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Old 23-07-2019, 18:56   #1
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Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

Hello all,

I am looking for some advice for the first timer doing a bareboat charter in the BVIs.

I would like to bareboat charter a "smaller" monohull in BVIs around November this year. Probably in the 32-35ft range. Cost is definitely a consideration, which is why I am working with these sizes and dates. I am looking to go with my other half for a 7 or 10 day trip.

A little about myself: I have own/operated/maintained my own 32ft sailboat for the past 4 years and have enjoyed cruising around the northern shores of the Canadian Maritimes during the summer months. My goal is eventually to have the resources to sail to Caribbean for an entire winter, but I figured in the meantime I would have to make do with making a vacation out of it. Although I have not completed any formal training I do consider myself competent and experienced enough to solo my own boat for multi-day passages in my current region.

I was hoping I could get some experienced thoughts on my initial questions:

1. What kind of experience or training are these charter companies expecting from their customers? Do most of them require specific certifications?

2. All the boats I am able to find online are brand new, at least less than 2 or 3 years old. As the newest boat I have ever sailed on was almost 40 years old, I wouldn't mind chartering an older boat if it meant a cheaper price.

3. Should I expect insurance to be included in the price of the charter or do I need to purchase this separately?

4. Where is a good departure point? Are you expected to drop off the vessel from the originating port?

5. Does anyone have any good recommendations for a budget friendly option?

6. Alternatives to the BVIs?
Thanks!
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Old 24-07-2019, 04:06   #2
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

Good morning!

You’ll love it there! Wife and I were where you are a fewer years ago and we’ve been 3 times now. During our most recent trip we took the daughter/husband and the grandchildren. First time sailing for them and they had a ball!


We have worked with a smaller charter company that’s based out of Montreal and their base of operations is NannyCay. A better starting point from our perspective as we find Road Town too busy for our tastes. Charter company is:


Vacances sous voiles


I have no financial interest in this company and have enjoyed working with them these past few years.


Send me a PM and I’d be happy to answer any questions.


Cheers


Geoff
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Old 24-07-2019, 05:36   #3
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

Most companies will accept some kind of verifiable experience, especially for smaller boats.

Most of the boats are new because Irma destroyed so many they all had to be replaced.

Insurance and other extras are not generally in the price listed.

We're heading out on our third trip in Oct. We use VI Sailing (Virgin Island Sailing Vacations: BVI Yacht Charters, Caribbean Sailing) for our broker as they work with many different companies and can narrow down options based on what your wanting and budget. (I have no financial interest in this company).

BVIs are pretty great, which is why they are so popular. Easy to sail, easy to navigate, lot's of places to go and see, including above and below the water and lot's of facilities for eating, shopping, provisioning, etc.
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Old 24-07-2019, 06:45   #4
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

You may find some smaller monohulls at Conch Charters.
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Old 24-07-2019, 07:46   #5
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

I would look into BVI yacht charters. They have smaller boats.
BVI Bareboat Monohulls - BVI Yacht Charters

My very first charter was with them and i judge all other companies by them.
Great service, walking distance from town and grocery store.
I would recommend arriving a day earlier to do provisioning.
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Old 24-07-2019, 08:27   #6
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

Second Conch Charters, older boats for less $ and fewer worries about the occasional scratch, unlike the charterers of very new boats. They'll work with new charter skippers as well.
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Old 24-07-2019, 08:44   #7
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

I think I have done business with every charter company in the BVI except some that may be new. Check out Horizon. I found them great to deal with.
Have fun.
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Old 24-07-2019, 09:25   #8
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

Conch Charters gets my vote too. I used them this past April, a little older boat but the cost was 20% cheaper than others I looked at. The service from the Conch team was excellent throughout our charter.

Now being an older boat, we did have issues with the Lagoon 40. But they were addressed quickly. You are going with a mono, but I'll tell you for comfort, consider the Cat's. I am a mono owner (Jeanneau 39) here is Seattle, but found for the experience in the islands the Cat was great.
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Old 24-07-2019, 10:59   #9
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

Normally the boat is returned to start point.
One way trip is usually possible but with extra cost (covers the cost of taking the boat back without you).
The boat will be insured (hull and 3rd party) with an some excsess. Your personal health or accident insurance is your responsibility.
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Old 24-07-2019, 14:08   #10
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

Late November is get into the high season price wise for the BVI. Stay with one of the big names in charter.

And can we stop writing and saying BVIs? Its like saying British Virgin Islands Islands, or PIs for Philippine Islands Islands or DRs for Dominican Republics Republics.
Like finger nails on a caulk board.
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Old 24-07-2019, 16:54   #11
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

DONT go smaller !! the wind is 20-25 the waves are 5-7 feet swells Larger is better sailing wise. You can go moorings in Roadtown all 3 years old or Younger . Or west end most boat came from Morrrings 3-6 years ago. It would be hard to find a 20 year old old school boat . It can be done. Its not cheeper but a better built boat I last charted a 42 jeanneu 30 ish yers old was Old Teak inside , No rounded bulkheard. so sliding alu doors on tracks. Just a boat that could cross oceans ! If that boat did not draw 6-8 feet board down i would have purcheased it ! But in in Florida 5 ft is a big deal here ! You will Love the whole time there time will fly I would say 10 days that way the day travel getting there and getting home straech yoiur sailing time. They send you to class and all . Dont worry .
'ENJOY
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Old 24-07-2019, 21:26   #12
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

We rented an Oceanis 45 down there last year with The Moorings. 3 couples, all 3 of us guys have owned boats for quite a few years (two 20' power, one a 35' 1981 Bristol). The 2 of us with power boats took 101 Basic Keelboat only and the buddy with the Bristol did 101 and 103. Our buddy with the Bristol filled out the resume with The Moorings and got approved no problem. When we got there we talked to some of the dock guys and they said many of the rental companies will rent to just about anyone out there (kinda scary), but we were confident in our abilities.

The trip was an absolute blast (despite Irma knocking down the islands 9mo prior to our trip). It's very easy sailing - all by line of sight except Anagada. Winds were GREAT for sailing (15-25kts as mentioned above). Highly recommend a trip down there. We are now planning bareboat rentals every year in different spots, and the wife and I are convinced that we want to buy a boat in a few years to sail the Caribbean or South Pacific (or both!). We are also doing as much training as we can until then too.

Road Town was a great place to leave from as well.
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Old 25-07-2019, 09:11   #13
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Re: Looking for advice for first time BVI charter

Just did that a few years ago, with Sunsail in the BVI, (I mean BVIs), took out a 393 for a week. They did not require any "official" cert's other than a resume. I had (paid for) a Sunsail skipper go out with us (wife and 4 kids) for about two hours on the morning that we arrived just to show us the boat, as it had been prob 15 years since I last sailed. He showed me the lines, went thru an anchor practice, and showed me all the electronics, then we took him to lunch and off we went for the week. Last boat I owned was a Catalina 25 back in 1994 if that gives you some perspective. Your prob being way over concerned, as it was a very easy and relaxing week.
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