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Old 02-05-2016, 17:39   #16
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

Could I recommend you speak with Mike and Rebecca. Here is their blog site. Zero to Cruising! They have amazing experience as Charter crew, Catamaran owners and now also own a mono-hull cruising in the Caribbean. I have been following them for years and find their advice solid and safe!

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Old 02-05-2016, 18:15   #17
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

I will second the Cruise Abacos recommendation. They are wonderful people and monitor the VHF all the time for absolutely any questions. Plus they give you a cell phone on board with their personal numbers taped to it - just in case. You can get a captain to help with the beginning. If everyone feels comfortable, then they will most likely let you continue on your own.

We just finished a charter with them at the end of March. We had two other couples on board. One couple had power experience and the other had no boating experience. We are very experienced in dinghy racing and monohull cruising, but this was our first catamaran. They took us out and went through hoisting the sails, anchoring, and a little close quarters maneuvering under power. I am glad we had others on board to help with chores of sail handling and anchoring. I expect that a day or two out with a captain you too could manage with another couple or two, even if they aren't sailors. As long as they are ready for sailing speed, agree to defer to you for the final decision on where and when to go, and are game to pitch in where they can, you could do a similar program.

We (my wife mostly) did a lot of research into the Abacos before we left. Then Cruise Abacos helped us with the details like - here is good snorkeling; only enter and leave this harbor 2 hours either side of high tide; etc. This was eventual itinerary.

Day 1 - Arrive early afternoon and basic check in. Trip to Maxwells for provisions.
Day 2 - Sailing checkout. Sail to and snorkel at Mermaid Reef. Overnight at Matt Lowe's Cay
Day 3 - Sail to Guana Cay. Nippers. Snorkel off the beach. Ask around for the best areas.
Day 4 - Sail Treasure Cay. Afternoon on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Day 5 - Morning at Treasure Key for more beach time. Sail to Hope Town for overnight.
Day 6 - Morning on shore at Hope Town. Sail to Tilloo Cay for overnight.
Day 7 - Morning sail to Little Harbour. Lunch at Pete's Pub, and a walk. Sail back to Tahiti Beach.
Day 8 - Morning at Tahiti Beach. Sail to Man O War. Walk around the town, then snorkel off the beach.
Day 9 - Early morning sail, then back to Cruise Abaco for final gas and water, and checkout.

Be wary of Silver Airlines. Expect delays in either direction. Be sure to carry essentials in a carry on - medicines, bathing suit, flip-flops,.... There is a very well stocked grocery store - Maxwells. We brought a bunch of food with us in checked luggage. I don't know that it was necessary, but I deferred to my wife on that one. Otherwise, you should be able to fit everything you would need in a carry-on anyway.

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Old 02-05-2016, 19:56   #18
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

As a charter captain and sailing instructor in the BVI, I would second the idea of having a captain for a few days, not because you can't do it on your own - you probably can - but because 1) it may make the whole experience more comfortable for both of you and 2) if you can get a captain who is really good with catamarans, he or she can show you how sailing and powering a cat are different from a monohull. There are lots of shortcuts and tips that go into this.....I can always tell someone who sails and motors a cat like a cat, from someone who is still instinctively sailing like he or she is on a monohull. You want to be able to make that jump, the quicker the better. A good cat captain may also be able to help you think of what you will want in the boat you get, and may be able to compare different makes and models.

With regard to bringing friends, cats are so spacious that few people actually get on one another's nerves, even for a week. But, as a non-drinker, I totally understand how the fun goes out of the evening when everyone else is drinking heavily and it just not something you like doing.

Good luck. The Bahamas are great and so are other places. The BVI usually features better winds, for example, but are farther away.

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Old 03-05-2016, 05:21   #19
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

Scarlet, if you are saving for your boat/retirement, the problem with chartering a boat on your on is cost - the price for the boat is the same, regardless of how many people are on board. You have several options, none of which is likely to be ideal:
1. You can do a charter with your friends who sail and see if they would at least agree to a rule that there is no drinking when underway - a rule many of us have on passages. At least that way their drinking starts later. I am in agreement with those who have suggested, in effect, that the devil you know is likely better than complete strangers and, with a 45 foot cat, there will likely be enough space to lounge separate and apart from the drinkers, who will likely want to socialize together.
2. You could start a specific thread looking for people to join and share costs and who also share your drinking habits, interests etc. After some pm's and a phone call, you are at least not going in totally blind.
3. You could look at a flotilla charter, which often will rent cabins on cats -although, you will end up with the problem of sailing with strangers and, many of these seem to focus on after-sail partying.

A couple of years ago, in order to get some offshore experience, my wife and I booked a cabin on a boat with a very experienced offhsore sailor from New York to Bermuda. There was a strict no alcohol rule on the passage. We did not know any of the others on boaard and, while none of us became fast friends, we all adjusted - even though I had to do a double night watch on a rough gulfstream crossing because an allegedly former commodore of a well-known yacht club was so sea-sick that he could not do his. Even though my wife had to prepare one scheduled meal alone in rough conditions because the commodore's wife 'couldn't possibly stay below'. Keep in mind, the commodore claimed to have previously done an Atlantic crossing (if so, it was on an airline or a cruise ship!).

In spite of this, we got the experience we were looking for and ended up with some great stories.

So, if all you want is a stress-free vacation, your charter mates drinking habits will be extremely important. If what you really want is to get some experience sailing a cat and living aboard for a week in a beautiful location:
1. You will still get the sailing/anchoring experience on a cat.
2. You will still get the beautiful location.
3. You will still get, on a large cat, some privacy to stargaze etc.
4. You will still get a chance to experience sleeping/showering/helming on a cat in benign conditions. This should at least help in starting to form an opinion about what kind of layout/features are important to you.

And you will be able to do this at about 1/4 the price of chartering a boat on your own.

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Old 03-05-2016, 05:47   #20
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
One of the members here.. Shaktisboy...mentioned that he and his wife do this.. one of the best "rules of the road" I have ever heard. we have practiced this ever since.
It came from Aircrew Coordination training, there were many accidents where essentially an overbearing Capt pushed the aircraft and his abilities, while others in the crew were saying , You know I don't think this is a good idea
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Old 03-05-2016, 05:52   #21
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

Originally Posted by owenrms View Post
Could I recommend you speak with Mike and Rebecca. Here is their blog site. Zero to Cruising! They have amazing experience as Charter crew, Catamaran owners and now also own a mono-hull cruising in the Caribbean. I have been following them for years and find their advice solid and safe!
awesome! thank you.. I will definitely go and check them out...
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Old 03-05-2016, 06:23   #22
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

In the spirit of "A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step", the hardest part of chartering on your own is the first time you untie the last dock line. (For the most part), you are probably imagining worse things than will actually happen in chartering in a popular location (BVI, Florida, etc.). With four certificates under your belt, you have at least read the intellectual stuff. Now it's time to book a 30-footer for a solo charter, buy a couple of charts and read the cruising guides. Use a captain for a couple days, if you wish, but make it clear that he is there for safety only. Do all the planning, ship handling, and cooking on your own. By the end of the second day, you'll probably be ready to drop him off. +1 on not taking friends if you have any reservations. There is nothing smaller than a small boat, particularly if you don't fully agree on when enough is enough.
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Old 03-05-2016, 06:33   #23
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

Scarlet, I certainly understand your concerns. My wife and I are non-drinkers and sailors. There are very few people like us out there. We have no problem with booze and really want those around us to have a great time. Live and let live. But, trying to carry on meaningful conversations with people drinking themselves silly can get a little tiresome after a while.

Cruising with friends (or even land-based vacationing with friends) can be tough. If you're going to spend a lot of time together in a confined space, the personalities and lifestyles need to sync up fairly well or you'll eventually murder someone. When soliciting cruise/travel companions, we look for fun low-maintenance people first and sailing experience second. We've had some good luck in inviting non-sailors along that are fun and adventurous and good conversationalists (and not prone to drinking themselves under the table every night).

The good thing is, there are lots of people out there and cruisers tend to be good, helpful people. That said, there is much quality time to be had in the solitude of cruising with your significant other and family. When the sailing revelry gets a little too crazy, the company of loved ones (and close friends with similar interests) makes a nice respite. That's my $.02.
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:48   #24
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

Yes I'm promoting, but we can solve your problem if you are serious about a solution. If you are looking to bareboat, charter companies have insurance rules to follow. These are restrictive in my opinion compared to making your own judgement calls. Therefore, you are likely safe and sufficiently knowledgable to go at this alone without crew. I believe this is especially true with the familiar bareboat companies.

Paid licensed captains and their crew are forbidden by law to consume alcohol when on duty. This should include when you are at anchorage. Included in the professional crew service should be duties such as culinary and stew. It is a good idea to have conversation with your prospective captain prior to hiring especially on a small yacht of 100 ft or less.

There are also other crewing network sites which I would be glad to share with you if this interests you more.

Hope this works out for you,
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:50   #25
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

Go ahead and charter the cat alone- Believe me it is much easier to sail a cat compared to a monohull. You will be astonished how easy it is - enjoy
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:54   #26
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

You are so right!

I crossed the atlantic with 3 guys who got super drunk every single night. It was a 4000 mile booze cruise, and I was the designated driver. It was a disaster. They resented me for not drinking with them.

Best to find a "like minded" couple, as you suggest in the OP.

How? you are already doing it...posting, talking, and letting people know. Maybe a couple you know already would be willing to give up drinking for the trip...that would be a good friend.
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Old 03-05-2016, 08:19   #27
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

We cant help you with your questions but I want to point out there are plenty teatotalers around. My partner and I had a drink this week. It was yummy. We enjoyed it. I think I the last time I had a drink was maybe Christmas, or Thanksgiving (I think). I am in vacation looking at boats in Mexico. Party central if you want. But I am glad I dont want. While others sleep in or regret their last drink, we were watching the sun rise over our bay. Its pretty sweet to catch magic moments with a clear head.
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Old 03-05-2016, 08:29   #28
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

I think you have it pretty much wired already Scarlet. You've done all the prep work. I think hiring a Captain for a couple of days to calm the anxiety is an excellent compromise.

The thing about Charter companies is they are always in pretty fail safe areas. You are not one of those credit card captains who have almost zilch experience and they somehow survive (albeit may pizz off everyone around them). There are radio communications with home base, lots of safe areas to moor or drop the hook, and just beauty all around.

I wouldn't louse it all up with getting hooked up with incompatible people. It can be miserable beyond my toleration limits. So, two days with a captain is my vote for the anxiety. I think the two of you will take to it like water to the ducks. Good luck and post up how everything went.
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Old 03-05-2016, 09:59   #29
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

Originally Posted by cruisersfarm View Post
Better drunken, easy going people you know than strangers, in my opinion.

You can go your seperate ways in the evening, sailing together during the day (as you secretly laugh at their hangover induced sea sickness). ha ha

Drunks or not, better to have people you know you get along with.

Maybe non sailing friends too?
Have to sort of agree with Cruisersfarm, but that says more about us than offering advice for you. We've gone with strangers twice; once on a cabin charter in Greece and the second time with folks who were looking for another couple. We answered their post right here on Cruisers Forum. The second time we chartered in Grenada with two other couples and a captain. Both times worked out great.
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Old 03-05-2016, 13:48   #30
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Re: Our problem with chartering...

Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Sounds to me like your way more qualified than I am, I have no certificates, and have never chartered, yet we do manage to put a few thousand miles under the keel without incident (knock on wood).
Ditto. Plenty of charterers seem to have very little idea, but they still get by.

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