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Sailboat charter on the French Rivera, Marseilles and Venice follow-on trips

My wife and I chartered a 46 foot sailboat with friends for a week and traveled from Toulon to Nice and back. I had no idea what to expect but it was the experience of a lifetime. Included was land travel before, during and after that included Nice, Monaco and Marseilles. Oh and 3 days in Venice just because we were in Europe anyway. There isn't much information about people's experience with this so I'm offering to answer questions you might have about sailboat charters in France. I'm a novice sailor but had more experience than everyone on board but the licensed skipper.

To get a good cost estimate try sailogy.com. My cost for two of us was $1000. There were originally 8 people involved, all friends and family that shared the cost. One member of the group was a licensed skipper (required by the charter company) and we covered his cost. 2 people left after the first full day of sailing and 1 joined us on day 4 through 7. I'm not sure how the cost was divided among all of us so check the sailolgy website for prices including skipper if needed. I think it was close to $3000 but may have been a little more. Bareboat charter means everything you need to sail and nothing else. They did provide some garbage bags and a roll of paper towels. Also the galley was fully stocked with dishes, utensils, pots and pans, etc. Plus sheets and towels.

We were all coming from our own trips and met at the Toulon train station and Ubered to the port. Boat checkout is on Saturday. The charter company is turning over 30 to 40 boats in a day. Ours hadn't been chartered the previous week so we were able to get on board early to review the checklist. 2 people max can do the checkout so 3 people went shopping and 2 people held a table in the cafe and watched luggage. We used 4 shopping carts to move the groceries from the parking lot to the boat. Lots of bottled water (drinking and cooking). beer and wine. Eggs and croissants for breakfast, meats, cheeses and ready-made pizzas for lunch, salad stuff, a couple of dinners (pasta with a meat sauce twice and chicken). Some staples also such as butter, olive oil etc. It would be easy to over buy but our shopping crew did a great job. You can't leave the pier until 5pm and we decided to stay the night and leave at dawn. The skipper briefed everyone on the plumbing, and some basic seamanship. Sailed/motored to St Tropez and anchored. Anchored for lunch and swim call on the way. 1 couple left in St Tropez because of sea sickness. The next two nights (Monday and Tuesday) were in port at Golfe Juan, west of Antibe. 30 euros a night to tie up here vs 300 euros/night in Nice. Tuesday was land tour day to Nice and Monaco and we ate in restaurants near the marina and resupplied at the grocery store. Wednesday night was anchored between Caan and St Tropez and Thursday was in port at Porquerolles. Friday the boat needed to be returned by 5pm and the same 30 to 40 that left last weekend are lined up at 4:30 to dock. The charter company puts a pilot on the boat and has them tied up in 3-5 minutes each. We spent the night on the boat but had to be off at 8am.

This was a working vacation so to speak and everyone needs to pitch in wherever they are able. Raising and lowering sails, entering and leaving port, anchoring, all require several people to do specific jobs and your skipper should train you and guide you. Cooking dinners fell on the couple that organized the trip but breakfast and lunches worked out to whoever was available. With a different group of people we may had assigned meals. Pulling into port is 30 minutes of work after lines are tied to washdown the boat and take out garbage. There is always something to do on a boat and if you're not busy then refill everyone's wine glass.

All eight of us met in Marseilles for a couple nights and then my wife and I continued on to Venice because why not?

Posted by
7469 posts

What does a crewed 46 ft sailboat cost per week? ( I am fully aware of the "if you have to ask, you cannot afford it", but I cannot control my curiosity)

Posted by
3789 posts

Sounds idyllic for sailors. So, maybe you could expand on how your day flowed? Did you moor each night? What about meals? Did you share the onboard duties? Thanks.

Posted by
2285 posts

How many friends?

How were the accommodations? How many meals, if any, were included?

Could you provide a link to the sailboat charter company?

Posted by
225 posts

We just did this in Greece and it was fabulous. I was curios where else would be a good spot to sail. Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by
3789 posts

Thanks for the addition to the main post to answer some questions. I did a lot more sailing in my 20s and it all seemed familiar. Never such exotic coastline, but ship life seems the same 'wherever'. It must have been some work for the organizing couple, but maybe there are some suggested itineraries out there (cheap moorings vs Nice).

Hope you liked it enough to consider some other options. I hear Greece and Croatia are easy options.
Happy sailing.

Posted by
2 posts

I don't think this group would ever do this again. I would love to sail other parts of the Mediterranean but it will have to be with other people.