Sailing in Sicily day 3 and 4

Posted by Director of Education on June 23, 2017 under Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Day 3: Sailing in the Aeolians Islands, Sicily with Spartivento Yacht Charter Company

Today we decided to spend the morning in Panarea’s main village San Pietro and then sail later to Stromboli.

The little Island of Panarea is really REALLY nice. When you go ashore either take no money or if you have lots of it, take all of it. The shops and cafes are world class like you’d expect in St. Tropez or someplace similar. So it’s worth it to go for a walk, get lost on the back streets, and go shopping!

Here are some 360’s of some of the sights (click to run).

A 360 view from Hotel Cincotta.

Here are some pics from the back streets.

We found the most delightful restaurant, Da Pina, way up a back street. There we had to-die-for chocolate cake with Cappuccinos. The patio is covered over with lemon trees and grapes vines. Simply a beautiful restaurant.

What is apparent when you walk the back streets looking at the gardens growing lush in everyone’s courtyard is that Sicily is really a place of tropical meets arid. Plants from Prickly pear cactus, figs, lemons, and agaves to tropical banana plant.

Ohh ohh and here we found a grocery store with ICE. Not sure if you’ve sailed in the Mediterranean but ice is a thing that people just don’t seem to relish like North Americans.

Back on the boat, we set course for Stromboli.

Stromboli Island Volcano

Stromboli Island Volcano

Panarea to Stromboli

Wind, nose on at 5 knots, bugger! oh well.

This is a typical Stromboli dish. So which was named after which, the island or the dish?

Stromboli Dish

Stromboli Dish

A typical Stromboli dish is a rolled pizza bread covered in Italian red sauce. It was so named after the movie Stromboli starring Ingrid Bergman set on the volcanic island of Stromboli. Needless to say, the red sauce mimics the lava flow out of the volcano (as we were about to find out).

Stromboli Island is an almost perfect looking volcano shape that is completely distinguishable from mile (and miles) away. It rises 3000 ft (924 m) above the water but is almost 9000 ft (2700 m) above the ocean floor around. It is a completely active volcano and has been active for the last 2000 years. It is a big wow visit and if you’ve never seen a volcano erupt in your life, this is your chance. As you arrive towards Stromboli Island, call Ando at the company Scari on +39 335 802 1375 (he speaks English) and book a mooring ball and a guided tour up the mountain to the crater.

Moored At Stromboli

Moored At Stromboli

The trek to the top of the volcano requires a guide. Well not only for supporting the local economy but getting lost on the trail would have really serious consequences.

So here is our first-hand experience of climbing Stromboli. First off – if this was the USA there would be a lawyer on every street corner which would ultimately lead to no one being able to do what we did. It is a strenuous climb to the top where upon you look down on an exploding lava crater with lava some times landing as close as 100 meters away from us. About every 5 minutes there would be an impressive eruption shooting lava probably 500 ft (160 m) into the air. The trek starts at about 5pm and takes 3 1/2 hours of steep walking to get to the top. It is not for the faint of heart. The volcano is 3000 feet high rising seemingly at 45 degrees; not really but it sure felt like it. Some of the climbing is in black volcanic sand and some on lava rocks.

The trek costs 28E each and the guide company supplies a helmet and light, plus they will also rent you boots which you need for about 7E. You need to carry an absolute minimum of 2 liters of water each. It is a hot and sweaty climb. By the time we go to the top it was getting dark. What became apparent was that night time produces an impressive viewing of dangerously red hot spewing lava erupting from the fissures. We got some pretty impressive video and pics. At one point the guide asked us to stand back and then to begin walking away because a series of eruptions we were watching was not normal activity. Crazy!

Check out the video on of our crew took with his really cool Nikon 4k camera.

At about 10 pm we began the trek down a steep volcanic sand slope. Ever tried walking in deep rough sand with a cup full of it in your boots – at night – with 30 people kicking up dust so bad you have to wear a paper mask filter. Whew – the trek down was interesting to say the least and took 1.5 hours. At the bottom we were beat. If you ever do this, make sure you wear long pants to cover your boot tops to stop the sand getting in – or at least gators. Don’t under estimate the amount of water you need and energy bars. So worth it however – don’t don’t don’t miss it.

And you thought that was the end of the day – no! When we got back to the boat we gutsed ourselves on a heavy carb pasta with olive and sundried tomatoes, then pulled off the mooring buoy and motored the boat 3 nm around the west side of Stromboli to watch the fireworks again from the ocean. It’s ultimately surreal to sit under a volcano and watch it explode at 2 o’clock in the morning. We noted the Stromboli is a very well behaved Volcano and sat out in the middle of the night drinking Prosecco and watched red hot lava balls roll down the volcano edge into the ocean. Crazy!

All that in one day – whew.

Day 4 – Stromboli to Salina

Wind – ehh – not so much. We got the gennaker up…


Gennaker up at Stromboli Island

Gennaker up at Stromboli Island

… it filled for about 5 minutes then it hung sadly to the deck. But only to be enlighted by a pod of about 20 dolphins. What is cool about the Med is the clarity of the water so we could easily see dolphins swimming way below then watch them as they came to the surface. Some were riding our bow wave swimming sideways and looking up at us.

Dolphins Swimming around our boat

Dolphins Swimming around our boat

A quick note about provisioning for a Mediterranean sailing vacation. Basically don’t. Get enough for lunches and snacks underway. Pick up nice local food like salamis and the delicious cheese (and Prosecco and Cataratto). You can repreovision for these at every stop and you should eat out in the really nice, but inexpensive, restaurants every night to experience the culture on land.

Here was lunch underway.

Lunch Underway

Lunch Underway

We moved on to Pollara Bay on Salina for a swim in the bay. Overlooking the bay is the village of Pollara, the setting of the movie El Postino. There is a pretty amazing arch in the rock there.

P.ta Perciato

P.ta Perciato

Salina is an amazing looking island; it is two volcanos joined together with a unique saddle valley in between.

Salina Island, Aeolian Islands, Sicily

Salina Island, Aeolian Islands, Sicily

Next, we motored back to Marina Salina where we Med moored up to the dock. The marina has electricity and water at the dock with great facilities and showers.

Med Moored in Santa Marina Salina

Med Moored in Santa Marina Salina

A quick digress: While we teach how to use propwalk to your advantage in our Maneuvering Under Power Course and book, what a delight it is when the boat has a sail-drive. With a sail-drive, you have no propwalk because the shaft is not angled down into the water under the boat. Instead, there is a gear shaft which allows a horizontal propeller. It means when you put the boat in reverse it just goes straight backwards. Nice!

Here is a pic of the sail-drives underneath of both of our Jeanneau 52s rafted together.

Sail Drives Under the Jeanneau 52

Sail Drives Under the Jeanneau 52.

Action 360 shot right after we docked and getting ready to hit the showers and town.

The town of Santa Marina, Salina is a must visit.  There is really only one street with boutique stores and restaurants but it is a fun wonder around and a good opportunity to reprovision with some Sicilian goodies. Seems like we always have to provision for Prosecco and Cattarato white wine mostly but we needed some other things. Not wanting to double up on stuff as the team split up, we assigned each couple to source either the meat or booze or cheese or veggies which worked out to be a great idea.

That night we dined at Porto Bella Restaurant which had a delightful terrace patio overlooking the ocean. Highly recommended!

Porta Bella Restaurant Santa Marina Salina

Porta Bella Restaurant Santa Marina Salina

They also have a nice bar downstairs for a nighto cappo

Porta Bella Restaurant Bar

Porta Bella Restaurant Bar

Day 5 and 6 coming soon

Reminder: NauticEd are expert agents for all the yacht charter companies worldwide. If you want to book a yacht charter vacation we provide you with our expertise and can find the best boats at the best prices.

Contact NauticEd to book a sailing vacation

Sailing in Sicily Day 1 and 2

Posted by Director of Education on June 22, 2017 under Skipper | Comments are off for this article

The NauticEd team sailed the Aeolian Islands of Sicily in June 2017. Subsequently, we are rating this as the number one sailing vacation destination in the world – read why.

This is Day 1 and 2 of sailing in Sicily with Spartivento Yacht Charter Group

See our pre-trip visit to Palermo; capital city of Sicily.

Sailing In Sicily Number 1

We sailed with Spartivento Yacht Charter out of Porto Rosa Marina. Spartivento are a modern professional yacht charter company. Their boats are new and well appointed, they are Jeanneau and Lagoon dealers and they own the marina and restaurant at Porto Rosa. The base Manager, Lora, is a New York Sicilian so speaks perfect English and is easy and fun to chat with. The other staff on site also speak flawless English. Lora has a vast knowledge of the islands and can give good little extra tips and tricks.

Side note: NauticEd are sailing vacation agents for Spartivento. If you want to charter in what we rate as the number one sailing vacation destination in the world, contact us here and we can set everything up for you. We don’t charge you a fee and you get the same price as going direct except you get all our knowledge and expertise as to the logistics as well.

Why are the Aeolian Islands number one?

  • Very inexpensive
  • Easy to get to
  • Fantastic sailing ground
  • Plenty of off-the-boat adventures
  • Impressive scenery of multiple volcanoes
  • Excellent food
  • Fantastically tasty wine
  • Friendly people
  • Good charter companies
  • Warm water (for the Med)
  • Rife with history
  • Deep water with little hazards
  • Line of sight navigation
  • Not crowded
  • Palermo is an excellent pre or post city for a stayover

Day 1: Sailing in Sicily

The Aeolian Islands on the north east side of Sicily are an impressive array of volcanic islands; mostly with the classic volcano shapes and a really spectacular area to visit for a sailing vacation.

Let’s take a quick Google Earth tour around so that you can get the lay of the islands.

Prior to getting there we did some pretty extensive research on the island group. The information was not that easy to track down. Lots of people have small positings but there was nothing in one place. So we hope to make this and an upcoming eBook a Aeolian resource for everyone.

Our Base Manager Lora, did an awesome job of showing us the island group on our chart briefing.

Aeolian Chart Briefing

Aeolian Chart Briefing

Her briefing pretty much confirmed our research on what to squeeze into 1 week. Although we’d recommend two weeks in this group. The problem with one week is that you just don’t have enough time to hang in all the beautiful villages and experience the culture.Any time you captain a boat on a sailing vacation you’ve got to check the boat out, inventory the items and get familiar with the systems. Here are a few pics us doing a boat check out prior to leaving the dock


Ready? Set Go!  Right?  No matter how hard you try to get out of the marina on time on a sailing vacation, it is just not going to happen. So chill! We’d booked to board the boat early at 11am to get out of dodge. Our actual time to drop the Corpo Morto was 16:40.

The Corpa Morto in Italy is the concrete block sunken out from the quay about 50 meters (160 ft). A heavy thick line attaches to the Corpo Morto and runs along the bottom back towards the quay which is changed out to a thin line which runs up to the surface at the quay. When you back up to the quay you pick up the thin line with a boat hook and hand over hand run it forward to the bow cleat. This is tightened up pulling the boat off and away from the quay. Aft lines run tight to the quay to finally position the stern of the boat approximately 1 meter (3 ft) from the quay. This is the classic Mediterranean mooring.

Anyway, given the time, and 5 knots of wind under a gorgeous clear blue sky, we elected to get in our first sail for 20 minutes then turn on the iron genny (engine). About 20 minutes before the first stop the wind picked up to a nice 12 knots, but given that the center console was loaded up with Sicilian wine, olives, tomatoes with balsamic and olive oil, we didn’t feel like clearing away the Sicilian delights for a quick sail. First stop was the Island of Volcano to a bay in the south called Gelso. We wasted no time getting into the water for a swim. Water in the Med is typically quite fresh but further south in Sicily it is not bad at about 24 deg C (77 deg F). Gelso is a really nice remote bay for a first stop.


Gelso Bay

Moving on we motored to the next island Lipari and Med-moored at Marina Lunga. The guys at Marina Lunga are really helpful when docking up and have a great attitude towards visitors. The Mooring fee is E50 which is typical through out the island chain. It includes water and electricity. It’s a bit expensive compared to Greece which was typical E5 but every thing else that was cheap cheap cheap made up for it.

Lipari Med Mooring

Lipari Island Med Mooring

The village there is lively with lots of bars and good restaurants. There happened to be the European cup for soccer/football going on between a local Spain and Torino, Italy team. Spain won so there wasn’t too much craziness in the streets. It would have been a different story if Italy had won.

Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian islands so it is not to be missed. There are two places to dock. Porto Pignataro which is quieter but more of a walk into town. Marina Lungo is a 500 meter walk into the village but is affected by the wake waves of the ferries coming and going so your choice. Personally, being rocked to sleep is fine with me. There is a big grocery store in the village also for restocking if you like.

In our Maneuver and Dock your  Sailboat Under Power book and course we cover Mediterranean Mooring extensively. Essentially, you back up until you can reach the “slimeline” which is a line running to the corpo morto from the dock. You pick up the line and run it forward. It’s called a slimeline because it is usually covered in slimy nasty stuff on the bottom of a marina. You pull on the slimeline to pull your boat off the dock then cleat it to a forward cleat.

Here is a slime line (not so slimy because of the clear water) running down from the dock.

The Slime Line

The Slime Line

And here is a catamaran with the slime line cleated to the front.

Mediterranean Moored Catamaran

Mediterranean Moored Catamaran

Day 2
You know, chartering with a group is a test of if you are a patient person or not. If you are patient and chill, you will have a good time. i.e. if you want to get going onto the next gorgeous place and if several people want to go to the grocery store, then it should be done in parallel not series. So, first thing at 11am, we pulled out to head to Panarea Island but not before we loaded up on a 1.5 kg (4lbs) chunk of swordfish for sushi lunch later. Wind velocity? Not so much! Direction? Head on! Thus, putt putt broom broom off we headed.

The next island to the north of Lipari is Panarea. Which is a very Chic island with modern Greek style houses. Slightly to the north east a few miles is a smaller uninhabited group of islands and so we elected to spend the daytime exploring those which we were told is a “do not miss” visit.

First stop – Basiluzzo, which is a spectacular island rising virtually and high out of the water with swirling rock layers.

Basiluzzo Island

Basiluzzo Island

We anchored and rafted up the two boats close to the walls. Side note: when ever you raft up monohulls, you have to make sure that you stagger the boats off center a little so that the mast spreaders don’t bang into each other as boat wakes roll through. Use spring lines running aft to center and forward to center to properly position the boats together.

Tap the photo – it is a 360 view.

We had a great swim stop here. The water was so clear. Here is another 360 shot.


For lunch – the Sushi or course. OMG – Fresh raw swordfish slathered in Olive oil, Lemon juice and layer with Balsamic glaze. Wow!!!

Next, we moved south a little to the Island of Lisca Bianca and Bottaro. At the north end of Bottaro is something crazy. A dozen underwater volcanic vents bubble gas up from the bottom to the surface. The smell is a really disgusting pungent sulpur smell – whew- worse than an old boat’s head mixed with sweaty socks. Anyway despite that, it is worth it. Take a mask and an underwater camera.

Next, we moved back south to the southern end of Panarea. Cala Di Junco is a really REALLY nice bay and day or overnight anchorage. This was a fantastic downwind run so we set our gennaker that the charter company rented to us for the week for about 100E. The word sailing comes from a root word in Portuguese meaning for friends to race. Not really! But what is true is that anytime there are two sailboats there is automatically a race. Our friends on Mystral the other Jeanneau 52 whooped our butt to the Cala Di Junco. Mostly because of luck and maybe slightly because one of the crew has spent 3 or 4 lifetimes racing and we might have rigged it so that the tack was too high off the deck and maybe because we forgot to twist in the top of the mainsail and a few other tweaks that we could have done if we weren’t enjoying the local Prosecco so much. Fun!

Genaker Down Wind Run

On shore there is a set of steps where you can hike up to a spectacular commanding view. The area is a site of bronze age sheep farmers from 1500 BC – yes BC! Remnants of their houses and stock pens are still there and preserved. Here is a 360 view. Simply Gorgeous.

Here’s another shot in case you can’t see the 360.

Cala Junco. Panarea Island

Cala Junco. Panarea Island

Ok next – as if we could fit more into a day, we moved to the town of S. Peitro which is the main village on Panarea. We moored up on the north end of the town. The marina managers come out in big dinghies and help with forward and aft mooring lines. Every one in the bay must moor up like this. They then offer a free taxi service ashore which is part of your 50E mooring fee. The bars and restaurants are a definite visit albeit a wee bit expensive but very chic.

We started at Bar Banacalii

Banacalii Bar

Banacalii Bar

And then progressed to Hotel Raya which has an outdoor patio high up over the cliff which produces a gorgeous view of the marina and the Island of Stromboli 11 nm to the north. At night you can see the red lava exploding out of Stromboli.

See Day 3 and 4 of sailing the Aeolian Islands in Sicily

Reminder: NauticEd are expert agents for all the yacht charter companies worldwide. If you want to book a yacht charter vacation we provide you with our expertise and can find the best boats at the best prices.

Contact NauticEd to book a sailing vacation


Number 1 Sailing Vacation Spot in the World

Posted by Director of Education on June 20, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Sicily Rated As Number 1 Sailing Vacation Destination

Sailing in Sicily

Sailing in Sicily

If you’ve been following us on facebook, you’ll know that we went sailing in the Aeolian Islands, Sicily last week with Spartivento Yacht Charter Company. We’ve been fortunate to sail in just about every sailing vacation destination in the world and so people always ask me where is the best place. Until now, I have always responded with “each one is a 10”. But after visiting Sicily last week, I have to say: hands down, without a doubt, we are now rating the Aeolian Islands in Sicily as the number one best place on planet earth to take a sailing vacation.


  • Very inexpensive
  • Easy to get to
  • Fantastic sailing ground
  • Plenty of off-the-boat adventures
  • Excellent food
  • Fantastically tasty wine
  • Friendly people
  • Good charter companies
  • Warm water (for the Med)
  • Rife with history
  • Deep water with little hazards
  • Line of sight navigation
  • Not crowded
  • Palermo is an excellent pre or post city for a stayover

Note that we are agents for all yacht charter companies and so if you want to go to Sicily (or any other location), we can arrange that for you with no fee to you. You get the same price as going direct but you get our expertise and ability to search for best prices and boats.

Contact us here for your sailing vacation

Read on for a series of articles on our Sicilian adventure. We’ll discuss the area, what we did, logistics of getting around and give you a full guide of the Aeolian islands including best restaurants and a great weeklong sailing itinerary. Bookmark this article now.

BUT FIRST: With any Mediterranean sailing vacation, you have a great opportunity to stay on land and visit the local area. For this trip, we elected to experience Sicily on land a little before:

Palermo is the capital city of Sicily and is about an hour and a half flight from Rome. This was the launching point of our Sicilian sailing vacation. At the airport, there is a bus that will take you right into the center of town for E6 ea.

If you’re going to go sailing in Sicily you must must must spend at least a few days (more is better) in Palermo. Stay right downtown, as close to the action as possible. Palermo is a metropolitan melting pot with a vast range of food influences, street markets and architectural styles inspired by Moor, Spanish, Greek and Italian. Just like Starbucks in the USA, there is a 500 to 1000-year-old giant church on every corner.

Even with only two days, you won’t have time to experience all the markets and back street alleys. So plan on 4-5 days there.

We Airbnb’d it in the center of the old city near Piazza San Dominico which is walking distance to about everything. We stayed at Chiara’s place on Airbnb which was a fantastic apartment on the 4th story down a back alley.

What we did in Palermo

Architecture: The Architecture is ornate, old and impressive with a mishmash of ancient cultures. View this 360-degree photo by clicking on it first.


Markets: The markets are spectacular. Quite probably you have never in your life seen such an array of fresh vegetables, ripe gorgeous fruit, cheeses, meats, and fish; and cheap, cheap, cheap!!! How about a 1 kg chunk of sushi grade tuna for E7 ($3.50/lb) or a kg of ripe delicious peaches for E1. The market not to be missed is Ballaro Street Market.


Other markets feature an interesting selection of trinkets, clothing, leather bags, fidget spinners and the like. Some cheap and some quality, but all very inexpensive.

Mafia: Sicily is the birthplace of the mafia. But for most of us, we feel like we are never really touched by this bullish tyranny. We did a walking anti-mafia tour of Sicily where our guide led us through the streets talking about how the Mafia touches everyone every day. Shopkeepers are extorted into paying the Pizzo, the “protection money,” and so, built into the price of every good or service is a portion that goes to fund the Mafia. 15 years ago, however, a group of graduating students were designing a business plan for a restaurant. They listed out all the costs of operations. At the end, one student said oh we must include the Pizzo. With disgust at the thought, the group changed gears and started an anti-mafia movement. Convincing shop owners that they could stand together and not pay. Today, there is still a large percentage of the shopkeepers paying the Pizzo out of fear but also a large percentage not paying.

Wines: Wines in Sicily are really REALLY delicious. Early one evening at a very unassuming restaurant on a back alley street, we organized a wine Sommelier to give us a wine tasting of the best wines of Sicily so that we’d not waste our time on dish water for the rest of the trip. We narrowed down the Catorratto whites as the best. With that set, we now knew what to stock for the upcoming sailing trip. Personally, I’m mostly a red drinker but for some reason on this trip, the Sicilian Catorratto white was hitting my favor. If you end up at a grocery store, it is hard to find wines over E5 and some delicious ones at E2.

Walking street food tour: Another evening, we hooked up with Giorgio a street food guide via trip advisor and he lead us around the central area taking us into the little-known street food joints so we could get a taste of typical Sicily. Personally, I passed on the classic spleen sandwich albeit others in the tour liked it.

Late night bars: We found our favorite down a little alley called Fuoriluogo. Each night we’d go there and finish off the evening with what we coined as a nighto cappo. One of the locals there even said to us “Hey Keep Austin Weird” which is the Austin informal slogan – so we made good friends with him. Some other bars we went were really hopping with lots of young locals and tourists all having a great time.

Brioche Con Gelato for Breakfast: Ice cream burger for breakfast!!! Weird right? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. OMG sooooo good.

Brioche Con Gelato

Brioche Con Gelato

Here is an interactive map of Palermo of some of the fun bars, restaurants, and sights seeing that we did and that we recommend.

Here is a Google maps video of Palermo of the same.

After staying in Palermo for 4 days, we took the train to the Spartivento Charter Company in Porto Rosa. The train leaves from downtown Palermo so it very convenient. The charter company will provide transport from the station near Porto Rosa to the base or to your hotel. Specifically, we took the train (Trenitalia) from Palermo Central station to Novara-Montalbano-Furnari Station which is about 4 km (3 mi) from the Porto Rosa Marina.  The cost was about E15 ea. Some of our crew flew into Catania which is a slightly closer airport (2hr drive) to Porto Rosa. Some then rented a car in Catania for a week and drove to the marina. Some hired a driver. We found the trains to be easy and inexpensive and an enjoyable ride along the coastline. TIP: when on a train use your phone with google maps so that you get off at the correct station.

See Day 1 and 2 of Sailing in Sicily; The NauticEd recommended number 1 sailing vacation destination in the world.



Nauticed Reviews

Posted by Director of Education on June 13, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Just a couple of reviews and compliments from our students we’ve received this week.

Kevin S. wrote:

I completed the RYA Day Skipper and ICC course in November 2016.  I completed the online theory course with NauticEd and the practical course with Yachting Education.   I can’t say enough good things about the complete program in every possible way.   I am an experienced sailor and have owned my own small boat in New England for twenty years.   I wanted the RYA Day Skipper and ICC to rent boats in the Mediterranean and other areas that require a permit.   I also always wanted to charter and wanted the confidence of having the RYA Day Skipper on my sailing resume.

Everything about the NauticEd course is fantastic.   The curriculum is comprehensive and all skippers will benefit enormously as there is always more and more to learn.  The online course was very easy to use, very well written and the subject matter was great.   The online tests were also easy to use.   The supplied RYA charts and almanac are very interesting and well designed and the dividers and plotter are high quality.   I’ve also bought Grant’s new book and it has very similar coverage to the course – I think it’s a great reference for any skipper.

The practical course was the experience of a lifetime, sailing from Guadeloupe to BVI.   Mark is an amazing teacher and I learned so much it’s impossible to describe.

Most importantly, both the theory and practical course were fun – I had a great time taking the course and the open ocean sailing was phenomenal.  

My wife and I just finished our first charter in the BVI and had an amazing time!   I highly recommend NauticEd and Yachting Education!

Thanks!   Let me know if you want me to say anything specific or change anything.  The course was truly fantastic – I learned so much.



Lucky R. wrote:

Hey Grant, I am now taking your NauticEd Captains course. My wife and I had done a few coastal cruises with friends, which only validated this desire to live the dream of living on a sailboat, and cruising the world. We purchased a 1982 Spindrift 43 two years ago, which was a bit run down and began her refit. She will be ready to sail in the next couple months. We are so excited. It has been great, sailing with friends, but we can’t wait to get out there on our own boat. One thing I learned about sailing with others, is how different their approaches were. So which way was right? I then started doing a lot of research. What this taught me was how much I already knew, AND how much I didn’t. I have since stumbled onto NauticEd, and have begun taking your Captains course. My goal at this time is not to get a captains license, but to get a proper education on how to do things right! I’ve taken the first to free courses, as well as the Anchoring Course. I am currently taking to Safety at Sea

One thing I learned about sailing with others, is how different their approaches were. So which way was right? I then started doing a lot of research. What this taught me was how much I already knew, AND how much I didn’t.

I have since stumbled onto NauticEd, and have begun taking your Captains course. My goal at this time is not to get a captains license, but to get a proper education on how to do things right! I’ve taken the first two free courses, as well as the Anchoring Course. I am currently taking to Safety at Sea class, and already learned a few things. I am very impressed by how amazingly well your interactive animations help. I feel this

I am very impressed by how amazingly well your interactive animations help. I feel this has, and will continue to speed up my learning curve. Our plan is to coastal cruise for the first year or so, to improve our chops, and then followed by a world cruise thereafter. Thank you for putting out such a great course, that is proving to be a very valuable asset, in making our dream a safe one.


Karin K. Wrote:

Wow, really loving the courses I’ve been taking. Clearly written, entertaining, compelling. Photos helpful, and others simply well placed and pleasing to look at. Antidotes helpful and entertaining. Would enjoy more. (Tho getting more and more jealous the more places I see you all have been!)

 I also like the learning platform – the layout is easy to navigate, it’s pleasing to the eye, I can quickly see what else is coming up in the course without having it stare at me from the side continuously, and much more.

 I’m interested to know what learning platform you are using? Or if you built one yourself?

 Thanks, and I’m looking forward to more courses,

Karin K, PhD,

How to do a Mediterranean Mooring when the wind is nose on

Posted by Director of Education on May 25, 2017 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

First, what is a Mediterranean Mooring? Well it can be done anywhere but you mostly see it in the Med where it is required that you back the boat up to a (typically) concrete quay. You either anchor out and back the boat up to the wall OR back the boat up to the wall and pick up a mooring line.  Both the anchor or the mooring line help to hold your boat off the concrete wall. Aft dock lines hold your boat’s stern close to the wall. It’s an easy maneuver but you need to practice it.

Mediterranean Mooring when the wind is pushing you into the wall.

This is a slightly tricky one, not quite as difficult as a side wind, but tricky none the less. To simplify, use the technique below.

From our Maneuvering and Docking a Sailboat Under Power course, you know that backing downwind is not the easiest especially in high winds. You need to start out with the stern into the wind and then put into reverse. This gets the boat moving with water washing over the rudder to gain steerage and then turn the boat clockwise (stern to port) so that you are using the propwalk effect. Once the stern is pointing downwind you have to keep the speed up to overcome the propensity of the wind to push the bow down.

If you combine all that with dropping the anchor at exactly the right moment and pay out the anchor rode fast enough so as to not slow down the boat you’ve got a potentially difficult situation where everything has to come together perfectly. Which btw never happens!!!

So the plan is to make this downwind Mediterranean Mooring task simple.

How to do a Mediterranean Mooring Downwind

How to do a Mediterranean Mooring Downwind

(1) Motor the boat to the place where you think the anchor should be. Eventually, for holding power, you will want as much rode out as practically possible. Use boat lengths to judge the distance. If you have 200 feet of rode and a 40-foot boat, then you should drop the anchor 5 boat lengths out (minus 1 foot LOL).

(2) At the place you deem appropriate, drop enough so that the anchor is on the bottom but not a ton on rode sitting on top of itself; just enough to not let the anchor drag as the boat is pushed downwind.

(3) Allow the boat to be pushed downwind towards the slip. The boat bow will naturally face the wind since the anchor is holding the bow windward.

(4) Pay out anchor rode to allow the boat to drift backwards downwind towards the slip.

(5) Use the engine to maneuver the boat slightly as needed.

(6) Toss long aft docklines ashore to helpful hands on the dock. Tie those off and use forward gear propwash against the rudder to push the stern of the boat as needed to position correctly. See the animation below.

(7) When the stern is aligned to the correct slot pay out more rode and use reverse. The anchor-person controls the rate the boat moves backwards.

(8) Continue to tighten the aft docklines until the vessel is 2-3 feet from the quay wall. Synch up on the anchor line tight enough so that no boat wakes can wash the boat up against the quay wall. Monitor for a while.

(9) Run out the plank – now walk the plank ya’ scally wag and enjoy a local cafe.

What we also find is that you won’t be in exactly the right place and you will need to lever your boat sideways, even into wind. Using a dockline and wash over rudder you can push the boat sideways however you want. Watch this animation.

Did you find this useful?

Take our Maneuvering Under Power course – you’ll impress people at the dock and keep the gel coat on your boat.



Bareboat Charter Guide: How to Charter a Sailboat on a Sailing Vacation

Posted by Director of Education on April 12, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article


Thinking about a Sailing Vacation?

Perhaps you are a little intimidated by the process? Don’t worry, here are all the facts.

But first, a fun slideshow from us.

First off, you need to know that there is nothing more fun than a sailing vacation.  And, if you can think of something more fun, then you can probably do it on a sailing vacation.

Second off, it is relatively easy to do but there are some things you need to know.

What is a Charter? And What is “Bareboat”?

A charter is just a fancy word for rent.  So when you charter, you’re renting a boat. Typically, it refers to a longer period of time such as renting a boat for a week or more.

Bareboat is a strange word, but it means you captain the boat yourself.

So going on a charter essentially means going to a sailing destination like the Caribbean, Mediterranean or the Pacific and renting a 28 foot to 50 foot sailboat for about a week or two. You can sail it with you as the captain (Bareboat) or you can hire a captain (and/or a cook). Often times hiring a captain is a good way to go even if you are experienced because the captain is a local and knows all the cool places to go. A cook is also a great idea relieve yourself of cooking; plus, they are experienced at whipping up some culinary delights in a cramped galley (kitchen).

What comes with the Boat?

Pretty much everything you need comes with the boat – it is not “bare”.  That’s why above we said it was a strange word. You will be supplied with:

  • a dinghy,
  • a dinghy engine (except some places in the Mediterranean; you should double check that – there is sometimes a $100 extra fee),
  • fuel for the dinghy motor
  • towels, sheets, and pillows
  • sails (haa haa)
  • diesel
  • propane gas for the galley
  • cooler – usually
  • a couple of starter bags of ice (except the Med)
  •  a bottle of rum (Caribbean) – if you are lucky
  • topped up tanks of water (semi-drinkable at a pinch – best to provision for drinking water)
  • charts (maps)

The boat comes with a refrigerator and freezer, toilets, showers, hand basins, and cushions to sit on. Essentially everything except food and sundries.

Boat Age

This depends on your budget.

  • Newer boats that are less than 3 years old are really really nice (but are more expensive)
  • 5 years old start to show their age a bit
  • 8-10 are sometimes getting a bit ratty
  • 12 years old or more is really hit or miss depending on the charter company

Some charter companies really look after their boats and some don’t; you have to rely on their social reputation if you’re going after one older than say about 7 years.


Provisioning means buying all your groceries for the trip. Some yacht charter companies will provide this service for you (at a premium). Many times marina grocery stores have a website and are set up to deliver the groceries to your boat on the day of your arrival. in the BVI is a good example.

Here is a great article we wrote on provisioning: 

Why Charter?

Even if you own a boat, chartering a boat is the ideal way go see other beautiful parts of our planet. The cost of about $5k on the outset might seem expensive. But that is your walk away cost. Once you are done – you’re done with cost. Everyone that owns a boat knows that the purchase price is just the start of the costs of a boat. With chartering, you wipe your hands clean when you step off the dock.

With Chartering, this year you can go to the Caribbean, and next year go to the Mediterranean, then the Pacific the following year. You’re not tied to a place.

With Chartering, your hotel and entertainment costs are included and many times you eat on board so you’re not paying restaurant prices for food.

When you add it all up, it is a relatively inexpensive vacation. ESPECIALLY if you grab a bunch of friends and all split the cost. In that case, you can get it down to about $100 per day per person.

Qualifications to Bareboat Charter

Except for a few countries, mostly in the Mediterranean, you don’t need a formal license to bareboat charter (captain your own boat). Don’t believe any sailing associations who say you must have one. What you do need, however, is a good sailing resume. Yacht charter companies will check your resume prior to letting you take the boat.

A good rule of thumb is that yacht charter companies require about 50 days of sailing experience, 25 of which as master of the vessel and some of that experience on a vessel within 10 feet of your regular experience. You should have some set of formal sailing theory knowledge

Responsibility wise, formal sailing theory knowledge is essential.  You should know these (and more):

  • All the rules of giveway for all situations for all vessels you might encounter
  • Colors and shapes of navigation marks including Cardinal marks
  • The IALA-A and IALA-B Lateral Mark system
  • Coastal Navigation
  • Electronic Navigation
  • Anchoring and Mooring techniques
  • Sail trim and reefing
  • Crew overboard retrieval
  • Maneuvering a large boat under power in tight marinas
  • Boat systems, including electricity system and water/wastewater systems
  • Storm management
  • Weather forecasting

NauticEd has an extensive Bareboat Charter Master bundle of courses for $175 that covers all this and more.

Additionally, NauticEd has a FREE electronic resume and logbook system that helps sailors build an acceptable resume for yacht charter companies. It produces a realtime

Available Destinations

There are so many to list. Each of the countries below have multiple ports of sail (locations). You could literally take a sailing vacation every year for 100 years and not go to the same place ever. A favorite starter location is the British Virgin Islands where the sailing is easy, the water is warm, there are few hazards, the navigation is mostly by sight, and there is a great selection of yacht charter companies to choose from.

Some of the more well-known destinations include:

The Mediterranean

  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Croatia
  • France
  • Spain
  • Turkey

The Caribbean

  • The British Virgin Islands
  • Puerto Rico
  • St Martin
  • Guadaloupe
  • St Lucia
  • The Grenadines
  • Martinique

The Pacific

  • Australia
  • New Caledonia
  • Tahiti
  • Tonga
  • New Zealand


  • Thailand
  • Malasia

Indian Ocean

  • Seychelles

Chart Briefing

Don’t be intimidated by going to an unknown location. The charter company base there will give you a very good chart briefing before you go and tell you about lots of cool places and sometimes even their favorite restaurants.

NauticEd has developed a very good chart briefing for the British Virgin Islands.

If you are a bit rusty on Navigation by Charts or Electronic Navigation, built into the Bareboat Charter Master bundle of course is a comprehensive Coastal Navigation course and an Electronic Navigation course.



Some companies carry insurance so that you max out of pocket is about $1000 or so. But some companies have a much higher deductible that can be as much as $5000. You can buy down this deductible to $1k or so by paying an extra $50 or so per day. It is a good idea to know this prior to chartering and making the reservation. When we quote our charter prices to clients we always include the buy down extra insurance cost. While 99.9% of the time there is no accident – it is still possible and paying a few extra hundred while on vacation for piece of mind is just a good idea.

It is a good idea to discuss with your friends the “what if” scenario? It is a big burden on the Captain (you) if there was an unforeseen accident. Are you going to pay the $5000 deductible or are you going to surprise your friends? It is better to buy down the insurance and have eery one agree to split the lower deductible cost.

Catamaran vs monohull

As Captain, you are pretty excited to sail a nice big boat and feel her heel over, but if you want to do this again you’d better make sure your crew does not get sea sick.

Catamarans are fantastic for a sailing vacations and help in reducing seasickness. The galley area is at the same level as the cockpit and so while under sail it is easy for crew members to go in and out of the galley without getting seasick. The boat does not heel over and this also reduces the likelihood of the crew getting seasick.

Catamarans are more expensive but you can also put more people on them to reduce the per person expense. True, Catamarans don’t point as high into the wind as monohull but it is only a few degrees off and besides you’re on vacation.

Some people are intimidated by the size of a catamaran but as long as you are an experienced sailor, you should not have too much problem. NauticEd provides a great Catamaran Conversion Course to help understand the differences. Catamarans are actually more maneuverable under power than a monohull because of the two engines; one in each hull.

Don’t too quickly discount a Catamaran. You and your crew will have a lot of fun.

Captained vs bareboat

This is you hiring a captain (usually about $200 per day) or you doing the skippering yourself. If this is your first time ever, don’t be embarrassed that you hired a captain. You’ll actually have a better time, you’ll probably go to all the secret hideaway spots that only the locals know about, you’ll be able to helm the boat whenever you want and you will pick up a lot of extra sailing tips from a professional.

You will need to charter a boat with a separate cabin for the captain. They will not sleep on the main salon couch.


A kayak and or SUP (standup paddle board) is almost a must.

Length of Time

Manytimes you can book for the number of days you want with a minimum of 6. In the Mediterranean, you have to book in multiples of 1 week starting on Saturdays. Most other places you can start and finish when you want.

Hired Chef

Sure, a luxury but the benefits… If you are going to the Mediterranean, don’t get one because most evenings you will be dining in the local villages and soaking up the culture.

General price range?

Week prices very with location and size of boat and age of boat and season and … but here is a general idea.

  • Monohull 37 feet (good for 4 crew) about $2500
  • Monohull 40 feet (good for 6 crew) about $3500
  • Monohull 45 feet (good for 8 crew) about $4500
  • Catamaran 38 feet (good for 6 – 8 crew) about $500
  • Catamaran 40 feet (good for 8 crew) about $6500
  • Catamaran 45 feet (good for 6 – 8 crew) about $7500

When should you book?

See this blog article – we created a really good infographic on when to book based on season and location

Best Times to Book a Yacht Charter

What to take

On time on the way to charter a boat in the BVI, the airlines lost one of the crew members luggage. At the store at the marina he bought a new pair of swimming togs, a tooth brush and a couple of teeshirts. Since he was only staying with us for 4 days that sufficed him for the time.

Essentially, you need bring nothing. Here are a few items to think about bringing from home:

  • Little 12v dc to 110/220v AC inverter with USB outlets if you want to charge iPod, cell phone, camera battery etc that need 110/220 volts. (Some boats do have inverters or generators but do you really want the noise of a generator just to charge a cell phone?)
  • A 12-volt splitter and 12v USB plugs. This allows multiple 12-volt plugs to allow multiple devices to be charging at one time. Very important if you’re taking more than a few people on the trip. Everyone thinks their cell phone/iPod is more important than everyone else’s. You’re a hero when you pull one of these devices out of the bag.
  • European to American style plug adapter. (Many charter boats are made in Europe and thus have round style ac plugs. Check this but most of your chargers these days take 230 or 110 volts input so you’ll just need an adapter and not necessarily a transformer)
  • iPod and 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm audio jack cable
  • Tablet loaded with Navionics chart for your location. Many charter boats have a GPS. Some don’t and some will be broken when you arrive or will break sometime during the trip
  • Cruising Guide and Anchorage Guide (not really necessary because the charter company will provide)
  • A local area travel guide like Frommers etc.
  • Many times the charter co. will provide masks, snorkels and fins, however if you bring your own you’re guaranteed to have a good set.
  • Digital camera with extra memory sticks.
  • Cheap little hand towels. The charter co. will give each person two towels for the whole week. So these little towels can serve as face and hand towels and then finally as floor wiping towels.
  • Book of knots and a short piece of line – for the entertainment of the crew.
  • Deck of cards.
  • Other Fun stuff – we really have fun on our charters and we get into the mood. One time we took a Grinch suit.

Who to Take

Being on a boat for a week is a personality magnifier.

  • Grumpy people get grumpier
  • Drama people create maximum drama
  • Drunks get drunker
  • Happy people create more happiness


If this is your first time, even if you’re accomplished sailor you can hire a captain with no shame and actually have a better time. But you don’t need to – it is relatively easy to do it yourself. You should just be an experienced sailor and know what you are doing in and around a boat and the ocean.

Consider the Bareboat Charter Master bundle of courses

Experience wise, a good gauge is to have about 50 days of sailing experience; 25 of which as master of the vessel and some good skippering experience on a boat within 10 feet of what you are chartering. Anything less and the charter company will (should) turn you down as a competent skipper.

Good luck out there and have a ball.


NauticEd can find the best boats and the best prices across all the companies

NauticEd is an agent for all the yacht charter companies worldwide. We can find you the best prices and best boats. Chances are that we have been to that location so talk to us about which place is more fun and what not to miss when you are there. We don’t charge you a fee.

Inquire about taking a bareboat charter sailing vacation

How does heeling angle create airfoil shape?

Posted by Director of Education on April 6, 2017 under About NauticEd, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

A student asked this question “How does heeling angle create an airfoil shape in the sails”. He was using SeaTalks nanoforum that we have on every page of our sailing courses.

So my first thought was Huh? What the heck is he talking about? Then I remembered that I wrote that. So it must be right, right?

Well, it is true – sort of. On very, very and I mean very, light wind sailing days, the sail just hangs down because there is not enough wind to push the sail out to create any shape in the sail. But if you heel the boat over …

I’ll explain with a story: He is how we won a sailing race one day. About halfway through the race, the wind died. Dead, non-existent, nothing, nada. The whole fleet was becalmed. Our tactician lit a cigarette and watch the smoke go straight up in the air – but it turned slightly to starboard as it rose. He asked all of us to quietly and without any obvious commotion so as not to alert the other boats – to move to the starboard side of the boat to heel it over. The sail draped out the starboard side accordingly. This gave the sail just enough shape to move us foward every so slightly – seemingly drifting. But moving none the less through a bewildered fleet. We moved out in front enough so that as the wind came back we were far enough out to hold our position and win the race.

So – heeling angle DOES create an airfoil shape!

10 Essential Tips for Chartering a Private Yacht

Posted by Director of Education on April 1, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Also read our other article

Bareboat Charter Guide: How to Charter a Sailboat on a Sailing Vacation

10 Essential Tips for Chartering a Private Yacht
by Motion Yacht Charters in the Solent UK.

Chartering a private yacht is a great way to enjoy sailing without actually owning a boat. It’s a good way to test different boats in case, at some point, you decide to buy your own. For first-timers, chartering a yacht can be tricky, so here are 10 top tips to help you make the best choice.

  1. A skippered charter with crew

Yacht charter companies such as Motion Charters Solent in the UK provide skippered yacht charters, which means novice sailors can avoid the stress and strain of having to navigate at sea and in and out of port. The skipper is in charge and, together with the crew, they do all the sailing and the hard work.

This means you and your family can sit back and relax. You can choose to participate as a crew member if you want, but the skipper will have to approve this. But if you decide to just stretch out on the sundeck, sip champagne and enjoy the ride, that’s absolutely fine!

  1. Bareboat

You can hire a yacht with no skipper or crew – this is called bareboat – but then some sailing experience is necessary. Boat charter companies will require proof of your theory knowledge and practical competency such as the NauticEd free sailing resume given to all NauticEd students. If need be, they can arrange a refresher course to bring you up to speed. Fuelling and provisioning the yacht, as well as all the port administration and costs are the hirer’s responsibility.

Learn about sailing certifications and resumes here

  1. Flotilla charters

If you prefer the privacy of a bareboat charter, but are a little uncomfortable with the navigation process, then a flotilla of like-minded skippers could be your best solution. This is a relaxed way to sail together in a group of boats. Common courses are followed and the skippers look out for each other. Flotilla charters are a firm favourite with families who have children.

  1. Shipmates

If you’ve hired a yacht of modest proportions with a crew and a skipper, then everyone needs to have respect and be considerate of each other’s space. Make sure your friends and family know what’s expected of them before you cast off.

  1. Weather forecast

Weather plays an incredibly important part of any yacht charter, so make sure you’ve done some homework before setting sail – the last thing you want is to be caught in bad weather, especially on a small yacht. Sailing charter companies monitor the weather closely and won’t let you leave port if storms and high seas are forecast.

  1. Chartering is a good option

Chartering a yacht is a lot less expensive than owning your own. Unless you spend around 14 weeks a year on your boat, it’s much cheaper to charter one. Anyway, who has as much time as 14 weeks to spend on a boat each year – most of us average only around 2 weeks a year!

  1. Chartering is a lot less work

If you have your own boat, there’s a lot of work needed to keep her looking shipshape and in good running order. When you charter a boat, you just show up and there she is, neat and clean, fully-fuelled and in perfect running order, all thanks to the charter hire company.

And when you arrive back in port after your trip, all you have to do is return to the marina, refuel her, pump out the holding tank, then stow your bags in your car and drive away. There’s no cabin cleaning, no washing and polishing of the exterior, no repairs or maintenance – you just leave it in the hands of the charter company. Simple!

  1. Chartering is a flexible option

The option of chartering a boat is a lot more flexible than owning your own. First, depending what’s available, you can select the boat that best suits the trip you intend to take. And you don’t have to choose the same boat every time. When you own your own boat, there’s only one choice of boat – yours! There’s also the problem of having to find suitable mooring and paying mooring fees that can be pretty hefty.

  1. Chartering is less spontaneous than owning a boat

The only problem with hiring a yacht is that you can’t just decide, there and then, to go sailing for an afternoon, or a weekend, or for a week-long cruise. Most charter companies insist on at least 3 or 4 days’ notice, sometimes more. During the peak summer season, they require at least 7 days’ notice and you have to charter a boat for a minimum period of a week or more. So, if you like to do things on the spur of the moment, chartering a yacht may not be your best bet.

  1. You don’t always get what you want

Even though boat charter companies have a wide selection of boats to choose from, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the boat you want when you want it. For the best chance to get the boat you prefer, plan your trip and book your yacht several months in advance.

See this article on when you should be booking for which location and which season.

NauticEd are agents for all yacht charter companies worldwide and chances are we have been to the location you’re considering. We can give you good advice and find the best priced boat for you.

Make an inquiry about chartering a yacht on a sailing vacation here

Best Times to Book a Yacht Charter

Posted by Director of Education on March 30, 2017 under Skipper | Comments are off for this article


Too often, clients call us asking to book a yacht on a sailing vacation, only to find out that the best boats are gone or the expensive ones are left.

So we created an infographic guide to help you see when the best time to book a sailing vacation. For popular times you should definitely book 10 months in advance at least – and a year does not hurt. For lower season times, you can get a little closer in time but we advise 6 months at least but better to do it 8 months in advance.

We advise to contact us as soon as possible that you have an inkling of taking a vacation. We can let you know of the available inventory of boats across all charter companies and help you find the best price / quality / size of yacht for you.

On top of all that, chances are that we have been to that location and can help you understand the type of vacation you can expect at each location. We don’t charge our clients a fee – you get the same price as if you went direct to each company.

Contact us now to inquire about a sailing vacation to suit your needs. We will also help you understand the license requirements if any.

Bareboat Yacht Charter When Should I book?

Download a hi-res PDF of this infographic


The Grinch in Iles Des Saintes

The Grinch in Iles des Saints


IALA-A and IALA-B Navigation Marks and Atons

Posted by Director of Education on March 28, 2017 under Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article


Getting confused about Lateral Navigation Marks and ATONs? There are two systems in the world. IALA-A and IALA-B. Basically, the colors are opposite but here is the infographic.

This information and everything else you need to know about coastal navigation is in the NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course. It’s only $39. Upon completion, the course is added to your globally accepted sailing resume.

Info graphic showing IALA-A and IALA-B systems

Infographic showing IALA-A and IALA-B systems

Here is a world map of where these systems are used.

  • On IALA-B use “red – right – returning”. i.e. put the red buoy on your right when returning.
  • On IALA-A you use the mnemonic “Is there any red port left” to memorize which color buoy you pass on which side of your boat (when returning). i.e. take red buoy to your port (which is the left side of your boat.). Universally, “Is there any red port left?” also works for memorizing what color lights are on your boat. i.e. The red light is mounted on your port side of your boat which is the left side of your boat. For IALA-A is is also easy to remember that you match the color of your boats light to the buoy light. i.e. Red to Red and Green to Green.
IALA Regions

IALA Regions

Just FYI: IALA stands for International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities.