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Old 09-29-2006
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talaria is on a distinguished road
BVI bareboat charter

I would have to agree with Ken regarding Conch being a good value. We chartered with them in 2003 and found the boat to be a good value. We are trying to work out our schedule so we can charter this fall and plan to charter with Conch again.

They may not have to newest boats but they are certainly clean and serviceable. I would prefer to spend the money on restaurants and scuba diving anyway.

Related to BVI chartering.
Value is one thing I can't say about the ridiculous mooring ball prices. On our trip in 2003 we managed to avoid them for nearly the entire trip. On prior trips to 2003 we never used a mooring ball. I have always been careful where I anchor and I understand the concerns about the coral as we all should be. So let's not get started on that as I have heard it all.

First, if the idea is to get everyone on a mooring ball they need to provide more of them. Second, that goal, if it is one of their goals and not just profit, does not justify charging excessive fees and it does not help get people to not anchor. I like the convenience of a mooring ball but for those of us that can anchor and are not afraid to anchor we will just find an appropriate spot and drop the hook as long it is legal and as long as unreasonable fees are charged. Finally, $15.00 is the maximum that should be allowed.

Last point, beaches in the BVI are PUBLIC so don't let anyone, as in hotel staff, etc., tell you to move.
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Old 09-29-2006
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Would have to agree Brian and Cindy at Conch do a good job and the price is right. They have remained in business for quite a long time. A lot of other companies have come and gone in that time. One of the good things with them is you can start any day of the week and get first night sleep aboard so you don't have to pay for the first day. Invariably, you arrive late in the day so sleeping aboard the first night is great. As far as the second tier companies go, they're the best. I tried North South a couple of times and was disappointed both times. As for mooring balls you've got another good point. Those balls have crept into a lot of anchorages over the years. They serve a purpose, I guess, for those that don't have a lot of anchoring experience. The funniest thing is to see boats tearing into an anchorage at 3 pm and fighting over the last ball.
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.

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Old 10-09-2006
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My best experience in BVI ~ Sunsail. Although the smaller companies offer great prices and personable service, size matters. Sunsail can zoom anywhere in the bathtub in a hurry, fix what ails you and save you downtime. We blew out a furling genny in the dogs at 1000 one morning... Sunsail came to and had us sailing again at 1330. Regarding the limited moorings... I leave them for the first timers, as I don't want them attempting to use ground tackle next to me
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Old 10-10-2006
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We have chartered with Horizon 3 times now and have had nothing but the best of experiences with them. Its great to leave from St. Thomas but then you have do deal with the crossing from US to BVI sometimes a hassle. Plus you lose out on the time you have to see all the great things in the BVI. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 10-11-2006
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Checking into the BVI's and back to the US is pretty easy and pain free. Plus most folks who sail out of the BVI's never get to see the usvi even St. John which has some great snorkeling, anchorages, and hiking. Cruz Bay is a great place to visit, re-provision and shop. From what I have been told you actually save a day by sailing in and out of St. Thomas. Don't know I've never left from anywhere else.
No matter what you do you won't make a mistake visiting the area. It is beautiful and a great place to visit.

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Old 11-01-2008
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Stay Away From TMN

We have been renting sailboats in the BVI for the last 6 years and have had some very good times. We rented from TMN last year and it was a disaster. The boat was infested with Rats and the company did nothing about it. We had to end up getting our own poison and fumigation in order to complete the two week cruise. We lost the use of the boat for two days and were not compensated. Terrible company. Steer Clear.
Originally Posted by astraeus View Post
Interested in hearing recommendations on positive experiences with bareboat charter companies in the BVI.

My wife and I along with her cousin (far more experienced sailor than we are) are planning a trip to the BVI for late March early April.

It seems that there are a lot of choices when it comes to charter companies. We are looking for a boat 36-40 foot. It doesn't need to be a new boat, but would like to know that it has been well taken care of. Her cousin is the "handy man" at his yacht club so I am not concerned with minor unexpected repairs, but don't want to spend the trip fixing a rental.

Looking to save a little money...don't want to blow the all the money that my personal hole in the water needs . Thanks
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Old 12-05-2008
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I captain a 38' Island packet based out of St Thomas. NO SELF PROMOTING. YOU WOULOD NEED TO TAKE OUT AN AD. - CD

If you are intent on bareboating I highly recomend Island Yachts in St Thomas east end. They are family run, fleet is all Island Packets and they've been here for over 30 yrs doing a great job.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Bareboat charter in the BVI's

I would stay away from Sunsail. Their maintenance is pathetic. I have had two bad boats from them and personally know others with similar stories. There is really no excuse for broken and missing equipment on the boat at the dock when you arrive. They claim a 4 hour guarantee response time for problems and they will give you a credit for lost time on a 'future' charter. That's just in case you wanted to give them more money in the future for another hassle. You won't get any money back for your lost time. Do you want to spend your vacation calling for maintenance every day? Their 'guarantee' is a scam and an excuse for bad maintenance. Their contract states your yacht will be fully commissioned and ready for service on the day your charter starts but don't bet on it. I could give you a list of things that were pathetically wrong with both boats but there is not enough room here. I have been sailing for 40 years and have a USCG 100ton license. I have chartered from multiple bareboat companies around the world. There are better charter companies than Sunsail. Moorings, Sunsail, and Footloose are all owned by the same parent company now so it's a gamble. If you charter from anyone, you deserve to get what you paid for and not a poorly maintained wreck. Do you homework and you will be happy.
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Old 02-25-2009
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duality is on a distinguished road
No To North South

the biggest group of liars and theives i came acrosss. i am still waiting my return phone call from the owner from our christmas 2006 vacation!!! they assured me the boat was a 2002 and it turned out to be a 1993 model, wasnt there on reserved date and they gave us a loaner boat for two days. during check out i told them the charging warning light was on and they repaired it by taking the bulb out "no worries" they had to take tow outboards apart to supply us with a tender. needless to say the outboard never worked and during our sale i noticed the depth gauge stopped working. we were stuck with only sails no way to get into port. the story goes on for 7 days of disaster. STAY AWAY FROM THIS GROUP OF THEIVES!!!!!!

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Old 02-28-2009
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Sunsail - Tortola BVI

I just returned from seven days on a Sunsail charter from Tortola. The boat we had had a number of minor problems. The most symptomatic was the condition of the bottom. I had not been cleaned in a very long time. The barnacles on the bottom were more that three inches (10 cm) thick in many places. The knotmeter did not indicate. The sensor was completely buried under barnacles. Otherwise, the boat performed fine. The other maintenance issues were minor. None of them interfered with sailing and we lost no time to maintenance issues (except for the additional time required to get anywhere due to the loss of probably more than one knot of velocity because of the bottom).

Incidentally, although Moorings, Sunsail and Footloose are right next to each other and owned by the same company, they do not share operations staff. Maintenance personnel are separate and so maintenance standards can be different.

Last edited by tundragreen; 02-28-2009 at 09:55 AM.
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