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Old 10-01-2016, 07:37   #31
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

We just arrived home yesterday from a week in the BVI.
First - remember you are on Island Time .... take your patience and use it!!
We always fly into STT and consider it part of our trip to the BVI.
We used Fast Ferry of Tortola. It cost $152 round trip for the both of us and included the taxis. The advantage is that returning to STT, you go through Fast Ferry's own Custom's area. Other ferrys are required to go through St. John to go through Customs.
We prefer a catamaran and it would provide a much better boat for families with children. Salon above to enjoy the views and more privacy because of the cabins being in the hulls.
We have used BVI Yacht Charter twice and this time we used Catamaran Co.
Hubby does not believe in trip insurance so we can't comment on insurance.
Every island has it's own charm.
Take or rent snorkel stuff for everyone! It's amazing!!
Even though it's not high season, if you are planning to eat on shore, make reservations. We stopped at Oceans 7 and when we dinghed in, she told us "they ran out of food" and couldn't offer us dinner". We won't stop at that restaurant ever again.
Do NOT take the kids to the Full Moon party @ Bomba's Shack. Fun time but definitely an adult time.
Take SPF 30 and 50 and use it liberally.
We did not have them provision the boat because we have to throw away too much food at the end of the trip. Pro - Most of the charters use RiteWay to provision and the provision will be at the boat when you get ready to board. Con - it does cut into your trip to spend time shopping for groceries on vacation.
You'll have wonderful stories to talk about for years to come!!! ENJOY!!
(Looks like you have a lot of good info to sort through!)
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:19   #32
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

I have chartered from Tortola, St Thomas and Fajardo from multiple companies. Just chose a first tier charter company and the boats are fine. I like Sunsail when they have specials, Island Yacht charter out of Red Hook has great boats (all Island Packets with solar and fresh water heads), and Horizon at Nanny Cay is also good. Mono or Cat depends on how you like to sail and what your crew prefer. I have done both and they each have pro's and con's. BVI is great sailing and should be done regardless of where you start. If starting in St Thomas or Fajardo use the check in at Jost Van Dyke as it is much less busy and goes very fast. I also enjoy the sailing and moorings around St John. Very affordable and great snorkeling. Try Maho bay for turtle watching and if coming from Fajardo makes a great first night stop and an easy sail to Jost Van Dyke the next AM for BVI check in. Gorda sound is also worth the trip as is the Baths, the Caves, the Indians and several other places.

I have done at least a dozen charters down there and it never gets old. I am in the process of buying my own boat (yes folks, the forth one passed the survey) and I will keep it down that way and do a dozen more before moving it someplace else.

So make a boat decision, see where you get the best prices including your travel cost and go enjoy. I have done both flying into St Thomas and Beef Island. San Juan probably has the cheapest airfare as Jet Blue has several daily flights. And a taxi to Fajardo is about $100 for everyone. But you lose a day on each end sailing to and from BVI from there. If going to St Thomas, arrive before 3:00 PM and schedule departure after 1:00 PM to allow for ferry schedules to Tortola. Native Son or Fast Ferry are both fine. Also add about $120 per person to cost of airline tickets to cover taxi's and ferry if going into St Thomas. Sunsail will have a bus meet your ferry and take you back to the ferry terminal so drop that to $100 per person for them. Most charter companies will provide snorkel equipment for everyone on board.
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:03   #33
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

PHRF57 summarized it well. I found the fast ferry from STT a good way to go. Buy round trip ticket. Customs at Road Town is a bit tedious, but only a half-hour tedious. Get on Island time as soon as possible.
The flavor of BVI is "make the scene" - bars restaurants, social anchorages. Do not miss the Baths.
The flavor of St John is "alone on the anchorage" (especially in July). Very quiet, and you must plan your logistics carefully, including customs clearing out of Tortola, which we did at Great Harbor. Easy, cheap, but do it right. They do fine for violations, I've heard. If you go to St John, plan water and food very carefully! Water at Cruz Bay - don't miss this one! Coral Harbor is a junk yard of derelicts. No house water. No dingy dock near the market: use the steep stony beach. But we liked the area a lot. If you can get there, do not miss Saltpond Bay. Wildly beautiful and rounding Ram Head feels like a great adventure. Watch for the many rocks.
Great fun in the BVI for family.
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:44   #34
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Some clarifications of comments in earlier posts:

1. The Tortola Fast Ferry is not the only ferry that goes directly from Road Town to Charlotte Amalie. It doesn't have a special customs dock of its own. All ferries that go to Charlotte Amalie use the same customs dock. You need to check at the ferry dock to see which routes each ferry runs. I've found that it's best to not try to book a specific ferry in advance, because in spite of their schedules published online, sometimes they don't run on time, and sometimes they don't run at all. For instance, they may be broken down. In those cases, there is always another ferry waiting to take their normal run. We just taxi from the airport to the Charlotte Amalie ferry dock and buy tickets on the next ferry running. Some of the ferries are funkier than the others, but that's part of the fun.

2. Snorkel equipment is provided by all the charter companies that I've ever used, so you really don't have to buy or rent equipment, but don't expect the best equipment. We always carry our own masks and snorkels because we know they fit properly and are clean. If we have room in the luggage for our own fins, we throw them in, but if not, we use the charter company's fins. Fin fit is not as critical as mask fit.

3. Must see sights: The Indians near Norman Island (great snorkeling); the Treasure Caves at the Bight on Norman Island; the Baths on Virgin Gorda (don't just walk through the boulders--snorkel along the shore and then walk up the hill to the Top of the Baths restaurant), Sandy Spit and Sandy Cay near the east end of Jost Van Dyke. Also good are North Sound on Virgin Gorda, Foxy's in Great Harbor on JVD, White Bay on JVD, Soper's Hole on the west end of Tortola for cute shops, provisions, fuel and water if needed, Marina Cay, and Trellis Bay if you like local art. Trellis Bay has a Full Moon Party that is family friendly; the full moon party at the Bomba Shack is raunchy. Everyone usually likes Anegada, but you don't have enough time to go there if you only have a week.
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Old 10-01-2016, 15:00   #35
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Road Town Fast Ferry - this is from their website:
Instead of being forced to detour into St Johns for as much as a 45 minute delay, Road Town Fast Ferry will take you directly from Tortola to St Thomas where there is a US Customs office right at our dock in Charlotte Amalie.
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Old 10-01-2016, 15:19   #36
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Quote:
Originally Posted by jholder51 View Post
Road Town Fast Ferry - this is from their website:
Instead of being forced to detour into St Johns for as much as a 45 minute delay, Road Town Fast Ferry will take you directly from Tortola to St Thomas where there is a US Customs office right at our dock in Charlotte Amalie.
And that quote is true, but its also the same US customs that Native Son, and any other ferry that goes to Charlotte Amalie, which most do. The only ones that go to Cruz Bay St John customs are those going into Red Hook.

I agree about the round trip tickets. I have two halves not used because the next ferry leaving was another company from the one I went over on. Maybe next trip they will work.
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Old 10-01-2016, 15:27   #37
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Never done it, but another option is to fly into San Juan, and then charter a small plane to Beef Island. This will be on your schedule,and with the cheaper flights into SJU and no ferry tickets, and less taxi costs it may not be much more expensive, but could save you a lot of time, which on a one or two week trip may be worth it
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Old 10-01-2016, 15:30   #38
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Quote:
Originally Posted by jholder51 View Post
Road Town Fast Ferry - this is from their website:
Instead of being forced to detour into St Johns for as much as a 45 minute delay, Road Town Fast Ferry will take you directly from Tortola to St Thomas where there is a US Customs office right at our dock in Charlotte Amalie.
You are quoting a sales pitch on Road Town Fast Ferry's website. They are not the only ferry that goes directly from Road Town to Charlotte Amalie, but there are some ferries that make a stop in St. John. And the US Customs office in St. Thomas is not at "their" dock as their website implies. All the ferries use the same dock near the Customs office.
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Old 10-01-2016, 15:34   #39
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Quote:
Originally Posted by neilsty View Post
Never done it, but another option is to fly into San Juan, and then charter a small plane to Beef Island. This will be on your schedule,and with the cheaper flights into SJU and no ferry tickets, and less taxi costs it may not be much more expensive, but could save you a lot of time, which on a one or two week trip may be worth it
Have you checked on the price of that charter flight? If cost isn't an issue, this is a great idea. I checked on this once a few years ago and it was going to cost more to fly the short hop from San Juan to Beef Island than to fly from the USA to San Juan.
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Old 10-01-2016, 18:27   #40
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Hi, we used TMM, and were very satisfied! We chartered a Mahe 36 catamaran for 2 couples,and it was perfect for us. With kids something larger may work better. But we do recommend TMM in Tortola.

Fred
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Old 11-01-2016, 04:33   #41
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Take carry-on luggage only, no checked bags; If you can resist the temptation to over pack, you won't have to wait for lost bags and packing the boat will be easier. I have yet to wear everything I take.

If you fly to San Juan and then to Beef Island, Cape Air is a possibility, either from San Juan or FL. With 8, you might even have the plane to yourselves. On a return from BI to SJ, we flew Cape Air once because we were bumped from our AA flight. I ended up flying shot-gun (no co-pilot aboard) because the plane was full.
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Old 27-01-2016, 19:31   #42
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Charter DIRECT from owner. New Lagoon 42,,, How new? Will not leave factory until this July (2016). 4 Cabins (each a queen) and air conditioner. On board Wi-Fi! Will be under TMM Charter company. PM me if any questions.
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Old 27-01-2016, 19:38   #43
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Have got there every way but my favorite is to fly to St. Martin (hate airport in SJ). Then short hop to Tortola. Just another thought. Confused yet?
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Old 27-01-2016, 20:32   #44
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Let me say you want to spend as much time as possible sailing in the BVIs not the USVI. Therefore sail out of Road Town, Tortola.

Six of us have sailed out of Tortola 3 different times for a total of 36 days. We know the BVIs very well. For the most part everyone has given you good advice here except for captainjay's comments below which is FALSE BAD information. You can fly to St Thomas, usually a direct flight arriving at noon and ferry over to Road Town, Tortola. With a sleep aboard on your boat the first night at the dock you can check the boat out, provision it the day/night of arrival and be ready to sail the next day. Note to self, you can not buy alcohol on Sundays at Tortola.


Our first trip was a non-direct flight to Beef Island airport and then wild long taxi ride to Road Town. We prefer the direct flights from JFK to St Thomas and take ANY ferry over to Road Town. Don't get hung up about which FERRY your going to take. I had to laugh at all the comments on which FERRY is best. All the FERRY's from St Thomas to Roadtown are in the same dock. On arrival, just take a quick taxi to the FERRY's, figure out which one is will get you ALL THE WAY to Road Town first, buy your ticket, check your bags and go up stairs for refreshments and food.

We rented 45 foot monohulls (no AC) from Moorings, Sunsail, and Conch in that order. All were great boats and Conch was half the price. I would highly recommend Conch. Note Sunsail and Mooring docks are very very nice with great restaurant,swimming pool, bath rooms. Conch dock is old and run down. The sleep aboard first night and boat is much much cheaper at Home - Conch Charters - BVI Yacht Charter Provider. Also Conch made it easier to get sailing in the morning and returning the boat was significantly faster at Conch. Sunsail is just as good as Moorings and same dock/restaurants/bathrooms.


Must BVI places to see:
  • The Baths and walk through the baths. Kids will love it. Warning slippery rock scramble. Rent car(s) or taxi from Leverick Bay to get to The Baths.
  • Restaurant, swimming pool, and best place to buy tee shirts at top of the Baths
  • Sail to Sandy Cay Island pick up day red mooring ball, beach dingy. Awesome beach and hike around the island. You can not miss this.
  • Leverick Bay (BTW you can rent vans here. They drive them over from Spanish Town.
  • BTW docks at Spanish Town are expensive and VERY HOT. Also weeds outside of Spansh Town don't anchor well.
  • Bitter End Yact Club and Saba Rock Island Resort visit
  • Drop anchor in Peter Island's Deadman's bay. Snorkel and I guarantee you will see Turtles here. Walk over to that expensive Peter Island Resort and Spa. They may let you swim in their pool.
  • JVD spend 2 to 3 nights here.
    • White Bay, Soggy Dollar Burger for lunch
    • Make diner reservations at Corsairs 5 minute walk from Foxy's where army jeep is. Home - Corsairs Beach Bar & Restaurant
    • Walk or sail over to Foxy's have a drink and look around.
    • Have the 2nd BEST DINER in the BVIs at Corsairs.
  • Anegada COW WRECK BEACH is nice beach/bar. Anegada is a sailing challenge. Print this off and read it. We saw/heard another catamaran hit the reef when they were leaving Anegada.
  • Your challenge is to find all the other great places in the BVIs and a better place to eat than Corsairs.
  • Have fun and enjoy.
  • Did you say July? Not sure but some places may be closed in July. June/ July is start of hurricane season.
In case your interested we are sailing out St Martin in May 2016 for 2 weeks on a 50 ft monohull from Dream Yacht Charters .

Following info from captainjay is worng:

Quote:
Originally Posted by captainjay View Post
A couple of things. For the record I am the fleet manager for CYOA Yacht Charters in St Thomas.....

Flying into or Ferrying into Tortola will burn up two days of your vacation. You can easily get trapped into spending a night on either end of your charter in a hotel, and sometimes on both ends trying to get to and from Tortola. The Ferry and Flight schedules are spotty.
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Old 29-01-2016, 13:33   #45
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Re: Bareboat Chartering Advice for BVI..

Quick go now. I just got an email on this.

Conch Charters
We are offering an incredible 20% discount to the first 20 callers for a last minute catamaran charter in February or March 2016!
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