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  #1  
Old 03-15-2002
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BVI Moorings Charter - Suggestions?

We have three couples in 20''s & 30''s planning to charter in a Flotilla from Moorings. Money is an object but so is sanity and some degree of privacy.

One of our party must take all vacation in January & February. I believe the rest of us are reasonably flexible.

We have noticed that different times of year carry different price tags. Is January always cheaper than February for BVI chartering and Why?

We have heard that Flotillas are lots of fun. It does not appear that Moorings offers a flotilla in Jan or FEB next year. Is this always the case? Any thoughts on Flotilla vs. Bareboat?

We have heard good things about Moorings. Should we be looking elsewhere or are they the right firm for those of us who have not chartered before?

There are lots of boats available. With 3 couples the 3 cabin 2 head configuration seems best price/convenience combination. How small is too small? What is normal size for 3 couples?

Moorings seems to have mostly Beneteau boats and a few others. Are there any boats in this fleet that should be avoided due to performance issues? Any that should be sought out?

What about the Club vs Exclusive line at Moorings? Does it make a big diffence to have a new boat vs a 3-5 year old boat?

We have lots of questions. Each couple currently owns a boat in the 25 -27 foot range. Some of us have had experience sailing on boats up to 40 feet. Are we asking too much of ourselves to charter a boat over 40 feet or would we be better suited for handling something around 35 feet?

Are there different requirements for chartering bareboat vs. a flotilla? What certification level is needed if any?

I know these are a lot of questions. we are talking about very big and expensive boats and a dream vacation. I think much investigation and foreknowledge is necessary before embarking on such an adventure!

Thanks in advance,

Mike
in CANADA
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2002
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Valdare is on a distinguished road
BVI Moorings Charter - Suggestions?

Mike,

Since I own a charter boat at VIP in St. Thomas I will not answer the Moorings question. What I will address is the flotilla Vs bareboat on your own.,

My wife and I put off the thought of chartering in the Virgin Islands thinking we did not have the experience. We had been Great Lakes sailors and the stories of reefs and such kept us away. We also only had experience on smaller boats, the biggest a 28 footer. All I can tell you is BOY WERE WE WRONG. The sailing in the islands is very easy for anyone with some degree of experience. We were amazed as to how easy it is. We feel it is easier than Great Lakes Sailing. If you stay in the USVI and BVI you are never out of sight of land, most of the major reefs (Johnson''s reef in specific) and anchorage entrances are marked. IF they are not the cruising guides and the guides with the Ariel photos give you all the information you need to navigate in confidence. Sure you''ll have some conversations between yourselves as to exactly where you are especially if you visit the many anchorage''s of St. Johns, but its easy and fun. Most have mooring balls if you are not comfortable with anchoring, but the anchoring is pretty easy and you can snorkel and look to see if your anchor is secure. Normal safty considerations and a little navagational ability will keep you safe. Most charting companies give you special charts for the islands, so you don''t need to be a expert navagator.

Being on your own will give you the flexibility in your schedule you''ll want. Especially with the kind of group your are speaking of.

As far as the boat size, we have never had to dock in the islands. It''s either a mooring ball or anchor. So size of boat is really is not an issue. A 45 sails like a 28. We chartered a 40 foot before we bought ours for charter. My wife was quite concerned, after the second mooring ball it was a piece of cake. As far as how big a boat do you need, depends on your group. I know VIP has some center cockpit Hylas that have three hugh separate cabins. Our 40 ft. has two heads and three small cabins, but hugh cockpit and main salon. Not a problem for six people. How much privacy you need and want will determine what size boat you''ll need. If you have some very private people charter two and have your own flotilla.
Yes, I guarantee it will be a dream vacation. Every time we go back it is still a dream vacation. We just keep expanding the areas of that dream.


Good Luck and as Nike says "Just DO IT"
John_/)_/)-/)
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  #3  
Old 03-16-2002
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BVI Moorings Charter - Suggestions?

Hi Mike,
Here are a few answers that I hope will be helpful.
Bareboat vs. flotilla: if you have sailed before you do not need to be part of a flotilla unless you enjoy the "guided tour" atmosphere. Personally I think that 1/2 of the fun is in the planning and anticipation.

size of the boat: go as big as you can afford. The BVI are all about easy sailing, snokerling and relaxing. You want room. The perfect boat in my book is a cat but I am very biaised (see our web page).

January vs. February: It is probably cheaper for a couple of reasons one of them being that traditionally the winds are stronger in January, Christmas trades, as well as the swells that affect spots and anchorages open to the North.

Moorings and other charter fleets: You pay for what you get. The larger ones will provide you with better boats and better service should anything go wrong.

The real deal is to charter a boat from the owner in one of the big fleet directly. you get the boat, the service, at a discount of 25% or more.See our web page under booking from owners.
You can find a list of owners boats for direct charter at www.sailonline.com .
If you have ANY questions about the BVI and even specefic boats you will get your answers at www.traveltalkonline.com

To borrow a quote from a famous olympic moment " you can do it ".

Herve

http://home.earthlink.net/~hervel/index.html

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  #4  
Old 03-17-2002
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wannasail is on a distinguished road
BVI Moorings Charter - Suggestions?

Hi Mike,
Wife and I have chartered in the Caribbean since 1993.
First boat was a 45'' Irwin Ketch. Big enough for the 4 adults and three children. Two berths, bunks on the port side and the salon. More then enough room. Also had a forward berthing area very forward. We kept this open for the bad ones on board.!!!
With six adults I would suggst a bigger boat.
Last two charters we had six adults. Chartered a 50'' Beneteau with four berths and four heads. Other one was a smaller Dufore.
Would recommend the bigger boat just for comfort. Small areas tend to close in after a time.
As for what charter company. Had no issues with Sunsail, North/South or Tradewinds.(older boats). Almost all larger charter companies are okay and no doubt the smaller ones are also.(no experience with smaller ones).
As mentioned in previous responses BVI''s are great. Wife and I did it by ourselves second time out in Guadeloupe and had no problems. Found that one is more alert and aware of surroundings as one enters an area for the night. As a result we never and I mean never had a problem. We discussed and made decisions together as with the other charters with friends/family.
Jan. & Feb. can be a bit challenging due to winds. Would suggest Feb. middle to end if high winds & wind gusts bother you and that is the time your set on going.
Much more fun and satisfying when you make your own decisions.
Final decision is yours.
Good sailing.
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  #5  
Old 03-18-2002
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mdougan is on a distinguished road
BVI Moorings Charter - Suggestions?

I''ve chartered a 40'' center cockpit design from the Moorings, and it was very roomy for the two of us, and might be OK for 4 people but though it could sleep 6, it''s too crowded for my tastes. If I were going with 3 couples, I''d probably opt for the 50'' Beneteau, it''s a beautiful boat, loads of room, and looks easy to handle.

A similar sized cat would probably give you a lot more room on board, but you have to like cats...

Sailing is very easy in the BVI, and as long as you get to the site early enough to pick up a mooring (aim for no later than about 3:00 PM) then you should have no trouble. If you are at all concerned, go to the Moorings website and fill out a sailing resume and they will tell you what they will allow you to charter bareboat. (they also have captains available if you are still not feeling confident).

I would never consider a flotilla, as it''s that sort of crowd I''d like to avoid! But, it would be good if you wanted an introduction to the area perhaps.

The Moorings is a great chartering company, they are very professional, ensure you are properly briefed about where to go, properly checked out with a tour of your make of boat, and introduced to all the systems and how they work.

If price is an issue, the Club boats are fine. Though, it''s maybe a little more likely that you''ll have some minor mechanical problem. However, if you do have such a problem, the Moorings will send out a repair boat if necessary.

BTW, my favorite mooring spots are Marina Key and Cooper Island.
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Old 03-21-2002
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PaulOuellette is on a distinguished road
BVI Moorings Charter - Suggestions?

Mike :

The wife & I did a Moorings charter in April last year...a wonderful experience, & I''m definitly going to do it again in the future.

We chartered a 361 Beneteau, as we have the same boat here in Windsor.

I''d suggest to avoid the flotilla, unless you like being on shuttled around on "package tours" like a tourist.

As some others have mentioned, a fair amount of the fun of doing this, is to be able to decide "when to go, & when to stay", & if your part of a flotilla, that''s taken away from you, in exchange for being part of the group.

As for me, I planned our trip with a great amout of help from Leslie Sides of the Moorings Clearwater Florida office...she''s a very nice & knowledgeable sweetheart of a gal, that is very good at the job.

Please tell her I said HI & want more "free days" next time !!!

I certainly share the opinion of wannasail, who mentions the 50 Beneteau, as it is a classic chater boat.

It will be lots of room for all of you, with a head for each couple, & a bonus one too, for anyone with an emergency.

Our trip went as follows :

1) Peter Island (Little Harbour)
2) Cooper Island (a GREAT SPOT)
3) Trellis Bay ("Last Resort" for dinner)
4) Marina Key (Pain Killer @ Pussers porch)
5) Virgin Gorda (Baths then VG yacht harbour...TAKE A CAB TO "THE ROCK" RESTAURANT FOR A GIANT LOBSTER DINNER !!!!!)
6) The Bitter End (should have stayed here longer)
7) Anagada (a nice enough spot, but I wouldn''t bother go there again)
8) Cane Garden Bay (we spent two days there, it''s as good as it gets !!!)
9) Yost Van Dyke (Foxy''s is manditory)
10) Sopers Hole (no one there knows who Soper was)
11) Norman Island (the Bight..keep a watch for nudists !!!)
12) Back to Moorings Base at Roadtown.

Best of luck !!!

Regards,
Paul Ouellette,
http://www.cmawindsor.com/winpipe/









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  #7  
Old 04-19-2002
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BVI Moorings Charter - Suggestions?

Thanks everybody for the input.

From your responses and from other sources I have basically gotten the following feelings:

1. Moorings is a reputable company that is good to deal with.
2. Get the bigegst boat you can for the room. Size does not represent a concern in boat handling in BVI.
3. There are alternative ways to charter a boat (direct thru owner, etc...) that could reduce cost. Research should be done in this area.
4. A lot of people do not like Flotillas because they do not like "Guided Tour" atmosphere. Our group wants the tour, the comraderie and the fun race at end so we will be going the Flotilla route.
5. Both Jan and Feb are rainy and windy for BVI. Hopefully not Gale type windy?

Thanks for all the input. It has made all of the members of our group very comfortable with our initial choice of Moorings. We will probably try to upsize the boat if we can.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 04-19-2002
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VIEXILE is on a distinguished road
BVI Moorings Charter - Suggestions?

January and February are NOT rainy in the BVI for the most part. The Christmas winds pipe up in late December, but not to any huge extent this past season. Windy - maybe. Rainy? Usually not. It seems like the rains pretty much end in December, with occasional weather patterns that bring heavy showers. Tain''t like up home where it stays gray for weeks on end - like right now in Maine. Poor buggers up there never got the heatwave the other day. So they''re headed down here to visit and do Carnivale next week.
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Old 04-19-2002
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kimberlite is on a distinguished road
BVI Moorings Charter - Suggestions?

KEVIN,
I WILL BE DOWN TO ST THOMAS TO TAKE KIMBERLIT BACK TO NEW YORK ON APRIL 28 .KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR ME
ERIC
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Old 05-05-2002
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MaryBeth is on a distinguished road
BVI Moorings Charter - Suggestions?


Moorings is a great company. I delivered new hulls to them for a few years. Fresh from the factory in Marion, SC to Roadtown in Tortola and to their base in St. Lucia (a more remote and peaceful place, but most likely more costly). They seem to take care of their people very well. Yes, they were all Beneteaus, but the Beneteau is a fantastic boat. You can single-hand up to a 40, if experienced. Over that, it gets a little tiring, but it is possible, I have had to do it in heavy weather on private boats. And please know that the 352s can be a pig going to weather due to the girl being kinda beamy. They can fit four couples, with one couple in the saloon, but if you are actually planning on sailing a lot, something a little bigger may be better and worth the money.

I DID NOT work for Moorings, but for a company signed to deliver the new Beneteaus, in case you think I have any say in the matter. And I have not done it for many years. But I have sailed Beneteaus since then and found them to be a nice, reliable, easy-sailing and comfortable boat that can certainly hold up in nasty weather. And some deliveries we had quite a bit of nasty weather, especially during hurricane season. (Jimmy Buffett has NO idea how hard it is to reason with hurricane season compared to delivery captains and crew!) And they have a great layout that affords a great deal of privacy for even 4 couples.

As for private boats, I have been hired on a few Beneteaus 45'' and more and find that they are still reliable and easily handled. In one extreme case, I had to single hand a 45f5 from where we had gotten hit by a storm cell after leaving Little River, SC heading to Bahamas. Someone (not me) forgot! to tighten the boom before he went out to tie down the main. He was almost sent overboard, I cracked a couple of ribs when I was thrown down the companionway (and I was holding on). He was complaining of chest pains but would not let me call for airlift. I had to sail her home for the day and a half it took us to get back to Little River, then steer her thru the jetty which had been kicked up because of the storm. Steering thru 20 foot swells with 2 cracked ribs is not fun, but she did it for me. SO - a Beneteau is a nice, reliable boat.

Much luck, and jealous,
Have fun,
Mary

With that said,
Best of luck and HAVE FUN!!

Mary
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