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Old 08-12-2012, 19:54   #1
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Virgin Islands - Renting a Smaller Boat

Looking at the various charter companies, there seems to be a gap in smaller sail boats.

There are some 32' ones out there, but not many, and I've yet to see anything below that, except some 18' Hobie Cats. Anyone know of a place that have boats somewhere in the middle?

I currently own a 23' which although a bit cramped easily sleeps our small family, and I would love to rent something similar (maybe 23-30') boat for a week towards the end of January. I understand that the "norm" in sailboat charters is geared toward the luxary market, and if I have to settle on a bigger one, I'll be asking for some ideas there as well.

Besides being slightly cheap, I would actually rather have something smaller to deal with (2 young kids), and I'm also slightly worried that my plan of convincing the admiral to go cruising full-time would become financially unattainable if she ever set foot on a 40'+ charter boat, and god forbid a catamaran :-)
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Old 08-12-2012, 22:34   #2
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Re: Virgin Islands - Renting a Smaller Boat

I have noticed that charter boat sizes seem to be constantly creeping upwards.

My first cruising boat was a 26-footer, so I was a bit intimidated when the first boat I chartered was 36 feet, but in reality I found that the rigging and other features made it much easier to cruise on than I thought.

I think the thing the charter companies face is that the slip fees, insurance fees, cleaning fees, maintenance work, etc isn't much cheaper for boats under 30 feet, so there's no real incentive for them to go that small. I eventually bought a 32.5 which is still in charter in the BVIs, so I know there's some in that size ranges still available for charter, and having had 4 on board for my last cruise, I personally wouldn't want to go a whole lot smaller.

There may be some place that charters boats under 30 feet, but I think you'll appreciate what you get for the money in the 32-35 foot range.
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Old 09-12-2012, 19:22   #3
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I can't think of anybody having exactly what you want. There is a guy who rents J24s at the Ritz Carlton. Those aren't set up for cruising though (no head or cushions to sleep on). I've seen a few adds lately on Craigslist looking for boats to rent, typically small power boats. You might give it a try, too. Good luck. Be aware insurance and liability for damage could be a mess.

I do work for a local charter company and 36' are the smallest boats in the fleet. There is one mono and two cats at the length.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 09-12-2012, 20:07   #4
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Re: Virgin Islands - Renting a Smaller Boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstads View Post
I'm also slightly worried that my plan of convincing the admiral to go cruising full-time would become financially unattainable if she ever set foot on a 40'+ charter boat, and god forbid a catamaran :-)
This a very good point.

If you are forced into renting a bigger boat take a bag of sawdust and sprinkle liberally in the corners etc. tell her how a smaller boat is easier to maintain. If she persists in cleaning add grease to the sawdust... And superglue.
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Old 09-12-2012, 20:59   #5
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Originally Posted by nautical62
There may be some place that charters boats under 30 feet, but I think you'll appreciate what you get for the money in the 32-35 foot range.
If there is, I'd love to hear some ideas...

Rubikoop, that is is some good insight, and I appreciate it (especially the liability of going too cheap)

Last year we hiked a quarter-half mile in mostly elevation to a shack in the Puerto Rican rainforest twice a day , then did a week camping on Flamenco Beach in Culebra, and the kids (2&4 at the time) loved every minute of it. That said, a J24 without a head and cushions might be pushing it, unless I can figure out GaryMayo's plastic bag technic.I would have to add that my wife would put any bucket brigade wannabe to shame in that department..

Markj, if we do end up chartering a nice large comfy boat, I will take your advice and make a f%&%#ing mess of it beforehand, so SHE doesn't get any impure thoughts of what proper boat should look like.. Mind if I drop your name at the charter company :-)))))
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Old 14-12-2012, 11:00   #6
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Re: Virgin Islands - Renting a Smaller Boat

How many consecutive nights do you spend on your 23' boat?

I think you'll be quite happy on a 36' which would be far easier to find. There may even be some 32' boats you can find.

If budget is a concern and one reason you want to stay small, then going a little bigger will probably help since it will make it easier to do most/all of your meals on board - that will be far cheaper than eating out.
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Old 14-12-2012, 11:26   #7
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Re: Virgin Islands - Renting a Smaller Boat

At Nanny Cay on Tortola, just outside of Road Town, there is a charter company that has smaller Bavarias. Try Full Fleet and Pricing of Charter Yachts in the British Virgin Islands (BVI)
Nanny Cay is a good place to leave from for chartering in the BVIs.
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Old 14-12-2012, 12:02   #8
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Originally Posted by maytrix
How many consecutive nights do you spend on your 23' boat?.
On mine, not as many as I would like, yet (2 so far)... For this, I was hoping for something slightly larger, but still within my comfort zone. Would probably shoot for 4-5 days. A 32' would work, and I've seen those available. Cost is somewhat an issue, but due to some of the reasons listed by others above, I wouldn't expect a 26-30 boat to be all that much cheaper than a 32.

What I do know is that I need to get more experience on 30-40 foot boats to boost my comfort level, especially with kids involved :-)
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Old 14-12-2012, 12:05   #9
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Originally Posted by KDH
At Nanny Cay on Tortola, just outside of Road Town, there is a charter company that has smaller Bavarias. Try Full Fleet and Pricing of Charter Yachts in the British Virgin Islands (BVI)
Nanny Cay is a good place to leave from for chartering in the BVIs.
Thanks, I'll check them out!
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Old 14-12-2012, 12:09   #10
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Re: Virgin Islands - Renting a Smaller Boat

Provalor Charters has a 32' Beneteau in their fleet. It has all the bells and whistles. PVC is owned by a terrific couple, Jim and Cecile, and are on Totrtola east of Road Town. We've chartered twice with them and have sent them business. all have been well satisfied.
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Old 14-12-2012, 12:57   #11
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Re: Virgin Islands - Renting a Smaller Boat

The good news is that the more people you have onboard and the longer you stay aboard the smaller the boat will get!
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Old 14-12-2012, 13:25   #12
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Re: Virgin Islands - Renting a Smaller Boat

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Originally Posted by monstads View Post
On mine, not as many as I would like, yet (2 so far)... For this, I was hoping for something slightly larger, but still within my comfort zone. Would probably shoot for 4-5 days. A 32' would work, and I've seen those available. Cost is somewhat an issue, but due to some of the reasons listed by others above, I wouldn't expect a 26-30 boat to be all that much cheaper than a 32.

What I do know is that I need to get more experience on 30-40 foot boats to boost my comfort level, especially with kids involved :-)
How comfortable are you on your 23' boat?

I've read a lot of posts on various sites and it seems a lot of people feel comfortable and more importantly confident on a smaller boat, yet they lose that confidence because the boat is larger.

If you are 100% confident on your 23', then you should be confident on a larger boat as well - just know your limits and know you need time to adjust and take things slow. I went from being confident on a 27' power boat to being confident (albeit a little nervous) on a 47' Cat. I just took it slow, skipped an anchorage because I didn't like the looks and even skipped getting water because I wasn't comfortable docking in the conditions we were in. But I did fine, we were safe and I was far more confident in just a few days and docking like a pro by the end of the week. And that's a pretty big extreme in size! Not only 20' longer, but 15' or more wider!

So, If you are confident on your 23', I think you'd be fine on a 32 or even a 36. You just need to take it slower and get used to the large size, handling..etc. As long as you know that, there's no reason to feel less confident. It's knowing your limits that are critical.
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Old 14-12-2012, 16:07   #13
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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey
The good news is that the more people you have onboard and the longer you stay aboard the smaller the boat will get!
Likely true no matter what size boat! Not planning on inviting anyone along this time, but I suspect that the best way to reduce cost is not a smaller boat, but to bring another couple. Most of the charter boats I've seen seem to be set up for that.

Always liked (and tried to adhear yo it's wisdom) the saying: "Guests are like fish. Keep them around for more than 3 days and it starts to stink".
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Old 14-12-2012, 20:46   #14
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Originally Posted by maytrix

How comfortable are you on your 23' boat?

I've read a lot of posts on various sites and it seems a lot of people feel comfortable and more importantly confident on a smaller boat, yet they lose that confidence because the boat is larger.

If you are 100% confident on your 23', then you should be confident on a larger boat as well - just know your limits and know you need time to adjust and take things slow. I went from being confident on a 27' power boat to being confident (albeit a little nervous) on a 47' Cat. I just took it slow, skipped an anchorage because I didn't like the looks and even skipped getting water because I wasn't comfortable docking in the conditions we were in. But I did fine, we were safe and I was far more confident in just a few days and docking like a pro by the end of the week. And that's a pretty big extreme in size! Not only 20' longer, but 15' or more wider!

So, If you are confident on your 23', I think you'd be fine on a 32 or even a 36. You just need to take it slower and get used to the large size, handling..etc. As long as you know that, there's no reason to feel less confident. It's knowing your limits that are critical.
Thank you for your encouragement, and insight! I am quite confident single-handing my boat, but have so far only sailed it on fairly mellow lakes.

Growing up on the west coast of Norway, and being in the North Sea (in motor boats) in rough weather, I am also accutely aware of the limits of my current sailing experience.

That said, my main concern is really not for myself, but the extra dimension of having the family with. My wife is just starting to learn to sail (and doesn't need to know about nice big, expensive boats yet), but the kids are young enough that it is basically like sailing single-handed, with precious cargo that has no fear, jumps up and down a lot, and that would love to bounce around on the foredeck underway in a gale.

So, we've decided to wait another year, get more experience on the 23' , probably take another ASA class (to "officially" get bare boat "certified"), and let the kids marinate, no make that *mature* a bit more before joining the ranks of the Credit Card Captains (this one's for you Steve!)


In the meantime, it does look like we'll get some time on the water this trip (watch out!), and after that will spend a week in a tent at the campground at Cinnamon Bay, snorkeling, exploring and generally chilling out. Thank you all for your comments!
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Old 14-12-2012, 21:05   #15
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For those of you in the Virgin Islands, perhaps with a condo/timeshare, here's a business opportunity tip... Something like this would attract my type like flies to a cow pie: http://mobile.vrbo.com/111897#_propertyDetails_0
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