Charter in BVI
This is a reply to nikkis post about FanFare Charters:
I can provide a bit more info on them, though not totally current (trip was April 2002 - so it''s more current than this post):
The owner is, in my opinion, clueless about cruising boats, having a lifetime of racing (still - he tried to recruit me for the 2002 Rolex regatta which was basically becalmed, but was in the middle of our cruise) behind him.
He (well, his very well-off new-ish wife) bought up all these *old* boats, and puts them out on mostly day charters. As a result (my opinion - I could be wrong) there''s not much attention paid to stuff which is critical for long-term sailing, as one can''t get *too* far from a chase boat in one day. He''s been selling a boat at a time in order to reduce his nightmare, but still has about a dozen (or, at least, did when we were there), down from over 30 initially. He just can''t keep up with the maintenance...
*I* think he''s a victim of his own ineptitude, hiring the cheapest available help to do his maintenance, and on our 2 boats (more on how in a minute), there was some indication of potential sabatoge (likewise more in a minute).
We intentionally were looking for an older boat (my fiancée and I intend to buy an older boat and go down island the rest of our lives), so the condition didn''t put us off. However, the boat we chartered had oil in the bilge. Noted, and cleaned out, the source was never identified, and, *I* think, someone didn''t tighten the oil filter when it was replaced (Sabatoge? Stupidity? Inattention to detail?). The upshot was to pour more oil in the bilge, again noted, and dismissed (ignorant, I assume as it was much more expensive to ignore it), which soon caused a failure of the engine.
Up until that point, we were most happy; though not the cheapest, it fit our time frame better than going to Martinique.
Shortening the story, he provided us a replacement boat, which also had problems which delayed our departure; he offered to replace the *charter* as make-up (no way he was giving any money back!!). That boat, also, had indications of potential sabotage, including an intentional mis-sized wing nut on the house batteries (or none - we found the bigger one in the cabinet, and the connection, which was bare, twisted vs a connector, wire off the battery) and the pivot bolt on the alternator was without a nut, and had *almost* backed out when I found it. The reason *that* boat wasn''t ready for us was that it had had a top-end rebuild, and the parts were still on the cabin sole. So, that bolt was put in without having the requisite nut on it...
Unfortunately, I didn''t stop, right then, on the dock, and get him to draw up the replacement charter papers; it''s been over 6 months since we''re ashore, and the broker, who wants to keep me out of it, has yet to get him to cough it up. I''m not giving up, because I think I can shame him into it, when I get directly involved, but the bottom line is:
Be prepared to be Mr. Fixit on your own, and check out the boat *very* thoroughly before you leave the dock, and accept that you are renting a 10-20 year old boat. If you do *that*, you''ll probably do all right.
However, a caveat. Contact me off-web for more detail, but he''s got a rep in the islands which is worth knowing about. That said, if I can get him to cough up the replacement charter I''d go there (only cost being airfare) and would even race with him, though I hear he has trouble getting crew...