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Old 13-03-2010, 18:44   #1
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Chartering in Belize

I am chartering from TMM this summer in Belize. I read that there is a "checkout" sail before the boat is turned over to you. I have chartered with other outfits before, and didnt have to take a "check out" sail. Anyone chartered with TMM in Belize before? Just wondering what this checkout sail is, and how long it will take...I would rather be cruising than taking some pre charter test ;-)

Thanks in advance!
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Old 13-03-2010, 19:31   #2
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All this has meant for me, is to have the guy who takes the boat off the dock watch you raise the main and see that you at least appear competent. I've chartered TMM out of Placencia and San Pedro, Placencia, I'd rather let someone else take the boat out of the canal anyway, and San Pedro......well, it only takes a few minutes.
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Old 13-03-2010, 19:39   #3
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Thanks for the info Sailmonkey...I wasnt sure if it was some sailing test I had to pass....I was just concerned they would cook up some reason to stick me with a $135 a day skipper.

I have been sailing most of my life, so not too worried about it, just wondering what to expect ;-)
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Old 13-03-2010, 19:40   #4
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Like SM, I chartered out of Placencia w/TMM - shallow & narrow channel - they drove it out then made sure both anchors were set well for the night off the town. Had to call them in-bound to reverse the process.

Better to let them bump a dock or boat then you in an unfamiliar boat in tight quarters

I would just ask them if you have questions/concerns - remember they were very good answering e-mails
Enjoy your charter
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Old 13-03-2010, 20:03   #5
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Are you saying they anchored the boat for you at your first stop after leaving ?
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Old 13-03-2010, 21:33   #6
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We boarded late (planned) and since we were leaving early the next day & there was no breeze only mossies at the base - we anchored outside the base in the anchorage just off Placencia - about 1 nm from base. They required that TMM move boats in & out of base channel - and the guy wanted to make sure we understood how to do twin anchoring properly with the Cat - so he did a demo as he finished up - and stepped into chase boat.
Glad he did because we needed double anchors a couple of times.

It's not a big deal with staff jumping on the boat & taking it in & out of base = their boat - their rules ............Unfamiliar boat - in unfamiliar waters - with lots for the Captain & crew to organize & coordinate - an experience person to get you going off the dock is a good thing - they are not trying to stick you with a Captain

Again, ask the question about the procedure to calm your mind
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Old 15-03-2010, 09:17   #7
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This time last year, we took Halcyon, their 43' cat for two weeks out of San Pedro. There were a number of problems with the boat, the two cracks where the keel joined the hull being the worse. The guy checking us out suggested that we dive the boat to check for damage. I was shocked as I had never been asked to do this before. Diving the boat consisted of stepping off the boarding ladder on the transom into chest deep water while still tied to the dock. When I reported the damage their guy also dove the boat and confirmed what I saw. To check structural integrity, they ran that keel on to a sand bar and had me torque the keel by applying throttle to the opposite engine while their man was in the water watching the keel to see if it moved. Real gutsy guy.
Back to your original question, one of their captains will take you off their dock and get you into "deeper" water, watch you put up the sail and then leave. At the end of the charter, they will also have you call on the way back and reboard to take you to the fuel dock then tie up back at their home dock. We leave on thursday to go down again, but are taking a Moorings boat out of Placencia this time.
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Old 15-03-2010, 11:48   #8
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f46 - wow, that's an "interesting" story
But you did remind me that they did dive the boat when we returned to check for grounding, prop, etc. Greece was the only other place I remember a diver at the dock.
another boat(Cat) in our group lost a prop on a coral head - so even Cats have to watch it in Belize
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Old 16-03-2010, 17:19   #9
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What they said. They had a captain take the boat a couple of hundred yards out with us.

Sorry to hear you are chartering with TMM in Belize. Our experience with them wasn't so good.
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Old 16-03-2010, 21:18   #10
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Bstreep, any specifics on some of the problems you had with them ?

Thanks!
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Old 16-03-2010, 21:35   #11
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Oh, carp. I'm too busy for this... But what the heck.

We chartered an almost new Belize 43 from TMM. It had A/C - because my buddy wanted A/C:

A/C only worked in the salon, or in the cabins. Not both. Too much draw for the generator. What idiot designed this? We had college age kids with us. They stay up, and sleep late. No workee. The A/C worked maybe 30% of the time.

There were no less than 21 thru hulls on this boat. There was seaweed. Therefore, the thruhulls got clogged ALL THE TIME. Holy carp, there were 6 or 8 strainers on this boat, all of which were last installed by a gorilla.

Bad info in our briefing caused us to run the wrong engine for refrigeration for 2 days - which equals a lot of spoiled food and warm beer.

We were told we had a full tank of fuel and that the gauge was wrong. No dipstick for the fuel. This resulted in us running out of fuel 2 days out - and no place to get fuel. TMM told us this had NEVER happened before. There was no way to actually check the fuel - I suggested they put a wooden dowel on each boat to dip the tank - they thought that a good idea.

We had LOTS of boat problems. Frankly, we went down to evaluate a cat for purchase. As you can see from my avatar, it was a total disaster. The boat was SO poorly designed. MANY, many really bad points. Now, to be honest, many of these defects could be fixed. I just can't believe the boat was delivered with them:

Thruhulls had 90 degree fittings on them. WHY? They just clog easily. There was plenty of room for a straight shot, but some idiot decided to put a 90 on it.

The chain locker holds about 1000 feet of chain. But only 5 feet at a time. You have to STAND in the chain locker, and knock the pile of chain over as it builds up. Otherwise, it jams the windlass. STUPID.

As inviting as the trampolines LOOK, they are useless and uncomfortable.

The cockpit seated 20, and danced another 15. But it was hot, no circulation, and only a view of where we went. Kind of like the 3rd seat in a 1965 stationwagon.

Frankly, TMM handled our problems poorly. Yes, they gave us a partial refund for the non-working A/C. But we left them knowing we would never charter from them again.

I could go on and on. We had more problems on this trip, than the 10 prior to it put together. Including an almost sinking of a Moorings boat in the BVI... TMM in the BVI is WAY different than TMM in Belize - in my opinion.
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Old 17-03-2010, 14:20   #12
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Thanks for the info Bill! We are chartering the 38 "Felicity". No AC though (im sure ill regret that)...although, doesnt sound like it would have worked anyway!
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Old 13-03-2011, 09:10   #13
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Re: Chartering in Belize

In June of 2010 the corporate offices of TMM took over ownership of the Belize base and all of the management was replaced. It took many months of hard work to turn things around but I think you would find a radical change in TMM Belize if you were to visit again. Customer service and the quality of the boats are no longer just words on paper...
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