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A Sail Guides tip

WRAY briefer, skipper, and all-round nautical expert, Mike Dicker, blogs about the Whitsundays from his unique on-the-water perspective.

If bareboating is something you’ve always dreamed of doing, don’t let a lack of sailing experience hold you back.

Having a sail guide aboard your vessel is an option well worth considering and a reliable way to calm those novice boating nerves.


What is a sail guide?

A sail guide provides a service above and beyond your comprehensive charter briefing.

The sail guide stays aboard your vessel for as long or as little time as you like.

Take your sail guide with you for a couple of hours’ additional training at the beginning of your charter or keep them aboard for the entire trip.

Having a sail guide along for the ride can take the pressure off your holiday.

A sail guide is there to help you handle the boat, while giving you the choice to be involved as you wish or simply step back. 

Some charterers find they’re eager to learn the ropes under the direction of a qualified mariner, while others like to relax and let someone else sail the ship.

Families with children tell us it can be especially handy to have an extra pair of hands, eyes and ears!


A wealth of knowledge

As well as knowing the ins and outs of the boat you’ve chartered, your sail guide is a wealth of knowledge on the area you’re chartering in.

Our sail guides know the best anchorages, the hidden gems, the pristine snorkelling spots, the top hikes and lookouts – and they can even tell you lots of interesting facts about the marine life, flora, fauna and history of the Whitsundays.

For WRAY sail guide Adrian Bram, this is a big plus.

“When my wife and I go on holidays to new places we seek out the people that can share their knowledge and experiences, giving us a deeper appreciation and understanding of their way of life and the ecosystems that they live in,” Adrian says.

“For our first trek in the Himalayas we chose to have a guide. When we tour new exotic countries we always have a driver/guide. When you explore the Whitsunday islands and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park under sail for the first time, why wouldn’t you have a guide? Oh yeah…and you get to learn how to sail too!”


People and places

Apart from sailing fantastic yachts around the spectacular Whitsunday islands amid the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the highlight of being a sail guide for Adrian is the people he meets.

“The best thing of all is seeing the faces of charterers, young and old, when they surface after experiencing the Great Barrier Reef’s fringing corals and abundant sea life for the first time,” he says.

“It’s the realisation that there is another world of vivid colours, gardens of coral and cities for marine life, just below the surface.”

On one particularly memorable charter, the engines had just been shut down, the sails were drawing for the first time and one of the younger members of the crew couldn’t believe they were travelling at 9 knots across a glittering sea without the assistance of an engine.

“He demanded that I open the engine hatch covers and prove it to him and then with an awed expression on his face shouted: ‘Dad, you have to buy a sail boat!’” Adrian recalls.

By the end of the week, much to his family’s joy, this young charterer was able to hand, reef and steer the vessel himself.



In the course of his time as a sail guide there aren’t many questions Adrian hasn’t been asked.

“Does the water go all the way around the islands”…just kidding!” he jokes.

Adrian says most people love to hear about the history of the region, including Captain Cook’s epic voyage of discovery that took the Endeavour through the Whitsunday Passage in 1770.

“They love to hear about the melting of the ice caps that saw sea levels rise as much as 40 metres, separating the coastal range from the mainland and creating the Whitsunday islands,” he says.  

“Charterers are fascinated by the ecology of the Islands and the reef and yes, they always ask how I ended up with one of the best jobs in the world!”


Adrian’s advice

For some, the idea of that first bareboat charter is a leap out of their comfort zone into unfamiliar territory.

“But a guided charter is in fact, a leap from one comfort zone to another, experiencing the adventure and discovery in the comfort and safety of a large, well found and extremely functional cruising yacht or catamaran with a professional mariner on hand to guide you through the experience,” Adrian says.

Many guided charterers go on to skipper themselves, while according to Adrian, “others are friends for life returning year after year”.

If you like the thought of sailing into an adventure with a helping hand, why not take Adrian’s advice and let us help you with a sail guide for your next trip.

The practical arrangements are easy, with a sail guide simply requiring their own cabin along with food and beverages for the duration of their stay.    

Adrian on dreamtime "Adrian Bram"

For more information see https://rentayacht.com.au/services/sail-guides or alternatively contact us today on 1800 075 000.

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