Cruising in Scotland
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Sailing holidays with Longbow Cruising
A sailing holiday with family or friends offers the chance to take things at your own pace whilst trying new activities and visiting new places. There is something to suit almost everyone: the skipper has sailed with people of all ages and levels of expertise and aims to tailor each day's activities to suit the group. You can sail as much or as little as you like and, once anchored, explore ashore or relax on the boat.
Longbow is a high quality, comfortable and exceptionally spacious yacht which can still be chartered by a single family or small group. The space and creature comforts below decks allow life aboard
to be a real pleasure, with the privacy of several cabins. There are no hidden charges: meals, bedding, waterproofs and safety equipment are all included.
Frequently asked questions
People considering a sailing holiday often have the following worries and questions:
Longbow Cruising's answers to these questions:
- Can we come if we've never sailed before?
Don't worry! Ted regularly takes complete beginners and is a skilled and patient teacher. If you specifically want to learn to sail, he will structure the teaching; if you just want to steer and/or pull ropes now and then, that's absolutely fine too. It's your holiday and the overall aim is that you enjoy yourself.
- If we've sailed on dinghies, how will we adapt to a big yacht?
Some people come on a skippered charter after sailing dinghies or dayboats, so that they can enjoy the 'big-boat' experience without being concerned about anchoring, maintenance or bringing a large yacht into a marina. Ted understands that some things can initially seem quite different, such as a wheel instead of a tiller, and will tailor his guidance to your background. He can explain what he is doing, and why, so that you feel more confident on your own boat, or you may choose to continue to treat yourself to a skippered cruise from time to time.
- Some of us have sailed before: why should we have a skipper?
With Longbow being such a large yacht, it is understandable that as an owner as well as skipper, Ted doesn't allow her to be chartered bareboat. However, there are many real benefits of having a skipper:
Even very experienced sailors have enjoyed having a skipper around, since they don't have to waste their holiday time working out where things are kept or how maintenance tasks or repairs need to be done. They know that each boat is individual and appreciate having its owner aboard to make sure everything runs smoothly. The thrill of sailing a big yacht at 8 or 9 knots is of course undiminished.
- He has the expertise necessary to deal with all aspects of seamanship and maintenance;
- He will prepare all the meals - which receive high praise - and wash up afterwards while you relax;
- He has sailed in these waters for over 13 years and is familiar with very many anchorages and harbours;
- You can give your full attention to looking after any children, if necessary, without worrying about what's happening with the boat. Ted can sail Longbow singlehanded if required.
- We want to be 'just us': would we have to share the yacht with other people?
If you wish, Longbow can be booked on a 'whole-boat' basis, whereby no other people will join your cruise. Most family holidays are taken this way, and it is not necessary to fill all the berths in order to make it affordable. Ted can withdraw to his cabin at the end of the day, leaving you in privacy.
She can also be booked on a berth-by-berth basis, for individuals, couples or small groups wishing to meet other people, and we try to match up people wanting similar styles of cruise.
- Are the cruises supposed to be hearty and character-building?
Not if you don't want them to be! Ted understands that while some people relish more adventurous sailing, others want a holiday in a novel environment where they can have time to read or walk ashore, watch their children have fun doing simple things and have a long leisurely meal. He will try as much as possible to tailor the cruise to your needs and interests, and can suggest destinations and activities that you are likely to enjoy. The only constraints are those of weather and of needing to have the boat back at the end of the week. Each day's plan is usually discussed the night before, but even during the day changes of plan can be made to take advantage of opportunities or avoid sailing in unpleasant conditions.
The west coast of Scotland provides some very peaceful anchorages and lots of sheltered water so that longer, more challenging passages can be avoided if you so wish.
- We're particularly interested in wildlife / geology / history ... can you help us?
Gladly. Your holiday can centre around particular interests, particularly if you have booked the boat for the sole use of your party, and if you wish to spend time ashore at particular places Ted will do his best to get you there. He can also advise you on the best time to plan your trip, for example if you wish to see nesting puffins. You might even wish to come on the Classic Malts Cruise in company with about 100 other yachts: see the links page for this and other Scottish sailing events.
- Is it really safe to bring our children?
Your safety is Ted's primary concern at all times. At the end of the day you know your children best, but be reassured that sailing is probably less risky than many other things children are encouraged to do. Ted has taken his own children sailing since they were very small, perfectly safely, and now they are grown up they return with their friends. Longbow has a large, deep cockpit which gives a great sense of safety, and child-sized lifejackets and/or safety harnesses give added reassurance. Ted knows well which activities are suitable for his younger guests, and will make sure they get a chance to mess around in the dinghy, tie knots, take the wheel and so on, as appropriate for their age and abilities.
- Won't I feel seasick?
Many people are concerned about this but most guests aboard Longbow are surprised that they are less affected that they feared. Generally sailing boats, particularly when under sail, have a kinder motion than boats without deep keels and masts. The West Coast of Scotland offers large areas of protected waters, free from the ocean swell. The skipper is very aware of this problem and will do what he can to make your cruise a happy one. He will advise on ways of minimising the effect, such as being on deck in the fresh air, watching the horizon, taking the helm and/or taking travel sickness tablets.
- I definitely won't have to cook, is that right?
It's your holiday and you won't have to cook at all! Ted prepares delicious meals every day, taking advantage of the large fridge and freezer and his washing-up skills are legendary. Longbow's galley (kitchen) is of a generous size so 'proper meals' are the order of the day. Most food requirements can be taken into account.
- What are Longbow's bathrooms like?
Longbow has three 'heads' (toilets), two of which have electric mechanisms that are particularly easy to use. They are not the 'blue chemical' type found on canal boats, caravans etc. They are kept very clean and serviced regularly. All the bathrooms have hot water and showers, and there is plenty of space for you to put your toiletries etc.
- Would we have to bring our own waterproofs and lifejackets?
Longbow carries waterproof jackets and trousers in a variety of sizes and we will check what you need when you book your holiday. As part of her adherence to DoT regulations, she carries sufficient lifejackets for everyone, and again we will ensure that we have the correct sizes for young children. Modern sailing waterproofs are light and breathable and are quite comfortable to wear. The lifejackets are of the modern gas cylinder type, so are compact until deployed, unlike the bulky foam ones you may have seen. Finally, safety harnesses clip onto the lifejackets and attach to strong points on the boat for added reassurance if required.
Cruising in Scotland
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