SailFree Destinations
















Yacht Charter Whitsundays

A yacht charter in the Whitsundays is the perfect way to explore the beautiful islands. Skipper yourself and sail your very own luxury yacht, dropping anchor in pristine bays and inlets for a snorkel or dive. Or just sit back, relax and take in the beautiful surroundings a yacht charter in the Whitsundays has to offer. 

Gone are the days where sailing holidays are just for the super wealthy - as charter rates haven't increased dramatically over the past 10 years and Australians are becoming more wealthy, the cost of hiring a yacht or catamaran to sail the Whitsundays is pretty similar to what you would pay for a hotel or resort in the Whitsundays, except that you have your own floating hotel room with different 360° views every day! 

Explore lush rainforests on tropical islands, snorkel, dive or swim with colourful tropical fish, mantarays, turtles and dolphins and stroll along world famous Whitehaven Beach with its 7km stretch of pure white silica sand.


The Whitsundays enjoy a tropical climate with year-round beautiful weather perfect for sailing the islands. Average temperatures are 23°C in Winter and 29°C in Summer with winds from the south-east from April-September and predominately lighter north-easterly winds from October-March

The Whitsundays are renowned as a world sailing destination and many charterers return year after year to charter yachts in the Whitsundays.

Favourite anchorages include Nara Inlet, Butterfly Bay, Tongue Bay, Whitehaven Beach and Cid Harbour.


No formal experience is required to charter a yacht in the Whitsundays. As the calm waters of the Whitsundays are protected by the Great Barrier Reef and islands, they are considered partially smooth waters so only boating/sailing experience is required, rather than any formal qualifications (although it is highly regarded if you do have these). For those with limited experience, there is the option of hiring a half day sailguide to show you the ropes and give you peace of mind to enjoy your yacht charter in the Whitsundays.

For the inexperienced, there is the option of chartering a yacht with a sailguide or if you prefer to sit back and have all the work done for you, you can also hire a hostess.  

The Briefing Process

The Briefing Process – easy and comprehensive!  Nearly anybody can have a Bareboating holiday!

A key part of planning for your holiday, the briefing process provides essential information to make your holiday the most fulfilling and relaxing that it can be.  Briefings take 2.5-3 hours.  The briefings take 3 key parts. 

1. The Area Brief - approximately 1 hour in a briefing room, with 4 key points

* A Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority conservation video (20 mins)

* Navigation Briefing

* Weather Brief

* Scheduling requirement ('scheds')

2. The Vessel Brief - approximately 45 minutes - 1 hour (every vessel is different)

* Sail rigging

* Navigation systems

* Engine/generator systems

* Anchoring systems

* Power and lighting systems

* Hot water systems

* Toilet and shower systems

* Safety systems (radio, lights, fire and first aid)

* Operation of the tender/dinghy

* Inventory check and condition report

3. Boat Handling Test - approximately 45 minutes 

* Anchoring/Mooring

* Manoeuvring

* Sail Handling

Your skipper will then pilot your vessel out of the harbour (no need to worry about finding the exit or manoeuvring your vessel in the tight spaces of the marina).  Command will then be handed over to you to get familiar with, and demonstrate your ability to handle the vessel. The more confident you and your crew are with handling the vessel, and the quicker you can get the briefing skipper confident, the sooner you can get away.  You will be asked to complete some drills including – starting/stopping the engines, figure of 8, anchor up and down, and a sailtest if you are taking a sailboat (pull and reef the mainsail, set and furl the headsail, perform a tack, and gybe).

If all of that sounds easy, then you are well on your way, but if you feel that this might require some more time there are options. There are many sail training schools and motorboat handling schools that you can teach you the skills before your holiday, or we can recommend an operator that provides more training with a sailguide for the first half day, or as long as you need it.  Don’t forget, even if you are an experienced sailor, we can provide fully crewed private charters to take the responsibility away!


Other did you knows:

* Briefings are quite standardised between different operators.

* Members of the Whitsunday Bareboat Operators Association conducted briefings under an industry code of conduct, which is self regulation intended to ensure an unblemished reputation of the industry, and reef conservation.