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Old 02-05-2008
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Bareboat Charters Dumb Question Perhaps

I have a question about these bareboat charters.

I am a very novice sailor. I have been sailing for about four years mostly Macgregors (I don't want to hear wise cracks about macs please).

I'm now in a 2006 Hunter 27 this is my first year in this boat.

I have the water craft safety card and I just finished the CYA Basic course last summer taught on a 42 foot hunter. I took this for no other reason then to be able to charter a boat on a trip like Greece the British Virgin Islands by myself with out any staff on board.

I go to these boat shows and I am facinated that these bareboat sailing charters seem to care nothing about my boating experience. All they seem to care about is that I have "some" sailing experience or at least the safety card. With this they will allow me to charter a boat by myself up to 50 feet?? How can that be?

I am sure that I can sail a boat in the 30ish feet area but anything bigger I worry more about docking and crashing then sailing. Is there a catch to all this ?

Someone told me they will challenge my experience and ask for my log book after I give them a deposit. I just can't imagine sailing boats this big with very few questions asked by these charter companies.

I would also like to know what is the reasonable budget to expect to pay for a week in Greece or the British Virgin Islands in a 30ish foot type boat. Most of these charter companies don't even seem to have boats this small they all seem to be in the 40s.

No wise cracks please ,, serious answers only.

Thanks

Kevin
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Old 02-05-2008
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Kevin,

In many ways, a larger boat is actually easier to sail than a smaller one. They react much more slowly, giving you more time to react. Their motion is much easier as well.

In the BVI, navigation is very easy. You can see most all the dangers, the few dangerous reefs are well marked, you get a briefing from the charter company before you depart, and the sailing is in "protected" waters. Further, good anchorages are many and are near to one another, so you can sail as much or as little as you please.

While the tradewinds can blow pretty hard, you'll get good experience sailing with reduced canvass, sometimes with just the genoa or a portion of it rolled out. You'll learn that the boat is very easy to manage if you don't have too much sail up.

Finally, if you or the charter company have any lingering doubts as to your competence, you can engage a professional skipper for the first day or two until you/he feel you're ready. It's a gentle way to learn and, for most people, a very good one.

Greece is more problematic, but doable. Unless you have a pressing reason for sailing there -- perhaps you really like Ouzo???? -- I'd do the first charter in the BVI where you can be assured of both an excellent learning experience, a great time, and a soft landing.

Bill
(been sailing the Virgins since 1969)
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Old 02-05-2008
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Kevin,
Bill's comments are right on the money - I've chartered cat's from 38 - 50 ft; started with my only experience was a summer of sailing on a buddies 22 ft catalina and a summer on my own Hunter 31 - took out a Sunsail Lagoon 42 on my first ever bareboat.
If you want, get a skipper for a halfday (costs depending on company). I'd suggest not bothering - and playing around a mooring ball to get the feel for the boat. The only time you need to dock is the first time pulling out, and the last day pulling in - and they will come out and help if needed. Most companies want you to put the boat on the 't' dock instead of in a slip anyway.

Do the BVI first. It rates a 1 in difficulty for all categories (anchoring, sailing, navigation) etc - yet a 5 out of 5 for fun .

Either way, do it - next time you'll know how easy it is.
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You can read to your hearts content all of the information at Moorings dot com. Moorings is the biggest charter company in BVI/Tortola.

If you are comfortable enough with your sailing skills to sign the contract and take responsibility for any and all damages that may occur during your charter, then the charter company is probably comfortable with their insurance provider to repair the damage you caused. There was a good analogy I read previously comparing chartering to car rental. At Hertz/Avis... they don't ask a lot of questions about your driving skills, they look at a document (drivers license or in this case a CYA card) verifying you have some level of training and away you go. If you have any doubts about your ability it may be wise to hire a charter captain for a day or two to make sure you are comfortable. This would be a small additional fee of about $150/day plus food. Sort of a cheap insurance policy.

Last edited by FarCry; 02-05-2008 at 11:17 AM.
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How much should I budget for if I go with Moorings in the BVI. Thank you everyone for the help.
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Did you go to the website I listed for Moorings? Prices vary widely depending on the time of year and vessel chosen.

Do you want to use mooring balls, drop anchor or stay in marinas at night? Anchoring---free but not an option in all places
Mooring balls---$25/night
Marina Slips ---$50 and up/night

Are you going to sail or motor? How much are you going to run your generator? Diesel is about $4.25/gallon

Airfare is another huge variable. Are you going to prepare the majority of your meals and provision accordingly or prefer to dine at the numerous beach bar/restaurants? Do you intend to eat burgers or lobster? How many people are going? How many add-ons are you going to want such as water toys etc...? Without much more information from you, budgeting is a dfficult question to answer with all of the unknown variables.
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You can get quotes from the Moorings website (and look at the different options for boats) quite easily (and it's fun!). For 4 people for 6 days we spent about 500$ on food (we provisioned ourselves) and some () of that was beer (though we did need to get more beer later...). IMO the trickier parts may be the stuff that's not as directly "sailing": provisioning (if you do it yourself), picking up a mooring, figuring if you can get from A to B before dark.

Go for it and have fun!
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"... the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my alloted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze." - Richard Bode, First you have to row a little boat (pg. 94)
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Regarding charter company insurance - not all are created evenly.

example - Voyage Charters; your standard insurace only covers damage caused below the water line. Damage YOU cause to the boat above the waterline is on you.

read the fine print, understand your liability.
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How do you know this Chuck? Is there more to your comment? Either way, excellent point.
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I know from reading the fine print last time I took a Voyage boat out on charter, and a very good friend of mine is their primary charter agent (Susan). My daughter also works for them in Annapolis (procurement specialist) - (my 'ties' to the marine industry are hereby exposed).

They are not alone in the industry on this - just them I'm sure of.

A friend of mine bounced off a boat in Spanish Town - and while I never got the whole story - he wound up paying the damages out of pocket (several hundred bucks). There is a deductible - often rather large.

Dinghy insurance is also optional, and let me tell you (again, heresay, not known) they will replace that old RIB and O/B you lost with a brand new one imported from the U.S. for top dollar (5k or more) if it gets 'stolen' or lost.
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