Wellington - the Bahia sails
fast and beautifully (we consistently cruised over 10 knots for much of our trip); a bit bouncy with full hull
volumes forward in choppier 6+' seas, but fast and stable. The Orana
feels much heavier, but sails
smoothly and is very stable. The Orana
feels MUCH bigger inside, and is much better laid out in our view. The fridge in the Bahia
is right under the primary counter space, and the full "U" shaped settee was sort of awkward. The Bahia's electrical
panel and communications
station "hangs down" from the ceiling, and didn't feel like it was in the best place (I think the Belize
are like that as well? Just our personal taste). The maestro version master cabin
on the Orana is really spacious, right under the raised helm
station. You can't believe you're in the hull
of a 44' cat when you're walking around the island queen bed
. Visibility from both boats' helm
stations is fine. I'd like to see a maestro version Bahia someday, but to buy one to liveaboard
, I would make some major interior
modifications. After spending an hour on a Dolphin 460 in Annapolis
, the choice between a Bahia and a Dolphin (price aside) was clear in favor of a Dolphin. The choice between a Bahia and an Orana is more like between an apple and an orange in my view.
Not Just Dreaming - we've coughed up a lot of $$ to charter
companies this year, but I feel like we gained a huge amount of knowledge and experience with different boats and sailing conditions in a short period of time without owning anything. My recommendations: the seasonal rates vary significantly, and going during the low season (e.g., late April into the summer in the Caribbean) saves lots of money
. We did our Basic Cruising/Bareboat Cruising with another couple, so we split the cost in two and did not compromise the amount of sailing time or instructor attention. Now that I've sailed a 36' Mahe (which is one of the least expensive Caribbean charter
cats and a great boat in our view), I would recommend considering a certification
course on that boat (if you want to do it on a cat). For a really good, transparent look at the costs in different seasons across a fleet of lots of different cats, check out Yacht Charter at it's Best: British Virgin Islands, Tortola Marine Management, Yacht Charter
. You can look at the seasonal rates for any boat (they have a good variety of sizes and models). A Mahe 36
during mid-June is only $3k for a week, or a little over $100 per day per person. The boat sails great, and one hull per couple is very comfortable (we chartered Connections and loved it).
We've received 10% repeat customer discounts when we've chartered twice (TMM), and we try to fill the boats to split the costs. I doubt we'll repeat a charter year like last year, but we loved every minute of it, and those trips collectively really showed us how much we want to go cruising once the boat kitty is full!
If I find the time, I'm considering writing an article for Lats and Atts or something about our first year's experience...I've got lots of pics and video, and notes on the different boats. Do you think folks would be interested in that?
Fair winds to everyone...