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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-30-2008 12:52 PM

I agree with the previous suggestions. Please remember you are chartering to have a fun time. This means decreasing the level of your stress, not proving how all knowing and powerful a sailor you are.
I would urge you to take a skipper for the first day. It will just be a lot easier getting out of a strange harbor with an experienced hand on board. That has nothing to do with ability to handle the boat. You will also find the skippers in the BVI are extremely knowledgable about the area. With several hours to discuss the area most skippers will tell you of their favorite places, which you would be unlikely to find in the guidebooks and usual skppers briefing. Additionally getting on a strange boat and learning where all the valves, switches, etc are is a lot for a relatively inexperienced sailor to absorb in the dockside "walk through". Having several hours to explore the boat with a skipper aboard makes learning the boat a lot easier.
Practice picking up a mooing as suggested above. If that does not go well the first day, there are lots of harbors in the BVI where you can drop an anchor instead of picking up a mooring. At the end of the charter when it is time to go into the marina, get on the radio, and ask them to send a boat boy out to help you come into the marina. Handling the boat will be the least of your worries. You will have to worry about which slip, which side to put the fenders on, where to put the mooring lines, what did that lady on the marina radio actually mean when she was talking to us, what did they mean by stop at the gas dock, and where is that anyway, etc. Let one of the boat boys deal with all of that. You concentrate upon having a relaxed finish to a great charter.
04-30-2008 11:11 AM
chucklesR filup501,

Depends on the crew and your ability to communicate in such a way that they don't kill you. A little bit of pre-training goes a long way. It also depends on the boat of course. Most charterboats are set up well for short handing/singlehanding.
The bottom line is it all comes down to attitude and the fact that with the sails stowed it's just a powerboat. The BVI is a good place to learn.
04-30-2008 10:50 AM
filup501 I'm eager to charter in the BVI as well. All together I probably have about four years of sailing experience mostly with J24s in San Franciso Bay. Recently I got Bareboat certification from OCSC in Berkeley, CA and have taken out J/105s, Catalina 32s and 36s. I feel pretty confident skippering. The challenge I would have would be with crew. If I were to charter my crew would most likely have very little sailing experience. My question is: Is going out with a crew like that being suicidal?
04-23-2008 02:36 PM
rtbates I have no credentials, just 25 years sailing and, like you, no one has ever asked to see my "sailing school diploma". My chartering experience has been that the company told me up front that a captain will be placed on board to gauge your abilities and he will stay until he feels you can handle it. He sat in the cockpit and watched as we prepared for departure. He observed how we handled getting away from the dock. He then asked us to raise the main, ease the sheets, etc. In all cases we've been maybe 100 yards off the dock when he said, "Ok, take me back and have a nice sail". He could have chosen to remain aboard, at our expense, for the entire charter. It's pretty obvious when someone doesn't have the experience or ability to handle a vessel.

It's also been my experience that cards and schools don't really mean much when it comes to the ability, or lack thereof, to handle a vessel. To a man, every captain I've questioned has said the same thing.
04-22-2008 09:02 PM

Although it has been quit a while my bare boat charter was pretty easy.... They were willing to bend over backwards to believe I was qualified. After all the BVI in the area that most charters allow you to go is pretty easy sailing and they are close by to "rescue" you in the event of problems... I expect each charter is different... Ask questions, make your choice and do it. My dad (an old sailor) gave me a piece of advice that I really appreciated. He said to find a buoy somewhere out of site of others and practice coming to a stop in your new boat in privacy. Then when coming into a well populated harbor one avoids the embarrassment of your deck hand being dragged into the water as he hooks buoy or the possible damage to the boat as you take out the back of the dock.
04-22-2008 05:29 PM
Greece and novice bareboat?

I would agree with btrayfors that Greece can be a bit of a handful for a novice. Notwithstanding the meltemi, which can be avoided by sailing in the Ionian sea, in the west, which is also spectacularly beautiful, mooring med style into cramped spaces could be tricky to handle.

However, you could join a flotilla or have a skipper for a few days till you get the hang of it.

Prices are more or less standardised depending on season: for July-August expect to pay around 1400 euro per week for a 15-20 year old 28'-33' (perhaps a Greek Dromor sailing boat, which sails well albeit rather slowly into the wind, but is and feels safe) or about 2000 fro a 2-5 year old Jeanneau, Benneteau, Bavaria, Elan, Hansen (bit pricier) or similar.

Make sure you examine the boat thoroughly before taking over and check the engine for "strange noises", etc. Normally a good charterer will also start the dinghy outboard for you and raise sails to check, particularly roller reefing that can create problems (I was struggling for hours to get the mainsail out of the mast in 35 knots Meltemi - doable but not nice).

Enjoy your holidays!
03-01-2008 05:43 AM
TejasSailer If you are concerned about qualifications, an alternative to chartering is a flotilla which are not all that popular with US folks. Moorings has flotillas as do many European companies. Europian companies also seem to offer smaller boats.
02-29-2008 06:38 AM
matthwh610 Another quick thought - some companies (like the Moorings) will provide a friendly or day skipper free of charge (give them a tip) to go out with you for the first 4 hours or day sailing. This will allow you to get comfortable with the boat under the supervision of an experienced captain.
02-06-2008 10:29 PM
82Venture22 Thank you everyone.
02-05-2008 04:42 PM
camaraderie BVI Weather and Summer Prices ETC.

The sailing is fine in the BVI's during the summer months and the pricing is WAY low. It is HURRICANE SEASON!! Many of the restaurants and shops are closed for summer vacations and "low season". The beautiful green hills get burned out by the sun. The water is still lovely and the weather is not too hot with the breezes.
We charted here once in the summer to save $$ the price in mid season (not high season) and enjoy a whole lot more.
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