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Old 26-05-2008, 11:46   #1
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Sunsail vs BVI Yacht Charter vs Moorings in BVI

Hi Everyone,

I could really use some advice: I'm in the process of planning a trip for my dad's 60th in the BVI. We're going to charter a boat and I've asked for quotes from Moorings (well known), BVI Yacht Charter (recommended by a friend), and SunSail (I forget how I heard about them).

It's amazing how much the price differs for a similar sized boat w/ skipper: +$6,000 (Moorings), $3,000 (BVI Yacht Charter) and $2,000 (SunSail).

I'm a believer in 'you get what you pay for' but could someone explain how things could differ so much. And importantly - does anyone have experience with SunSail??

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Old 26-05-2008, 12:09   #2
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In General on a cost basis the Moorings will normally be the highest price with sunsail very close behind. BVI yacht charters should be cheaper then by a good bit. Not sure why you got the results you did. Can you give us a bit more information about what boat you were trying to book with each company. BVI yacht charters does a nice job however they are a second tier company with a very minimal base facility. I am sending you a Private message with more information.
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Old 26-05-2008, 12:10   #3
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The Moorings and Sunsail are owned by the same company, First Choice Marine. The boats are the very similar and they are maintained and run out of the same marina.
I cannot explain the price difference but you are basically buying the same product from Sunsail as Moorings so I would go with the cheapest quote from the two.
I've no experience of BVI yacht charter co.
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Old 26-05-2008, 12:28   #4
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Footloose charters The Right Yachts at the Lowest Cost - Bareboat Sailing Vacations- Footloose Sailing Charters are Moorings boats after they have been in service there for around 3 years with a discount off Moorings prices. We chartered a 42 footer off them 2 years ago and had a great time.
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Old 28-05-2008, 12:33   #5
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I've referred MANY folks - dozens - to BVI Yacht Charters, and only ONE has ever been disappointed (their A/C didn't work reliably - and that was 4 years ago). My brother JUST spent a week with them, and was VERY happy - and he's rich.

Frankly, I wouldn't go with anyone else. They are small, but Arjian is very responsive if there's a problem.
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Old 28-05-2008, 12:56   #6
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While your looking, check The Catamaran Company as well. It has been a few years but I liked their operation a lot. Of course, you may not want a cat.

She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
Sunspot Baby, sure had a real good time
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Old 29-05-2008, 14:38   #7
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Thanks to everyone for replying to my question. You've been very helpful. I was hoping to seal the deal tonight but the offices closed before I could do so!
Let me know if any of you are going to be in BVI from June 28-Jul 12 so I can buy you a beer!
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Old 31-05-2008, 10:24   #8
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I don't know if qualify for a beer since I have never chartered a boat and thus gave you zero helpful information wife and I will be in the BVI on our boat the first week in July. That is assuming the weather looks good, as in nothing that starts with an "H" forecast to form. We may still cross paths. When you get a boat name let me know and we'll keep an eye out for you.
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Old 31-05-2008, 14:40   #9
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We used Sun sail 2 years ago and they were great. We had no problems with anything and the trip was a blast! On different islands we ran into Sunsail Skippers that were leading flotillas and they'd stop by to make sure everything was Ok and to answer any questions we had. Before the trip I proabaly called 10 times asking quesions and they were always very nice and helpful. I'd definately recommend them.
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Old 01-06-2008, 05:43   #10
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I've used BVI Yacht Charters and had not problems and know of several others that also enjoyed the company's boats. BVI Yacht Charters is a 2nd tier company that normally takes boats from Moorings and Sunsail after their first contract which is either 4 or 5 years.... so the Moorings and Sunsail boats are generally newer and more expensive to charter.

Any of the mentioned companies are good sources, and depending on what type boat your looking for and what your plans on its use are... will drive you to one of them that best fits your needs. BVI Yacht Charters has few Cats while Mooring has a huge supply. Cats are far more expensive than monohulls to charter... more stuff to break, more engines more fuel cost.... understand the full cost not just the charter cost.

As far as skippered boats go... it is the luck of who you draw.... some are great and make the trip interesting and some are so burned out the make you want to end the trip early... I personally would hate to have a skipper on the boat... if you know enough to handle the boat you select... BVI is really an easy place to sail with a good guide book and charts... a small GPS like the Garmin 475? with the Carib chart chip makes it near foolproof... and you don't have a hassle of having a stranger aboard.

I've chartered here in the BVI several times but now have my own boat and spending a few months doing a mix of single handing and having guest crews join me for a week or so ever so often. I'll be around until end of June. Keep an eye open for me... 36 foot sloop Reality Check.... that is unless you're one of those cat boat people who run the generator all night long!!!!!

BTW, the BVI is having a bit of haze due to the Sahara dust winds... but they do make for some colorful sunsets..

Fair Winds and Seas
I prefer a sailboat to a motorboat, and it is my belief that boat sailing is a finer, more difficult, and sturdier art than running a motor.
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Old 13-06-2008, 00:17   #11
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Sunsail, Moorings, Footloose

Hi Jon,
I hope you have a great time. I just wanted to add to the thread, although you may have already discovered much of this for yourself. As was noted , Moorings, Sunsail, and Footloose are all under the same corporate umbrella, but that is about it. The differences are simple, Moorings is the high-end. Their boats are all 0-5 years old, and are very well kept up. In Tortola it seemed mostly Americans charter from Moorings. They are never the cheapest, but they offer a notch higher value and service. Footloose is where many of the Moorings boats end up after 5 years. They have great deals, although I have not sailed with them, I did look at the boats. In the Caribbean, Moorings is focusing on the Leopard Cats.

Sunsail has solid British roots. The boats can be older (we saw 1 to 7 years) and even though they are right next to Moorings in the same harbor, they are kept up by different crews. Our experience is that they can be more worn. Interestingly, many Europeans use Sunsail as it is the biggest name company in the Med (or perhaps anywhere). A few of the skippers indicated that they flew over and stayed at Sunsailís Club Colonna in Antigua (On our last trip we met many more European skippers at Moorings as the dollar is weak and they like the new boats too.) Sunsail has mostly Lagoon Cats but is getting the Leopards also.

Anyway, I hope this helps. I sure would have liked to know it a few years back. I have sailed with both Sunsail and Moorings and would do so again.
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Old 24-06-2008, 14:09   #12

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Does anybody need a crew-member for the leg from Tortola to Trinidad or help delivering a boat to Trinidad for the hurricane season? I'm available. I'll sail for free. I just want to be on the water. I'd have to fly up from Trinidad, so any help with a ticket would be a winner. Call me at 868-343-4150, or email to (June 24, 2008).
Happy sails,
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Old 30-03-2010, 18:37   #13
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I know I didn't ask the question but thanks to everyone for responding because I wanted to ask the same question. I have been checking flights and Spirit Airlines has a flight out of Ft Lauderdale for just under $70 each way to St Thomas.
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Old 30-03-2010, 18:51   #14
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Even though The Moorings, Sunsail and Footloose are all owned by the same parent company now (TUI Marine which is in turn a part of PLC), I do think there are still some differences. However, I think the differences are fairly small and certainly don't justify the price differences you mentioned. I've never used BVI, but have heard many good things about them. Personally, I'd go with price as the determining factor.

I know many of the skippers work cross companies.
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Old 31-03-2010, 14:02   #15
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I support what Nautical62 said below.. The Moorings rep calls you "Captain", talks to you in American English and charges you much more, but gives you a 5% discount because you have a "Captain" loyalty card and lets you board teh boat earlier in the day (hence they need to clean in overtime or lose a day of charter). Sunsail gives you no card, British accent, wait for the boat until 6pm at a significantly lower price.

On a point of detail, going forward you should expect the two firms to differentiate in size of boat (ie Moorings will stick to bigger boats that Americans and/or richer folks like, with A/C and everything and Sunsail will stick to smaller boats), so you may lose the opportunity to exploit the price differential. For now enjoy the Sunsail price in the whole range of boats!

Fair winds


Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
Even though The Moorings, Sunsail and Footloose are all owned by the same parent company now (TUI Marine which is in turn a part of PLC), I do think there are still some differences. However, I think the differences are fairly small and certainly don't justify the price differences you mentioned. I've never used BVI, but have heard many good things about them. Personally, I'd go with price as the determining factor.

I know many of the skippers work cross companies.
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