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Old 14-01-2019, 08:48   #1
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First-time charter in the Whitsundays

Hi all,

My wife and I are planning for a week-long charter in the Whitsunday islands as part of a longer trip to NZ/Oz. We both have a little sailing experience, though - living in landlocked Switzerland - most of this is on lakes. The current plan would be to travel up the coast from Sydney in around mid-April. I understand this will put us at the tail-end of the cyclone season, but am hoping the worst weather will have passed by then. Is this realistic or overly optimistic?

I've also done some research online and have found a number of places offering bareboat and skippered charters from Hamilton island, Airlie Beach or Shute harbour.

- Which companies are the most reputable to charter from? Any recommendations?
- Also, any recommendations as to which base to start from (e.g. Hamilton Island vs Airlie Beach, etc.)? Where is provisioning going to be easiest?

I was also surprised to learn that it is possible to charter vessels without a license. While I'm not sure we feel confident enough to take advantage of this (though we're both licensed), is this indeed the case and why?

Any info or advice is much appreciated

Thanks in advance!
Mark
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Old 14-01-2019, 13:20   #2
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Re: First-time charter in the Whitsundays

I would charter from Airlie as good shopping centres near by for provisions. Chartering in the Whitsundays is supervised twice a day with radio skeds. Anchoring has to be achieved by 1600hrs. It is a very safe area with multiple good anchorages and plenty to see. We have been using the area for 30 years now and still love it. That said we are halfway through our second circumnavigation of the world and so have visited many other areas as well.
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Old 14-01-2019, 14:13   #3
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Re: First-time charter in the Whitsundays

Charter companies only set up in areas that aren't too taxing on seamanship for obvious reasons. They normally give you a briefing & restrict where you can go & what you can do. I would say as long as you know how to anchor, reef the sails, use a chartplotter/depth sounder, vhf radio & operate the engine you should be right. Anyway you will get a briefing on all that.
Great part of the world for a yacht charter IMO,you'll luv it
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Old 14-01-2019, 17:47   #4
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Re: First-time charter in the Whitsundays

I did a charter there last September with Charter Yachts Australia


https://www.charteryachtsaustralia.com.au/


I highly recommend them - A couple of small issues with the Boat (BBQ and Coolant Line) were sorted immediately.


Just be aware that there are sharks in the Whitsundays - There were a few attacks in CID Harbour last year - Just don't swim Dawn or Dusk and you should be fine.
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Old 16-01-2019, 04:59   #5
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Re: First-time charter in the Whitsundays

Thanks for your answers! Really looking forward to the trip

Cheers,
Mark
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Old 16-01-2019, 16:27   #6
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Re: First-time charter in the Whitsundays

Hi, Mark,

I don't know if you're interested in SCUBA or not. Just to say I got my dive ticket in Airlie Beach, and if you're interested in the sea life, you'll be amazed who and what you can see. The price was reasonable, much more so than places with less competition. Jim was already a diver when I met him, so my getting my certification meant more neat experiences for both of us.

Ann
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Old 16-01-2019, 23:10   #7
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Re: First-time charter in the Whitsundays

Hamilton Island has an airport used by commercial airlines and if you wanted to maximize your time afloat and not have to bother with hotels you might look at entry and departure from there.
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