Day Tours

We have answered some of the most commonly asked questions below. However, if you have a query that is not covered here, please contact us and we will be delighted to respond.

 
Q: What should I wear?
A: Beachwear or swimwear is fine, and sunglasses are recommended.

Q: What should I bring?
A: “Hawnalea” covers the catering, but be sure to bring sunscreen, a towel, and a camera to record the “Highlight of your Holiday”!

Q: What if I feel seasick?
A: If you are concerned about Travel Sickness, we recommend you ask your pharmacy for advice. There are many proprietary brand remedies that are very effective – especially inquire about ‘non-drowsy’ treatments. We will do all we can to make sure everyone on board feels comfortable, and the waters off our West coast are generally very calm.

Q: Can we sail “Round the Island” in a day?
A: A “Round Antigua” day sail is not achievable in the time available and would not suit many people due to the rougher Atlantic conditions experienced on the East Coast.

Q: Can I be collected from my hotel beach?
A: For safety reasons, with the tendency for rough conditions on some hotel beaches in northerly swells, we prefer that our guests join “Hawnalea” at our dock in Jolly Harbour, or at the Cruise Ship dock in St. John’s.

Q: Where do I find “Hawnalea”?
A: Full meeting point instructions will be given when your booking is confirmed. Captain Kevin will be there to greet you. Book the “Miramar Bus” for your transport and receive a discounted fare.

Q: What about catering?
A: With the exception of our “Just Plain Sailing” cruises all catering and refreshments are included. We do ask you to advise of any particular dietary requirements or allergies when booking.

Q: What about insurance?
A: We are a licensed Antiguan Charter business and are fully insured to operate the cruise you are booking with US$ 500,000 Personal Liability for “ON yacht” incidents. All incidents that occur “OFF yacht”, such as water activities and excursions ashore are not covered and you are recommended to take out Personal Travel Insurance to ensure your party is covered for these activities.

Q: How do I book?
A: Check “Hawnalea’s” availability here. To secure your booking a 50% deposit is required. Payment can be made by Visa, or Mastercard. We do not charge transaction fees. Once payment is cleared we will confirm your booking by e-mail. Balances are paid on the day of your cruise, before we set sail, and can be by cash or card. Prepayment is required in full for all Sailing Tours.

Q: What happens if we cancel?
A: A full refund of your deposit is given if cancellation is confirmed by e-mail or telephone not less than 14 days prior to booked date.

Q: What happens if Miramar Sailing cancels my booking?
A: If, due to circumstances beyond our control, we find it necessary to cancel your booking, a full refund of your deposit will be made to the card originally debited. Please be sure we have contact details for your hotel, or a cell phone number, in the event we need to contact you.

Q: What happens if the weather is bad?
A: All sailing decisions will be made by the yacht’s Skipper and will be final. If Captain Kevin decides the weather is untenable a full refund of your deposit will be made. If you decide you do not wish to sail then your deposit is forfeited.

Sailing Vacations

We have answered some of the most commonly asked questions below. However, if you have a query that is not covered here, please contact us and we will be delighted to respond.

 
Q: How much luggage do I need?
A: Very little! Sailing in the Caribbean requires little more than shorts, “T” shirts and swimwear. You may wish to pack one outfit suitable for dining ashore, but much of what you think you may require will not get used!

Q: How should I pack?
A: PLEASE no inflexible suitcases! A soft hold all is really all you need and, as there is limited space on board, once unpacked they can be folded and stowed. Travel light!!

Q: What should I bring?
A: Be sure to bring personal toiletries, high factor sunscreen, towels, sunglasses (Polarized recommended), a camera to record the beauty of the Caribbean PLUS your plane tickets and passports! Snorkelling and fishing gear is on board and free for you to use, however if you have fitted snorkelling, or favourite fishing equipment please bring this with you.

Q: What about shoes?
A: We prefer no shoes while on board, and certainly no flip flops, as this tends to be safer and more comfortable in the conditions. Non marking deck shoes on board are fine. The vast majority of people wear flip flops ashore constantly. You may prefer one pair of smarter shoes to go with your dining outfit but no more than that.

Q: What happens if my plane is delayed?
A: Then we shall wait for you! We will ask for your flight details in advance so we can monitor your arrival time. We do ask that you do everything possible to keep us informed in order to avoid a wasted journey for our driver.

Q: What if I feel seasick?
A: If you are concerned about Travel Sickness, we recommend you ask your pharmacy for advice. There are many proprietary brand remedies that are very effective – especially inquire about ‘non-drowsy’ varieties. We will do all we can to make sure everyone on board feels comfortable, and will change sailing plans if necessary.

Q: Can we amend our vacation as we go?
A: Providing conditions and timing permit, you can alter plans at any time if you would prefer to spend more or less time in one location. This is your charter and you call the shots!

Q: What about alcohol?
A: We have no problem with alcohol, there is insufficient space to stock a full bar to cater for all preferences. We ask that you specify your anticipated requirements in advance and we shall source on your behalf. You will be charged for these at cost which is quite low in the Caribbean!

Q: What about smoking?
A: You are welcome to smoke at any time while on deck. Smoking below decks is prohibited.

Q: Where do I find my yacht?
A: You do not need to! You will be met at the airport by our driver who will be displaying our name. He will know where to bring you.

Q:What about immigration formalities?
A: These apply if we leave the coastal waters of our island to sail to another island outside the nation state. In Antigua Barbuda is an exception as it is part of the Antigua nation. Elsewhere your skipper deals with all formalities ashore and you may not go ashore until these are completed. You may need to relax after we arrive and this is the perfect opportunity! We are happy to advise on visa requirements if required.

Q: What about insurance?
A: Miramar Sailing Ltd. is a licensed Antiguan Charter business and is fully insured to operate the cruise you are booking with GB£5,000,000.00 Third Party Liability for “ON yacht” incidents. All incidents that occur “OFF yacht”, such as water activities and excursions ashore are not covered and you are recommended to take out Personal Travel Insurance to ensure members of your party are covered for these activities.

Q: How do I book?
A: Simply email or call us. We operate a “1st come, 1st served” booking policy. To secure your booking a 50% deposit is required. Payment can be made by Visa/Mastercard or Wire Transfer. Bank charges will apply. Once payment is cleared we will confirm your booking and all other details by e-mail. Balances are paid not less than 14 days prior to the date of your cruise.

Q: What about Cancellation?
A: By you: A full refund, less a US$200 administration fee, is allowed if the reservation is cancelled in writing not less than 3 months before charter commencement. If the charter is cancelled less than 3 months before charter commencement, a full refund is allowed (less US$200 administration fee) subject to Miramar Sailing rebooking the period reserved. You are strongly advised to invest in travel insurance.
By Miramar Sailing: A full, no hassle, refund of all monies paid to us.

Q: What happens if the weather is bad?
A: We cannot control the weather and must make decisions accordingly. The Skipper’s decision will be final. Original sailing plans may be upset but you can be sure we shall make the best of it!

RYA Sailing School

What to expect on a Miramar Sailing course

We have answered some of the most commonly asked questions below. However, if you have a query that is not covered here, please contact us and we will be delighted to respond.

 
Q: How do I know I will be safe?
A: Our training vessels are inspected annually by an RYA Inspector for conformance with the code of practice for small commercial vessels and meet all requirements as set down by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). At the heart of the RYA Training Scheme is the total emphasis on safe practice and procedures. Your Instructors have a duty of care and have followed this ethos from the very beginning of their training. They understand its value and adhere to it rigidly.

Q: How long is my course?
A: With the exception of the “Start Yachting” and “Essential Navigation & Seamanship” courses, which are 2 day “tasters”, all Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper, and Theory courses last for 5 days. Yachtmaster Preparation Weeks last 5 days with an additional 2 days for examination.

Q: Fees: Inclusions and exclusions
A: Virtually all of the usual ancillary costs of Course Notes, catering, accommodation etc., are included, but this may vary between different courses.

Q: What is not included in my fee?
A: You will need to arrange and pay for: your travel to and from the yacht; your accommodation during your stay in an island not covered by your course dates, or our Accommodation Offers all meals ashore. Where relevant, travel and subsistence costs of examiners for Yachtmaster Coastal; Offshore, and Ocean and not included. Examination fees should be paid direct to your examiner.

Q: What about accommodation?
A: For on board accommodation on Practical Courses, we limit course numbers to 4 students plus our instructor. This not only ensures greater comfort on board but also allows for more effective instructor / student ratio. Generally speaking, couples and friends will share double cabins. In cases of individuals attending a course on their own, they would not be expected to share a cabin with a member of the opposite sex. For on shore accommodation we have negotiated very competitive rates locally for booked students. Please see Accommodation Offers for details.

Q: Who does the catering?
A: We all do! It is part of your training that you learn the basics of life on board a yacht. This does not only cover catering, but also brings in clearing up, cleaning and general good housekeeping. The Caribbean is a whole new culture to many people and it is all part of the experience to sample the local cuisine ashore in the evenings.

Q: What should I bring?
A: You are more than likely travelling from overseas to join us, so the usual “old chestnuts” are: passport, travel tickets, insurance policies; local currency (US$ or EC$ are both accepted in Antigua). You will also need your G15 Log Book and any previous certification you have achieved in the RYA Scheme to date. Please do not forget however, that your stay with us is not “all work and no play” and there is an element of Caribbean Holiday to it all. For this you will need lightweight clothing – tee shirts and shorts are fine – the Caribbean is not at all formal; and some lightweight footwear such as deck shoes or flip flops. Please note flip-flops may not be worn on board due to deck hazards, and all soles should be NON marking. It is not obligatory, but bare feet on board are usually the order of the day! The Caribbean may be paradise but it is a tropical climate. A lightweight waterproof jacket is recommended and there is no need for heavy duty wet weather gear or sailing boots. You will also need personal toiletries, swim shorts/bikinis; a hat; sunglasses, sun cream, personal electronic devices. You know the usual stuff for a holiday in the sun! Soft holdalls only please for all luggage. There is insufficient space for rigid suitcases.

Q: Do I need to bring snorkelling equipment?
A: There will be opportunities during breaks for swimming and snorkelling but we do not provide equipment.

Q: What about toilet facilities?
A: There are 2 toilets (heads) on board with fresh water and shower facility. There is also a fresh water shower on the transom. Some nights may be spent at one of our Antiguan marinas, and all have shore side facilities.

Q: Where will I be sailing?
A: That depends on your course! For the novice and intermediate levels we tend to cruise the calm west coast of Antigua with the occasional foray southeast into Atlantic conditions. For the advanced levels we may well sail between neighbouring islands. All sailing plans will be governed by weather and sea conditions at the time.

Q: Can I use electronic devices on board?
A: Bring a camera to capture your experience. Mobile phone coverage will be limited unless close to land and international providers will be expensive. You can bring your Laptop / Tablet if required. 12 volt cigarette lighter chargers only please.
None of the above are requirements for the course.

Q: May I smoke?
A: Yes, smoking on board is permissible, however it is nice to clear this with your fellow students first and always smoke in a place where you are downwind of everyone. NEVER smoke below decks!!

Q: What is a Yachtmaster Preparation Week?
A: Once you have achieved your Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore Course Completion Certificate, there is no official RYA Yachtmaster Practical Course. By this time you should have taken your knowledge to sea, logged miles, acquired experience and gained further knowledge to make you ready for your Yachtmaster Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore examination. It is a tough examination and our “Prep Week” is designed to highlight, and practice, those elements of the exam you will be expected to be competent in. The “Prep Week” immediately precedes the examination so you undertake this final stage fully prepared and focused.

Q: What is a “Mile Building Passage”?
A: There are experience criteria that must have been logged before you are eligible to undergo a Yachtmaster Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore examination. Our Mile Building Passages are a week of intensive sailing by day and / or night, during which we cover as many miles as possible to help build up the miles and skippering experience required in your Log Book.

Q: I just want to go sailing! Why do I have to take a course?
A: You don’t! Although we try to offer priority places on our courses to our genuine students, if there is a space on board and you are not interested in taking a course, you are more than welcome to join us. We would, however, request that you are not disruptive to the fluency of the training of our students. You never know, it may be the lowest cost Caribbean sailing experience you will ever find!!

Q: What about sea sickness?
A: If you are a serious sufferer of sea sickness you may wish to reconsider the sailing life. However, many famous sailors persevered despite this ailment, and there are many proprietary anti sea sickness products available. We recommend you discuss with your doctor which is the most appropriate for you. If possible opt for one of the “non-drowsy” solutions.

Q: What about drugs?
A: Unless they are legally prescribed for a medical condition, FORGET IT! Be warned that despite common perceptions to the contrary, Caribbean islands are zero tolerant of illegal substances and penalties can be harsh. ANYONE found in possession of ANY illegal substance in ANY quantity on board ANY of our yachts, or premises for which we are responsible, will be reported to the local authorities and immediately discharged without recompense of any kind. This is non-negotiable.

Q: What Currency will I need?
A: US Dollars & EC Dollars are widely accepted but Euros will be needed in French West Indies Islands.

Q: What about alcohol?
A: Beer & wine in moderation is permitted in the evenings after the yacht is secured. We call these “Anchor Beers”. No alcohol is to be consumed on board or ashore during the daytime. Spirits are not permitted on board at any time during the course. You are advised to moderate drinking spirits ashore in the evening. Hangovers are not acceptable, and you will receive no sympathy!

Q: What about immigration formalities?
A: These apply if we leave the coastal waters of our island to sail to another island outside the nation state. In Antigua, Barbuda is an exception as it is part of the Antigua nation. Elsewhere your skipper deals with all formalities ashore and you may not go ashore until these are completed. We are happy to advise on visa requirements if required.

Q: What about insurance?
A: Miramar Sailing Ltd. is a licensed Antiguan business and is fully insured to operate the course you are booking with GB£5,000,000.00 Third Party Liability for “ON yacht” incidents. All incidents that occur “OFF yacht”, such as water activities and excursions ashore are not covered and you are recommended to take out Personal Travel Insurance to ensure that you are covered for these activities. Please check with your card issuer if cancellation insurance is offered when paying by credit card.

Q: Are there age limits?
A: The RYA set age limits as follows:
Competent Crew – no minimum / Day Skipper – 14 / Coastal Skipper – 17 / Yachtmaster Offshore – 18.
However at Miramar Sailing School we prefer:
Under 15 – must be part of a group of family and friends occupying a yacht solely / 16 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent or appointed chaperone / Single students 18+.

Yacht Racing

We have answered some of the most commonly asked questions below. However, if you have a query that is not covered here, please contact us and we will be delighted to respond.

 
Q. What happens if my booked yacht does not race?
A. There are many variables in sailing, not least technical failure, or weather conditions. If we are unable to provide your spot on the booked yacht, we will endeavor to place you on an alternative yacht, or refund your payment as you choose.

Q. What happens if I am unable to race?
A. Our cancellation clauses vary with each yacht. You are strongly advised to check out the booking contract we offer prior to signing or paying a deposit. In all cases concerning cancellation we strongly recommend you take out Holiday & Cancellation Insurance before your trip.

Q. Do I need Insurance?
A. In addition to the Holiday & Cancellation Insurance mentioned above, it is recommended you also take out insurance for racing, medical issues and loss or theft of possessions.

Q. Do I need any previous experience?
A. This is always useful as it means we shall be able to race more competitively. However, all our yachts have a professional skipper on board who will take responsibility for training in the first one or two days of our Charter Package.

Q. Is accommodation on the yacht included?
A. Where possible yes, but it is allocated on a “1st come, 1st served” booking basis. Some of our yachts require more crew than there is accommodation for, in which case late bookers will need to find alternative accommodation.

Q. Is provisioning included?
A. This depends on the yacht and event. Full provisions are provided on Offshore Events.

Q. Is travel to and from the yacht included?
A. No. It is up to you to make your way to the embarkation location. We do offer travel and accommodation packages but these are on a bespoke basis and charter fees will reflect these accordingly.

Q. Who will I be sailing with?
A. There will definitely be one of our professional and experienced skippers on board, and subject to the event, he/she may be supported by a first mate. Other crewmembers come from all walks of life; with different levels of experience. Generally there is a balance in gender, and an eclectic mix of nationalities.

Q. Can I book a single berth?
A. Single berth bookings are available on some yachts, in some events. We are racing to win and need full crew compliments to give us the best chance of achieving this. Single berth enquiries, for those yachts seeking whole yacht charter only, are offered a place on our reserve list. If, as the event approaches, we still feel we need to increase the crew, places will be offered on a “1st come, 1st served” basis. We usually always offer single berth places on our Mile & Experience Building Passages.

Q: How do I book?
A: Simply email or call us. We operate a “1st come, 1st served” booking policy. To secure your booking a 15% deposit is required. Payment can be made by Visa/Mastercard or Wire Transfer. Bank charges will apply. Once payment is cleared we will confirm your booking and all other details by e-mail. Balances are paid not less than 30 days prior to the date of you joining the yacht.