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Old 03-26-2010
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BVI Bareboat Queries

I’m planning a one-week BVI bareboat charter in May and have a few queries if anyone can help. It’s just my wife, son and I on a 32-42ish foot monohull. I’ve sailed the BVI several times before, but have not been back in about 5 years. My queries are:

1. Taking 3yr old son on first sailing holiday; any tips or advice?
2. What is Wi-Fi or 3G availability like in BVI now?
3. Regarding boat choice, the offerings are usually:
- Jeanneau Sun Odyssey
- Bénéteau Oceanis
- Bavaria Cruiser

For recent builds over past five years, I assume build/quality is in the order that I noted. Any feedback re best picks or boats/years to avoid? For example, I’m not a fan of early Bavarias, but am told they have got much better in recent years. Would most people take a Jeanneau over a Bénéteau?

Thanks for any feedback.
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Old 03-26-2010
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Congrats on your trip (jealous). As a former Sunsail charter salesman (phone order taker) my advice is that you can get the best deals last minute but your choices will be limited. The best option is the newest boat, because a charter boat ages twice as fast as a privately owned boat. As for brand or model, again, your not buying it, so get the newest one at the best price. I would think a family of three would be fine in a 32-36 ft, 42ft if performance is your desire (racer at heart?). As for the child, be sure to bring a comfortable PFD and floppy hat that will stay on. And forget the internet, your on island time mon! Enjoy.
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Old 03-26-2010
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(Strange, my earlier lenghthy post seems to have disappeared!)

Only one charter company uses Bavaria yachts, and as Har has stated you might not really get much of a choice of brands.

WiFi is available in almost every anchorage, either free or pay-for-use through Cable & Wireless.

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Old 04-06-2010
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Recommend BVI yacht Charters

I've chartered with TMM and BVI yacht charters several times out of Road Harbor. I've had good experiences with both but overwhelmingly recommend BVIYC. Their dedication to client satisfaction is over the top. They maintain their boats well, and will reach you anywhere in the BVI within hours to replace or repair a problem (eg, lost top mainsl batten from Road harber to Marina Cay, on OUR schedule !). I sailed a Benetueu 46 and 505 back to back with them last year (2009), my 3rd charter with them. Their new location in Port Purcell is ideal access to/from Road Harbor. Staff is excellent. That said, their rates tend to be at least a bit lower (10% or more) than most others, including TMM, with in my opinion no lesser quality boats.

My children all grew up sailing and i recommend looking for a vessel with a shorter and secure companionway. The companionway entrance and treads are a jungle gym for kids, so look at the vessel pictures for security there, and in the swim platform entry -- is it easy for a child to sneak back there? Also, a center cockpit would provide more safety, as would higher cockpit coamings. Watch for more cluttered fittings - hard on young toes!

With 3 including a small child, I would stay to 36 ft or less, plenty of comfort and more maneuverable for two crew trying to also tend a child. We sailed a Ben. 32 with TMM on our first charter, just my wife and I, and it was plenty comfy for your size crew. You get a bit more luxury as you go up, but you also have more boat to work. The 40+ and 50s have large mains that can take 2 crew to raise (ok ir your child can helm).

Wich you luck, plan some extra time in North Sound in Virgin Gorda, and take them ashore at The Baths. Hiking the caves at the Baths and over to the east shore is very good for kids. Virgin Gorda is ideal for kids. It's normally quieter up by Saba at night, where Dix Bay is good anchoring but can have some loud late night life. But easy to spend 2-3 days in N Sound and daysail the north channel by the dogs and Tortola.

WIFI is usually hard to get at anchor/mooring unless you are close to a business. I generally had to go ashore most anchorages to get it. BVIYC boats have a boat cell phone that is very inexpensive, including for short calls to the states. $10 to $20 covered us for the better share of a week, including my 18 yr old son's calls to his girlfriend at home. You can get USVI cells at US rates when near ST John and ST Thomas, but it's hit/miss. Check your cell carrier, your phone may work in the BVI but you have to activate their international plan (can do that for a month at a time usually) but rates may still not be cheap -- 40 cents per minute or more.

Last edited by gmnord; 04-06-2010 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 04-15-2010
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Originally Posted by YachtieRMK View Post
1. Taking 3yr old son on first sailing holiday; any tips or advice?
I always regard safety as #1 priority for all my crew.

Since you state that this is his first sailing holiday and not mentioning whether he has much time on the water, I would recommend that he wears his PFD at all times while aboard unless tucked safely into his bunk at night. If he's the restless type, I would also rig a jackline and tether him to it while underway so you will always know that he's attached to the boat. I've also seen plastic mesh that some cruisers string up between the stanchions.

Bring plenty of hand held games to keep him occupied, as well as his favorite books. Besides adequate sun protection that was mentioned previously, make sure he stays hydrated. With all the new experiences that he's about to have, it's easy to forget the basics.

We'll be cruising with our 25 & 22 yo (with gf), in 6 weeks. I think I may tether them at night so I won't have to round them up from the bars ashore....

Good luck and have a great time!
I've got blisters on my fingers
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Old 04-15-2010
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You can get wifi at most anchorages In the BVI if you have a long distance antenna. The quality of service varies, but is usually good enough for email and Internet surfing. I could use skype every once in a while.

I use the nano station for my wifi antenna. It's not too expensive and it works as good if not better than any other system used by fellow cruisers down here. Never could someone else get a connection that I couldn't. The inverse does not hold true. It does require ac power though. There is a good write up by sailing dog on the nano station if you search sailnet for it.
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