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How to charter a yacht

We’ve all seen Below Deck, but who knew that above deck there was so much involved in chartering the yacht in the first place? We spoke to the experts at Ritzy Charters for a few pointers.

Cat yacht charter

Living the dream.

Set your budget

A bit like planning a weekend junk trip in Hong Kong, there are costs to consider. Expenses that will need to be covered, according to the experts, include boat hire, fuel costs, food, drink and other extras such as docking fees. Obviously the more dollars you have at your disposal for the trip, the more you're likely to get out of it (and let’s face it, nobody ever regrets the times they paid the extra to sail right past chock-a-block Clearwater Bay and out to serene Sai Wan).

Understand your yacht

This section is a little more complex than we were expecting, but here goes.

Motor yachts

If you want to travel quickly over long distances, then a motor yacht is the way to go. Motor yachts are equipped with stablisers for a smoother ride and to minimise motion at anchor (worth considering if you have guests liable to a touch of sea sickness).

Displacement yachts are heavier with rounded hulls which ride lower and displace more water for a stable but slower ride.

power boat yacht charter

Eat those miles.

Planning yachts are designed with a v-shaped hull to create lift and ride over the water with less drag; this also allows for greater speed.

On the downside, while motor yachts are faster, they also burn a lot of fuel. Displacement yachts consume around 200 litres an hour, while a yacht with a planning hull burns a massive 700 litres an hour. Definitely something to add to the budget considerations, or not.


Catamarans, or ‘cats’ as they are colloquially referred to, are popular yacht charters for a number of reasons.

With two hulls, they are extremely stable under sail and remain relatively flat on the water. Their width means they are also more spacious than a single hull yacht, with multiple areas on board for lounging, including the main salon, aft deck, foredeck and flybridge. More space means more privacy, with cabins at each end of the hull as well as midship on larger cats. With this much separation, there is a greater sense of having your own space.

Cats can pull into shallower waters to anchor, which is apparently a bonus in the Bahamas, owing to them having a shallow draft (the draft is the distance between the waterline and the deepest point of the boat).

Wide steps at each end of each hull provide easy access to the water (which anyone who has scrambled down a vertical ladder on the back of a wooden junk clutching a seabreeze will appreciate).

If you decide to go with a cat, you then will need to choose between a sailing cat or a power cat (we warned you it was complex). Basically, sailing cats do have engines but use wind-power as much as possible. Obviously this is by far the most eco-friendly option, plus it’s also quite fun and makes you look a bit professional as you cruise past busy bays.

Power cats typically have more powerful engines than sailing cats, however they are still generally more fuel efficient than a motor yacht.

Sailing yachts
sailing yacht charter

Sail power.

Finally, sailing yachts are the best choice if you want to properly sail. Monohull sailing yachts are also generally less expensive to charter than a catamaran.

It’s worth noting that all accommodation is below the waterline with a mix of full and twin-berth cabins and a shared wall, in contrast to the more spacious cat which typically offers four queen-size cabins.

Turkish gulets, traditionally built wooden yachts, are popular in the eastern Mediterranean. They apparently have spacious interiors and powerful engines.

Guest numbers

We’ve all been on that junk with people literally hanging off the roof as you sail out of Central. But when you’ll be spending a number of days together rather than a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, it’s worth considering factors such as bedroom configurations and how everyone will fit.

Families will need larger rooms with doubles and singles, making cats or motor yachts perhaps a better option.

Don’t forget the number of guests will also affect the amount of supplies you’ll need to order, so plan accordingly. Nobody wants to be on the boat where the rosé runs out at lunchtime, miles from the nearest port.

The menu

The food is one of the highlights of chartering a private yacht. All charter chefs love to wow their guests with incredible food, so make sure you fill-in the preference sheet issued to you before the vacation. This is your chef’s guide to creating the most amazing menu plan for your charter, so spend some time on this document and include as much detail as possible.

Make sure the dietary restrictions of every guest are noted; charter chefs are expert at creating a menu suitable for the whole group, no matter if one is keto, one is vegan and a third is gluten-intolerant.

Also don't forget to make a note of food you simply don’t like. Children’s preferences in particular should be well noted.

All the toys
Toys on a yacht charter

Keeping busy on the water.

Wherever you decide to head, you'll be sailing some of the most beautiful waters on the planet, so make the most of them with plenty of toys. These days there are heaps to choose from, including simple inflatable loungers and noodles, to more complex e-foils and seabobs.


Never knock the humble noodle; it's great for keeping kids and weaker swimmers above water and it also comes into its own when you’re attempting to balance a glass of bubbles with staying afloat.

Inflatable slides

Available in all shapes and sizes, slides are a must if you have kids on board. And also dads. All dads love an inflatable slide.

Water trampolines

Water trampolines are perfect for jumping on, for diving off, or just for perching on for a bit of a natter.

Electric hydrofoils

Otherwise known as e-foils, electric hydrofoils are the latest craze on the water. They’re stand-on boards with an electric motor and a hydrofoil to lift riders out of the water and soar over the waves.


If you’re looking for an underwater adventure, the pros at Ritzy Charters swear seabobs are a must. They’re handheld electric scooters that allow you to explore the ocean like a dolphin, diving down to up to 40m and reaching speeds of up to 20kmh. (Apparently it’s also ok to say you’d just like to stick with your noodle…).

Jet skis

Small, fast and agile, the traditional jet ski will always be brilliant fun for zipping over the waves, with or without a small child clinging on in front of you.


Apparently subwings are also new to the water sports scene and allow you to experience the sensation of flying underwater. A subwing is made up of two wings connected to a rope which is pulled by a dinghy or jet ski. As the boat moves, the wings and the rider glide and manoeuvre through the water, giving the sensation of flying underwater.

Kayaks and paddle boards

Classics, but nevertheless great fun. Kayaks and boards are eco-friendly and will always be a great way to work-out and enjoy the water, all at the same time.

Ritzy Charters offers crewed luxury yacht charters in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and beyond. More information can be found online.


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