According to travel industry statistics, chartering has well and truly become the new vacation staple for demographics as diverse as couples, groups of friends and families, capturing their imaginations with the allure of exotic locations and fleeting ownership of their own vessel.
Whether it’s a tranquil, tropical holiday or a chance to 'dip a toe in' before making the leap to buying a boat, chartering a yacht, crewed or with yourself at the helm, delivers the freedom of life afloat, with none of the responsibilities.
The 2014 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show will be a veritable hub for charter companies, yachts and destinations, each offering a unique range of products, special offers and competitions for visitors to the show.
With 74 exquisite Islands, the Whitsundays is especially popular with charter guests, with uninhabited islands, pristine coves and deserted beaches to claim as your own. Sail or cruise, snorkel, dive, swim and beach comb, or maybe just do nothing at all. Then once your experience comes to an end, hand back your boat and dream about your next charter voyage.
Annie and John from Charter Yachts Australia have been in the bareboat charter business for 14 years. They have 20 boats in the CYA fleet, comprising sailing yachts, sailing cats and power cats from 32 to 49-ft across the brands Catalina, Lightwave, Scimitar, Beneteau, Montebello and Orana. No experience is required and guests undergo training in all aspects of managing the boats.
Based in the epicentre of leisure cruising, the sublime Whitsundays, CYA has seen chartering rising in popularity. 'The appeal of chartering is that you can change location whenever you wish,' explains Annie. 'You can plan your own holiday, with all the privacy and quality family-time you want. Families are our main market, from all over Australia, as well as some international guests.'
At the boat show, Charter Yachts Australia will be running a competition to win a three-night Whitsunday Charter aboard a 32-ft Catalina Yacht for up to two adults and two children. Entry is limited to one per person and all details are available at the CYA stand.
Christophe Vanek has run Queensland Yacht Charters for 25 years and Dream Yacht Charters for the past four. 'We are one of the two largest Yacht Charter companies in the world as DYC with 36 bases worldwide and more than 540 boats,' he explains, adding that they can arrange cruises in the Whitsundays and other cruising grounds almost anywhere in the world.
QYC buys its boats direct from the manufacturers and has among its fleet yachts by Beneteau, Jeanneau, Lagoon, Catana and Fountaine Pajot.
'We also offer five programs for yacht charter investors to place boats in any of our bases, including Australia.
Bareboat specialist, Whitsunday Rent A Yacht (WRAY) will be showcasing its skipper-yourself holidays, investment opportunities for boat owners and running an online Live Deals auction – where holiday makers can bid for a bargain holiday – at this year’s SCIBS.
WRAY has been matching travellers wanting to experience the spectacular vistas and inviting warm waters of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef with an impressive selection of vessels since 1978.
WRAY offers more than 20 vessels for year-round charter including elite and standard yachts, catamarans and motor cruisers. The fleet mixes the world’s most recognised brands, such as classic Beneteau, Lagoons, Bavarias and Jeanneaus with Australian favourites, Seawinds and Perrys.
It also has some of the best, most reliable brands in motor cruisers such as Highland, Fairway and Venturer. All are fitted with the latest equipment for comfort, convenience and safety. With five Lagoon yachts – more than any other operator in the region – WRAY is the home of Whitsunday Lagoon.
With vessels accommodating from two to 10 people, accommodation is matched to group sizes and budgets. Charters range from four nights to a fortnight, with longer stays possible.
WRAY’s Live Deals 20 auction offers bidders the chance to win a holiday aboard Angelique, a spectacular Beneteau Lagoon 400. Bidding starts at 9am 22 May and ends at 8pm 25 May. Starting bid is $400 per night and bidders can bid from as little as $10 at a time.
Cumberland Charter Yachts is another well-established and renowned charter company based in the beautiful Whitsundays, also a veteran of many boat shows.
With a host of yachts from 32 to 47-ft, monohull and multihull, bareboat and crewed options, Cumberland has a vessel to suit every skill level and every preference. At this year’s SCIBS, Cumberland Charter Yachts is offering a 10% discount on charters booked for June, with an additional night free sleep aboard at the marina prior to your charter so you can get to know your boat and its attributes.
'June is the best time to escape the cold down south and explore the awesome islands of the Whitsundays,' says marketing manager, Sharon Flint. 'Our special June offer will help people make the most of their charter.'
Also for yachting connoisseurs at SCIBS this year, the chance to go aboard one of the country’s premium charter yachts, Pure Adrenalin.
A familiar sight on the Broadwater and in Brisbane, she is a custom-designed, one-of-a-kind wave piercing catamaran and the ultimate entertaining venue.
Boasting massive deck areas both open air and under cover, she provides premium viewing platforms and a luxurious all weather venue. She is meticulously maintained and operated by a full time, professional crew hosting a service that offers a comfortable and friendly white boat experience.
At this year’s Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, Pure Adrenalin will host the Women on Water High Tea on the High Seas cruise, and then be back at the marina for visitors to inspect.
Skipper Brett Lakey has been running Pure Adrenalin for 10 years and is inviting visitors to the show to consider this magnificent vessel as the ideal charter for family vacations, photo shoots, corporate events, staff incentives, anniversaries, weddings, private functions and any other occasion imaginable.
'We offer charters around Brisbane and the Gold Coast, day charters around Moreton Bay for up to 50 guests, or longer charters for smaller groups from five to 10 days, to Sydney or Far North Queensland.'
Sponsored by Club Marine and Maserati Euromarque Brisbane, SCIBS 2014 will run from May 22 to 25.
The 2014 Boat Show will showcase a wide variety of international boating brands, products and technologies on display alongside the superb backdrop of the award-winning Sanctuary Cove marina and The Marine Village.
Offering something for the whole family, SCIBS will also feature a full program of live entertainment, cooking demonstrations and seminars as well as a kids zone and Women on Water program throughout the four-day event.
Tickets are on sale now at www.sanctuarycoveboatshow.com
and through Ticketmaster. Adult day passes start at $20, with concession passes available for seniors and students. Children under 18 are free. Visit www.ticketmaster.com.au
for more information.