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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Chartering > Chartering BVI? Stay far away from Conch Chrs
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-12-2013 03:21 PM
sixdaytk
Chartering BVI? Stay far away from Conch Chrs

I have chartered with Conch twice and have a third planned for May 2013. Boats were prepared, clean, and a value for the charter cost. They are not Moorings or Sunsail quality boats but are thousands less expensive. 9 days on a 44' Cat with A/C for $7k vs $11k for Moorings. Staff was friendly and helpful. If you do what you agree to do contractually they will do the same. I have two trip reports, with videos, posted on VISailing.com. I am not affiliated with any of them. Just a charter customer from California. Cheers
10-16-2012 08:51 AM
Vasco
Re: more..???

Quote:
Originally Posted by familyofun View Post
Good Grief,
I thought I'd already said this, but, we ran out of water on our way back and Peter Island plant was down, so we notified Conch that we would be coming in and would need water that night for cleaning, dishes etc. However, they abandoned us.
AFAIK Conch does not own or manage the fuel and water at the marina where they are based. That is done by the marina operator.
10-16-2012 05:11 AM
Geoff54
Re: Chartering BVI? Stay far away from Conch Chrs

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
I need to say that the last comment about Conch coming across as trying to find an excuse to keep your security deposit has really rubbed me the wrong way. In my mind, there should be some proportionality between the age of the boat and the invasiveness of the post-charter inspection. If you're chartering a new or pristine "premier" boat, I can expect the company to make a pretty close inspection. But as the boat becomes older and more beaten up, these invasive inspections can seem more and more unfair, because it's much more difficult to discern actual damage from normal wear and tear.
All I can say is that I have chartered from Conch twice and friends have also chartered from them and that is not my experience. Sure they check the boat over when you return but you'd expect that - at least they didn't charge us when we lost a towel. Last time, we had a crew injury and had to go back to the base a day and a half so we could get her medical attention and they couldn't have been more helpful and understanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
After talking to Conch, I think I'm probably going to go with SunSail because I'm considering a week that they have a 25% discount that puts one of their "premier" boats in the same price range as Conch's older boats.
I'm a cheapskate so I always check the prices and, at the times that we want to go, I have always found Conch the best. I like Conch but if I could get a newer boat for less, I'd go for it too.

As for reliability, sure the boats are older and we have had some very minor problems but nothing serious and nothing that needed anything expect to let them know when we got back. The only time I've had a major problem with a charter boat, it was in the Abacos with a year old Moorings boat - boats can be unreliable and sometimes things break.

If you do go with Conch, see if you can get Irene to do the briefing - she's by far the most informative.

Most importantly, relax and enjoy
10-16-2012 02:55 AM
dhop
Re: Chartering BVI? Stay far away from Conch Chrs

Sorry to hear about your bad experience with Conch Charters.

I've chartered once with Moorings and twice with Conch in BVI. Yes, the boats are older but we found them in great shape and the staff very helpful. Our 52 Jeanneau cost 30% less than Moorings. The cruise briefing was very detailed (more so than the first time) in which anchorages to avoid during the large swells we experienced during our cruise and the errors on some GPS units regarding the Anagada channel marker locations.

It wasn't a perfect trip, we did have trouble with the outboard late one afternoon. We called them and although they tried to help over the phone it was DOA. (The crew didn't want to miss Foxy's, we rowed!) They met us the next morning and replaced it. We will use Conch again next time.
10-15-2012 10:57 AM
SeaQuinn
Re: Chartering BVI? Stay far away from Conch Chrs

We have only chartered with Moorings and Sunsail and never had a problem.

I question the out of water and dishes issue....we returned with gallons of drinking water we had provisioned with and did not end up needing and if we had run out of water we would have washed the dishes with sea water....and left a note to say they needed to be rinsed with soapy fresh water. Or we would have heated our leftover water and wasted and rinsed with that.....or we would have gotten water from the dock when we got in in the evening ....or in the morning when staff was available.....really no excuse for dirty dishes.

candle wax on the table? Why not set the candle on something like a plate? Was the table melted or damaged? They are expensive to replace.

My guess is there was probably a much bigger mess than what was mentioned. We did not get the company's side of the story.
10-15-2012 09:23 AM
BoxedUp
Re: Chartering BVI? Stay far away from Conch Chrs

Our last 3 charters were with Sunsail and if you take into account their "reef week", early booking and previous client discounts, their rates are favorable for a pretty dependable boat in good condition.
10-15-2012 07:34 AM
chef2sail
Re: Chartering BVI? Stay far away from Conch Chrs

Rick, we have used Sunsail and also Moorings. Both were great. When you figure out how much extra for the newer premium boat divided by 7 or 10 days in our case, it wasn't much. Our last charter we did a catamaran. Wanted to try them and loved the extra room in the cabin. And salon as well as the tramp and space above deck. I sail a. Monohull so ths was a. New experience which also contributed to the fun of it.

Dave
10-14-2012 11:24 PM
TakeFive
Re: Chartering BVI? Stay far away from Conch Chrs

Quote:
Originally Posted by brak View Post
I chartered with Conch and posted here previously. They are ok if you are careful but indeed:
- boats are old and not in a perfect shape (though you can do worse with Footlose)
- can't take their boats to Anegada, no waver, nothing - just can't go
- their "briefing" is a joke (they steer you towards most obvious anchorages and, mainly, restaurants and bars). they also actively advised us "not to go out due to bad weather" when it was barely 15 kts outside
- they clearly try to find *something* to latch on at the end of the charter to keep some of your deposit. they also treat you as a "presumed guilty until proven otherwise".

I understand that they may be trying to protect themselves from all-to-common bad charterers, but I am a very careful skipper (so we didn't have any issues, of course and got our deposit back just fine). Still, this left an unpleasant feeling - I prefer to be treated with at least some respect.

Bottom line - Conch is not terrible, and if I were to really want to charter in BVI and nothing else (other than Footlose) was available, I'd suck it up and go again. Otherwise - I'll try someone else.
I'm considering a charter in BVI in 2013, and have posted a new thread seeking advice. But I thought I would say how helpful I think this post is. It comes from a regular contributor here (not a poser from the company, or a flamethrower who registered for the express purpose of trashing the company), and it appears to be very fair and evenhanded.

I need to say that the last comment about Conch coming across as trying to find an excuse to keep your security deposit has really rubbed me the wrong way. In my mind, there should be some proportionality between the age of the boat and the invasiveness of the post-charter inspection. If you're chartering a new or pristine "premier" boat, I can expect the company to make a pretty close inspection. But as the boat becomes older and more beaten up, these invasive inspections can seem more and more unfair, because it's much more difficult to discern actual damage from normal wear and tear.

I've only chartered once (on the Chesapeake), and I can say that the company seemed very fair. The checkout skipper went over the condition of the boat with me before I left, and he actually pointed out a few damage items that I had missed. Upon arrival his inspection was very quick and not threatening at all. This was an older boat (around '97), so I would expect a newer boat would have a closer inspection.

After talking to Conch, I think I'm probably going to go with SunSail because I'm considering a week that they have a 25% discount that puts one of their "premier" boats in the same price range as Conch's older boats.
01-02-2011 08:56 PM
Minnewaska Goodness sakes. An open discussion will get different points of view. I believe you were treated badly, said that already.

I also believe that your expectation of them providing water upon your return and being abandoned is unreasonable. Sorry. Relax.
01-02-2011 08:41 PM
familyofun
more..???

Good Grief,
I thought I'd already said this, but, we ran out of water on our way back and Peter Island plant was down, so we notified Conch that we would be coming in and would need water that night for cleaning, dishes etc. However, they abandoned us.

We tried washing with seawater, but the water around the marina was a bit like sewage, so we thought we should not risk it for future users.

The candle wax thing tortured me with disbelief as I had wiped up candle wax from the other candle and it was one smooth swipe of a cloth...not like it was embedded in cracks or anything like that.

And yes, we had received an email after many unreturned calls - the email told us of the dirty dishes and wax. As I said, we rent out our beloved cabin and would not DREAM of treating our "Guests" this way. We have had situations where because they had to catch an early morning ferry, they've left some dishes and, for petes sake, we get the cleaning lady to do them and pay her for her time.

My point is, as the other dear writer agreed, The Conch staff SEARCH for something to charge you with, rather than asking 'how was your vacation?"
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