If you’re thinking about how you could spice up your travel plans, why not embrace your inner-exhibitionist and embark on a naked cruise?
I spoke with Jan-Willem van der Klooster, managing director of Saltyboys , to see whether I could stowaway on their next voyage.
When did you establish Salty Boys?
We’d been sailing for similar sized mixed groups for about ten years, before we established Saltyboys in early 2012.
Are Salty Boys cruises just for gay men?
Mostly, yes. However we do a few trips per year which are completely mixed — boys, girls, gay, straight, lesbian, nude, and dressed, all together.
What are some of the destinations that your cruises could include?
Wherever the sun shines and where the seas are pleasant for sailing. Also, we look at distances between interesting places and islands. A few hours of sailing per day is enough. Sometimes a few hours in the morning, and again in the afternoon after some chill time in a nice bay. We want to make sure that we have time to go snorkelling or scuba diving, to explore the picturesque harbour villages, or go for a walk to appreciate the view or an amazing sunset.
How popular are the nude cruises that you organise?
They’re our most popular cruises. It’s an amazing feeling to be sailing naked – total freedom.
What do you think the appeal of naked cruising is?
I think the male bonding aspect is definitely one of the good things about our nude cruises. After an hour, you simply forget that you’re without clothes.
Do you need to know anything about sailing to go on a Salty Boys cruise?
You don’t need any sailing experience. Our professional Saltyboys skippers — who are gay nudists — can navigate the yacht by themselves. They usually assign a few guys for a few tasks to help out here and there before take off.
The guys onboard can get involved or stay away from it as much as they want to. The main thing is for our guests to have a fantastic vacation. We’re always happy to teach a few tricks to enthusiastic guys who want to assist with working the lines or taking the wheel.
Why would guys choose a Salty Boys cruise over one of the big gay cruise ship experiences?
To be honest, they can’t really be compared. Our trips are different — a real sailing experience, an adventure where we will decide together with a more intimate group where and when we go. Our trips offer more freedom, a more special, less mass-tourist experience, and a more intimate setting with lots of quality time.
Often we sail with a few Saltyboys boats in flotilla. That way you have your smaller direct group during the day, and at lunch time and at night we moor up together so everyone can socialise together — swimming between boats, and having meals together.
Are the Salty Boys cruises mainly aimed at guys who are single and looking to meet up with other guys?
In a way, yes they are. Most people booking our trips are single gay guys. Good friendships often form onboard, and lots of guys sail with us regularly and plan future trips to reunite with other guys that they’ve met onboard.
Sex happens, boys will be boys, but our skippers make sure that no one creates a disturbance.
Now and then a love story starts on one of our boats, and we’ve even had a marriage.
Have there ever been any disasters on a Salty Boys cruise?
We’ve been running Saltyboys for six years, with 20 trips a year, and so far we haven’t had any disasters – we haven’t lost anyone overboard, had a boat sink, or had anyone arrested.
It’s the job of our skippers to make sure nothing like that happens — not only creating a relaxed but adventurous atmosphere for our guests, but also making the right decisions about itinerary and weather.
Plus, we only use modern yachts and sail in areas where we have people who we can call on for support if any of our boats did get into trouble.
What’s your favourite part of the world to go cruising in?
All of the areas where we sail each have their special characteristics. For example, Croatia has it’s beautiful unspoiled villages, Greece the super-relaxed attitude of the people plus of course it’s stunning scenery, the Bahamas has amazing beaches, Mexico has unspoiled nature on its Pacific Ocean side, and places like Tahiti and the Seychelles offer the true paradise factor.
Some of my favourites include Mallorca, Ibiza, and the Cote d’Azur with their many wonderful gay and nude beaches. There’s always a good place to drop anchor and let the boys out.
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