Is a flotilla the best way to test out a sailing trip? One expert shares his insights

Keith Harvey, from Sunsail, has the lowdown on flotilla trips and why they're such a success. Plus, his highlights from the routes around Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik is renowned for its old town, as well as it surrounding cliffs that afford spectacular views of the ocean. 

Photograph by Getty Images
By Tamsin Wressell
Published 9 Jun 2022, 22:00 BST

What is a flotilla trip?

Basically, it’s a sailing trip where you can really relax and enjoy yourself. A group of yachts will sail together, with professionals there to help out along the way with advice on the weather, the mooring, the local restaurants and so forth. A flotilla offers the opportunity to join a fleet where the skipper, host and technician are there to guide you — as well as host fun activities in the evenings.

How is a flotilla trip organised?

There are three main people who are key to a flotilla trip: the skipper, who’s there to help with the sailing element, as well as anchoring and mooring; the host, to help with the social side of things like booking restaurants, letting you know where things are and what's happening that day; and the technician, in case anything breaks down on your boat. That set up allows you to get in the boat, with your license and your crew, and just enjoy the ride.

What can travellers expect?

Mornings start with a briefing where travellers are told the best places to go snorkelling, which historic sites to visit, and where to try the best local cuisine. Assistance is also never far away, as the crew is there to support you leaving the dock and when you moor up for the night. In the evenings, you can enjoy a group meal with the other members in the fleet, but if that’s not your thing, you’re free to explore the islands. I plan fun onshore activities, too, like wine-tasting in Dubrovnik and cocktail competitions on board the boat; each yacht has to create a different beverage and it tends to turn into a big social gathering.

Sunsail invented the concept of a flotilla trip in 1974.

Photograph by Sunsail

What activities do you particularly enjoy organising?

There are a lot of games for kids, which are a lot of fun to arrange. Flotilla holidays are very family friendly, so we really provide for that; some flotillas have a dedicated kids’ coordinator on board to help keep the children happy and entertained with treasure hunts, games and competitions, allowing adults to sit back and relax a bit more.

What do people tend to love most on your trips?

There are two things that people really love, I find. The first thing is the peace of mind knowing they can just relax and enjoy themselves, because they're always going to be looked after by professionals who know the area. The second is the social aspect. I’ve seen so many people bump into travellers they’ve met on previous flotilla trips, so friendships are reignited and it immediately becomes a big, happy social gathering.

What are some of the hidden gems on the Adriatic sailing route?

With beautiful beaches and quiet coves, Croatia’s coast is perfect for sailing. It’s a hidden gem from start to finish. We’ve got the famous blue caves in Croatia, but we’ve got other caves, too, that not many people know about. I know the area like the back of my hand and I love taking visitors off the beaten track; it’s places like the beautiful hidden green cave that make a trip even more memorable.

For more information, visit sunsail.co.uk

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