Look up either Yacht Pro, Elite, or Dream Yacht Charter sailing out of Yacht Haven Marina on Phuket. They represent the bulk of the charter boats sailing out of Phuket, and all can be recommended for quality of their boats, service
, and cost.
My personal experience is with Yacht Pro and I highly recommend them.
You aren't going to get any sorts of deals when chartering that time of year. It's high season in Thailand
, and ideal sailing conditions prevail. Lots of people heading there for various rallies and regattas, with boats being in very high demand. Better start working to book something now.
As for gotcha's... you'll get a complete run-down when you arrive... but from what I hear the major complaints from the charter companies (regarding things they wish customers would avoid) include:
1) Do not anchor
on top of a reef. Seems obvious, but I hear of boats on reefs
when the tide goes out, at least once per month.
2) Do not pick up mooring
buoys, unless you have to in order to avoid anchoring
on top of a reef. Only pick up the large orange-ball type, which are installed by the local government
. Dive on it to ensure its condition and depth
, swing distance, etc. Don't grab local buoys as they are meant for use by speed boats (are in shallow water
and are a part of someone's business).
3) Do not trust what you see on the GPS
near to islands, reefs
, etc. Weekly stories of charter boats hitting sand bars, reefs, and other avoidable obstacles because they rely on the GPS
when they should be keeping eyes on the depth
meter and surroundings.
... I highly recommend Koh Racha. You can rent equipment
on the island. Check out Aqua Raya, run by a guy named Singh. They are nice people, have good equipment
, and can show you around the local waters. There are some beautiful reefs, nice wrecks, and lots of wildlife in the area.
PS: Check out my blog (link below) for details on anchorages
I've used, routes around the area, etc.