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Planning Carribbean Bareboat Charter

I'm in the initial stages of planning a 1 week bareboat charter in the Caribbean. Location and times are wide open right now, but probably US/BVI. Does anyone have any recommended times, places, and companies to rent from? Any other suggestions and advice are welcome.
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Re: Planning Carribbean Bareboat Charter

There are quite a number of threads on this topic.

BVI best choice.

Moorings is upmarket and has the best support.

Conch is cheap and cheerful.
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Re: Planning Carribbean Bareboat Charter

I think it depends on your level of sailing ability. The BVI's are the "kiddie pool" of bareboat areas and a great place to hone your skills with a minimal chance of problems. You'd be hard pressed to even find a place where you had to anchor instead of taking a mooring.
Down island is much more challenging with longer runs across open water and quite often, rougher conditions.
Off season is cheaper and much less crowded. Conditions are milder for sailing (if not a few degrees hotter) as the winter down here can bring heavier winds and rougher seas. The off season is also hurricane season, so a good watch on the weather is appropriate, though should anything develop that might threaten your area, EVERYBODY will be endlessly chatting about it. Depending on the month and the forecast season activity, trip insurance might well be a good investment for an off season bareboat charter in the Caribbean.

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Last edited by capta; 2 Weeks Ago at 09:48 AM.
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Re: Planning Carribbean Bareboat Charter

BVIs are a great way to start... I did and can't wait to go back. We used Moorings the first time and the service was truly flawless. This go around we are using BVI Yacht Charters, we'll see how that works. The Moorings are use to first timers and really walk you through the whole process, that does not make them newbies only, just that they were great to me, and I found the process pretty well thought through. Brillant marketing too, handing you a rum punch immediately upon stepping out of the cab

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Re: Planning Carribbean Bareboat Charter

If this is your first charter I would recommend Moorings/Sunsail especially if you don't own a boat.
Theirs are more expensive but newer and more resources to fix you up on the go.

The BVIs are a delightful, easy, well infrastructured and supported. Each day is a delightful sail, a close mooring ball or achorage close to a bar or restaurant as well as snorkeling spot.

Yes its crowded... but not crowded like at home at the beach on a hot Sunday afternoon.

Not even you can screw up your families vacation! Everyone will enjoy it. There's nothing *really* that can go wrong. Even if one of your familily or friends absolutely hates it you can just sail back to Tortola and offload the ungrateful mug into a hotel in less than 2 hours.


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Re: Planning Carribbean Bareboat Charter

Agree that it would be hard to do better than the BVI, especially if you are a first-timer in the Caribbean. Yes, you may run into a crowded anchorage with limited mooring availability, but nothing like the northeast US. There are anchoring options (plan B) that you might want to prepare for, just in case you arrive late at a place like Cooper Island to find all the moorings taken.

One drawback to the BVI is getting there, if you can't get a good flight arrangement. You can take a ferry from St. Thomas or a puddle jumper from San Juan, if you can't get a direct connection.

After more than a dozen charters in the US/BVI, I've gravitated to Island Yachts at Red Hook, St. Thomas. If you go from there to the BVI (and you will want to as a first timer) you'l have to check into the BVI, presumably at Soper's Hole or Jost van Dyke and you'll have to check back into the US at Cruz Bay, St. John. That's probably too much hassle for your first time, but isn't that big a deal for future trips where you might spend some really quality time in the harbors of St. John. The real advantage is the availability of flying into St. Thomas on a real airplane.
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Re: Planning Carribbean Bareboat Charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
If this is your first charter I would recommend Moorings/Sunsail especially if you don't own a boat.
Theirs are more expensive but newer and more resources to fix you up on the go.

The BVIs are a delightful, easy, well infrastructured and supported. Each day is a delightful sail, a close mooring ball or achorage close to a bar or restaurant as well as snorkeling spot.

Yes its crowded... but not crowded like at home at the beach on a hot Sunday afternoon.

Not even you can screw up your families vacation! Everyone will enjoy it. There's nothing *really* that can go wrong. Even if one of your familily or friends absolutely hates it you can just sail back to Tortola and offload the ungrateful mug into a hotel in less than 2 hours.


Mark
I haven't seen it more succinctly put. The BVI Tourist Board should put this in a brochure...
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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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Re: Planning Carribbean Bareboat Charter

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
.......Depending on the month and the forecast season activity, trip insurance might well be a good investment for an off season bareboat charter in the Caribbean.
I wonder exactly how trip insurance works in the face of a hurricane. If the storm is 5 days out on the date of your flight to the islands, I'm not sure the predictability of these storms is sufficient for insurance to simply reimburse you for not going. If you do go and get within a day or two of landfall, you probably won't get a last minute flight back out.

It's sort of like my haul out insurance. My slot to be hauled out is prior to the window that the insurance company is assured to pay.


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Re: Planning Carribbean Bareboat Charter

Great information!

Be aware of the age and condition of the boats provided by the Charter Company - Moorings as mentioned has top tier new boats, Sunsail and Barefoot are owned by Moorings and have older boats. I have used Sunsail twice and was very satisfied. Went to Dream Yacht Charters this year and was thoroughly disappointed in a 3 year old catamaran - she was beat up...

Price does not reflect the condition of the boat... nor does the notation 'New' mean new or new condition!

Ask the questions and demand the quality from any company.

Good luck
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