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09-27-2013 11:15 PM
Re: First time chartering in BVI flotilla with kids

We chartered with a SunSail flotilla earlier this year and it sounds like a solution for you. The "flotilla" part was really loose.

We are here, thats where we're going see you their this evening and on the way checkout x and y, and be careful of z. When you get to the destination, anchor anywhere but there's a buoy here but they are available on radio.

We did have 2 technical questions, one we didn't know about, one self inflicted, but the support crew fixed it.

May give you the extra time to keep an eye on the kids.

You can safely skip the group evening meals unless you specifically want to mingle with others on the flotilla, but its very low key.
07-30-2013 01:39 PM
Re: First time chartering in BVI flotilla with kids

Great post and thread. Too late to help Kutsyy, as above, but after having gone to the BVI with three boys, 13, 10 and 2, I can tell you - it's paradise for all of them. Including the 2 year old - it just means finding a beach with sand every day.

As to provisions - we really should have used the grill more. Cooking in the galley for the relatively large crew - they all eat a ton - was a chore. I think throwing burgers, steaks and sausages on the bbq would have been much easier and it's something we'll do next time.
07-07-2013 09:50 AM
Re: First time chartering in BVI flotilla with kids

Too late to help Kutsyy, but there are great articles on bareboating with kids in the CharterSavvy Fall Issue and on why flotillas are not the "f" word in the CharterSavvy Summer issue.

Sorry but I don't have enough postings to be able to include links, but just Google CharterSavvy.
07-06-2013 12:16 PM
Re: First time chartering in BVI flotilla with kids

Thank you everyone on the recommendations.

Just wanted to follow up on the trip. We did go with Sunsail flotilla and for the first time I think it was a great choice. There were a few cases when it helped to have someone close by. We were supposed to go all together to Anegada which would be nice, but weather did not cooperate. We split from them for last couple of days and enjoyed it as well. Next time we will go by ourself.

Thanks again,

06-16-2013 11:15 PM
Re: First time chartering in BVI flotilla with kids

Here's a map of my trip. Click on items in the list on the left for notes and photos.

Have fun!
06-16-2013 10:28 PM
Re: First time chartering in BVI flotilla with kids

We went to the BVI with my three boys earlier this year. I posted our intinery

Sailing With Kids
06-16-2013 03:10 PM
Re: First time chartering in BVI flotilla with kids

I've charted a few times in the BVI's. First time was on my honeymoon and we chartered from Bitter End on Virgin Gorda and then stayed i a beach front villa room for 5 days after the charter. Great place, tons of stuff for the kids to do and plenty of good snorkeling right nearby.

The second time I chartered down there my son was 11 and we went with another family with a 10 and 11 year old, all boys. We rented a couple of sit on top kayaks that did get a lot of use and we snorkeled everywhere we stopped. This charter was form Moorings.

Regarding snorkeling gear - we brought our own masks and snorkels and used their fins, but the snorkels and masks they have are fine so no need unless you like having your own, which I do.

Rented fishing gear but never caught anything.

Provisioned with Bobby's but will go to store and pick out my own food nest time, though ordering is easier and making a trip to the store after traveling all the way from san fran and getting stowed etc may not be worth the extra effort.

Flotilla may be good for the kids to have other kids to socialize with and should be fun for all.

You should have a great time... perfect family vacation!
06-15-2013 10:13 PM
Re: First time chartering in BVI flotilla with kids

...and you've probably already heard this, and your flotilla should take care of it, but with kids a trip to The Baths, and specifically taking the hike through the boulders, is a must.

The first time I went to The Baths we just snorkeled and hung out on the beach without realizing there was a beautiful marked trail a few feet away.

The kids (and grownups) will love it.
06-15-2013 10:05 PM
Re: First time chartering in BVI flotilla with kids

I ordered provisions the first couple of times I chartered in the BVI, but always wound up with leftover items I didn't care for. The last time we got a ride from the Moorings to the grocery store - I forget which one, there are a couple - and went shopping ourselves. Worked much better.

While there are lots of restaurants available, it's also great to not rely on going out every night. I like grilling for dinner at anchor (or on a mooring ball) - chicken, burgers, steak. Easy to do.

One thing I've learned as I've chartered in different places, but especially in the BVI - if you are going to limit yourself to mooring balls, you may get frustrated with crowds/availability. But if you're willing to anchor, which is not a big deal, you have many more enjoyable possibilities. Last trip, after a busy afternoon at Sandy Spit, we had the place to ourselves as we were the only boat to anchor overnight.

Of course, your overnight stops will be dictated by your flotilla...
06-02-2013 12:40 PM
Re: First time chartering in BVI flotilla with kids

Just got back last week from our second trip to the BVI with Sunsail. Both trips were fantastic and I think you will like Sunsail. Their boats are clean and in good shape, although equipped with a minimal yacht inventory. Check the list, because if their is anything that you use that is not on the list, be sure to bring it.

You don't have to bring snorkeling gear, they provide it and there is plenty to choose from. We found the best snorkeling was a Monkey Point on Guana Island (p. 127 "Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands") but get there early as the mooring balls are few and it's a popular spot. Other good spots were the Indians and the Caves near the Bight on Norman Island, and the Dogs.

As far as kayaks, well let's just say that we rented a two man kayak, but never got it off the boat because it was too heavy to manually lift aboard, and raising it with the mainsail halyard each time would be a pain in the neck since we were on the go so much. You may consider two singles instead, unless you have lots of musclepower aboard, which we didn't.

For provisioning, we walked to the market which is only a few blocks from the dock and then took a taxi back. It's called "RiteWay" Liked the idea of picking out our own fresh fruits and veggies, instead of ordering online and having it delivered. I asked about the free taxi to Bobby's if you order at least $150, but the receptionist at Sunsail said that the store was not stocked very well, going downhill. Not sure if that is true, but we decided not to test it. Of course we had time to kill until our 6:00 PM check-in. If you don't have the time it's best to order online and fill in as you travel. There are ton's of small markets on the islands, however they are very expensive. We just bought enough for two daily meals on the boat; breakfast and lunch or dinner, depending on when we ate ashore. With kids you may want to limit your meals onshore because they are not cheap!

I think you will enjoy the flotilla. A good way to meet other couples, and possibly find some playmates for the kids. We met several couples that were on Sunsail Flotillas and they were all having a great time.

I agree with the others that you may consider spending more vacation time on the boat, a week may not be enough to see it all. But with kids, they may also enjoy what the resorts have to offer.

Be sure to take them to the "Bubbly Pool" on JVD, near Foxy's Taboo (p. 256) They will love it. The mooring area there is one of the most beautiful on the islands, and near Sandy Spit where the kids can frolic in the sand on their own little "island". If the flotilla doesn't go there you may want to take your own sojourn one day. Have a great time!
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