We (two adults and children ages 10 and 15) just returned from Tortola after leasing a 32' Beneteau from the Moorings during the week of December 26 through January 2, 2008. Here are my impressions from a first-time, bareboat cruiser with minimal sailing experience.
1. The Moorings were overwhelmed. Although the boat was delivered clean and in good condition, the 9:00 a.m. cruising briefer never showed-up, so the briefing was conducted by the receptionist at 9:45 a.m. She did a good job, though, but it was essentially a PowerPoint presentation.
2. The provisioning for our boat was not delivered until about 11:30 a.m., even though ordered weeks ahead of time. Many items were missing. There was no QC exercised by the Moorings. They delivered and left it to us to check that everything was there. It took until about 1:00 p.m. until we received everything.
3. Our boat briefer rushed-through the boat operations. He, too, was over whelmed. The Moorings then sent someone else to go over the boat, and we soon learned that this was his first day. He insisted that the boat's GPS was not a GPS. That all it was only an electronic map. This took another walk back to the office to request a knowledgeable person.
4. We finally left the Moorings at 3:00 p.m. and raced for the Bight at Norman Island. With the winds at 22 knots coming straight down the channel, with only the genoa up and motoring at 2500 rpm, we made it there in 1.75 hours, which was just in time to get one of the three mooring balls left at 4:45 p.m.
5. Given that this is the busiest week down there for chartering and the high Christmas winds during the week, (we heard that the previous week was just great) it was always chancy trying to find a mooring. This added to the trip's anxiety when going from place to place. You had to arrive early, but this depended on the location, number of available moorings, and the day of the week . . . especially as we approached New Years.
6. While away from the Moorings, I needed an explanation as to how to properly reef the sails. I should add that the Christmas winds down there during that week were incredible. Just about everyday they were 20 to 25 knots and the waves anywhere from 5 to 7'. The surges at night howled! In any case, when I called the Moorings from Soper's Hole for customer service, I received voicemail. It took many calls to get through to someone. When I finally did, it took a real effort to understand the guy due to his thick native accent and fast-paced of speaking. He was knowledgeable and very helpful, though.
Thanks for sharing your experience but let me get this straight, you go to one of the largest charter outfits in one of the busiest charter destinations, during the absolute busiest week they have, there was chaos, confusion, lost provisions, missing employees, and you're surprised? You weren't really, were you? (and you do realize that getting any mooring in the Bight at 4:45 any
day that month qualifies as a Christmas miracle?!)
BTW given the conditions, the fact that you left the dock WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING THE REEFING SYSTEM makes you a bit of a fool (sorry for the ad hominem, but think about that one will ya'?)
Sorry if this seems harsh. My first experience with the Moorings in the BVI (Jan 07) was great, but then I had done some research (here at sailnet and elsewhere) and knew I was walking into a bit of a hornet's nest.
(Also agree about the Cooper's Island moorings being rolly, but one of the prettier spots nonetheless)