Jimfj, you've received a lot of good advice. I've chartered about 15 times in the USVI and BVI and here is my take on it. I've chartered from Moorings, Sunsail, Conch, and CYOA. All are excellent companies with very good customer service
. For a one week charter, you will save some precious time by flying to St. Thomas and chartering with CYOA, but you will want to sail in BVI and so you will have to deal with customs
and immigration going into BVI, leaving BVI, and re-entering USVI. But then you will be back at your point of departure to fly home. St. Thomas doesn't have a lot to offer in the way of convenient harbors and anchorages
once you are out of Charlotte Amalie harbor. St. John has many nice bays and beaches, but the most interesting places are mostly in BVI. The sailing in BVI is not so "linear" as it is in USVI. You have more options to make the itinerary interesting and more choices of anchorages close to each other.
What about flying into BVI or ferrying? Ideally, flying directly to BVI would be more convenient--that's what we used to do. In recent years the flight connections from the USA to BVI have not been very good. Unless you leave from Atlanta, Charlotte, or Miami
, you have little chance of getting into BVI without an overnight stay in Miami
or San Juan
. On the other hand, if you choose to fly to St. Thomas, you need to choose a flight that will arrive by 3:30 pm or you will not be able to catch the last ferry from Charlotte Amalie to Road Town. Charlotte Amalie is a beautiful harbor, but the town is noisy all night long and the shopping
and restaurants are completely oriented to the cruise ship
traffic. This is not why you spend your time and money
to sail in the Caribbean
What about brokers? Skip them. Just deal directly with the charter companies. They all have special prices in July.
What about the weather
in July? We have sailed in USVI and BVI many times in July and have not been disappointed. One time it rained for two days solid, so we sat in the boat with friends catching up on missed years. The somewhat greater possibility of rain or even hurricanes is the reason for cheaper prices, but the average monthly rainfall doesn't vary much from January to July. I would avoid August-October.
Cats vs. monohulls? Cruisers Forum is filled with this debate. You won't be sorry with either one. If you are a genuine sailing enthusiast, you will probably find that the monohulls have the "feel" of sailing that you prefer. If you have small children
or guests that aren't sailors, you will probably be more comfortable on a catamaran
. Cats have more deck
space, don't heel as much, and have cabins that are more like bedrooms back home than monohulls. Don't compare boat length vs. boat length. A 38' cat will cost considerably more than a 38' monohull
because it is simply a bigger boat. Compare charter cost vs. charter cost to see how your priorities affect your choice.
I've sailed in all the oceans and remain convinced that if there were only one place in the world to sail, it should be the Virgin Islands
. Regardless of the choices you make, you are going to love it!