The expanding highway systems in the mid-twentieth century helped to create the era of the vacation home. During that time the average family consisted of two adults packing their kids into a car a few times a year and driving their usual route to their vacation home. Today’s sophisticated travelers are as likely to be couples, friends, or extended family groups vacationing together and seeking new ways to expand their horizons. Their solution is the luxury yacht.
By freeing themselves of a fixed location, yacht owners combine travel with all the comforts of a vacation home. Kitchen, living space, entertainment systems are all right at hand. Pick a boat with the number of cabins and the hull design that works best for you and you’re ready to launch an adventure. Sail around and explore secluded hideaways away from the tourist crowds.
In the past boat owners were limited to exploring the waterways that were easy to reach from their boat’s dock. Now through a reciprocal program, boat owners are able to use comparable yachts in locations around the world. Summer vacations could be spent sailing through the Mediterranean, Christmas in Thailand, a winter break in the Caribbean, and spring circling Australia.
Why Private Boat Travel
By now most of us who love to travel have experienced ocean cruises. As cruise lines continue to build larger and larger ships the number of amenities each ship provides expands. Unfortunately, so do the queues. Those of us who live to explore can become impatient with the crowds at meals and the regimented daily wait to disembark. With thousands of passengers, the large cruise ships can also transform smaller ports when they arrive. Private yachts can avoid all that. Suddenly you can set your own itinerary, eat what you want, when you want, and stay in your favorite snorkel spot until you’ve filled your camera with pictures.
Spend Your Time Traveling, Not Packing
There is something wonderful about the fresh sea air and watching the world go by. One of my favorite benefits of traveling by boat is being able to unpack once at the beginning of the trip. I want to spend my time viewing the sights, not packing and unpacking at each new location. Each day we can wake up in a new port or anchorage ready to explore. With the kitchen stocked with food (and the charter service can even do that for you), we can grab a snack while we sail, cook a meal, or go ashore to try a new restaurant.
Not Your Grandfather’s Sailboat
Lucky for us boat technology has come a long way. Today’s luxury vessels are easier to sail and navigate. Global Positioning Systems, navigational aids, and easy-to-sale hull designs have all advanced tremendously over the last twenty years. Modern boats have kept the thrill in captaining a ship while eliminating the guesswork and stress. The amenities have also changed with all the conveniences you would want in your floating vacation home including air conditioning and entertainment systems.
Put Your Investment to Work
Much like renting out a vacation home, boat owners can also profit by having their boat in a charter program when they don’t plan to use it. This can also free you from having to worry about routine maintenance. You can arrive at the harbor knowing your boat is fueled and ready to set sail.
Where to Go
There is no shortage of places to sail. Currently 47 locations around the world participate in the reciprocal yacht usage program. The difficult part will be figuring out where to go first. If you aren’t sure if yacht ownership is for you, charter boats are available for rent. This gives you the opportunity to try the life for a week or two before taking the plunge.