I have read that it's possible to 'hitch' a ride with sailboats and freight ships. But I haven't been able to find any sites that offer the sailing option.

Where is the best place to arrange this?

  • 1
    @TomasBy Actually, it's more common to book through an agent, there are several who specialize in this and offer journeys on many different shipping lines. Shipowners typically won't deal with passengers directly. We have many questions about this under the tag freighter-travel. – Relaxed Aug 11 '20 at 12:53

There are several websites that you can use to find sailboat owners who want crew to accompany them on voyages. The largest is Find a Crew, and Crewseekers is an alternative. (I am not affiliated with either of these sites and can't vouch for the experience.) You can search for the routes, times and departure points you are interested in and then contact the sailboat owner making a trip that suits you. Or you can put your profile on the site and let sailboat owners contact you.

The basis of the arrangement is very much "hitch a ride". It's going to be up to the owner whether they want to take you or not, and you are usually expected to help out with the work (since that's why they want someone to ride along), but it's not going to be arduous unless you are making a challenging trip, and you can ask the owner what you are expected to do. You usually don't pay, except to share in the expenses. You should also be aware that sailboat itineraries are only ever approximate, and you can find that the trips is delayed or cancelled. Having some sailing experience helps but isn't always necessary.

  • Regarding sailboat itineraries, I recently watched a youtube video of an experienced guy who single handed from California to Hawaii. To say that the trip took longer than his planned duration would be an understatement. I think it was an additional 2 weeks. – Peter M Aug 11 '20 at 23:02
  • @PeterM 2 weeks of how much in total? – Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 11 '20 at 23:11
  • @PaŭloEbermann I vaguely remember that it pretty well doubled his planned trip. And towards the end of it he was running out of food. He spent quite a bit of time becalmed in the middle of the pacific – Peter M Aug 11 '20 at 23:13
  • That's going to be the exception rather than the rule, but it is a possibility. – DJClayworth Aug 12 '20 at 0:55

Looks for yacht clubs, or marine schools (better if you are not near the sea).

People are required to do many miles on boats (sailing boats are common) in order to get high sea licenses. So they sell space on such boats, in order to share some costs. Usually it get from few days to one week, visiting many ports.

  • I think the OP just wants to be a passenger, either on a cargo ship or large sail boats; not participate in the ship's operation. – Max Aug 11 '20 at 14:55
  • @max: it is not participating in boat operation. Just relax and sharing cost of the boat (4 people get their miles, and 4 other people pay for accommodation). Large sail boats are usually commercial boats. Cruise catalogues include them. – Giacomo Catenazzi Aug 11 '20 at 15:07
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    @GiacomoCatenazzi Could you add an example of a place/website where this is done? – DJClayworth Aug 11 '20 at 16:59

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