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  #11  
Old 05-30-2013
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

USVI and nearby BVIs around the Francis Drake channel are the "chevy malibu" for charter snowbirds, might as well start there.

I did this 35 years ago, maybe it was more casual then? But we were 3 boats, 5 "adults" ranging 23-27 years old, and 19 prep school kids from Mass., in March, for 10 days on C&C Landfall 42s--.

I had the experience, one other guy did too, and the other adults didn't but were capable of following directions. It was fun!! No certs even existed then, I don't believe. We convinced the charter folks we'd be okay (they were worried about our sanity with the kids, they later confessed with a smile).

I started out thinking "wouldn't this be fun without the kids" but it turned out to be more fun with them. They learned a lot (including the part where they could buy Cruzan rum for a buck and a quarter a fifth if you looked to be at least 12 years old) and we got around out to Tortola and Virgin Gorda/Bitter End and back, from St Thomas. Initial sunburns and hangovers did not quite require hospitalization and they learned from it and cooled it back thereafter.

I from New England, stocked up on paper charts before we left and got laughed at down there, they gave us a little placemat-type "chart" and a photo binder of good anchorages. It was simple, steady 15-20 easterly, and way fun.

So I don't know what prices are like now, is there still Foxy's on JVD, and Tiny Snell's in Trellis bay??

Some day maybe I'll go again. Are there some teenagers whose parents will pay for it? :-)

Last edited by nolatom; 05-30-2013 at 05:28 PM.
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  #12  
Old 05-30-2013
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

First of all smart move. I've never been smart enough not to own my own boat You are passing an intelligence test many have failed including myself.

Second, by BVI standards you have your PHD in boating. You've owned a boat of reasonable size. Be prepared for evening entertainment at every anchorage as you watch people drop boat hooks picking up moorings, anchor straight down with no scope, loose tenders to the open sea, and otherwise do the things we all did before we had any experience.

Go down to the BVI's once and get it out of your system. You can sail the whole week in 2 hour hops if you want, and never see any open water. Then explore the world by chartering anyplace, and have a blast. And when the weeks over, you don't need to get your tools out the like the rest of us!

Good plan!!!
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  #13  
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

Well I got a lot of joy out of boat maintenance, truthfully. It was frustrating, but the achievements in it were very satisfying.

I just can't justify the drive from Atlanta. :P

Keep the suggestions coming.
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Old 05-30-2013
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

We did 15 years of bare boat chartering, man that was fun. Now we are into the thick of boat ownership, yikes. I think chartering is a great way to get a fix for your sailing Jones. You can go anywhere in the world and have a blast. We also did Croatia and Greece. The time in Greece was beyond belief. Not a bad way to go IMHO. In your situation (Atlanta), with a quick hop to the Caribbean, it can't get better. You should plan a trip every year. As a current boat owner, I envy your situation, really!

Up here in the lovely PNW, sailing is much like scuba diving here, stick your face into the water/wind/rain, wait until you numb up and your good to go. The BVI is awesome!

Last edited by kellysails; 05-30-2013 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 05-31-2013
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

For good value in BVI, check into Sunsail's Double Reef Weeks. We went in early January this year. We got a premium boat (it was less than a year old) for about what one of the low-ball charter companies were quoting.

Also, it's good to work through a broker (we used Ed Hamilton). Hamilton gives you a free charter guide ahead of time (same guide that SunSail has on the boat, but you get to keep it and can study it ahead of time). Also, if something should go really wrong and you need to get tough, a broker has a little more clout because of their repeat business. And a broker can help guide you to some better discounts than you might find on your own.
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

I'll add another reference for Hamilton. We used them for the first time this past winter and they were very helpful. They did all the leg work to find what we were looking for.
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

If you have the time, do your own research and haggle with the Charter companies on price. They will move the price, sometimes quite a bit. The BVI is a really competitive chartering environment. I view it as part of the fun of chartering. Conch is now up on my tricks and they know I really won't drop them and go to Footloose I can certainly see how some folks don't enjoy that part of chartering though. If you go through Hamilton you will generally pay list rates. I always view the list rates as a starting point for a discussion.
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Old 05-31-2013
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
USVI and nearby BVIs around the Francis Drake channel are the "chevy malibu" for charter snowbirds, might as well start there.

I from New England, stocked up on paper charts before we left and got laughed at down there, they gave us a little placemat-type "chart" and a photo binder of good anchorages.

So I don't know what prices are like now, is there still Foxy's on JVD, and Tiny Snell's in Trellis bay??

Some day maybe I'll go again. :-)
Yes the USVI and BVI are excellent places to get a taste of Caribbean sailing.

Some charter companies still use "place mat charts" and others use actual nautical charts.

Prices are what the public will tolerate. There are some good deals and some not so good deals on food, drink, etc. Moorings are just about everywhere that there is a restaurant/bar nearby. To use a mooring overnight you get to donate $30 to the BVI economy and $15 on St John in the USVI.

Foxy's is still around and doing very well. Foxy himself is still around much of the time.

After 30 years you could probably come back down. Most of your wanted posters have faded and I think you will be OK.
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

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Originally Posted by beej67 View Post
Owned my boat on the north gulf coast for over a decade - Pearson 323. Finally had to let her go this past February, in part because I have a new toddler and I live in Atlanta. Too big of a hike to do regularly. The wife and I have talked about taking the money we used to throw at maintenance and instead throwing it at a Caribbean bare boat charter once a year, but we really don't know where to start. We'd be looking to charter a boat in the mid 30s in terms of length.

1) What times of the year are the cheapest?
2) Where's the best place to go for a rookie who doesn't know the waters?
3) What sort of "certifications" do you need to rent a bare boat charter?
4) Any other tips?

Thanks in advance.
1) When demand is lowest, in the summer during hurricane season. Go to any of the charter company websites and look at their pricing and you will get a sense of the substantial difference between highest and lowest season pricing. Most companies do deals in the late summer or fall for next year's season which typically entail a free upgrade or 10 days for the price of 7.

2) Best is hard to determine. I think the USVI and BVI are the best for a rookie to charter in. Since you've owned your own boat, your experience level is probably far above the average charterer. Navigation is super easy and support, if needed, is always close at hand.

3) Each company has it's own rules. With your experience I would be astounded if you didn't meet the minimum requirement. If you have the least amount of anxiety, ask for a captain for your first day. They can take you out, make sure you are comfortable with the boat and give you some local information. Cost $150-$200 which is pretty small in the grand scheme of your trip.

4) Traveltalkonline dot com and the charter section here on SN are full of excellent information.

Enjoy your trip.
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