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augsbut 11-08-2010 13:57

First-Time Bareboat Advice ?
I have moderate experience: Sailed small boats forever, owned a catalina 25 for years, and just finally got my ASA Bareboat certification. would like to rent a boat in the BVI this spring for a group of 6.

I don't have any twin screw cat experience but the group would like the space of a cat. A) Is it smart to stick with the mono first time or try the cat? B) would companies rent a cat to someone like me?

Dockhead 11-08-2010 14:51

The twin screws of a cat are pure pleasure, not an obstacle. You will adapt in something like two minutes.

Yes, they will rent to you.

No, we can't tell you what kind of boat to rent. It's a matter of taste. Rent what appeals to you. If you don't like it, then rent something different next year.

I chartered a cat one year in the Carib. It was very worthwhile as I understood that I don't like them. I would be wondering to this day, had I not tried it. THat's the beauty of chartering.

nautical62 11-08-2010 15:37

The BVIs are a great location for a first time charter. So much of what's good to do is dependent on your own priorities, but here's a few to think about:

1. I prefer to do my own provisioning. It's cheaper, I get what I want and it doesn't take long. It's easy to take a Taxi to a grocery store and some offer a courtesy shuttle.

2. Do as much reading as you can about where to go. Most companies do a chart briefing, but it's really helpful to have some good ideas about where you want to go before you get there. - Tell people here what you enjoy and I'm sure you will get many good recommendations.

Ex-Calif 11-08-2010 16:42

6 people, assuming 3 couples, the cat would be my choice. Especially if I was into a cruising, relaxing, partying in the evening kind of vacation.

One main advantage is the ability for the couples to get maximum privacy due to berth locations.

As for requirements to charter I would contact some companies but I suspect if you have a credit card and can cover the insurance, you are a good risk.

I had a friend charter a cat in the Whitsundays after a half day checkout and no prior sailing experience.

jacob30 11-08-2010 16:52

Just bareboat chartered for the first time in the BVI with Sunsail. We chartered a Sunsail 32i for seven days and opted to pre-provision. I think having the provisions on board when you get there is definitely worth a little extra money. The last thing you are going to want to do on your day of departure is provision. We came in at night and departed the next day by 12pm after briefings and check out. The only thing I would definitely make sure you do is a complete inventory of your provisions which I did not do and a few items were missing. The cost was very reasonable as well IMO.

The boat was great for two people. The only thing I wish I had was an AC the two nights we stayed in the Marina (very hot). More than two people definitely upsize your boat.

The itineries they recommend worked out well and we did adjust due to weather a few times and opportunity once (invited to a private island).

Our itinerary was 1. Norman Island 2. Jost Van Dyke 3. Little Thatch and Sopers Hole 4. Norman Island (weather divert) 4. Virgin Gorda

We did wish we had a few more days. A ten day charter would have been perfect. We stayed on board the first and last night at the base marina.

Wished we could have gone to Anegada but the wind and conditions would have been beyond my comfort zone at the time.

Overall loved the charter and am planning a spring chrater on a Catamaran in Greece next Spring with Sunsail.


maytrix 11-08-2010 16:53

I prefer a catamaran myself hands down. It's very roomy and having twin screws makes it really easy to manuever.

I think what you charter though may have more to do with what everyone wants to pay too and what amenities you want. The Catamaran's are more expensive. Especially if you want the luxury of A/C (something a few in our group say is a must :)).

Having chartered once last October with trip #2 this October, here's the advice I'd give. We used the moorings. For our first trip I figured we couldn't go wrong with going with a large charter company with relatively new boats (none older then 5 years). Chose them the 2nd time due to our great experience and I also found an owner who we bought time from. I'd highly recommend doing that since you can save a substantial amount depending on current discounts and the boat you choose.

Prior to your trip, I'd research the area and try to get an idea as to what you want to do and see. I'd also put together a potential itinerary. You can obviously change it, but its good to have some idea. When we did our briefing last year, there was a guy that had ZERO clue. We all laughed and everyone was thankful I was leading us. I also had a binder with some printouts of info on different areas we'd visit. It also had copies of all the paperwork for our trip too. My wife thought I was nuts since I'm never that organized with other stuff, but it was great to have.

With your experience and prior ownership, I imagine you'd have your choice of all the boats. So start looking and have some fun planning. For me that's just a way to tide me over until our trip :)

maytrix 11-08-2010 16:59

I'd agree heavily on adding more days :) We sailed 7 days last year. Sat-Sat. I kept wishing Saturday night we were still on the boat..

This year my wife and I are going 10 days with the rest of our group joining us a little later for 8 days. I still think I'll be wishing we had more time.

I'd also agree on the provisioning. It's pretty reasonable and it is nice having everything there. We also did some diving and found that to be great right from the boat too.

nautical62 11-08-2010 17:45

I own a charter boat there, so if you have any specific questions about the area, feel free message me anytime.

compassrose 11-08-2010 20:50

I live in the BVI full time. If I can answer any questions I would be happy to do so.


imagine2frolic 12-08-2010 04:13

The first time in the BVI I chartered with Moorings. They were spot on with customer service. They give you a mostly downwind agenda, but you are free to go where you want. As far as provisioning. I looked at the list, and it just wasn't us. At the time a store was across the street, and we did our own shopping.

If you choose to provision yourself. First inspect the galley, and see what has been left behind. We found many items we duplicated such as spices, oil, and a few other small items. You have chosen a great spot for your first time.

Without a doubt a cat is the way to go. With twin engines docking is a piece of cake. Do you really want to dock a 50ftr. in a tight marina? Also the privacy is greater on a cat. A huge plus in those amorous:flowers: moods, and the BVI will supply many of those!..:thumb:......i2f

Reluctantsailor 12-08-2010 05:05

We chartered from Horizons in the BVIs for 11 days/10 nights in May - we went online and ordered from Bobbys before we went and they delivered everything to the boat the day we took possession- it was great and cheaper then having the charter company provision for us but we didn't have to waste time by going to the store ourselves.

I don't think you have to worry about being able to charter with your experience I am sure you will have no problems it was obvious to us that many people especially with Moorings had no sailing experience and had no idea what the buoys were for as we watched them cut across reefs and do all kinds of crazy things.

We were two couples and had a 36 foot Bavaria and had lots of space and really enjoyed it - but I think if it were three couples I would consider a CAT even though all of us are diehard Monohullers. We all thought to that the CAT had an advantage in the BVIs of being able to get closer to shores, have more places to anchor and to get into some places that our 6'2" draft just wouldn't let us go. Definitely whatever you decide look at the Draft of the Boat there are lots of shallow harbours and coves that a deep draft keep you from being able to explore at least that is what we found...

Karl_in_Chicago 12-08-2010 06:41


Originally Posted by Reluctantsailor (Post 501054)
We chartered from Horizons in the BVIs for 11 days/10 nights in May - we went online and ordered from Bobbys before we went and they delivered everything to the boat the day we took possession- it was great and cheaper then having the charter company provision for us but we didn't have to waste time by going to the store ourselves.

Thanks Reluctant - I had no knowledge of Bobby's. This sounds like a great option; I'm looking at their shopping list right now and it certainly seems complete. So that others may benefit here's their url:
Bobby's Market Place, British Virgin Islands - Supermarket, Villa and Yacht Provisioning Specialists

We chartered from Moorings in Feb 2008 (Leopard, err, "Moorings" 4300 - meh) and chose the pre-provisioning. It was OK but nothing great, I guess "serviceable" would be the term - but I'd take the tradeoff again vs going and shopping myself. With the ability to order directly from a place like Bobby's and have it delivered that sure seems like the way to go.

I note the liquor selection at Bobby's doesn't carry some of my faves so I'd probably walk down to the liquor store at the front gate of the Moorings or run the dink across the harbor and tie up downtown.

BTW the upgraded facilities at the Moorings in Road Town are top-rate - probably the best showers on the island!

maytrix 12-08-2010 17:15

The only downside I see to something like Bobby's is that you really need to figure out every meal and what goes with it..etc.

The nice thing about the moorings provisioning is that they make it brainless. Just check off what you want and you get whats needed for it. We found the food to be very decent and not having to figure out how much food to get for 8 people was certainly nice.

If we were a smaller group, I'd definetely look into this. I might see if my wife would be interested in taking a stab at it, but I tend to doubt it :)

EDIT - Actually looking at their site again, I see they offer a similiar option. I guess I'll have to look at this. Cost is about the same though for that option.

dacust 17-08-2010 13:54


Originally Posted by Karl_in_Chicago (Post 501083)
I note the liquor selection at Bobby's doesn't carry some of my faves so I'd probably walk down to the liquor store at the front gate of the Moorings or run the dink across the harbor and tie up downtown.

They have a place for you to write in what you want and they will try to get it. They will also give you a quote on items like that.


CaptainBW 17-08-2010 14:39

One bit of advice...plan on arriving before 5 PM at most places where you want to grab a mooring ball...even 3 PM in some spots like Marina Cay. They can fill up early.

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