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post #14 of Old 12-17-2010
Naught but Humble Pirates
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Sorry to hear someone had a bad experience with Conch. Our experience with Conch Charters was fantastic.

As a point of reference for my post: I have owned my own boat for several years and sail atleast weekly. I've chartered out of the BVI, San Diego, and the Galveston area.

Conch was recommended to me by my ASA sailing instructor several years ago. He used Conch for his annual trip to the BVI and had been using them for several years and was very happy with them.

So when we went down last April, we chartered with Conch. The staff was great, the boat was great, service was friendly and helpful. Conch's base of operations is not exactly a 5 star resort, but it was similar to other small charter operations I've used.

As it was my first time chartering in the BVI, I talked to a lot of other sailors down there about the other charter companies they were using to see if one company was better than another: TMM, Moorings/Sunsail, Footloose, and some other Conch charterers. All had generally favorable experiences. I didn't really notice a difference in quality between the companies they were using.

My wife's impression of Conch is probably the best indicator of their quality/cleanliness - she had wanted to go on a cruise instead of bareboating. When we were done, she loved it. I'd originally promised we'd do a cruise in 2011 instead of bareboating, but after our first experience we're heading to the BVI again with Conch.

To familyofun's experience, I'm sorry to hear you didnt have a great time. I can certainly understand what its like to have a bad experience with a charter company, even when most others' experiences are good. (I had a bad experience with a Charter to Catalina one time.)

I've generally found that if I treat the boat like it was my own, then I don't have a problem with the boats owner (the charter company).

If I catch a line in my own prop, I am going to have the additional cost of inspecting/repairing the bearing and through hull fitting before the boat can be safely used again.

I also expect to return the boat as clean as I'd want my own boat to be. If the staff had gone for the day and I was out of water, I'd just fill up a few gallons of water from Conch's dock myself to finish cleaning and pay for the water at checkout if they needed to charge for it.

My experience over several charters though is that if you just treat the boat like its your own, the charter company will be more than reasonable with you because they want you back as a customer.

Here's a link to my sailing blog on our last trip to the BVI, you can read about the trip, see pics of the boat we chartered, etc.

Unsinkable 2: British Virgin Islands Bareboat Charter, BVI Day 1/10
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