During the winter season, when sailing is scarce, many water sports enthusiasts are drawn south. Especially over the Christmas holidays and the turn of the year there are great alternatives to snow and cologne. It’s not only in the Caribbean that summer temperatures, turquoise waters and romantic anchor bays beckon. But worthwhile destinations for maritime weekend trips don’t have to be many hours away by plane. SeaHelp has compiled a “best of” winter destinations for sailors.
Jingle Bells on Steel Drums
Those celebrating Christmas in the Caribbean are booking the complete contrast to domestic Christmas markets and snowy pine forests. In the Caribbean, the Christmas holidays are one big party – with traditional carols to reggae sounds, glittering baubles on palm trees and high summer temperatures at 30 degrees. The predominantly Catholic island of Martinique, which together with Guadeloupe belongs to France, is easy to reach from European airports, and here the festivities are celebrated loudly and cheerfully, especially with hot rhythms, dancing and a rum liqueur made from sugar cane syrup and orange peel prepared weeks in advance.
“Yachties” can watch the spectacle in a very relaxed way from on board or join in the celebration exuberantly. Most charter fleets have their bases in the south of the island at Marina Le Marin, one of the largest ports in the Caribbean with very good service facilities. The spice island of Grenada is only a day’s sail from here, but those who prefer to sail close to shore can choose a relaxed route along the west coast to capital Fort de France, which offers an exciting mix of Caribbean ease and French savoir vivre.
SeaHelp Extra Tip: Consistently implement the motto “Palm tree instead of Christmas tree” and decorate a small palm tree with a bit of glitter and Santa Claus tags.
On the trail of the crusaders
The Mediterranean island of Malta beckons in the winter months with a charm all its own. Located at 35 degrees north latitude, it also gets dark early here, but the water temperatures are around 20 degrees, and during the day the thermometer shows a friendly 15 to 20 degrees. If you charter here in the winter months, you may have to weather the violent northeasterly storm Grigal in the harbor on one day, but otherwise you will be rewarded with spring-like temperatures.
The Maltese sail all year round, so there are always a few yachts around the popular islands of Comino and Gozo in the northwest of the island in particular. An absolute must for all visitors is a stroll through the historic city center of Valletta, the only capital in the world with the title of World Heritage Site.
Here the Knights of the Order of Malta founded their center of power, and in the two largest natural harbors of the Mediterranean, Grand Harbor and Marsamxett Harbor, the fleet was excellently protected from enemies. On a one-week cruise, the main island with its 137 kilometers of coastline can be easily circumnavigated; those who have more time can make a detour to Marzamemi in Sicily. An interesting contrast to the rocky island of Malta, where things are “very-British” not only in sailing circles.
SeaHelp Extra Tip: Stop in for a drink or lunch at the Royal Malta Yacht Club and enjoy the perfect symbiosis of Old English club life and Mediterranean ease.
Sailing in winter in a tropical paradise
There is no more change of scenery to the dank, dark Europe during the winter months: in Thailand the temperatures are constantly around 28 degrees. And also contemplative Christmas mood comes up in the Buddhist country guaranteed not, rather desire on a sailing trip with high-summer weather. Most charter trips – whether on your own, with your own skipper or as a berth charter – start on the island of Phuket, the sailing center of the Southeast Asian country. From there, numerous uninhabited islands with turquoise waters and white beaches attract sailors and water sports enthusiasts.
If you like diving or snorkeling, this is the place for you. A clear “must” when cruising through the kingdom: past tropical waterfalls and lush green vegetation to the Andaman Sea. The area on the west coast of Thailand is partly under nature protection and offers many anchor bays, crystal clear water and exotic, small villages. Advantage Thailand: Sailing here is quite comfortable, the wind blows mostly constant with about four Beaufort, only small waves ripple the water. In addition, the distances between the islands and small bays in the “Land of Smiles” are very short.
SeaHelp Extratipp: By the film “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio, the Maya Bay with its white beach on the island of Ko Phi Phi became world famous. And so sought after that the beach had to be temporarily closed to stop the mass tourism. But those who arrive on their own keel can enjoy the paradisiacal bay and the magnificent snorkeling spot.
To the race start down under
Away from the cold winter into summer – a trip to the southern hemisphere to Australia brings back the summer and the sun. With its summer temperatures during the winter months here, the continent offers a special mix of stunning nature, beaches and vibrant cities for charter sailors and tourists looking to experience Christmas “down under.” Tourists spending the holidays here should do as the Australians do and head to the beach for a picnic on Christmas Day.
The “must seen” sailing spots to explore with a charter yacht are Fraser Island, the Gold Coast near Brisbane and the Whitsunday Islands. But the absolute highlight for sailing enthusiasts all over the world is the start of the traditional yacht race Rolex Sydney-Hobart, which is always started on Boxing Day. The world’s largest and fastest racing yachts compete in this prestigious regatta. If not sailing yourself, then be there at the start and cheer along!
SeaHelp Extratipp: A short trip from the “fifth continent” to the Tasmanian port city of Hobart and experience here the cheers live, with which the arriving yachts and their crews are welcomed.
Strong Wind Training in the Canary Islands
Away from the cold winter gray, off to the Canary Islands, which entice in the winter months with mild temperatures around 20 degrees and lots of sun! The islands off the African coast, which belong to Spain, are the ideal sailing area for those who do not want to take long transatlantic flights. Those who set sail here in the winter months will experience a varied, but sometimes rough sailing area around the islands on the Atlantic. Strong winds often develop between the islands, giving a real offshore feeling. In the lee of the high mountains, on the other hand, it is much calmer due to the lee. Many charter companies have stationed their fleet in Tenerife.
Kiters and surfers have their Eldorado on the small island of Fuerteventura. The white beaches with crystal clear, shimmering turquoise water are more reminiscent of a Caribbean island.The trade wind, which blows constantly in the summer, is sometimes interrupted by local low pressure areas in the winter.
SeaHelp Extratipp: The Canaries are not only an El Dorado for water sports enthusiasts, but also for all those who want to fill up on warmth in winter. A perfect family destination where everyone gets their money’s worth.