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Old 02-11-2014
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Charter destination options for new sailor

Greetings. Been lurking for a while and this is my first post. I've been sailing for less than a year (don't own a boat but belong to a sailing club) and I'm looking towards doing my first bareboat charter in 2015. BVI is probably my logical choice but one of my sailing instructors described it as "Disneyland for boats", and I took it he meant it both in the positive and negative sense. From my reading I like the fact that it's tropical, mostly line of sight short sails, consistent but not too heavy winds (depending on the season of course), lot's of "charter infrastructure" like multiple charter companies, lots of dock and mooring options, provisioning, etc. So are there other destinations that offer ease of chartering options similar to BVI that I should consider for a first charter? TIA

-Jim
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Old 02-12-2014
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Re: Charter destination options for new sailor

Welcome, Jim.

You are very new to sailing. For a first charter I would highly recommend BVI for all the reasons you listed. The issue you may run into is with such a short time sailing, you may have to undergo a check out sail with a charter company captain before they allow you to bareboat.

We had a fantastic time and plan to return in a few months. If you want lots of boat company there are the more famous locations for that. We found just as many secluded anchorages where it was just a handful, at most, of other boats.

I wouldn't rule BVI out just yet. Save the other locations for when you get more experience. My opinion, of course.
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Old 02-12-2014
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Re: Charter destination options for new sailor

When are you thinking of going? The BVI are fine and you will have a good time but they are in the Hurricane belt so if you are thinking about August I might look at chartering out of Canouan [Moorings] or Union Island [several ].

That area has lots of wonderful anchorages and easy short sails.
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Old 02-12-2014
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Re: Charter destination options for new sailor

We've been to the BVI the past two years, and as a first time charter would definately recommend it. Yes, it will likey be crowded if you go during busy season, so much so that some of the more popular locations you would need to arrive at by mid-day in order to grab a mooring ball. But, there are also plenty of locations, and it is easy to have a plan B should your first choice be out of moorings. While there is definately plenty to do in most of the anchorages, there are still secluded anchorages should you seek more solitude. For a new charterer, line of sight sailing is a definite plus...as are the mooring balls. Not having to worry about an anchor dragging is great, especially when the boat, and its ground tackle, is not yours. There are many options for docking as well, but as I've always chartered a boat that is bigger than I sail at home, I'm quite content to limiting myself to mooring balls.
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Re: Charter destination options for new sailor

Welcome to sailnet which is by far the best area to obtain information
As for chartering, Although most company will require some sort of sailing qualification and your credit card of course, one option you should look at
when in the BVI is joining a flotilla, that way you have the opportunity of not only sailing your own boat, but being accompanied by a Flotilla Captain, Mechanical Engineer, and hostess. All you do is sit back sail, meet up with them at night for drinks and such with no other worries. For the little extra cost I believe for a newbie its the way to go. Just saying
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Old 02-12-2014
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Re: Charter destination options for new sailor

My wife and I did our first charter in the BVI. It was wonderful. It convinced my somewhat hesitant wife that bareboating was a great way to spend a vacation, and the rest--as they say--is history.

Yes, the BVI can be a bit crowded during the high season. So go during the "shoulder" seasons. That would be late spring, before hurricane season is in full swing and while it is still not too hot, or in the fall as hurricane season is winding down and it is beginning to finally cool off.

While my wife and I have moved on to bareboating in other areas at time, we still go back to the BVI now and then, just because it is so wonderful there. Not to mention the fact that, from Florida, the only other place you can get to more quickly, or for less money, is the Bahamas.
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Old 02-12-2014
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Re: Charter destination options for new sailor

Something closer to home. Run by a fella who was an instructor at Blue Water Sailing School, now has his own teaching and charter operation in Panama City FL:

Reef Runner Sailing School in Panama City & Key Largo, FL
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Re: Charter destination options for new sailor

Hi,

Thanks for all the responses. I agree a flotilla might be a good introduction and my sailing club is finalizing their 2015 flotillas and BVI may be on the list. One last question if I could about best times to visit BVI. I haven't made any definite plans but I was thinking about January (son in college home for winter break) but I've been told by several club mates that May is a good month in terms of moderate winds, temperatures, pricing, etc. I'm also used to our temperate Northern Cal climate and while I like the tropics, I'm not sure how I'll do with no A/C on the boat (or maybe only dockside A/C ) during the hottest summer months. Again TIA

-Jim
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Re: Charter destination options for new sailor

We went the last week in April. It was the first week of the reduced rates. Winds were consistent, temperature was warm but not too warm (shorts, swimming, but comfortable at night).
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Old 02-13-2014
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Re: Charter destination options for new sailor

I have just started a bare boat charter business in the north channel.
[URL removed]

I wouldn't suggest the NC as a first bare boat experience. There's a lot of rocks!
[Removed company advertising]

I wish I was in the BVI right now. Allot less snow to shovel!
Have fun down there!
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Last edited by DRFerron; 02-14-2014 at 08:57 AM.
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