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Frequently Asked Questions

Training Questions

How long does it take to learn to sail?


Less time than you think! We can get people on the helm, sailing under supervision in a matter of a couple of hours. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment. But, to command a yacht safely on your own, undertake procedures like man overboard, reefing and docking, you would need to complete both the 4-day crew course and 4-day skipper course. That’s 8-days, 6 nights liveaboard and 200 nautical miles. We recommend that you then undertake a coastal passage to really consolidate your learning before taking a yacht out on your own.

How much does it cost to learn to sail?

The cost of learning to sail can vary widely depending on factors like location, the type of course, and the duration of lessons. Our introductory sailing courses give you a taste of sailing and build the foundations for just $190, while 4-day liveaboard certification courses cost around $1,600 each. Other operators may charge around $1,800 for each certificate plus $600 for the theory.


You would normally do two certification courses to be able to command a yacht. It is also a good idea to take a coastal passage to really build and consolidate your skills which cost around $2,100. So, for around $5,000 you can go from zero to hero, enjoy some great sailing, explore the Bay and nearby coast, build around 500 miles and be ready to charter with confidence.


A slower and cheaper alternative is to crew for someone who races regularly. While this costs very little, and gives you the crewing basics, you won’t get much (or any) time on the helm.

What do I need to know to sail?


Basic knowledge of sailing includes understanding the parts of a boat, using a winch, hoisting and dropping sails, points of sailing, tacking and gybing, sail trim and safety procedures. You’ll also need to grasp navigation principles, rules of the road, and basic knots. Important manoeuvrers like man overboard, setting a preventer, reefing and docking are essential.

What gear do I need to learn to sail?

For beginner sailing courses, schools like ours usually provide all necessary equipment, including life jackets, spray jackets and gloves. As you progress, you may want to invest in your own gear, such as appropriate clothing, sailing gloves, and a personal life jacket. We have a detailed blog on how to set yourself up with quality gear for under $1,000.

What does it cost to buy a yacht?


The cost of buying a yacht varies significantly depending on the size, age, brand, and features of the boat. Smaller, older sailboats can be found for as low as $25,000, while larger, newer yachts can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. The older the yacht, the greater the maintenance burden, so you may be better off getting a newer yacht that is smaller and has fewer features, than an older yacht which is larger. We have helped several former students into yachts that are around 32 feet in length, cost around $100,000 and are around 20 years old. This seems to be a good combination for a first yacht. Always get a marine survey so you know the condition of the yacht, and likely costs to bring it up to a safe standard.

What does it cost to own a yacht?


Owning a yacht involves ongoing expenses like maintenance, marina fees, insurance, and fuel. These costs can range from 10% to 20% of the yacht’s initial purchase price annually. Boats that are between 12 and 18 years old tend to have the lowest running costs and better depreciation. For a 40 foot yacht in Melbourne that is in reasonable condition, expect to pay around $25k per year, including a marina berth ($12k), insurance ($3k), maintenance ($5-7k). This cost can be reduced by using a mooring or older marina (such as Royal Yacht Club of Victoria), doing the maintenance and antifoul yourself, and being content not upgrading sails and running rigging to often.

How can I own a yacht on a budget?


To own a yacht on a budget, consider sharing ownership with others. It is unlikely you will get the chance to use a boat every weekend, so this is a great way to cut the costs and maintenance burden in a big way, with little downside. Other cost saving tips are to put your name down for a mooring which is half the cost of a marina, buy a smaller boat that can be stored on a hard stand, learn to do the maintenance yourself and shop around for insurance.


What qualification do you need to charter a yacht?


Chartering a yacht in Europe and many other places requires and International Certificate of Competency (ICC). This is gained by completing a crew and skipper course through a recognised sailing organisation like the International Yacht Training (IYT) or the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), such as our International Crew then Bareboat Skipper. A VHF Marine Radio qualification is also required. An ICC lasts you for life. The specific requirements can vary depending on the charter company and location. In Australia, charter companies usually do not require any formal qualification, but may require charterers to demonstrate their competence. In any case, for the sake of the safety of your crew, and to avoid expensive repairs to the boat, gaining a skipper qualification is valuable.  

How do I get a Skipper’s Licence?


The closest thing to a ‘Skipper’s Licence’ that currently exists is the and International Certificate of Competency (ICC). This is gained by completing a crew and skipper course through a recognised sailing organisation like the International Yacht Training (IYT) or the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), such as our International Crew then Bareboat Skipper. A VHF Marine Radio qualification is also required. An ICC lasts you for life.

What are the best places to charter a yacht?


Popular yacht charter destinations for Aussies include the Whitsundays, Pittwater, Tasmania and coastal passages along the Australian east coast. Further afield the Mediterranean is hugely popular and offers numerous alternatives. In Greece alone there are 5 regions all offering something different, and there’s southern Turkey which is our favourite. Croatia is a very popular and stunning location. Then there is Thailand (but hot and not much wind), and the Bahamas. The choice depends on your preferences for climate, culture, and sailing conditions. Use our charter boat search engine to explore yachts in each region and the costs. Remember that sailing is very seasonal. Shoulder seasons are always best (fewer crowds, lower cost, less heat).

What is involved in chartering a yacht?

You will need to book well ahead and pay a deposit (as much as 50% of the charter cost). Choose a region and time of year and use our search engine to find a suitable yacht. Once you book you will sign a contract and pay the deposit.


In the coming months plan your itinerary by researching various ideas and options online. If you book through us, then we can provide some and help you build your plan. It is a good idea to aim for no more than 25 nautical miles a day, except for one or two days which might be longer.


Usually, two months out you will provide a crew list, including passport details and the balance of the payment. It is a good idea to find a grocer that offers a yacht delivery service and shop online a week before you leave. Your charter operator or agent can help you find a reliable service. Don’t forget toilet paper, detergent and insect repellent.



The charter company will provide pick up instructions, but don’t expect to depart the marina before 5.00pm and so plan your first leg accordingly (aim for 10-12 nm) or stay in the marina. We recommend staying in a nearby bay the first night, as docks and marinas are invariably filled by the time you get there and it can all be a bit stressful.

Is it a good idea to join a flotilla?


Joining a flotilla can be a great way for less experienced sailors to enjoy the camaraderie of a group and receive guidance from a lead boat with an experienced skipper. It’s an excellent option for those looking for support while exploring new sailing destinations. The flotilla leader will use their knowledge to provide a successful itinerary and give a short briefing each day,. They know the best bays, docks and restaurants, and usually make marina and restaurant bookings for the flotilla. On our annual Mediterranean Adventure  we include shore excursions, hikes and special lunch spots to ensure everyone gets the most from the experience. The lead boat will typically arrive at the destination first and provides docking assistance. You can then enjoy sundowners and a meal on the boat or ashore.


Is sailing safe?


Sailing appears riskier than it actually is. However, there are risks, and so safety must remain a high priority and precautions taken. This includes wearing life jackets in certain circumstances, knowing how to handle the boat, checking weather forecasts, and having safety procedures like man overboard in place.

How do I avoid sea sickness?


To avoid seasickness stay hydrated, avoid heavy meals and alcohol, keep your eyes on the horizon, avoid going below. If the weather is rough, you are going offshore, or you may need to go below then consider over-the-counter or prescription medications designed to prevent motion sickness. We find Kwells are the most effective with fewer side-effects, although they can give you a dry mouth and can make you tired.

Do yachts capsize?


Unlike smaller sailing dinghies, keelboats are designed with stability in mind and carry tonnes of lead or iron in the keel to keep them upright. While they may lean over a long way, they will ‘round up’ rather than capsize if hit by a big gust of wind. Even if the mast touched the water, they will right themselves. It is only in the most extreme conditions, such as being hit by a huge wave, that they might capsize – and even then, it is usually for less than a minute before they self-right.

Starting Out

What is the best thing about sailing?

There is no one best thing! There are numerous aspects that make it a wonderful – even life-changing – sport. Sailing allows you to explore pristine natural landscapes, disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and experience the thrill of harnessing the power of the wind. If you race, then you enjoy the comradery of a crew and the challenge of competition. Sailing has been shown to reduce stress and alleviate mental illness. If you are adventurous, there is always a destination awaiting you. If you are curious, there is always something to learn. As you cruise you will find a whole new community, numerous destinations to enjoy and endless possibilities.

What yacht is suitable for a beginner?


Beginners often start with smaller, more manageable boats like dinghies, trailer sailors, or small keelboats. These boats are easier to handle, cheaper to buy and maintain, and offer a gentle introduction to sailing. Get some advice before you purchase and it can be a good idea to get some private tuition on your own boat as you begin.


How do I get to crew on a yacht?

To get crewing opportunities on a yacht, you can join sailing clubs or use online platforms to connect with boat owners looking for crew members. Phone a couple of yacht clubs and ask for details of their crew finding app or webpage. If you have completed a crewing course then you will be more attractive to a skipper and you are likely to get a sail on a better boat. You may need to sail on a few boats before you find one that is the right fit for you. Most skippers do not expect any payment, but you should bring along a 6-pack of beer or a bottle of red, and some cheese and crackers, dip or chips, and be sure to participate in any working bees they might have.