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Old 01-06-2011
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Newbie to Chartering - BVI

My family is looking to charter a 39-42' Monosail in BVI in April for a week. Our background is in sailing small sub 21' boats.

1. With our very limited experience with the size of boat we are chartering, and if we hire a crew for a day, will we able to sail alone without a hired crew for the rest of the week?

2. Any suggestions on a charter company.

3. Are we stupid in April to consider sailing alone?

TIA
Surf
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Old 01-06-2011
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My wife and I have been 4 times in the last 7 years to the BVIs -- once with Captain and Cook and the other times bare boat. We learned a lot from our crewed trip - best snorkel spots, where to go/not go. . . It was a great time, allowed us to relax and gave us confidence on our return trips.

We have chartered from Moorings and BVI Yatch Charters. Both are great and professional, but I would say with BVI you need to know more about what you are doing and the marina is not as plush.

Our trips have been in Nov, early Dec and April. Our April trip and early Dec seemed to be the most croweded and getting to your harbor of choice for the night was important to get there early. Some of our Nov trips we would be the only boat in some stops and some bars/restraunts would not be opened.

John
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Old 01-06-2011
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I did pretty much the same thing about ten years ago. The Moorings had a short class for everyone, pretty much a briefing. Then we had one of their captains sail with us for a good part of the day - kind of like a check flight.
My experience with the Moorings was good, a shade more expensive than others, worth it for me.
Good luck!
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Old 01-08-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfcasting View Post
My family is looking to charter a 39-42' Monosail in BVI in April for a week. Our background is in sailing small sub 21' boats.

1. With our very limited experience with the size of boat we are chartering, and if we hire a crew for a day, will we able to sail alone without a hired crew for the rest of the week?

2. Any suggestions on a charter company.

3. Are we stupid in April to consider sailing alone?

TIA
Surf
SurfC,
I'll address my opinions to your quesitons in order.

1. Maybe. Not a very definite answer but there are too many variables to provide a clear answer. I'm aware of a very large conglomeration of charter companies on Tortola that reportedly determine your competence by the limit on your credit card. They may or may not let you go out without a captain. There are other companies in both the BVI and St Thomas that may require you to take a Capt out for at least a day to confirm your ability to safely manage the vessel you've chartered. It would seem logical that if you are a quick study with good basic skills, one day may be sufficient. The opposite may turn out to be true as well and you may have a Capt with you the entire week which may have it's own issues on a 40' boat. How big is your family? How many cabins will your family require? You'll probably need one more for a Capt to use, just in case. Things to consider before confirming a vessel.

2. Although Sailnet is a great site for many things, you will find much more relevent information on VI charter companies on traveltalkonline dot com. My opinion might be biased as I work part time for a charter company.

3. That depends on the skills of you and one other person on board. I'm assuming that would be your wife but could be an older child too. Are you both capable and experienced driving a boat under power and sail? In the unlikely event the most experienced of you might fall overboard, it's very important to have someone else who can come back for the retrieval. Stuff happens!!!

Enjoy your trip

Last edited by FarCry; 01-08-2011 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 01-08-2011
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I'd take the skipper for a day option - even if your skills are good enough to go it alone, a skipper not only makes life easier on the first day, but provides a wealth of information on where to go, what to do and what to avoid that is catered to what you are looking for. Since most charterers want mooring balls and restaurants/bar just a short dinghy ride away the chart briefings tend to concentrate on that; and if that isn't your 'cup of tea' then you might miss out on wonderful anchorages and experiences.
A lot of the day skippers are very experienced sailors, with a goodly sprinkling of Oceanmasters and instructors amongst them. I wouldn't be worried about getting a 'bad' grade from them unless you bounce of other boats like bumpers in a pinball game while getting into and out of the anchorages.
The real skill set (unfortunately) needed is - turn on engine. Steer Boat. Turn off engine. Pick up a mooring. Locate dinghy, turn on that engine.
Niceties such as COLREGs, MOB drills, etc. are optional.
The Doyle guides are great for finding your way into and out of all the anchorages and are just as helpful as the official paper charts. Read those and you'll be ahead of most of the charter crowds.
As FarCry has already suggested, there is a very active forum specifically for the BVI and most of the participants either live there or charter there often.
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