Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
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Re: Planning Carribbean Bareboat Charter
Is this the first time? If so, BVI is the way to go. Moorings is all inclusive and fairly simple and could be a way to start. I swore by them at one point, despite every single boat having issues, such as: clogged fresh water tank vent, inoperative oven, etc. The briefing did not identify either, because their briefings are pretty cursory.
There is a hassle to chartering out of BVI. If you fly into St Thomas, you'll take the ferry over and have a miserable experience clearing customs. It's taken as much as 2 hrs and it feels every bit like the third world country you're actually entering. Alternatively, you fly into Tortola and clear at the airport, but you'll most likely have to connect in Puerto Rico. Virtually no where flies direct. Those connections, not unlike the ferry, can be very unpredictable. I've been told, if you miss the last plane out of Puerto Rico, you'll sleep in the terminal. The nearby hotels are always full.
I've recently begun to use CYOA out of St Thomas. It's major advantage is flying into STT and literally being aboard in about 20 mins, which includes the time to de-plane and hail a taxi. It's a smaller operation, so the inventory and availability are limited. On the flip side, it hurts them to have to chase you down to fix a problem, so they go above and beyond to insure it doesn't happen. Their briefing is extremely thorough, including an on-water test of all systems, including the sails and a tack/gybe or two. I've had to call chase boats from both the Moorings and Horizon, but in both CYOA experiences, they ship has done her job from dock to dock. I didn't love the Hunter I chartered this year, but she got the job done. Their new Beneteaus looks really nice!
The downside to chartering out of STT is that you'll still want to go to the BVI and will have to clear customs with the boat. I used to think that wasn't worth doing, but I was totally wrong. It's very simple and you do so at remote customs locations, so you fully avoid lines and crowds. CYOA gives you all the forms you need and a guide for how to complete them. I cleared into the BVI at Jost Van Dyke and simply made Foxy's our first destination. Seriously easy decision. St. John is also in play, as you'll pass it between STT and BVI. If you start in the BVI, you're very unlikely to want to clear into the US, just to go to St. John.
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