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First timer with chartering questions
Hello everyone! Happy to have found this forum -- been great reading so far.
My girlfriend and I and another couple (4 people total) are looking to charter this winter, ideally in the Caribbean (been looking at the BVI).
I have a lot of experience sailing and racing dinghies (JY15s, 420s, Lasers, Sunfish, lakes, coastal, over 15 years, since I was a child), but I don't have any experience with larger boats. None of the other in our crew have sailing experience.
As this is our first charter, I've got a few questions hopefully the experts here can answer.
1. I'm assuming I'm going to need to hire a skipper, right? Is it possible to hire one for only part of our week-long trip, to teach me the ropes, so to speak?
2. What company should I charter through? We don't need ultra-luxury and we'd like to keep costs down where we can. I was looking into Horizon charters, but then took a look at the more expensive options (Moorings, SunSail). Not sure what the real difference is there.
3. What boat should I charter? At Horizon, I was looking at the Bavaria 31 -- sleeps 4, which is what we need. Doesn't need to be spacious, but should be comfortable. Is there a recommended hull length or something?
4. Relatives who've done chartering in the BVI have said they had trouble finding supermarkets, so they recommended provisioning through the company. That's more expensive, of course, but maybe it's worth it? Or some kind of split provisioning so we can get some time ashore, too? Also, some of us have dietary restrictions (vegetarian, for example) so maybe provisioning through the company but choosing our own shopping list (Horizon allows this, at least) is the way to go?
5. What other expenses should I know about? I know there's some insurance, and I'm sure some taxes, water taxi, and the like. What about fuel? Water? Other stuff?
Thanks for any advice you can provide. We're all very excited to do this!