Living Onboard a Charter Yacht

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When considering power yachts and sailing yachts it is realized that there are so many different models and designs of charter yachts. Consequently there will be so many different layouts of the cabins and living quarters on yachts along with the feel and ambiance that different designs generate. It is not possible to cover every option here so it will be better to state the basics that every yacht will have and to familiarize you with the terms that you need to know when booking your vacation to make sure you explain what you want.

What ever the yacht the following terms are the same. The largest and nicest cabin on board is the master cabin, and in most cases has an attached en suite bathroom and will have the largest bed and fittings such as closets and drawers. On larger yachts that might well be a VIP cabin which would be the next nicest cabin. The next level of cabins would be the guest cabins, with double or twin beds. The twin beds may in fact be bunk beds so you must clarify this point when booking to save any disappointments later on. Bunk beds are ideal for kids but may not appeal to adults.

The beds will typically be arranged 'fore and aft' in the yacht. It may mean that you will roll around in your bed as the yacht moves in the sea but this is the best arrangement. If the sailing yacht is heeled over under sail then you will gravitate to one side of the bed. This is not uncomfortable, just different to what you are used to. The alternative arrangement is athwartships which is not so comfortable because as the ship rolls your head is one moment above the level of your feet and the next moment below them. Please keep this in mind when looking at the bed arrangement on any yacht you are thinking of chartering.

Smaller yachts mean smaller cabins and smaller cabins mean smaller beds. The size of yacht that you will charter as a bareboat charter will be at the smaller end of the market and so will have less space and features than a larger crewed charter yacht. The master cabin on a bareboat yacht will often have a three quarter size double bed with two or three sides open to access. The bed could be of a step up island design where it is raised a step up from the cabin floor. This is due to the design of the yacht as the space under the bed is used for other functions of the yacht. The island bed looks grand but can be difficult for taller people who may need to bend more to avoid touching the ceiling when stepping up to get into bed.

The master cabin should have a full length closet, but possibly a half closet and adequate drawers for your clothes and possessions. In the guest cabins with bunk beds be aware the height above each bed may be restricted and more suitable for children than tall adults. The bunks will be quite narrow but you will soon get used to them and in fact they will be quite comfortable if the yacht is rolling as it is easy to brace yourself. In some twin cabins such as the 'vee' cabin in the bow of the yacht the length of the bed may be restricted and a tall person will be unable to stretch out completely. This may also be the case with the bunk beds. This will not be a problem with the master bed as the bottom of the bed will be open.

The closet and drawings in guest cabins will be limited in size so do not pack too many possessions. However there will be enough space if the space is managed sensibly. Some yachts have the facility to convert the dining table and couches into a bunk but it is not a good idea to hire a charter yacht with a view to this bed being used by members of the party. This is inconvenient and can cause tension with late risers or untidy guests. It might seem a good idea in the first instance to save money on your sailing vacation but you really should have a fixed bed for every guest.

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