There is nothing quite like a sailing vacation. Whether you’re after sunshine and beam reaches, rum drinks and reggae, or quiet anchorages and adventures ashore, a charter with The Moorings can have it all. Now that the world is opening back up, it’s time to ditch the staycation and choose a destination. Let’s take a look at where the hottest destinations are for 2022 and 2023, what’s changed in the world of charter sailing, and what you need to know before your next vacation.
Back to the Bahamas, BVI and USVI
Long the most popular destinations for North American sailors, bases in the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas have had major setbacks from hurricanes and the pandemic. Fortunately, those days are mostly in our wake, and charter sailors can once again easily cruise the storied waters of the Sir Francis Drake Channel, the Sea of Abaco and the Bahama Banks.
The Moorings base is fully open in Road Town, British Virgin Islands, at Wickhams Cay II, where you will find resort-like amenities to enjoy before casting off. Travelers no longer need to preregister at the travel portal for entry clearance and all Covid entry testing requirements have been lifted as of July 15, 2022. Once aboard your boat, the rest of the BVI is yours to discover—explore the magical Baths on Virgin Gorda, sip a Painkiller at the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke, and check out the Indians, one of the best snorkeling spots in the area.During the pandemic, the US Virgin Islands surged in popularity as a charter destination due to ease of travel for US residents. Once a well-kept secret, the allure of these islands is now getting the attention it deserves. From The Moorings base at the Marina at Yacht Haven Grande, you can explore all that St. Thomas offers, including abundant shopping and nightlife, then head out to explore beautiful and laid-back St. John, where you can experience the pristine beaches of Cinnamon Bay, excellent snorkeling at Leinster Bay, and even some hiking trails at Virgin Islands National Park.
The Moorings base at the Abaco Beach Resort in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, reopened at the end of 2021 after recovering from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. “While the impact of the storm can still be seen on the main island,” says Ian Pedersen, senior marketing manager for The Moorings, “the cruising ground and outer cays have returned to form and are a spectacular sailing destination once again.” The central location of Marsh Harbour makes it the perfect place to start your exploration of the Abacos—a longtime favorite destination for cruising sailors. Enjoy sailing in the protected waters of the Sea of Abaco to destinations that include quaint villages, such as Hope Town and Green Turtle Cay, and abundant secluded anchorages.
If you’re looking for an Out Islands experience, an Exumas charter might be for you. Departing from The Moorings base at Palm Cay Marina in Nassau, Bahamas, visitors can then cruise down to the Exuma Cays, a string of 365 islands and cays that stretch for 120 miles. Many sailors who have traveled the world agree that the Exumas are their favorite cruising ground. Once you go, you will understand. From exploring the mangrove creeks of Shroud Cay and the incredible Thunderball Grotto, to the friendly settlement of Black Point and colorful Staniel Cay, the Exumas offer a wide variety of experiences—and unforgettable sunsets on the Great Bahama Bank.
Both Bahamas destinations are fully open to vaccinated travelers, while unvaccinated visitors will need to show a negative COVID-19 test at check-in.
The Magical Med
If your dream sailing vacation includes exploring ancient ruins, villages steeped in history, and a variety of sailing conditions, a sailing vacation in the Mediterranean might be just what you’re looking for. “After so many people were unable to sail in Europe during [the pandemic], the Med sailing season is back and as popular as ever,” Pedersen says.
From The Moorings bases in Italy, Greece and Croatia, visitors can choose the Med experience that suits them best. Looking for sun-soaked beaches, quaint tavernas and excellent scuba diving? Try a charter from Corfu in Greece. Does visiting an abundance of islands offering everything from wild, barren landscapes to historic towns and lively nightlife sound ideal? A Croatia and Dalmatian Islands charter is for you. How about a view of mountain peaks, incredible cuisine and soaking in hot springs? Check out a sailing vacation from Sicily.
Whichever you choose, a charter in the Med is an incredible experience. If you are looking to do a bareboat charter in one of these destinations, you will need to have an approved sailing license, such as an International Proficiency Certificate, or have passed ASA 104 (Bareboat Cruising) or US Sailing Bareboat Cruising courses. No certifications? No worries. Crewed charters are available with a captain and a chef.
Ready to Go?
After two-plus years of various lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world, it’s no surprise that stir-crazy sailors are ready to get out there. If you’re considering a charter vacation in the near future, The Moorings strongly suggests booking as soon as possible to ensure you can get the yacht you want. “We are already seeing strong bookings for next summer and even fall of 2023,” Pedersen says.
So, gather up your crew, choose your destination and go sailing.
For more information and to start booking your charter vacation, visit www.moorings.com or speak to a vacation planner directly by calling 800-416-0247.