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Old 05-30-2013
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Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

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

The least expensive time of year is during hurricane season. But...you run the risk of hurricanes. When we chartered last year we went towards the end of April, the first week that the rates came down off the high season rates (winter when the northerners want to escape the cold). If you get on the charter company's email list, more then likely they all offer discounts for various reasons throughout the year.

BVI was a very good choice for us as first time charterers. Everything is line of site and we could get to our next location within a few hours. We had a fantastic time and I'm now planning our return.

Certifications depend on the charter company and I can only speak for Sunsail since that's who we used. The bar is extremely low for the sailing experience they require.

You should look in the Chartering forums. There is a ton of information on these questions.
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

What charter companies are looking for most is experience in similar sized boats. They will ask you to present a sailing resume for approval. I think recency also factors into it. In terms of certifications ASA 104 is the standard. You could challenge the 101/103 ratings then take a weekend 104 class if you want to have the rating in your pocket but with your previous boat ownership many companies would probably rent to you without it. Also consider an ASA 104/114 class as it will let you take out Multihulls if that interests you.

I chartered 20 years ago and have talked to a company that was willing to give me a boat based on talking the talk, even with a 20 year break. I have other companies that want me to slowly work my way up the boat size ladder. Most companies will want you to have a check out on a boat first, my last one was a 15 minute lecture on the boat and club rules, followed by taking out the boat and docking it twice.

From my research here the BVI is the place to go.
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

Quote:
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) Each charter company will list it's high, low and shoulder seasons.
2) BVIs
3) A valid CC but I would do a boating safety course if you have not already. Lately, from my experience, they will charter a boat to anyone in the BVIs. I witnessed a bareboat briefing where the charterers had never sailed anything bigger than a sunfish before. This was at Sunsail in the BVIs in 2009.
4) Pack light, fix your own breakfast and lunch and sample the local cuisine for dinner. Do your own provisioning.

Use Ed Hamilton yacht charters to help you plan your trip. They can give you all the info you need and will find you the best deal. They are a travel agent specializing in charters.

Caribbean Charters, charter boats caribbean, caribbean vacations sailing by Ed Hamilton Yacht Charters
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

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Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post

Certifications depend on the charter company and I can only speak for Sunsail since that's who we used. The bar is extremely low for the sailing experience they require.

I concur on this. You can get your ASA 101/103/104 rating in 4 days of sailing classes then go out on a bareboat charter.
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

We shared a boat with another couple who only had experience sailing a 22 footer on an inland lake. They provided their sailing CV and Sunsail was fine with their experience but they didn't feel comfortable chartering the boat alone so they wanted to go with someone with more experience on a larger boat.

Another tip is to carefully inspect the boat. I asked the Sunsail rep to replace some corroded hardware before we left the dock. Also, make sure everything that's supposed to be on the boat is on the boat. Our boat was missing the foot pump for the dinghy.
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

I've chartered a few time both in the BVI's. If you owned your own 32'boat and have some sailing experience there is no need for any certification or class, just cobble together a sailing resume.

I found good info on the traveltalkonline forums but there are probably others. On that forum I was fortunate to hear from an airline pilot who owned a 50' Bene in the Mooring's fleet. He sold me a week of his unused "owners time". It cost roughly half the Moorings rate and the owner spent over an hour on the phone with me going over the boat's systems and quirks pre charter. This was invaluable because I knew exactly what to expect and when the electric windlass didn't work I knew where the loose wire was and same with the vhf. Things the owner was aware of and Moorings was suppose to take care of but didn't.

I skipped the Mooring's briefing which may or may not have been a good idea but did not effect our charter.
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

Another vote for the BVI.

If you are happy with a 32ft mono Conch charters are one of the few companies who still rent out this size. They are towards the bottom end of the market, the boats will be older and may have evidence of considerable use but they will get you into some easy cruising waters.
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

To reiterate, no certification is necessary. Yes, ASA 104 is nice to have, and will be considered plenty adequate by any charter company that I know of, but it is by no means necessary. Your experience on your own boat will be more than enough for most charter companies.

The BVIs are great. Sunsail/Moorings also has a base out of the Abacos, Bahamas, which might be cheaper for you to get to.

Basically, the cheapest time of year is the time when no one else wants to go on a charter because it is hot, wind is finicky, and the chance of hurricanes exists. I prefer the "shoulder" seasons, in late spring or early fall, when the chance of hurricane is down, the weather is a little cooler, and the winds are a bit more predictable, but the prices are still lower than in the high winter season.
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Re: Help a rookie figure out how to bareboat charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
Another vote for the BVI.

If you are happy with a 32ft mono Conch charters are one of the few companies who still rent out this size. They are towards the bottom end of the market, the boats will be older and may have evidence of considerable use but they will get you into some easy cruising waters.
I concur here! I chartered with Conch five times and had a great experience each time. I do carefully select the right boat. They are pretty straight forward on speaking about the quality of each boat. You need to plan a bit. If you wait until the last moment you will end up with a bad boat. With Conch, I would suggest 9-12 months out for selecting a good boat. The Cyclades 43 is very nice and fun. Their 393's are also very nice. You will never beat their prices. I do bring along my own roll of duct tape and some mending SS wire just in case

Agree with the previous poster that if you owned a boat previously you are good to go in the BVI. Very easy sailing, all line of sight, no currents. Just pay attention to the weather.

Oh, here is my trip report of my last trip to the BVI, that might help
http://forums.bvipirate.com/viewtopic.php?t=1513

Last edited by kellysails; 05-30-2013 at 02:02 PM.
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