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Set sail on a Martinique yacht charter with Borrow a Boat! One of the most beautiful islands in the Windward Island archipelago, a sailing vacation can involve exploring the island itself or island-hopping to St Vincent and the Grenadines nearby. Wherever you go, your Martinique boat rental will be a memorable experience!
The most important island in the French Caribbean, Martinique's culture has been shaped over the centuries by different cultures and empires. Since 1974 the island has been administered as an Overseas Department of France, and you will find strong influences from the European country here - charcuterie, bakery and a strong cafe culture sit comfortably with Creole culture and makes for an atmosphere that many say is the coolest in the Caribbean!
Fort de France, Martinique's capital is a delicious blend of all the cultures that have made the island home over the centuries. Leaving the town you will get to places like Les Anses d'Arlet on the south coast with its primary coves Petite Anse d'Arlet and Grande Anse d'Arlet with its bigger and much busier beach.
For those with a taste for rum, Martinique has some of the best distilleries in the Caribbean. Perhaps asking someone else to drive you can follow La Route des Grands Rhums that links distilleries throughout the island. Also as with France, these rums have Appellation d'Origine Controlée status that protect their names and quality.
Two thirds of Martinique is given over to nature, and for those after a chance to hike up a dormant volcano (that last exploded in 1902) you can hike through lush rainforest up well marked trails of Mont Pelee - do remember some wet weather gear as that's the rainiest part of the island!
Even though you could spend a good week exploring the 425 square mile island, many choose to sail onward through the Windward Islands to Saint Lucia, Bequia, Dominica and Guadeloupe for example - all with line of sight sailing, and some of the best sailing on the planet!
If you are on a crewed or captained yacht charter you will turn up at the charter base, introduce yourself to the crew or boat owner and on finalising your bill for the vacation, off you go.
On a bareboat yacht charter you will need to present your sailing qualifications to the boat owner or charter company and after paying any remaining fees/damage deposits, you will inspect the boat and off you go!
The seas are well-charted and as long as you have ICC/ASA 104 Bareboat certification (or equivalent) you will be good to go.
There are no direct flights from Europe to Martinique. You will normally change planes on the US mainland or Canada and fly in to the island from there. There are Caribbean regional airlines that you can use to get from elsewhere in the region too. From the airport you can take a taxi to the charter base.
On a shorter sailing vacation you may sail between Martinique and Saint Lucia - on a longer one you can explore the French Caribbean or Grenadines. Let's look at the two charter areas from north to south.
The main islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe are with Martinique the major islands of the French Caribbean. No more than half a day's line of sight sailing from one to the next, generally on a comfortable reach, you will be able to get a taste for how French culture has melded with Caribbean and slave cultures including the cuisine, rums and way of life. White sand beaches and coral reefs are an unforgettable part of it too.
Saint Lucia just to the south is within the reach of a seven day Martinique yacht charter. Resorts like Marigot Bay are world-class, while no visitor should ignore the Pitons rock formations that make the island so famous. Many suggest sailing past St Vincent itself and onto world famous Grenadine islands Bequia and Mustique to the south that are escapes for the uber cool and super rich. Mayreau to the south of these is so small you can explore it on foot!
Though Fort de France has a marina, the main charter base is in Le Marin on the SW of the island.
The capital of the island and a place you will certainly visit on a Martinique sailing trip, Fort de France has a marinaand is a charter base for many yachts.
In a cove on the SW of the island Marina Le Marin is the main boat charter base for charter companies on Martinique.
There are three broad types of charter - bareboat charter, flotilla charters, and crewed yacht charter. Where it comes to the types of charter boat you can rent a motorboat charter, a monohull sailing yacht charter, catamaran charter, superyacht charter or luxury yacht charter and RIBs or day boats. Each have their benefits.
Coming in all shapes and sizes from 7 meters to 70+ meters, motor boats are as different as their uses. A seven metre RIB will be a great day boat and can be rentd for as little as $110 a day for fishing trips or just blasting about the bay. The 15 metre plus size of motor yacht will have cabins and often en suite heads and cost upwards of $400 a day.
Starting at as 'little' as $10,000 a day a superyacht charter will come with captain and crew as part of the package. On the crewed motor yacht or sailing boat you will be treated like kings and queens on your personal mini-cruise-ship that will often come with tenders and toys such as jet skis and even sailing yachts!
Coming with or without captain and/or crew, a luxury charter yacht will cost upwards of $700 a day and will come fully fitted out with all the modern conveniences and comforts of the very best sailing craft afloat. Expect en suite heads and comfortable staterooms but also a lot of fun under sail!
Starting at $450 a day, catamarans are luxury yachts that offer lots of space, a fair lick of speed on a reach and a shallow draft for mooring close into shore. They have twin engines in the hulls so while large they are incredibly manoeuvrable when in marinas and so forth.
Ranging in size from 10 meters up to 20 or so, monohull sailing yachts form the backbone of the Martinique yacht charter industry. Very good to windward, you will find yourself chewing up the miles at all points of sail without relying on the engines. Costing as little as $120 a day you will enjoy comfort and fun for a good budget price.
Where it comes to a Martinique yacht charter you have two choices - bareboat or crewed yacht charter. Both have their own advantages.
No sailing qualifications or not confident enough to bareboat charter yourself? That's no problem when it comes to yacht chartering - you can take on a captain and crew for the week or two touring Windward Island waters! With a crewed yacht charter you have someone aboard who knows the ropes and the best places to visit on your sailing vacation. They will know the best spots for what you want, be it hideaway restaurants or the best hiking and diving to be found! Costing as little as $100 a day (depending on the size and type of vessel) you will get the very best from your yacht charter vacation with one aboard. Don't forget the tip at the end of the week!
A competent sailor? Have the qualifications required? Dreaming all year of casting off and exploring the Caribbeanislands with just you and your friends? A bareboat charter is just the thing for you. This is cheaper than a captained yacht charter but you also get the privacy of being in your chosen group without a stranger in your midst. You get to choose your own adventure and go at your own pace - not a bad thing for a vacation to recharge your batteries ahead of rejoining the rat race...
If you want to bareboat charter you will need an approved boating qualification, below is a list of relevant qualifications:
International Certificate of Competence (ICC): Standard European Qualification for bareboat sailing
ASA 104 Bareboat certificate: The American Sailing Association's captain standard qualification for renting bareboat yachts.
RYA: The Royal Yachting Association's qualifications (minimum Day Captain level) is necessary for bareboat rent, it's also worthwhile seeing do you need to have done a VHF radio course as well as some boat owner and charter companies will require this.
There are also many other European national boating qualifications that are accepted here too, it's worthwhile checking these details before renting.
If you want a captained boat rental as a charter yacht then you don't need any sailing certification at all, you just turn up and off you go.
The best time to enjoy a charter vacation in the Windward Islands is often a question of taste and time. Throughout the year the temperatures never really dip below the 20 degree C range and can get as high as 32 degrees in high summer. The rainy season coincides with the hurricane season between June and November.
That allows you to make a choice - do you like crowds and 'the buzz' or do you want an escape? To escape, do a Martinique yacht charter during school term. For the buzz, visit around Christmas or Easter.
The sailing season runs from December to June with the hurricane season hitting in June and ending in November. Winds are dominated by the NE Trade Winds and can sit at up to 20 knots, firm and steady all day.
Hurricanes have recently given the region a big kicking and are not to be underestimated. Generally speaking it is impossible to rent a yacht during this time.
There's almost a yacht for every budget when it comes to chartering. For US $120 a day - $840 a week - you can take a sailboat monohull out with five other adults. That is going to be cheaper than a week in a hotel for everyone.
Catamarans cost a lot more - expect to pay anything from $500 to $2,000 a day depending on the season.
Motor boats taken on a bareboat basis can cost as little as $500 a day if they have sleeping acommodation - much less if they are day boats.
RIBs can cost as little as $50 for an afternoon.
In each of the examples above you can take on a captain starting at $150 a day depending on what the vessel is and their required qualifications to sail it.
Superyachts and luxury yachts are a different league - expect to pay $15,000 a day and up to $100,000 a day if your budget can manage it.
Whether island hopping north to Guadeloupe and Dominica or south to the nearby island of Saint Lucia and the Grenadines beyond, or just hanging around this beautiful island itself, a Martinique yacht charter will be an unforgettable sailing trip. Rent a boat with Borrow a Boat today!
Martinique's yacht charter industry is an integral part of its tourism sector and perfectly legal.
You can rent everything from a small motor boat to a large superyacht. Monohull sailing yachts are common, though catamarans are more comfortable and spacious metre for metre.
Your budget for the sailing vacation should come first. Traveling - both getting there and what destinations to explore. What do you enjoy on a yacht charter? Work out your itinerary from there. Who are you taking with you and what are your limitations as a sailor?
The sailing season runs from November to May, with the best time for a sailing yacht charter outside of school vacations thanks to the crowds.
There are two deposits to consider. Firstly you will normally have to pay a 50% deposit on reservation. This secures your trip. On arrival you will have to pay a refundable security deposit for the trip on your credit card though you can get yacht charter insurance - though non-refundable this can be cheaper.
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to/are on a mooring you will be able to phone a number given by the yacht charter company.
Do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter you want to book? Where do you want to go? Though it will be warm, bring something for the rain thanks to the lush rainforest on the island. Do you just want to sail close to Martinique or do you want to sail further afield to places like Mustique and Bequia? That may take a bit longer so allow for a longer sailing trip.
Citizens of the US, UK, Canada, EU and EEA countries can normally stay on Martinique for up to three months with no visa. If you are from outside these countries, check with the French Consulate.
The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a captain, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.
You will typically pay 50% up front on reservation the yacht rent and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.
You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat rental before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks like the weather can be cool as well as warm and remember at sea it can be cool on most evenings.
If you want to sail without a captain then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a captained on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.
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