Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
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Re: Charter Companies for Phuket
The Mooring advice is probably good, if you're going in blind. I used them for years. On the upside, their fleets are usually large, so they can boat swap, if there is a problem. On the downside, there is often a problem. I'm guessing it's because they have among the lowest standards for qualification to bareboat. Some say you need no more than a heartbeat and a checkbook. We were accustom to having mechanical issues and things broken. We once had a boat that was on it's third charter, since new. We had problems with the stove, some of the electronics, one water tank was plugged and the cockpit table had a corner broken off. There was more, but I've purged it. All this in only two prior charters.
We've since found a local mom and pop (USVI/BVI) that we like a lot. We've never had a mechanical issue that caused us to lose time. They argue they're not big enough to be able to easily deal with downtime, so they make the extra effort to maintain them in the first place. There is a full set of spares and reasonable tools aboard. They also do a check sail, before you leave the harbor, to be sure everything works and you seem to know the basics. It's not a real test of your skill, just a sanity test.
I would also add that the Moorings pricing was always simple. One price for everything, typically a tad higher (not much). You brought the boat back, as is. The smaller operations seem more likely to nickle and dime. Probably so their base price looks more competitive. The only thing I dislike about the Mom and Pop operations (we've used two different ones) is they want the boat topped with fuel upon return. That's a hassle, when every bloody bareboat in the area is gunning for the fuel dock at the same time and you need to turn in by noon. I paid a $75 fee (when it was even an option) to skip that top off requirement. It's vacation, for goodness sake.
In the blind, I would go with the Moorings. If you can find an experienced local cruiser that you trust (this will be hard), it's possible a local operator will be much better.
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In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.