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A chance to explore the Land of the Midnight Sun and see the steep mountains of this beautiful Northern Europe country, a Norway yacht charter could well be a sailing holiday of a lifetime. Whether bareboat or skippered yacht charter, your boat hire will be an unforgettable experience.
Though you can charter a yacht on Oslo Fjord to explore the waterways of the capital in the southeast of the country, most Norway sailing holidays are about the fjords, mountains and islands close to the Arctic Circle around the west coast.
Broadly there are two charter areas - the west coast with the fjords and the Lofoten archipelago. Many fly in to this region in winter for the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) but with the freezing gales and difficult sailing conditions, the best time to visit Northern Norway is in the summer months when the sun never sets.
In summer you should bring your hiking boots as there will be mountains and islands you want to explore. Close to Haugesund you will want to do a mountain hike to Pulpit Rock with its astounding views of the fjord for example, while in the Lofoten islands you may want to explore an abandoned fishing village or glacier.
This is not a beach holiday! Though there have been heat waves recently you can expect temperatures to climb as high as 15 degrees C in summer - hardly teeshirt weather! It is about sightseeing, watching great whales and enjoying one of the last great wildernesses of Northern Europe.
Book a Norway yacht charter with Borrow a Boat today and see what we mean!
If you are on a Norwegian sailing holiday with a paid skipper or crew at the helm, you will just have to turn up to the yacht charter base, pay your remaining 50% and get comfortable in your cabin.
For those on a bareboat rental, you will need to present your sailing qualifications to the charter company, inspect the vessel and then off you go. Do remember that gales can spring up at almost any time of the year and prepare for some fun sailing conditions as you set off on your sailing adventure.
The main national airport in Norway is at the capital, Oslo. If you are headed for the Lofoten Islands then you will take a connecting flight on to them from here.
There are regional international airports - Bergen notably is the biggest city on the west coast, but Stavanger (a major yacht charter base) also has an international airport. Depending on where you are flying from it is worth planning your journey ahead.
Norway is a renowned sailing nation with a well developed sailing scene in Oslo Fjord. This has a longer sailing season than the west coast and Lofoten Islands but the scenery isn't as dramatic and many people visit the country for the deep fjords, glaciers and mountains - these are on the west coast and of course in the Lofoten archipelago.
Stavanger is the main base for many a yacht charter company and is the jumping off point for you to explore 'Fjordland' with the steep mountains jutting out of the deep waterways. Haugesund and the famous Pulpit Rock are closeby, the jaw dropping scenery of Sognefjord nearby with quaint towns like Balestrand deep within. The Art Nouveau town of Alesund is far to the north, but is definitely worth exploring.
For those who really want an adventure, deep inside the Arctic Circle are the Lofoten Islands. With their main town of Svalbard as a charter base, here you can explore these Arctic islands with their amazing wildlife and stunning scenery. In the 12th Century the Gulf Stream started bringing cod to the islands and villages sprang up as locals harvested the fruits of the sea. Many of these are now abandoned and you can get lost in one of Europe's greatest wildernesses that whales and polar bears call home!
A small town on the west coast with its own international airport, south of Bergen, Stavanger is a charter base for yacht charterers who wish to enjoy a sailing holiday in the Norwegian fjord country.
Famous for being burned down and completely rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style in the early 20th Century, Alesund is a pretty town in the northwest of Norway. Still in fjordland, it is a great place to explore the mountains and glaciers of the area.
The main town in the Lofoten Islands, Svalbard is the main charter base for Norway yacht charters in these Arctic islands.
There are three broad types of charter - bareboat charter, flotilla charters, and skippered yacht charter. Where it comes to the types of charter boat you can hire 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 metres to 70+ metres, motorboats are as different as their uses. A seven metre RIB will be a great day boat and can be hired 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 skipper and crew as part of the package. On the crewed motor yacht or sailboat 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 skipper 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 metres up to 20 or so, monohull sailboat form the backbone of the Norway 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 Norwegian 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 charter - you can take on a skipper and crew for the week or two touring Norwegian waters! With a crewed yacht charter you have someone aboard who knows the ropes and the best places to visit on your sailing holiday. They will know the best spots for what you want, be it hideaway restaurants or the best diving and snorkelling reefs on the islands! 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 holiday 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 Norwegianfjords and islands with just you and your friends? A bareboat yacht charter is just the thing for you. This is cheaper than a skippered 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 holiday 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 skipper standard qualification for hiring bareboat yachts.
RYA: The Royal Yachting Association's qualifications (minimum Day Skipper level) is necessary for bareboat hire, it's also worthwhile seeing do you need to have done a VHF radio course as well as some private yacht owners will require this.
There are also many other European national boating qualifications that are accepted here too, it's worthwhile checking these details before hiring.
If you want a skippered boat rental as a charter yacht then you don't need any sailing certification at all, you just turn up and off you go.
With 24/7 sun in Northern Norway, the best time to charter a yacht is between June and August. This narrow sailing season is due to the climate where storms can batter you at almost any time of the year - but less so in the high summer months. Inside the deep fjords there is a lot of shelter from the winds so even while on the coast there can be quite exciting weather, you'll often be sheltered from it inland. The good news is that the peak tourist season is during the winter (to see the Northern Lights) so you won't exactly be fighting for a mooring as you would in Greece for example in July!
June - August: This is dominated by North Atlantic weather systems that at this time of year can be quite benign. Expect westerlies of F3-4 and temperatures as 'high' as 15 degrees C.
There's almost a yacht for every budget when it comes to chartering. For EU €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 skipper 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.
Visit the Land of the Midnight Sun and explore the pristine wildernesses with deep fjords and steep mountains on desolate islands. See great whales feeding and possibly even polar bears! Book your Norwegian sailing vacation with Borrow a Boat today!
Norway yacht charters are a legal and fun way to enjoy the best of this country. Do visit in the summer months when the weather is right though!
You can hire everything from a small motor boat to a large superyacht charter. Monohull sailing yachts are common, though catamarans are more comfortable and spacious metre for metre.
Your budget for the sailing holiday should come first. Travelling - both getting there and what destinations to explore. What do you enjoy on a Norway yacht charter? Work out your itinerary from there. Who are you taking with you and what are your limitations as a sailor?
Norway has a very short sailing season - just three months from June to August.
There are two deposits to consider. Firstly you will normally have to pay a 50% deposit on booking. 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? Bring warm clothing as it's rarely bikini weather!
If you are from a North American, Oceania or European country you shouldn't normally require a visa to sail in Norway. Check with your Norwegian Embassy if unsure.
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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