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Old 11-01-2010
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1st charter in BVI

Looking at a couple to three weeks charter in the BVI. This is our first time chartering so we have alot to learn. Did our training with Offshore two years ago on a 393. Just my wife going this time. As I look at the big three agencies, Mooring, footloose, and Sunsail I see both Premier and standard boats offered. I see the age difference but wondering if the difference in quality is a concern for a longer charter like we are looking at. Anything we should be concerned with? Any other charter fleets we should be considering. I have read a few of the threads where some of this is discussed but the discussion was usually about specific beefs or issues. I would appreciate any information or advice I can get.

thanks

Bill
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Old 11-01-2010
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I was on a TMM boat (power cat) last February. Aside from a generator issue, it was OK.

BVI charter boats get heavy use, often by folks who do not know what they are doing.

It probably is a case of you get what ypu pay for.
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Old 11-01-2010
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I just returned home yesterday from Tortola on a Sunsail charter. This was my 6th time to go but first time with Sunsail. I would not hesitate to go on their boats again. The only thing was we had a dinghy motor that was a little contrary the first couple days. On day two we called them and told them about it, they meet us that afternoon with a different dinghy that ran superbly. We had a 46 ft Cat that according to the paperwork on board was commissioned in November of 2009. I do have some questions about the sailing capabilities of a Catamaran I will post in a different thread though.
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Old 11-02-2010
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More than the Boat

K:
Certainly the Boat(Brand, Model, Age) & Cost are important but the Customer Service counts too especially on your 1st charter. The big 3 (same company) Sunsail, Moorings & Footloose will present one style of chartering. The smaller companies will give you an entirely different experience with variations among them.

Many have been happy with Horizon at Nanny Cay - especially if they wanted a more personal feel to the customer service. I've never used them but have passed thru & observed them in action more than a few times. Certainly a different feel than the very large Big 3 complex.

A 3 week charter (what time of year?) gives you some bargaining leverage to make a deal - the company does not have to turn the boat 2 times during your time. Enjoy

P.S. Might wanna consider
Unused Owner-Time For Sale?

Last edited by Chuteman; 11-02-2010 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 11-02-2010
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BTW - Sunsail, Moorings and Footloose are all owned by the same company,
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What time of year you go is key - we've chartered via BVI Yacht Charters and also via Footloose. We had no issues with either company - BVI was able to offer a little more "personal" service because they're smaller.
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We are planning to go in late January early February. So far Sunsail seems to have the best price offered. Ive got a Trade show to attend in Orlando Feb 10-12 so I figure either before or after the trade show works.
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Humm

k: That's the High season in general but there are a couple of weeks that are historically one price level down ie; just after new years when the holiday crowds go home.
Sunsail (and others) would include a paper Price chart along with their brochure where you could see the shifts throughout the year......You might be able to get an on-line version - But if you call, just ask them where the variations are during your time frame, again three weeks is a good bargaining chip - just stop by the base every so often to get free water & fresh linens

If You want to talk to an excellent Sunsail Rep

Jennifer Caruthers
Sunsail Vacation Planning - USA
Toll Free: (800) 327-2276
JCaruthers@sunsailnet.com

Have a great time
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Old 11-03-2010
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Hi Koot,

My Girlfriend and I had a very similar situation last year.
We both completed several courses with Offshore as well, at their Captiva Island office.

We did our first Charter with the Moorings out of the BVI last April. We picked a Bene 35 Club as our boat, but out of either a hidden policy or just sheer luck were upgraded to an Exclusive 39' when we arrived, free of charge. We were absolutely ecstatic to say the least. I will also say that the condition of both Club and Exclusive is night and day. Its worth the upgrade.

Of course that meant that we had to handle a 39'er ourselves but we did great.

My advice up front would be to make sure to do a very thorough walk-through before you set off. Is there an inverter onboard etc etc. If you still have the Offshore Checklist that they used in the classes I would definitely suggest using that as a guideline or just reading up on common problems with the boat you plan on choosing.

Lastly, make sure to cite as clearly as possible in your sailing resume your Offshore courses in detail as I think that helped a lot with how the staff received us when we arrived. Last tip is to use a cruising guide other than what they provide. We found many people using the exact sail plan as described and found many hidden spots too late.

Feel free to IM me if you want any more insight for a first timer charterer in your position.
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Old 11-03-2010
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There's also another great forum you should check out - Travel Talk On Line (TTOL) -- there are lots of great people there and an entire section dedicated to the BVI. We chartered via BVI Yacht charters last summer and my husband and I sailed a Beneteau 40CC "Trinity" -- terrific boat, very easy to sail for 2 and a HUGE, comfy aft cabin! Loved her. She's owned by a TTOL member and handled via BVIYC -- made it easy to ask questions about her, etc.

Just food for thought
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