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RichHarmer 12-27-2006 12:53 PM

Review of CatCo charters in BVI
This will be a short and to the point version of CatCo Charters ( out of Nanny Cay on Tortola. I will do an extensive review with pictures online later this week.

We bareboat chartered the Castellina, a 2004 Lagoon 440 from December 14-22nd 2006. I worked with JoAnn from CatCo almost a year in advance after researching and getting quotes from all the major charter companies. She was very easy to work with, and was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the charter and the area.

We arrived a day early for our stay-aboard, which I would advise anyone to do. The Castellina was very presentable and everyone was pleased with the overall condition of this sailboat. Since we arrived after hours, no one was there to meet us at the sailboat, but we quickly settled in and waited for the rest of our charter members to arrive.

The following day we awaited our supplies from Bobby's
and the captain which we elected to have for one day just to get us better acquainted with the sailboat. Due to a glitch by Bobby's (forgot? the beer) and a captain booking mistake, we didn't get out of Nanny Cay until noon. The afternoon was fantastic with many questions answered (and a 14-18 knot wind to make us smile).

A few of us didn't have complete snorkel sets, so we checked out some of the gear CatCo lets you use. As a note, they are switching to FINS ONLY as use/misuse/etc costs too much. We managed to find everything we needed and packed up the sailboat.

One thing we didn't do because of time, was to get shown around the Castellina by CatCo staff even though our captain had been on hundreds of charters and knew the boat backwards and forwards. I think if I had to do this again, I would have requested this review much earlier in the morning.

Our captain showed us the ropes for the afternoon. We were very pleased by his knowledge, insight, and friendliness.

There were a couple of minor issues over the week which detracted from the experience. One of the tramps was a little torn and even though we did an impromptu fix, I was always scared of it. The VHF radio was hard to hear (speaker issue?), and we weren't told to flush the heads for 10+ seconds, so some issues presented themselves. To CatCo's credit, when we came back in at the end of our charter, they said no matter where we were, they would have come out and fixed whatever issues we had if we called in. (This goes back to the checkout by CatCo).

LOTS of positives. The Castellina sailed wonderfully, we slept well, the fridges/freezers worked well, ropes and sails were in good order, the engines and generator always fired right up and worked well.

I give all the CatCo staff high marks. We had a great value, and a great time. I will most certainly charter with CatCo again.


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