An overnight yacht stay may not be your first idea for a romantic overnight stay but let me try and persuade you to think otherwise. Recently my wife and I had the opportunity to experience the Romantic Overnight Luxury Yacht Experience featured in Break Loose.
We were sailing on a Friday evening and arrived around 3.30pm, it’s mid autumn so we expected the night to be a bit nippy and brought clothes to suit. The marina where we boarded our yacht was the d’Albora Marina in beautiful Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, right next to the CYCA (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia), home to the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The d’Albora Marina has a nice little cafe so you can have a quick snack or coffee if you arrive early. Parking is not great around this area, but we were able to find overnight parking on New Beach Road next to Rushcutters Bay Park. I think it would be more difficult to find parking on a weekend. There is overnight parking at the Vibe Hotel nearby so it’s worth contacting them directly.
On arrival at the marina we checked in with our hosts and met George, our skipper for the charter. George has a full masters ticket and was a very experienced sailor. What is really nice about this sailing experience is that it isn’t just a drop off at a random mooring for the night, we actually get to do some really fun sailing on Sydney Harbour for a couple of hours. With the sun setting behind you this can be a truly special experience. George took us to our yacht for the night, a Defour 36 Performance. A very slick and luxurious yacht with plenty of room inside to stretch out and relax. We stowed our bags below and headed on deck where George was preparing the yacht to depart. After a quick safety briefing we motored out of the marina past some very, very expensive yachts and cruisers. Once clear of other boats we pointed the yacht into the wind and raised the mainsail for some gentle sailing down towards the harbour bridge. Once under the bridge and into Lavender Bay George positioned the yacht for that iconic photo op! A photo of my wife and I with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House positioned perfectly behind us. George has done this before!
We then sailed past Goat Island to Barangaroo and Johnston Bay and into Pyrmont Bay. George was pointing out the landmarks as he allowed me to sail the yacht – that was brilliant fun. George seemed very proud as he was telling us about the young couples who join the charter just to get engaged. Yes, this trip would be an ideal way of asking someone special to get married.
It’s now time to head back up the harbour towards Sydney heads. We unfurled the headsail and sailed back up under the Harbour Bridge past Kirribilli and Circular Quay, the Opera House and its regular guest, a New Zealand Fur Seal who has been dropping by for the past 3 years.
We then headed past Garden Island and Taronga Zoo. Two large war ships sailed past us as George and I had a good chat about the Sow and Pigs reef that is located in the middle of the harbour. We sailed up to the reef and past it, heading to Sydney Heads. With the sun setting we turn around and headed back to our mooring at Taylors Bay. With a number of moorings to chose from George picked the one that would provide the most comfort for us.
Once we tied up George showed us around the yacht, where the toilet and shower was, how the lights and radio worked, the stove and more importantly, the gourmet food that was waiting for us. Then George left us alone. We opened a bottle of white wine and sat on deck and listened to the sounds the harbour was making. It was very peaceful. With soft music playing we settled down to have our seafood dinner. The food was wonderful and below is what was waiting for us…
- Organic baguette, butter and dip Le Dauphin (French double cream brie).
- Poached Australian king prawns with chipotle mayonnaise
- Tasmanian smoked salmon, cornichons, capers, dill and lemon
- Slow roast tomatoes with thyme, toasted almonds, marinated Meredith feta and balsamic
- Valrhona chocolate brownies with almond and cranberry
- Breakfast consisted of yoghurt, piece of seasonal fruit and banana bread, juice, still water, coffee and tea
There is a charcuterie and vegetarian menu option available and for an extra charge you can have beer, wine or champagne added to the menu. You are allowed to bring aboard wine and snacks, and we did that.
After dinner we relaxed reading and listening to music and fell asleep to the sound of water lapping against the hull of the yacht and the gentle rocking. The next morning we had our breakfast and sit on deck watching the harbour wake up, it was a Saturday morning. Kayakers paddled past on their morning exercise. A local rocked up to their boat to do some work on it. All in all it was a very relaxing morning. We even fed the local school of “large” Bream with what was left of our baguette.
We opted for a late checkout so around 11am an Eastsail employee arrived to take us off the mooring and back to the d’Albora Marina. We motored back and thoroughly enjoyed the trip, watching the other yachts and boats on the harbour.
We had an absolute wonderful time. You don’t need to be a sailor to get the most of this experience. George never pushed us to do anything we weren’t comfortable with. Yes, we had a bit of a sailing background but I wouldn’t say we were experts. If you’ve never sailed I think you’ll find the sailing component a lot of fun. But you can opt to sit back and just enjoy the experience, George is quite happy to sail the yacht.
To sum up, the yacht was very big, clean and comfortable making this a very special romantic overnight stay. The food was wonderful and there was certainly enough of it. The service was terrific and the people at all touch points were very friendly.
I think it’s time to head back to try some sailing lessons over summer!
If you are wanting to find out more about this wonderful overnight yacht charter experience click here: Romantic Overnight Luxury Yacht Experience