It is strictly a matter of personal definitions. A bareboat
charter for a week or two or less is a vacation
"cruise" much like being on a Carnival Cruiser Line ship except you are doing all the work. And you will be very soon returning to your land life. Much like a week or two in the Grand Titons camping and hiking does not make you a mountain dweller.
- - Life on board a bareboat
charter is not the laid back open ended (or year or two sabbatical) cruise
through the islands and coastal countries of the various oceans. You are living in a "rented efficiency" hotel
suite for a very short period of time.
- - The presence on board of a group of friends is fun and a fabulous way to enjoy and share the vacation and share the expenses. But they are a constant distraction from the real life of living in your own floating "home" day in and day out. Renting
a sea-side house with some friends is not the same as living in your own home.
- - Bareboat chartering is a really valuable way to gain experience and knowledge of different boats and how to operate them. From these experiences you will find out whether living on a boat - albeit for a very short time - is fun and something you might want to do more of - or - something you cannot wait to end so you can get back to your land life. That is a very important process to undertake before actually cutting your ties with land, selling/leasing the house, getting rid of your "land" habits and conveniences and embarking on a whole new different way of life.
- - Cruising is not for everyone - in fact, it is for very few people and even fewer couples. Forums
like this one can give you hints and suggestions and a feeling for the differences between the two life-styles. That will go a long way to help you decide if you really, really want to head
off into the "mountains to live for years or forever."
- - IMHO - bareboat chartering should be a required prelude to making the leap into the cruising world. There is so much to learn and so much to experience in the safer environment
of bareboat chartering that is critical to your success if you chose to go ahead and buy your own boat and sail into the sunset.
- - Boat selection is one of the critical decisions to make and by bareboat chartering as many different types of boats as possible you will arrive at a good idea of which of the 100's of types of boats fits your needs and desires.
- - Living in miniature self contained environment
"capsule" that never stops moving/rolling/pitching is a whole new experience (unless you live in California). Cooking
, water consumption
, and dealing with different cultures and governments and repairs/parts supply problems are all a constant part of cruising. In bareboat chartering most all that is taken care of by the charter company. You only experience the "icing" on the cake rather than the crust and dirty cake plate.
- - So bareboat chartering will give you can get a "taste" of life on a boat, but the whole experience of cruising is 100 times more complex - and - a thousand times more enjoyable and rewarding - if you are the kind of person/couple that is into that style of life.