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Planning a charter-yacht vacation? One new way to check out your options is the user-friendly website called CharterWave (www.charterwave.com). The site, launched in the fall of 2006, is the brainchild of Kim Kavin, former executive editor of Yachting magazine and currently the charter/cruising editor of Power & Motoryacht. CharterWave is an outgrowth of Kavin’s book Have the Whole Boat: The Insider’s Guide to Private Yacht Vacations, published last year by iUniverse ($24; 800-288-4677, www.iuniverse.com).
The site’s free content includes in-depth education and information on bareboats, crewed yachts, destinations, a charter planner, blogs, broker interviews, crew interviews, e-news, and interactive forums. Refreshingly honest reviews of actual charters (of at least four days) taken by Kavin or her staff are interesting and informative. “First Impressions,” capsule reviews of boats viewed at boat shows but not chartered, are also a helpful tool for those planning a trip.
The site, like the book, is ideal not only for experienced charterers but also for first-timers, with answers to just about any question you’re likely to have. For example, if you’re curious about the nitty-gritty of crewed chartering, click on News & Info, then on Helpful Articles, where you’ll find “The High Five.” It’s a useful story detailing the top five questions you should ask before pursuing a crewed yacht vacation, among them, what destination suits your cruising desires. If perchance you don’t find what you’re looking for on the site, Kavin and her staff are available to answer questions by e-mail. Just click on “Ask Our Experts” and away you go.
Kavin, who is first and foremost a journalist, isn’t in the charter business; her site doesn’t book charters. Charters are booked through direct links on the site to various charter brokers and charter companies. CharterWave chooses the boats, brokers, and companies that are featured on the site, selecting those that the staff knows well and has deemed reputable. CharterWave accepts no percentage of payment for charters booked; its objective is to be a comprehensive and informative conduit.
“My goal is to introduce people to chartering and funnel them to reputable companies and brokers,” she says. “I aspire to be the most trustworthy reporter covering the worldwide charter industry.”
At press time, there were roughly 100 boats listed on the 6-week-old site; the majority were luxury motoryachts and sailing yachts. However, Kavin was in the process of adding listings for boats of all sizes, both power and sail, and the launch of a new-and-improved site (that will include search options for type of boat, size, cruising area, and price range) is slated for 2007.
“I want to send people out on boats of all sizes, from the smallest bareboat to the most luxurious yacht,” she says.