Another First Time BVI Charter
Planning my first BVI bareboat charter for Feb 2010 and in the process of selecting a company. I've narrowed the list to the following and would appreciate any input.
I'll be sailing 'shorthanded' with my girlfriend and want a provisioned 35' to 40' monohull.
Please comment yes or no on these companies and add any to the list I should consider. I've eliminated companys with fleets less than 20 boats betting I'll have less problems with a boat not being ready.
Here's the list: (in no particular order)
BVI Yacht Charters
Feel free to pontificate at lengh as to the basis of your yes/no vote!
Thanks in advance!
I can only comment on Moorings, and it was good. Others will come along with some praise of less expensive outfits. You will most likely be within minutes of the grocery store. I would provision my own boat.....IMHO.......i2f
We now always charter with Voyage and have been very happy.
Been chartering a long time. Used Moorings, Sunsail, BVI yacht charters, Catamaran Company all of them once. Island Yachts (usvi) and TMM, several times and most recently, Pro Valor Yacht Charters, of Jim and Cecilia fame, not the other dude. Pro Valor 4 times and again this season at least once, hopefully twice.
Never an issue w/Pro Valor. They're the kind of folks i would place my boat with if i were to enter a charter fleet.
Can't comment on your list. Was chartering a Cat with Barecat and was very happy with them but they are just catamarans and a smaller fleet outlet. I wouldn't bank on your comment bigger fleet = lesser problems. It's not so much the size of an outfit but the philosophy and local management that makes everything happen (or not).
In regard to provisioning I recommend, not to book provisions with your charterer, at least not the pre arranged packages. There are supermarkets close by. We used Bobby's in Tortola and faxed them one of their orderforms a week in advance. They delivered direct to the boat, on time,and even drove the whole crew of 4 to their location to pick up all the things we forgot to put on the list. They allowed us some time in Tortolla, pointed out some places for dinner, and after dinner we walked back to their market, did our shopping and they drove us back to our boat (4 miles). We were extremly happy with them as you can imagine and had a great start into our 8 days of sailing.
Service was truly alive and well.
Have a great time in the BVIs
If money is no issue, go with the top end companies Moorings and Sunsail. Generally they have the newer boats and know how to maintain them with full time staff.
If your going with one of the others you still have a great chance of a No Problem Cruise. While older and some may have more dings and a few non critical systems conditions, they are typically manageable and cost are typically lower particularly in the off seasons. With the older inventories they often give more days for the $$ occasionally double when they have boats on the docks not reserved. Just look at Conch Web site about this time of year.
Depending on which location your going to pick up a boat, I would also recommend you getting your own provision. If you do the standard full provision order you will end up having half the stuff still on the boat when you return. Of course I personally like it! Because I get the know some of them and they give me the excess! My liquor locker is typically filled and overflowing.
You can add to provisions at a lot of locations as you sail in the BVI. Some opportunities exist where a boat will bring them to you such as around Norman Island and parts of Peter Island by the supply boat out of Nanny Cay call sign Deliverance. Those that don't hear banjos strumming at that name will recognize it as a mini-market on a keel.
Did a bareboat with the Moorings in '05 and had the "perfect" trip. Boat was in good condition, provisioned. On the second day as we were hitting a mooring ball at the Rhone the pin fell out of the gooseneck. We radioed Moorings base and they said a repair boat would be enroute. We grabbed our snorkeling gear and went over for a peek at the wreck before diving it, when we returned to our boat the repairmen were just finishing up their work.
I would use the Moorings again.
I used Footloose and was very happy with a Robinson Caine Cat. It seemed very new and was certainly very clean with no issues whatsoever. We did have some trouble with the dinghy engine a couple times and a Footloose mechanic did come out to meet with us, but I guess that can happen anytime, anywhere. So I was happy with their service. I was told that Footloose has boats from the Moorings/Sunsail fleet after they've been in service with them, but as mentioned the boat we had seemed only a couple seasons old at best. As good of condition as the monohull I had from Sunsail in Croatia last year. Hope this helps.
Personally, I like to get a lower price for a longer vacation. So you will find me chartering from the second tier charter companies.
I've used Conch for the last 6 years and I've been pleased every time. The boats are not new and I've had a few things break down. I just consider it par for the course...I get breakdowns on my boat at home.
In trade, I can afford to go more often or to stay longer. This is what works for me. If price is no object for you, then you can go with the guys with the new boats.
I have provisioned through Conch and without. After trying both, I perfer to provision through Conch, who deal with Bobby's Market, but to provision a little short. I find I eat less than I think in the tropics. I use their on-line check list for the advance order and it is on the boat when I check in. Inventory before you go. Then I can top off at, maybe, Spanish Town, with whatever is popualr with the crew. I have a minimum of leftovers this way and on a two week trip, eventually someone wants to go to town, anyway.
Enjoy yur trip,
Things have gotten a little out of kilter this year, stay with the first tier charter companies, Moorings Sunsail Voyage CYOA....less customers has made it cheaper but less maintaince. Always do your own shopping
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