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Old 01-10-2009
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Your Flotilla Charter Experience & Recommended Flotilla Charter Companies?

My wife and I are interested in chartering a mono as part of an organized flotilla. The SunSail company's website suggests that they put alot of effort in organizing & promoting this product. But their itineraries are somewhat limited (as we have already sailed the BVI with a captain twice.) I checked, with The Moorings and learned that since their merger with SunSail, The Mooings does not offer flotillas. (Although they used to.) We would like to take a "baby-step" with a fotilla, before moving on to an outright charter without a captain.

1. Can anyone comment on their experience with a sailing flotilla vacation?
2. Can anyone relate their flotilla experience with SunSail?
3. Can anyone suggest an alernative company that offers organized flotilla charters other than SunSail?

Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2009
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Flotillas seem much more popular to Europeans than to Americans. Sailing Today, a British magazine available at some newsstands in the US, has had a "Charter Holidays" insert in the January issue that lists several companies that offer flotillas. We have sailed on flotillas with The Moorings once and with Sailing Holidays three times . The experiences were varied.
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Old 01-10-2009
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BD:
Are you talking about Flotilla in BVI or another location?
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Old 01-11-2009
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Flotillas

We are open to the BVI, anywhere in the Carribean, or USA.
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Old 01-11-2009
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BD:
I've only done "private" flotillas of various sizes with boats from several different companies. So can't comment except observations on = Sunsail Flotilla. I'm also a repeat Sunsail bareboat customer = disclosure.

After crossing wakes with Sunsail Flotillas, they appear to have their act together, Leaders seem enthusiastic and full of energy + lots of smiles. Customers seemed pleased.

You mentioned itinerary - they give you the option to wander during the day to wherever you want but like to keep track of everyone at the next anchorage. What seemed to missing or was the rub?

The best part about it is for the support @ arrival, pre-departure & during the sail. They will make darn sure everything gets taken care of and provide the "baby step" you are looking for. I would not hesitate to use them at all.

What time of year are you looking at?
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Old 01-11-2009
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BD,
We did a Sunsail Flotilla in the BVI last year at this time. I think it provides a great transition from captained to going it on your own. As mentioned above, they are not designed to be follow-the leader type sails. You are very much the captain of your own boat.

However, they provide daily briefings and most important to us help very near by. For example a problem with our dinghy engine was solved on the spot by the flotilla leader instead of us having to wait several hours for a mechanic from the base. They generally meet at a pre-determined time each evening to brief on the next day and give the anchorage for the night. If you miss it, no problem, call them on VHF and they will come to your boat and give it to you in person. You are on your own during the day to make the next passage. In fact we left our flotilla for 2 days to join another group for the run to Anegada. All seems to be acceptable as long as the flotilla leader knows where you are.

We found the recommended anchorages to be a good mix. The other boats in the flotilla provided instant friendships (much like the group seating on cruise ships to us). They are not limited to lesser experienced sailors either. One of the other boats in our flotilla had 80+ years of sailing experience on board split amongst 4 individuals. One of the couples had met when they where a flotilla captain and social hostess many years before. On our 1-week they had group dinner (optional) planned for about 3 nights.

In summary, I think the small supplemental of a flotilla is more than worth the extra attention and peace of mind.

Michael
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Old 01-11-2009
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Putting together an informal flotilla with some fun events here:
Traveltalkonline: 2nd. Annual TTOL BVI Flotilla '09!!!

Everyone charters their own boats and we had a blast year, we expect at least a dozen boats and over 200 people for the dinghy poker run!!
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Having worked for 2 flotilla companys one being Sunsail i can say that Sunsail have a very good attitude towards customers and ensure they have a good vacation however they do have set iteneraries and wont change unless the weather demands it if you would like a more varied charter one where you may not know exactly where your going look into smaller companys i cant suggest many as i was based in the med but i do know a few friends who have worked Caribean/ BVI's so i will ask them and return with a more helpfull post

If you wish to Bareboat charter outside of a flotilla you have to be sure that you are happy with the area but more importantly the vessel type because you will get less support than you would within a flotilla also you will have to organise your own activities
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Old 01-12-2009
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Thanks for your Flotilla insight!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TxLnghrn View Post
BD,
We did a Sunsail Flotilla in the BVI last year at this time. I think it provides a great transition from captained to going it on your own. As mentioned above, they are not designed to be follow-the leader type sails. You are very much the captain of your own boat.

However, they provide daily briefings and most important to us help very near by. For example a problem with our dinghy engine was solved on the spot by the flotilla leader instead of us having to wait several hours for a mechanic from the base. They generally meet at a pre-determined time each evening to brief on the next day and give the anchorage for the night. If you miss it, no problem, call them on VHF and they will come to your boat and give it to you in person. You are on your own during the day to make the next passage. In fact we left our flotilla for 2 days to join another group for the run to Anegada. All seems to be acceptable as long as the flotilla leader knows where you are.

We found the recommended anchorages to be a good mix. The other boats in the flotilla provided instant friendships (much like the group seating on cruise ships to us). They are not limited to lesser experienced sailors either. One of the other boats in our flotilla had 80+ years of sailing experience on board split amongst 4 individuals. One of the couples had met when they where a flotilla captain and social hostess many years before. On our 1-week they had group dinner (optional) planned for about 3 nights.

In summary, I think the small supplemental of a flotilla is more than worth the extra attention and peace of mind.

Michael
Great observations! I appreciate your insight!
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Old 01-12-2009
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Your SunSail Past Experience Appreciated!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidrogerson View Post
Having worked for 2 flotilla companys one being Sunsail i can say that Sunsail have a very good attitude towards customers and ensure they have a good vacation however they do have set iteneraries and wont change unless the weather demands it if you would like a more varied charter one where you may not know exactly where your going look into smaller companys i cant suggest many as i was based in the med but i do know a few friends who have worked Caribean/ BVI's so i will ask them and return with a more helpfull post

If you wish to Bareboat charter outside of a flotilla you have to be sure that you are happy with the area but more importantly the vessel type because you will get less support than you would within a flotilla also you will have to organise your own activities
Thank You for conveying your SunSail experience! Your comments are appreciated and comforting.
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