Discover the off season
Enjoy favorite charter destinations without the hustle and bustle of high season. Sail to Greece early or bask in the summer sun in The Bahamas – and have the whole place to yourself on board your luxury charter yacht.
I'll tell you what I like about the off season," says one experienced captain of a luxury motor yacht. "I love it when my guests go ashore at The Baths in the BVI, which summer they have it all to themselves to explore!"
NEW MIGRATORY HABITS
For years, there has been a seasonal migration of sailing and motor yachts as predictable as that of wild birds heading for warmer climates. Rather than traveling north to south, however, the yachts moved from summer in the Mediterranean to winter in the Caribbean and back. But a growing number of superyacht owners are breaking with that tradition. Many are staying in the Caribbean (or close to it) year-round. The same goes for the Med, with yachts remaining through winter.
Sometimes it's because the owner wants to keep his mega yacht close to home where he can use it on a whim, and sometimes it's because he doesn't want the expense of two transatlantic crossings a year. More often, however, it's because there is a growing demand for off-season charters.
THE WEATHER MYTH
The myth is about temperature: the Caribbean is too hot in the summer and the Med is too chilly in winter. Let's look at the Caribbean to dispose of that myth.
Temperatures in the BVI in January, in the height of the high season, average around 82F (27.7C). Perfect weather, right? Well, the summer temperatures average 88F (31.1C), just six degrees higher. You'll probably spend your days splashing in the water, playing with water toys, or lounging in the air-conditioned yacht, while the evenings are perfect for al fresco meals under the stars.
The same applies to the Med, but not to the same extent as the Caribbean. Ibiza has been cooling about its off season, when the party island calms down but keeps it laidback charm. Areas like Ibiza and Mallorca cool off in the middle months of winter (December to February) to daytime averages of 57F (13.9C), which is too low for most yacht charters. But that brings us to a wonderful option: shoulder seasons.
These are the months just before or just after the peak or low charter months, and these can bring perfect temperatures as well as reduced charter prices. In Mallorca, for example, the average high temperature in the fall months (October-November) is 73F (23C), which is perfect for everything from picnics on the beach to strolling the boutiques.
In the BVI, the autumn shoulder season months of October and November average around 80F (26.6C) while the spring months of March through May are a pleasant 78F (25.5C). Since the temperatures vary so little, this effectively gives the BVI a nearly perfect climate for luxury yacht charters year-round.
In the Greek Cyclades islands, such as Santorini, you can expect spring and fall temperatures of 68-72F (20-22C), making this an ideal getaway without the crowds of summer tourists. Why not head to Greece as early as May? Get a jump on the crowds, and avoid the families on school breaks and the Meltemi winds that barrel through the Cyclades come mid-summer.
WHAT ABOUT HURRICANES?
Yes, the Caribbean hurricane season is from June through November, but this isn't as scary as you might think. First, every boat staying in the Caribbean during this season has a carefully prepared plan of retreat at the first sign of a hurricane. Besides being good seamanship, this is required by its insurance company, and luxury yacht captains take no chances with either hurricanes or insurers. Second, any possible disturbance is carefully monitored hourly, so there are no surprise hurricanes. And to protect your charter investment, your ycht charter broker can arrange travel insurance to cover this or any other eventuality.
BETTER IN THE BAHAMAS
The Bahamas have always been a popular charter destination, since they are just a short hop from Florida and yet seem worlds apart with perfect beaches and clear waters. Off-season in The Bahamas is the summer months of June through August, when the temperature is around 82F (28C), and is often preferable to the winter season when the winds can pick up. The summer months in The Bahamas are known for superb sportfishing, a plus for the anglers in your group, and don't be surprised to put the first footprints on the pristine beaches.
For full details about the luxury charter yachts available all-year round please contact the experts at the Luxury Charter Group.