travel is completed.

What’s included?

We have a whole section on that right here!

But basically, if it’s on the boat – it’s covered; if it’s ashore – it’s up to you.

Photography / Yoga Trips

I’m not into photography, my partner is – can I still come on the trip?

Of course! You don’t need to be in to photography to come sailing with us, and there’s plenty of activities for you to enjoy while the class do their thing.

Sounds intriguing, but I’m just not that flexible / I’m too old…

We have an answer to that too; definitely “hogwash” !! 🙂 Purely the physical side of yoga has been proven to be an amazingly effective form of physiotherapy, for even serious injuries, strokes, etc. As for the mental & spiritual component – yes, it IS as intriguing as it sounds. Give it a go…