Dec 3, 2020

Beneteau 50 Bella SerenaBeneteau 50, Belle Serena

With the travel bug inside each of us, we must do what is necessary to keep other bugs out by staying within our region and limiting our long-distance travel. Chartering with us at Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School may very well be the adventure you have been searching for to explore BC and navigate this unprecedented situation safely.

The pandemic has been one enormously destructive event. It is a struggle we never could have expected. Damaging, demoralizing, and frightening it has been. For the first five months of this year, we hung on for dear life with not one charter leaving the dock. We kept our staff going, and eventually saw movement when we were allowed to start catering to groups living in the same household.

Our season had changed.

Princess LouisaThe US border has been closed - people could not cross it -and Europeans could not fly in. It all came down to our locals to make what was left of the season work, and to our great delight they came to support us and fill the void left by the weeks of cancelled charters. These restrictions, in a way, brought families together and helped fill up our short remaining season. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief as the boats started to move. We could once again offer both charters and sailing courses from June, and thanks to local bookings, we were busy well into October with some boats still leaving the dock in November.

To implement safe tourism practices and help reduce the risk to guests and staff alike, we made operational videos of each of our yachts as well as videos on each cruising area. Clients could then download and study these in depth guide videos to prepare for the vessel and the area in which they wished to cruise well in advance of their charter. This effectively eliminated close quarter contact during briefings. Historically, we would spend 1-3 hours with each client between chart and vessel briefings, but now this can be done in the comfort of your own home accompanied by your favourite beverage. These videos are easily accessible on our YouTube channel and have been well received by clients aware of their personal space. This BC sailing holiday also allows clients to drive to Nanaimo and reduce their risk of contact even further.

Sailing BethI, personally, have been lucky enough to run charter companies around the world and have to admit, the cruising ground we have here in BC is unparalleled in size and beauty. Furthermore, it is blessed with an abundance of wildlife and Indigenous history. From the quaint communities in the Gulf Islands to the stunning Chatterbox Falls in Princess Louisa Inlet, and the serene waters of Desolation Sound; we are right in the middle of it all. Imagine experiencing the wondrous beauty of our coastline with your loved ones while rediscovering your passion for sailing. When someone asks what you did during the pandemic, it would astound them to hear that you spent your time at sea while still in your bubble.

Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School is proud to be an accredited IYT – International Yacht Training School. In order to bareboat charter internationally, the only recognized certification by the EU is the IYT

-ICC: International Certificate of Competency certification. Generally, to achieve this certification you are required to have a combination of on-water sailing experience of ~250 nautical miles and supplementary certifications. If you start working towards your ICC, your dream of sailing international waters is not far off. Once the borders do open for international travel, you will have made significant strides towards achieving the requirements to charter abroad in the other stunning cruising grounds around the world.

Yachting vacations very simply have hotels and resorts beat, because every day you have a different view and a different adventure. This sounds too good to be true; taking your family out on a boat for a week would cost you less than a resort and flights for as many people.

The most significant benefit to choosing a BC sailing holiday is that you are supporting Canada’s tourism industry while giving the pandemic a black eye and having a great time. There are several charter companies along the BC coastline who are at the ready to ensure that your vacation on the water is unequaled in adventure and enjoyment. You can look at this pandemic as an opportunity to pursue something you’ve never had the time to do before – cruise our spectacular coastline. Remember, BC is better on a boat!

By Ian MacPherson of Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School

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