“The anticipation is strong, the safety checks are done, re-done and done again, and I sit waiting. Waiting for my crew of holiday makers whose sole purpose for the next seven days is to party hard, have fun and get a great tan.
To sail my guests from A to B, C, D and E seemingly effortlessly, with banter on-point, in complete safety. There’s no tolerance for drill sergeants here and as the only skipper onboard the responsibility is all mine. The “crew” joining are most likely not sailors and this is my first trip, I look confident, but I’m nervous. I spot the first of the new arrivals starting to walk down the dock, oh boy…I’d better be on my game.”
Yacht week. Picture the scene. We’ve all heard of it, seen the stunning locations and packed out yachts with young holiday makers. Then there’s the wild parties and that classic aerial shot of boats moored up in a circle with tanned bodies lying out in over inflated flamingoes and donut rings, sipping cocktails.
These are the widely recognised scenic images that make us all want to quit our jobs and run headlong into the summer holidays!
One of the best things about The Yacht Week is that the crew (the holiday makers) get a dedicated skipper and host, completely taking the stress out of their sailing holiday. The skipper’s job is to sail and navigate their crew throughout the week.
Unlike other common charters they’re more than just sailors, it seems a Yacht Week skipper is also dedicated to becoming your best friend in the process, providing a wealth of local knowledge to make sure everyone gets the most out of their holiday. Then there’s the crew, you get to meet up with so many new people who’ve all signed on for the same adventure, so chances are you’re not going to be short of some friends to play with.
But what about the responsibility of the skippers whose job it is to make all your holiday dreams come true; whilst at the same time navigating and sailing like a pro in seemingly effortless style?
What many of us forget, when looking at the picturesque, glamorous promotional videos and eye popping photographs, is that underneath all of this the skipper is first and foremost responsible for the safety of the people onboard and that of the vessel.
This could however be somewhat of a daunting prospect for a first-time skipper. I’m talking about those new employees just about to embark on their first trip as they welcome onboard their, possibly inexperienced, party going crew. It’s one thing being responsible for yourself, it’s quite another ball game being responsible for 6-12 people whose sole purpose in life is to have fun.
Add into the mix the time and planning required to navigate safely throughout the week. As the skipper it’s your job to plot the best route to sail, suited to you, your crew and the weather. But with only a week to keep your guests happy, your navigation, planning and timing need to be spot-on. Get in to a marina too late and you miss the party, too early and you might be stuck for things to do, the list of things to consider is endless.
Although all good sailors navigate with paper charts and plotters, an increasing number are adopting savvy navvy as a reliable cross-check for their navigation plans. This can be especially true when you’re the most qualified person onboard and you’d like a first mate type of back-up to quickly review your navigation plans before setting sail. This piece of mind has proven extremely comforting to those bearing the weight of solo responsibility.
Taking into account real-time wind and chart data (as well as your boat details) skippers can quickly assess whether they’ve plotted the safest and fastest route to sail for their crew, within a matter of seconds. In addition the ability to quickly see how long the journey will take, makes planning to arrive at the dock just in time for cocktail hour, a breeze.
Just like the satnav in your car or the maps in your phone, savvy navvy lets you plot a route to sail from A to B. Simply drop your start and finish points and the algorithm will plot you a route, based on real-time wind and chart data. Once you’re happy with your route you can export your waypoints for use with your chart plotter.
The good news is there’s now a free trial available when you subscribe to savvy navvy, so you can start plotting routes with real data, suited to your boat specifications right away, before upgrading to the full package.