Why Should You Gift Someone a Sailing Experience this Christmas?


Sailing Christmas gift experiences

Christmas shopping can be a stressful, last-minute experience where you throw money at gifts you’re not sure your family and friends will like… Or it can be a fun, creative process where you look for new, exciting gifts to thrill and delight your lucky loved ones. If you’re trying to think of one or two interesting Christmas gift ideas, we’d like to make a case for why sailing experience vouchers can make for excellent gifts! Be sure to check out our Christmas Sailing Gift Vouchers for the ideal gift this year!

Why Buy an Experience Instead of a Physical Gift?

First off, we’d like to make a case for why experiences can make better gifts than physical objects. There has been an upward trend in recent years of people buying experiences as gifts for Christmas. There are lots of good reasons for this, and we hope you’ll be convinced by a few of these…

1. Experiences are better value for money

A study in the Journal of Positive Psychology back in 2014 showed that people often assume that physical gifts are better value for money, but that they almost never are when you measure the happiness or satisfaction levels.

2. Experiences encourage people to be sociable

Sailing experiences for Christmas gifts

A sailing experience makes for a great Christmas gift!

Unless you buy someone a spa trip for one, they’ll almost certainly share the experience with someone. An experience shared will always be more enjoyable and more memorable as the memories can be recalled together. Talking about an experience you shared with someone is the best way to consolidate a memory.

3. Create great memories that last years

A physical gift may last longer than the day- or week-long experience gift you get someone, but it will be forgotten about over time in a way that a truly great experience never will! Give your loved one an unforgettable experience and they’ll remember it for the rest of their life.

4. An experience will stand out against other physical gifts

Another great reason to choose an experience gift over a material gift is that it will stand out from the other gifts. Even though experience gifts are getting more popular, they are still nowhere near as popular as material gifts. This means that your experience gift will seem more unique than the other gifts, offering your loved one something they probably didn’t expect.

5. With an experience gift, you’re also giving someone anticipation

A huge part of giving gifts is the excitement of opening a present and discovering what it is. With experiences, the excitement carries on as they look forward to the experience in the future. Sure, they can’t use the present as soon as they receive it, but their anticipation can build for months and months as they get more excited about their up-coming experience!

Why is a Sailing Experience a Great Gift?

Sailing experiences Christmas gift

Flamingo Yachts have a wide range of vessels for the perfect Christmas gift experience!

Hopefully, we’ve convinced a few of you that an experience can be a better gift than a physical object. Now we’d like to explain why a sailing experience can be a great gift! Remember that you aren’t just buying someone a trip on a boat; you’re buying them a sailing experience where they are involved in the movement and journey of the yacht. This element of participation transforms the gift from simply a pleasant trip into a personal adventure that can be as active or relaxing as you choose. The reasons why sailing experiences make good gifts completely depend on the person you’re buying the gift for…

Buying a Sailing Experience for Someone Who Used to Sail

If you buy a voucher for one of our yacht charters for someone who used to sail when they were younger, you’re helping them reconnect with their youth, encouraging them to renew their old skills and tap into their childhood or teenage years. Lots of people sail when they’re at school or at university, then their busy work life gets in the way. Buying someone like this a sailing experience encourages them to take a trip down memory lane.

Buying a Sailing Experience for Someone Who Has Never Sailed

If you’re buying a sailing experience for someone who has never sailed before, you are giving them a push to try an incredibly freeing, immersive experience, unlike anything else. There’s something amazing about your first sailing adventure — and this goes double for anything on the West Coast of Scotland (where our fleet of yachts is based).

Buying a Sailing Experience for Someone Who Needs a Break

Perhaps the best person to buy a sailing experience for is anyone who is stressed with work, life, or other commitments. Buying a sailing experience or a voucher towards the end price encourages someone to actively decide to get away from their busy life and get out into nature and the elements. Sailing is a pretty challenging activity, so you have no time to check your emails or worry about anything else. There’s something wonderful about sailing that forces you to be mindful and live in the moment; all of this makes it the perfect way to de-stress.

Buying a Sailing Experience for Your Family

family sailing gift experience

Sailing can make for a brilliant family holiday!

Another great way to make the most of a sailing experience gift is to get it for your family. Sailing can make for a brilliant family holiday as it forces your family to work together and bond unlike any other activity. Children love to participate in activities with their parents, to be part of the group and to take on new responsibilities and learn new skills. A sailing holiday is sure to provide the whole family with memories they can cherish for the rest of their lives. If you’d like to figure out where you’d like to go with your family, you can check out our other blogs for some inspiration.

A Note About the Expense of a Sailing Gift Voucher

By its very nature, yacht charter, along with hiring a skipper (should you need one), is never really cheap. This means that buying someone an entire yacht charter gift experience might be way above your Christmas budget. Don’t fret, however, as you can simply buy them a voucher that they can subtract from the overall cost of chartering a yacht. This way, you make booking a sailing holiday much more affordable for them and you’re giving them a friendly push towards booking a trip you know they’ll enjoy!

We hope this blog has convinced most readers that experiences make for incredible gifts and that sailing holidays are particularly special experiences for a number of reasons. And if you have any questions for Flamingo Yacht Charters about our Christmas Sailing Gift Vouchers, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can also opt for other kinds of experiences as gifts: whisky tastings, spa days, rock climbing, cooking masterclasses, and so much more. Don’t just give the standard Christmas gifts this year; give people experiences instead!

Posted in: Updates

Flamingo Yacht Guide: Sailing and Exploring the Isle of Arran

Rosa Burn in Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran

Rosa Burn in Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran

Last month, we published a comprehensive West Coast of Scotland sailing guide on our blog. While we researched that piece, we included a small section about the Isle of Arran. However, it occurred to us that Arran was such an amazing place that it deserved its own Flamingo Yachts guide. That’s why we decided to offer some information and advice for anyone interested in sailing to and exploring this beautiful island.

Why Take a Sailing Holiday to Arran?

There is more than enough to do and see on Arran if you have no interest in sailing, but we think that sailing to and around an island gives you a better perspective than simply catching the ferry there. There’s something about finding your way to Arran on your own, about seeing its steep peaks in the distance that allows you to get a good idea of the island’s overall shape and character. In our view, any Scottish island holiday could be vastly improved by making it a chartered yacht adventure!

Setting off from Largs

Sailing to Arran: Brodick with Goatfell in the background

Sailing to Arran: Brodick with Goatfell in the background

Arran’s position on the West Coast of Scotland makes Flamingo’s base at Largs Yacht Haven the perfect starting point. Pick up your Flamingo yacht at Largs and sail 16 miles to Brodick on Arran or a little further to Lochranza. (But we’ll talk a little more about both Brodick and Lochranza later.) The West Coast of Scotland is famously rugged and beautiful, but one thing you may notice on this journey is that the Kintyre Peninsula to the west of Arran shelters the waters slightly from the worst winds and sea currents. So, expect clear sailing and beautiful vistas and you won’t be disappointed!

Why do They Refer to Arran as “Scotland in Miniature”?

The Isle of Arran is the seventh largest Scottish island and the largest island in the Firth of Clyde. Interestingly, Arran is split by the Highland Boundary Fault that cuts across the whole of Scotland, splitting it into the Highlands and the Lowlands. This means that the geography and geology of Arran looks like and behaves like a smaller version of Scotland. Arran is truly a geologist’s dream location, but even if you don’t know all of the names of the rocks, it’s still a fascinating place to explore. Explore Arran’s Highlands and the Lowlands and see if anywhere feels similar to somewhere you know on the Scottish mainland.

Visiting Brodick by Yacht

Brodick Castle

Brodick Castle

Your first stop might be the town of Brodick. You’ll find moorings at Brodick, which is situated in the middle, on the east side of Arran. This is a brilliant place to moor your yacht and explore the island as Brodick is Arran’s main town, so you’ll find plenty of local pubs, restaurants, and cafes to help you get a taste of Arran. There are also plenty of shops and other sights to explore.

Brodick is famous for its castle and grounds, which you’ll find to the north of the town. Brodick Castle was once the seat of the Dukes of Hamilton and the area has plenty of history that has been expertly collected, collated, and curated by The National Trust. The castle looks more like a miniature palace than a fort or a smaller motte-and-bailey castle. Brodick Castle was the seat of one of the most powerful families in Scottish royalty, so its grandeur is to be expected. Be sure to take lots of pictures! You can find out much more about Brodick Castle on the National Trust website.

Visiting Lochranza by Yacht

A pair of red deer grazing near Lochranza Castle

A pair of red deer grazing near Lochranza Castle

Lochranza is an idyllic little seaside town on the north coast of Arran. If you like, you can sail to Lochranza first, instead of visiting Brodick first. The village gets its name from the small sea loch on its shore: Loch Ranza. Ferries come to Lochranza from Claonaig on the Scottish mainland, but other than people arriving by ferry, Lochranza is less busy than the bigger town of Brodick.

Lochranza is a famously good place to spot red deer. They even make their way onto the golf course or the beach, on occasion. You’ll also find plenty of grey seals and otters in its bay, so a trip to Lochranza is a must for wildlife enthusiasts.

There is also a small castle at Lochranza (image above), it not open to the public as it is more of a ruin these days but it is great for a photo opportunity. There is something undeniably charming about visiting castle ruins on a faraway Scottish island, imagining what it might have looked like when it was built hundreds of years ago. When you delve a little deeper into the castle’s history, you’ll discover that the castle started out as hall house in the late 13th century and was gradually built up over the years. You can find out more about Lochranza Castle here.

You can also visit the Arran Whisky Distillery, just to the south of Lochranza. This is Arran’s only whisky distillery and it offers a fantastic tour of their distillation process. Learn how Arran single malt and Arran Gold (a creamy whisky liqueur) are made, then have a free sample afterwards. You will need to book your tour in advance, so visit the official Isle of Arran Whisky Distillery website.

Climbing Goatfell

Shot taken from North Goatfell

Shot taken from North Goatfell

After visiting the different charming towns and villages of Arran, you may have noticed the huge mountain range looming over the island. The highest peak on this range is Goatfell, and after a few days of looking at it you may be inclined to climb it… At 2,867ft, it is just under Munro height. Goat Fell isn’t an incredibly difficult mountain to climb; it’s definitely more of a hike than an expedition. Stock up on supplies and put on your best hiking boots and expect a hike of between 3 and 5 hours depending on the conditions and your walking speed. The stunning views of the Firth of Clyde, the Isles of Jura and Islay, and Ben Lomond in the distance make the climb more than worth the effort. Just make sure you set off early enough to ensure you can get back before sunset.

We hope the guide has inspired one or two readers to take a sailing trip to the Isle of Arran in the future. It’s an incredible place and arriving there by yacht, and sailing around its shores, is the best way to get the most out of this stunning island. If you have any questions about sailing or about our fleet of Scottish yachts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Start planning your next big adventure with Flamingo Yacht Charters.

Posted in: Updates

Sailing Guide: The Most Useful Knots and When to Use Them


Here at Flamingo Yachts, we charter yachts from our Largs headquarters.  We talk a lot about the beautiful Scottish coastline our customers can explore on board our yachts, but we don’t always discuss the more practical aspects of sailing. Even though skippers on our yachts must hold relevant RYA or equivalent practical skipper qualifications, it’s still important for the crew to be safe and prepared. This is why we think that anyone else setting foot on a yacht should have a few good sailing knots under their belt. This guide will detail the most useful knots for sailing, explaining what they are and when to use them. In this guide, we’ll discuss the following knots:

  • Reef knots
  • The Bowline
  • Figure-of-eight knot
  • Rolling hitch

Helpful note: while we’ve tried to explain how to tie each knot as clearly as possible, it’s difficult to follow a knot-tying tutorial without visual aids or a video. If you need additional assistance, we highly recommend taking a look on the Royal Yachting Association YouTube channel.

Reef Knots

Useful knots - reef knot

A Reef Knot

The reef knot is perhaps the most well-known knot; it’s very strong and incredibly useful. You can use a reef knot to bind a rope to an object by tying together two ends of the rope. This is a very strong knot and you tie it using the following method:

  1. Place the rope’s two ends parallel to each other.
  2. Cross the ropes, placing one rope over the other, then under it, then over again.
  3. Take the two ends of the rope and cross them over and under each other again, in the same direction as in step 2.
  4. Pull both ends tight.

Often, when there’s too much wind, you’ll use a reef knot to tie a sail in place after you’ve reduced the size of the sail by “reefing” it. Many people use a reef knot to connect two separate pieces of rope together, but if these ropes are different sizes, there’s a good chance that they will slip apart, so it’s best not to use a reef knot for this purpose.

The Bowline

Useful knots - bowline knot

Bowline Knot

The bowline is a clever knot used to create a fixed, secure loop on the end of a piece of rope. This fixed loop is useful for a range of sailing-related tasks, such as fastening a mooring line or making a large loop to use to rescue someone in the water. Make the loop big enough and the person can put their arms through it and you can pull them out of the water. The bowline is also sometimes called a boiling knot and you tie it using the following method:

  1. Create a small loop in the rope, leaving enough spare rope to make the larger loop of rope you want to achieve with the finished knot.
  2. Feed the tail end of the rope through the small loop you made in step 1.
  3. Take the tail end under then over the standing rope (the part you aren’t moving).
  4. Then feed the tail end through the loop you made in step 1.
  5. Pull tight.

Figure-of-Eight Knot

Useful knots - figure of eight knot

A Figure of Eight Knot

The figure-of-eight knot is great for stopping the end of a rope sliding out when you want to secure a jib sheet — or for securing anything else, for that matter. It’s essentially a large knot that is easy to tie and easy to untie.  To tie a figure-of-eight knot, use the following method:

  1. Take the last ten inches or so of the end of a rope.
  2. Make a small loop.
  3. Pass the end of the rope behind the rope at the bottom of the loop.
  4. Then thread the end of the rope through the loop.
  5. Pull tight.

The figure-of-eight knot is simple enough that you may even be able to understand how to tie it just by looking at the knot itself, so study the image above carefully.

Rolling Hitch

Useful knots - rolling hitch knot

Rolling Hitch Knot

The last knot we’re looking at is a rolling hitch. This knot is ideal for fastening rope to other ropes or poles, and it’s also great for pulling/lifting lengths of rope or poles. There are countless useful applications for a rolling hitch in sailing as it’s perhaps the best knot for fastening a rope to another rope, or to any kind of pole or rod. It’s also great for tying your fenders on before you moor up at a pontoon or pier. You can tie a rolling hitch by using the following method:

  1. Take the end of the rope and pass it over the pole, rope, or rail of your choice.
  2. Wrap it around the pole/rope (or whatever you’re using) once more.
  3. Take the end of the rope diagonally across the knot then down, under the pole/rope.
  4. Wrapping the end of the rope under the pole/rope, pull it up, through the diagonal line you made in step 3.
  5. Take both ends of the rope and pull tight.

We hope this guide has helped you understand some of the main sailing knots a little better — how to tie them and when to use them. Please read more about us if you’re thinking about chartering one of our yachts and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!

Posted in: Updates

The West Coast of Scotland Whisky Sailing Guide


Whisky Sailing Guide

Here at Flamingo Yacht Charters, we write regular blogs that we hope will inspire readers to hire one of our yachts and sail around Scotland’s majestic coastline. Anywhere you sail in Scotland will be incredible, and Largs Yacht Haven is perfectly positioned for anyone planning to explore Scotland’s West coast. If you are a whisky lover, you are really in luck as this part of Scotland is littered with whisky distilleries that make Scotland’s West Coast perfect for a whisky-centric sailing adventure. With this in mind, we’ve put together a comprehensive whisky sailing guide to help you plan your trip!

Eastern Kyle of Bute Scotland west coast whisky sailing guide

Eastern Kyle of Bute (Arran in the distance)

*A note about the stopping order of this whisky sailing trip

Most people are attracted to sailing because it offers absolute freedom to explore at their own pace. So, rather than offering a strict itinerary of stops, we’ve given you a suggestion for a trip that could last around 7 days and highlights some of the best whiskies and scenic spots along the West Coast. We leave it to you to use this to plot your own course and lengthen or shorten your journey at your leisure.

From Largs to the Crinan Canal

Aerial view of Crinan - Scotland west coast whisky sailing guide

Aerial view of Crinan

If you are planning to head to the far-flung distilleries of the Western Isles we would suggest heading for the Crinan canal first. Once you have picked up your yacht from our base at Largs Yacht Haven and familiarised yourself with your vessel, you should head northwest, up the Firth of Clyde towards Portavadie, Tarbert, and Ardrishaig. This is a beautiful part of Scotland with plenty to see and do on the way if you have the time. In Tarbert, you can stroll around the old fishing village, visit a 14th century castle that was once inhabited by Scotland’s national hero, Robert the Bruce or just head to the pub. In Portavadie, you can relax in the spa or rent bikes or even just walk along the peaceful coastal paths before enjoying some locally sourced food on board or in the restaurant at the marina resort.

You may wish to travel straight through the Crinan canal from Ardrishaig or you could choose to stop off in quaint Cairnbaan on the way to explore the area and get a bite to eat or moor up for the night.

Open swing bridge on the Crinan Canal, between Crinan and Ardrishaig Scotland west coast whisky sailing guide

Open swing bridge on the Crinan Canal, between Crinan and Ardrishaig

Travelling through the Crinan Canal is a joy. This is a supremely tranquil part of the world. There are few things as calming as crawling slowly along the canal in a yacht; it’s an excuse to take things as easy as possible and just take in the views as you dream of the distilleries that await you. Once you reach the other side, you can enjoy the beautiful seaside town of Crinan. If you have enough time, it’s well worth taking a walk through Crinan Wood and Knapdale Forest.

The Isle of Jura

The Jura coast Scotland west coast whisky sailing guide

The Jura coast

Now the true whisky part of this journey begins! As you exit the Crinan canal, you’ll see the Inner Hebrides looming in front of you. This amazing archipelago is home to many of Scotland’s most important whisky distilleries and to some of Scotland’s most beautiful islands including Islay, Mull, Rum, Jura and Skye.

Jura, with its jagged peaks rising up from the sea, is the first stop on your recommended route and its full-bodied whisky will be first in your tumbler. Jura whisky is famous all around the World for its nuanced notes of sweetness and smokiness. There is only one distillery on the island and it runs tours all-year-round, but you will need to book in advance.

Once you’ve sampled the whisky, take the time to explore the island of Jura. It’s a beautiful place with its own very special character. If you are a keen hill-walker, you could take a hike up the three imposing mountains that make up the Paps of Jura, or just relax and have another dram instead while you enjoy the surroundings and chat with the locals!


Stunning Islay coast Scotland west coast whisky sailing guide

Stunning Islay coast

Leaving Jura, we would recommend that you head for Port Ellen on Islay. It is the ideal place to moor up before visiting the myriad of distilleries on Islay. This wee island is a whisky lover’s paradise with 8 working distilleries to choose from including some of the best-known whisky names in the world; Ardbeg, Bowmore, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Isla and Kilchoman.

The whiskies of Islay are best known for their smoky, salty flavours which come from the water and the island peat that is kissed by the seaspray before entering the traditional distilling process. The distilleries are all very welcoming and make for fascinating visits. If you are a distillery aficionado, it is worth noting that on the island, only Bowmore, Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Kilchoman have their own malting floors.

In terms of taste, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig are the “big peaty boys” for those who like a punchy, smoky-flavoured robust whisky that makes you instantly feel like you are sitting by a fire in a cosy cottage. Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain, Caol Isla & Bowmore are slightly less smoky on the palate and have lighter mossy notes evoking thoughts of the sea and the greenery of the island.  Kilchoman is an interesting farm distillery which opened in 2004 and they even grow their own barley which goes into their whisky production resulting in a dram that is said to taste of dried fruits, dark chocolate and peat smoke.

When you have completed your whisky mission, Port Charlotte is a lovely little seaside town to wander around before you head off to sea again.

A selection of Scottish whisky Scotland west coast whisky sailing guide

A selection of Scottish whisky

The Mull of Kintyre

Lighthouse on Mull Scottish whisky Scotland west coast whisky sailing guide

Lighthouse on Mull

After Islay, if you are heading south again, we would recommend sailing around the Mull of Kintyre to Campbeltown (weather and tide permitting). Perhaps sing a verse or two of Paul McCartney’s 1977 hit song ‘Mull of Kintyre’ as you go! Campbeltown has plenty of restaurants and shops for you to choose from if you need to re-stock.

Although Campbeltown once claimed to be the whisky capital of the world with over 30 distilleries in its heyday, it now only boasts three: Spingbank, Glen Scotia, and Glen Gyle.

Taste-wise you will find Springbank to have a strong, peaty, smoky flavour with a hint of the sea. Glen Scotia is lighter and fresher tasting with mossy, grassy notes whilst the Kilkerran whiskies which are produced by the Glen Gyle distillery tend to be lightly peated with fruity notes.

If you want a wee break from distillery hunting, you could take a wander up to An Ceardach Garden. This used to be a blacksmith’s cottage with five acres of abandoned land, but several local gardeners have transformed this space into an incredible garden.

The Isle of Arran

The Highlands of Arran Scottish whisky Scotland west coast whisky sailing guide

The Highlands of Arran

Casting of your lines or hauling up your anchor at Campbeltown, we would recommend that you now head to the Isle of Arran for some final whisky tasting at Lochranza before you head home to Largs Yacht Haven. Heading into the anchorage at Lochranza you will feel dwarfed by the mountains that surround you as you pick your spot for the day or evening near the beautiful castle and within spitting distance of the Isle of Arran Distillery. This distillery is home to Arran’s first legal whisky distillery for 160 years and it’s one of the newest single malt whiskies in Scotland. The friendly staff at the distillery and visitor centre and the interesting array of malts being produced here make it well work a visit.

Arran is often referred to “Scotland in miniature” as it offers a little bit of every type of Scottish scenery within its boundaries. It is also a source of fascination for geologists as it is home to many types of rare and ancient rock formations and types.

If you have a bit more time to spare before you head back to Largs, sail round to Brodick and visit the impressive castle and gardens or climb Goatfell before doing a spot of holiday souvenir shopping for your loved ones at James’s Chocolate shop, the Arran Brewery, the Arran Cheese Shop or Arran Aromatics.

Lochranza at night Scottish whisky Scotland west coast whisky sailing guide

Lochranza at night

We hope this guide has inspired a few readers to start planning a West Coast sailing trip. It’s perfect for whisky lovers, but it’s also just a beautiful, tranquil part of the world. If you would like to know more about our range of yachts, please feel free to get in touch. You can start planning your Scottish West Coast Whisky trip today!

Posted in: Updates

Why Choose a Sailing trip for a Corporate Day Out?


Many of our customers are businesses (both SMEs and large corporations) looking for the perfect team-building activity. Sailing is a fantastic way to work on communication skills and to bond with co-workers you might not normally spend time with outside of work hours. It’s also worth noting that getting out into nature, moving along Scotland’s incredible coastline, is guaranteed to reinvigorate and inspire your workforce. In this blog post, we’d like to make a case for choosing a sailing trip with Flamingo Yacht Charters for your next corporate day out.


Sailing is the Perfect Team-Building Exercise

Team-building exercises have been incredibly popular in recent years, and many big companies are strong advocates of their benefits. The idea is relatively simple: give your colleagues/employees a fun but challenging experience that encourages them to work together and bond as a team. Sailing is the perfect team-building exercise, for three main reasons:

Sailing requires clear communication

A team can’t function well without good communication, and sailing a yacht is impossible without good communication. Even the simple act of changing direction requires clear communication as there are several different components of the yacht that have to be coordinated and moved in unison. Without good communication, the yacht won’t go where you want it to, and the unique challenge sailing creates helps develop stronger communication lines between co-workers.


Sailing requires a clear chain of command

This point can also be seen as an extension of clear communication. When sailing, everyone needs to perform their specific role, and this usually necessitates taking orders from someone in charge — someone looking at all of the parts of the yacht and what they need to do as a team. In a way, this is also very true of the business world. If you choose sailing for your corporate day out, you can either have a manager serve as the captain of the yacht or you can rotate this role, giving each team member an opportunity to practice their leadership and delegation skills.

The challenge of sailing bonds a team together

Sailing can be difficult. It isn’t always difficult, but it certainly can be. The challenges of working together on a yacht can push a team closer together as they help each other out and interact more closely than they are used to in an office environment. The sometimes not-so-simple act of sailing a yacht is incredibly satisfying and rewarding once everything starts to work. Sailing together can give colleagues/employees a strong sense of camaraderie that they perhaps couldn’t get from office work alone.

Getting Out in Nature Is Good for Your Health


Restored 13th century Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull

Team building and improving communication skills are obviously important for any big company, but there are other valuable reasons to choose a sailing trip for your next big corporate day out. Perhaps the best reason is this: being outside, in nature, is incredibly good for our mental and physical health. There’s no point in having a brilliant team of professionals if they are too stressed or anxious to perform to their best abilities.

There is plenty of evidence that being outside, in nature, is good for us, and this article roughly summarises many of the benefits. For instance, a Dutch study found that being out in nature, performing repetitive tasks, can improve your stress levels far better than other leisure activities. It’s also worth noting that fresh air improves blood pressure and being outside, exposed to sunlight, can help normalise your sleeping patterns.

In addition to all of these points above, being surrounded by beautiful scenery can be immensely pleasurable and it can give us a strong sense of wellbeing. That’s why the incredible locations along the west coast of Scotland provide the best backdrop for your sailing trip. Scotland frequently reaches the top spot in international polls asking people where in the world they believe has the most beautiful scenery. Competing with New Zealand, Canada, and Iceland, Scotland has some of the most stunning views and landscapes and its jagged west coast is guaranteed to take your breath away.

We hope this blog post has convinced a few readers to make their next big corporate day out a sailing trip! It’s an incredibly rewarding experience and Scotland has one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Take a look at our yacht charter service or get in touch if you have any questions. We are happy to work with you to create the perfect corporate experience for your team.

Posted in: Updates

Early Bird Special – Book Your 2019 Sailing Holiday Today


Book your 2019 sailing holiday with us by 31st October 2018 and we’ll give you it at this year’s prices PLUS we will offer you a whopping 10% off on top!

Summer sailing

You would be crazy to miss out on this amazing offer.

BOOK YOUR YACHT NOW – Call Lisa on 01475 686088

Posted in: Special Offers

Three Stunning Locations to Sail in Scotland this Summer


Scotland is repeatedly placed at the top of travel guides and list articles as the most beautiful country in the World, beating Iceland, New Zealand, Italy, and Canada. Scotland’s rugged landscape and beautiful coast has a wildness that captures and inspires the hearts of millions of people around the World and we think sailing a yacht around the coast is one of the best ways to explore the country. This guide will cover three of the most stunning locations to sail in Scotland this summer!

Sail Around the Mull of Kintyre

Scotland’s coast is jagged and irregular, making it a joy to sail around and explore. From the water, you can get a better idea of the geography of the coast and the land beyond it; the view from the water offers a perspective that you just can’t find on land. This is perfectly illustrated when sailing around the Mull of Kintyre, the ideal way to start your sailing holiday when you pick up one of our yachts from Largs.

Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, a stunning place to sail in Scotland!

The Mull of Kintyre

The Kintyre peninsula is a large peninsula stretching along the southwest coast of Scotland. When you sail around it, you can enjoy views of parts of the Scottish coast in two or three directions. From the Mull of Kintyre, if you look westwards on a clear day, you’ll even see Northern Ireland’s Antrim Coast. It’s pretty incredible to be able to see and admire the Scottish and Irish coastlines at the same time!


Easily visible from our base at Largs, and well worth a visit, the Isle of Arran is the largest island on the Firth of Clyde. Arran’s coastline is beautiful and we would recommend taking a sail around at least part of the island before mooring up and exploring on foot. Arran looks and feels as though it’s part of the Hebrides, but the Kintyre Peninsula cuts it off from the rest of this island chain.

Isle of Arran in Scotland, a stunning sailing location

Isle of Arran

Arran sometimes referred to as ‘Scotland in miniature’ is a fascinating place to visit, with an interesting mix of low and high-level terrain, wild landscapes and pretty villages. Its recorded history reaches back as far as the Neolithic era and Arran’s rock formations have interested geologists for decades. A dinosaur footprint has even been found on the island!

Arran’s natural beauty never ceases to impress. The hills, mountains, forests, lochs, beaches, and rivers all combine to ensure that Arran offers the complete package and its scenery is truly stunning.

Kyles of Bute

The Kyles of Bute is the area of water between the north of Bute and the Cowal peninsula. This part of Scotland is one of the country’s National Scenic Areas and is protected from any developments or activities that could impact on its stunning natural beauty. The Kyles of Bute have been a huge tourist spot since the late 19th century when people would visit on a Clyde steamer from Glasgow.

Kyles of Bute on Scotland's West Coast - a stunning sailing location

The Kyles of Bute

Cruising the Kyles of Bute, you can expect to see some incredible scenery and wildlife, especially birdlife. Look out for oystercatchers, eider ducks, guillemots and herons — to name only a few. The Kyles of Bute are best seen from the water, sailing through the coastline and spotting things you’d never see by land.  And if you decide to step onto dry land, you can enjoy a meal at one of the shoreside hotels or take a walk along part of the “West Island Way” on part of the western shore of East Kyle. You’ll never be short of things to see and do around here.

That’s all we have time for today. We hope we have inspired you to sail around Scotland this summer. Whether you visit Arran, the Kyles of Bute, or around the Mull of Kintyre, you’re bound to have an incredible time. If you’d like to organise your next Scottish sailing trip, take a few minutes to browse our fleet of yachts. We offer bareboat, corporate and skippered charters, so no matter what your level of experience, we’ll be able to offer a yachting experience tailored to your needs. If you have any questions about our yachts, hire rates, or any of the locations mentioned on this blog, please get in touch. Plan your next big Scottish adventure today!

Posted in: Updates

Yacht Charters: A Day in the Life of a Skipper


Spending your holiday on the seas is the ultimate getaway. It’s just you, your crew, the boat and the waves. If you are planning to charter a yacht – here is what a day in the life of your skipper might look like.

Up with the larks

The skipper is the person that has ultimate control of the vessel, so they will usually be the first up, preparing for the day of sailing ahead.

Check the weather and the tides

First on the list, after a coffee perhaps in the glorious fresh air on deck, is to check the weather. The weather, and in particular the wind, will determine the itinerary for the day.

Landscape view out across Iona and Mull

Fine weather on Iona and Mull, Inner Hebrides, Scotland.

Check the itinerary and choose the sailing route

Most of the time, you’ll have already set your itinerary, but the skipper will regularly check the forecast to make sure that the plans still suit what the weather has in store. If you need to make a change to the itinerary, then the skipper will do that before you set sail. One of the rules of sailing is to keep an open mind as things do change.

Loch Fyne, Inveraray.

Loch Fyne, Inveraray – one of the most popular sailing destinations on the Scottish west coast.

Check the boat, any supplies and fuel

Before you set sail for the next destination, the skipper will check fuel and any key supplies – along with the crew and whoever has been nominated as first mate. They will also usually check the engine and oil levels etc. When you are chartering a yacht, things are always in very good condition, but the best skippers understand the need to check.

Isle of Arran landscape on a sunny day - yacht charters

Sea coast on the Isle of Arran – perfect place to explore on your yacht charter.

Set sail for your preferred destination

When the boat has been checked, the weather studied and the supplies are in place – then it’s time to set sail for the next destination on your holiday cruise. Whilst the boat is sailing, the skipper is ultimately in charge of everyone’s safety on board and navigating the boat successfully to the next destination. The skipper will be juggling navigation, maritime traffic rules as you pass other boats, safety, and most elements of marine engineering and meteorology. The skipper is a busy person! It’s just as well sailing also involves a lot of relaxation too.

Skye Bridge, Isle of Skye, Western Isles

Over the sea to Skye – is this your preferred destination?

Moor the yacht in time for the afternoon stop

A typical day on board will involve a morning sail to a picturesque bay in time for lunch. The afternoon’s sailing itinerary is likely to be built around making it to the next holiday spot where you can  choose to swim (if you are brave enough), explore the coast, play golf, visit a distillery, tour a castle, spot some wildlife before stopping for dinner with a waterfront view & perhaps spending the evening at the local bar or socialising onboard your yacht. You set the pace, it’s your holiday and the itinerary can usually be changed to suit you. Such an idyllic break – and like we said, it’s the ultimate getaway.

Do you fancy booking your own ultimate yacht charter?

Perhaps we can help you by setting you up with one of our yacht charters – either bareboat charter or skippered charter. We offer a wide range of top quality yachts for hire in an amazing location.  Flamingo Yacht Charters is based at Largs on the west coast of Scotland. If you are planning a sailing trip on the west coast of Scotland, start your adventure here. You can count on us to help you to create your perfect holiday on the water.   You can find out more about us at flamingoyachts.com or on our Flamingo Yacht Charters Facebook page.

Posted in: Updates

Learn the Lingo: Sailing Terms You Need To Know


Sailing is a skill as well as a pleasure, and you will not be surprised to know that it has its own lingo. So, if you are developing your nautical skills, and you would like to know the difference between ‘sheet’ and ‘ease’  – then here is our guide to the sailing terms you need to know before you hit the high seas.


The front of the boat.


This is the back of the boat.


Port is to the left of bow. It also refers to the whole left-hand side of the boat (from the bow). The port light on a boat is red and marks the left-hand side of the boat.


Starboard is to the right of bow. Similarly, it refers to the whole right-hand side of the boat (from the bow). The starboard light on a boat is green and marks the right-hand side of the boat.

Starboard view of the Kyles of Bute

Starboard on our Jeanneau 44i, sailing up the Kyles of Bute.


This is a vertical spar that the mainsail is attached to.


This is a horizontal spar extending backwards from the mast that the sail is attached to. It is adjusted in relation to the direction of the wind to set the sail to the best angle to catch the wind and propel the boat along.


The deck is the part of the boat that you walk on when you are outside “on deck”.

Deck of a Flamingo Yacht boat - the gorgeous Hanse 400

The deck of Tramontane, Flamingo Yacht Charters’ gorgeous Hanse 400.


When you sail, where the wind is coming from is very important, so this is one of the important sailing terms. The windward side of a boat is the side of the boat nearest to where the wind is coming from.


Similarly, this refers to the side of the boat further away from the direction the wind is coming from.


To let out the sails.

Sheet in

To pull the sails in

Trim the sails

To ease or sheet the sails to the optimum angle in relation to the wind direction to create speed.

Head Up

To direct the boat’s course closer to the wind.

Head Down / Bear Away

To direct the boat’s course away from the wind.


One of the most basic sailing manoeuvres when the bow of the boat turns through the wind, so the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other. You tack back and forth to get to your destination.

Sailing up the Clyde

Heading up the Clyde. Beautiful!

Gybing or Jibing

This is the opposite of Tacking. This time the stern of the boat is turned through the wind so that the wind changes from one side to the other. The boom of the boat changes from one side to the other.

Are you planning to set sail on the West Coast of Scotland this year?

Perhaps we can help you with one of our yacht charters now that you know the sailing terms!  Flamingo Yacht Charters is based in Largs on the west coast of Scotland. We offer a substantial range of yachts for hire  – one of the best ranges in Scotland. If you are planning a sailing trip on the west coast of Scotland, then please do get in touch to discuss your needs.  You can find out more about us at flamingoyachts.com or on our Flamingo Yacht Charters Facebook page.

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Top 5 Lochs to Sail in Scotland


The Scottish coast is the ultimate playground for sailors. There are lochs and anchorages galore to explore. Some of the Scottish sea lochs are particularly impressive because they offer a really heady mix of dramatic scenery and wildlife as well as being close to interesting towns and villages. You can find sea lochs up and down the west coast, so it’s been tricky to narrow the list down to our favourite five, but here they are:

Loch Fyne

Loch Fyne is Scotland’s longest sea loch. Like all Scottish sea lochs, it is special because of its wonderful scenery. From here you’ll see the beautiful Arrochar Alps, a collection of mountains, popular with walkers and climbers. There’s also picturesque Inveraray – with its stunning Scottish Castle, which is home to the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. The area is renowned for its seafood, with the ever-popular Loch Fyne Oyster bar further along the loch at Cairndow. (You will need to book ahead!). Loch Fyne is also famous for its wildlife – there are otters, seals and even dolphins living in and around the loch. On the western edge of Loch Fyne, you’ll find the Crinan Canal – linking Loch Fyne and Ardrishaig with the sound of Jura. There are fifteen locks along this canal  – peppered with good pubs and hotels. Enjoy! 

Sunset over Loch Fyne, Scotland.

Loch Fyne – our longest sea loch, home to Inveraray and Tarbet, wildlife, history and wonderful sea food.

Loch Sunart

The west highland loch is situated in the Ardrnamurchan peninsula. It runs from Strontian to the most westerly point of the British Mainland. Loch Sunart also offers some wonderful wildlife spotting opportunities – including otters and perhaps even sea eagles. If you go here, then there are some wonderful other lochs to explore whilst you are in the area, too. Read on!

Loch Sunart with Sandy Beach in the Highlands, Scotland.

Loch Sunart and the edge of the British Mainland.

Loch Linnhe

Further along the west coast is Loch Linnhe. Fort William sits on the banks of Loch Linnhe – and if you look up, you’ll see Britain’s tallest mountain – Ben Nevis. If the conditions are right, you might even want to spend a day climbing the Ben. If you are a serious climber, then there are numerous Munros close to the Loch. Follow the Loch south and then east at the Ballachulish Bridge to head for the villages of Ballachulish and Glencoe – two beautiful and picturesque settlements, surrounded by dramatic mountains, and steeped in Highland history. Sail south along Loch Linnhe towards Oban and the gateway to the Isles. En route you’ll pass Port Appin and the wonderful Castle Stalker – or you could sail to the connecting sea loch, Loch Etive – a remote and beautiful area, deep in mountainous terrain.

Sunset over Loch Linnhe in Scotland.

Sunset over Loch Linnhe

Loch Duich

Further north in the Skye and Lochalsh area is Loch Duich, it’s here you’ll see the famous Eilean Donan Castle –one of the most photographed buildings in Scotland. It’s situation where Loch Duich, Loch Alsh and Loch Long meet, and definitely worth a visit. Loch Duich is right in the middle of a rugged, beautiful and unspoiled part of the country. Popular with hill walkers given its proximity to the five sisters of Kintail mountain range, and with nature lovers – since it’s the perfect host for otters and eagles.

Loch Duich and Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle – one of the most photographed buildings in Scotland, near Loch Duich, Long Long and Loch Alsh.

Loch Carron

Further north again is Loch Carron, on the shores of the beautiful villages of Lochcarron and Plockton. Plockton has the appeal of a seaside village – there are even palm trees thriving along the shoreline. You’ll also find wonderful inns and pubs serving locally caught seafood, as well as art galleries, traditional highland hospitality and stunning views.

Loch Carron looking out over to Plockton

Beautiful Plockton on the shores of Loch Carron, Wester Ross.

Are you planning to set sail on the West Coast of Scotland this year?

Perhaps we can help you with one of our yacht charters.  Flamingo Yacht Charters is based in Largs on the west coast of Scotland. We offer a substantial range of yachts for hire  – one of the best ranges in Scotland. If you are planning a sailing trip on the west coast of Scotland, then please do get in touch to discuss your needs.  You can find out more about us at flamingoyachts.com or on our Flamingo Yacht Charters Facebook page.

Posted in: News