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Old 11-19-2014
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bareboat vs. Flotilla for 1st time in BVI

My wife and I are new to sailing and are working on our ASA certifications.

We are planning a Nov 2015 trip to BVI and I was wondering some opinions about whether we should do a bareboat charter in order to go where we want or would you suggest signing up for a Flotilla for our first chartering.

Bareboat sounds nice cause you can do what you want, however being part of a Flotilla and having some guidance also seems to have the feel of security for a couple of new sailors.

Suggestions , opinions welcomed.

Thanks
dcrowley3
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Old 11-19-2014
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Re: bareboat vs. Flotilla for 1st time in BVI

We did the flotilla the first visit to BVI for the back-up in case of problems, but also to learn the territory. It's not follow the leader. You have the day to explore on your own and meet up at that night's designated location. I recommend it for the first time especially if you haven't had much sailing experience. We used Sunsail and provisioned at Rite-Way. It was all good. On subsequent trips you'll be comfortable making your own itinerary.
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Old 11-19-2014
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Re: bareboat vs. Flotilla for 1st time in BVI

The first time my wife and I chartered in the BVI we went by ourselves and had no problems at all. We were worried about whether or not we knew enough to go it alone, but the worry was for nothing. It really is pretty easy.

I would say that your decision should be based mainly on the social aspects of a flotilla--being with others, meeting new people, that sort of thing--rather than on whether or not you need the guidance of a leader. A lot of people like the social aspects of a flotilla. In the BVI, it is so easy to get around, and see where you're going, that you really don't need the guidance of anyone else.
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Old 11-19-2014
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Re: bareboat vs. Flotilla for 1st time in BVI

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Originally Posted by reeder View Post
We did the flotilla the first visit to BVI for the back-up in case of problems, but also to learn the territory. It's not follow the leader. You have the day to explore on your own and meet up at that night's designated location. I recommend it for the first time especially if you haven't had much sailing experience. We used Sunsail and provisioned at Rite-Way. It was all good. On subsequent trips you'll be comfortable making your own itinerary.
+1

We've followed the same path and the flotilla experience was awesome, mainly due the great folks that accompanied us. It certainly gave us good insights in getting around the islands for future trips and tips about the anchorages. FWIW, we now bareboat in the BVI and wouldn't do the flotilla there again but would consider it if we ever do Greece or another unfamiliar cruising area.
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Old 11-20-2014
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Re: bareboat vs. Flotilla for 1st time in BVI

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Old 11-21-2014
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Re: bareboat vs. Flotilla for 1st time in BVI

D,

Are you a sailor? Go it alone. Don't worry about it. The GPS will keep you off the reefs. The folks are friendly. It's a fairly safe area. The islands are what . . . 5,6 miles apart? How can you get lost. I'd moor at night for security's sake. Also, bring a set of battery Christmas lights to string up your mast. Helps finding home when you're in with a hundred other rentals and have a couple of Pain Killers in you. Oh, and the ice isn't dirty, it's nutmeg! PM me if you need a charter company. We prepared a sailing resume' and were approved in 10 minutes with no ASA training. We've got about 3000 NM under our keel though. If you get to Garner Bay on Joust Van Duke, tell Cynthia that I said "Hi".
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Old 11-21-2014
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Re: bareboat vs. Flotilla for 1st time in BVI

I would say it depends on the amount of experience you've had beforehand. You state that you're working on your ASA certifications...will that be the extent of your sailing experience? If so, I would suggest the flotilla for the peace of mind/reassurance that comes with being with other sailors.

If you plan on owning your own boat before next November, or at least chartering several times before on similar boats, then by yourself would likely be fine. I've been twice in the last three years...on our own both times but had previous experience chartering and owning. If we had only our ASA certifications and not much experience, we probably would have felt better with a flotilla the first time out...
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Old 11-22-2014
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Re: bareboat vs. Flotilla for 1st time in BVI

You don't need to join a flotilla, unless you want to. I suspect you'll see more by joining one, as you may have more confidence to press on. You'll likely have a few more experienced folks around to soak up some tips. However, you may also feel slight pressure to keep up. Go with your gut on this one. No right or wrong.
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Old 11-22-2014
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Re: bareboat vs. Flotilla for 1st time in BVI

We just booked for a week bareboat in BVI in April 2015. We haven't been to BVI, but have heard it's wicked easy (compared to Maine sailing).

A lot of charter companies will set up for you to have a paid skipper for a day or two. These guys (and gals) know the area and can give you a day or two of confidence building before you head out on your own.

IMO, planning the sailing, then changing plans, then having something go wrong and your wife blame you is all part of the cruising experience.

Choose wisely.
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Old 11-24-2014
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Re: bareboat vs. Flotilla for 1st time in BVI

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Originally Posted by shark-a-tack View Post
We haven't been to BVI, but have heard it's wicked easy (compared to Maine sailing).
It is. Compared to sailing pretty much anywhere. And all of the charter companies (at least, all of them that I've ever used) conduct a "chart briefing" before they let you leave anyway. At which time you will get excellent advice concerning places to go and things to do, as well as best places for anchoring given the current weather forecasts.

Again, for a lot of people the social aspects of flotilla sailing are a major benefit. And I certainly wouldn't criticize anyone who is unsure of themselves and chooses a flotilla for that reason. But the BVI is such a dead simple area for sailing around in that--if you know anything at all about boats--there really is no reason to be unsure of yourself.
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