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First String
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have done it! I have broke-down and chartered a sailboat out of Wickham's Cay II in Tortola at Road Town. The boat is a Jenanneau 36I. I have some reservations about this boat; I’ve been told that it does not sail very well to weather? After being spoiled to the C&C 30MK1 and its great sailing ability’s in all weather conditions, well, I just don’t know what to expect. I have spent 2 full summers sailing the Port Royal sound Hilton Head area and am a bit apprehensive. I have some butterflies in my stomach. All the local sailors that know me and my boat seem to think its going to be easy sailing there compared to what I’m use to with the constant title changes of 6 to 9 feet and the strong currents. It just feels “BIG” If you have been there in April and can share some insight in the conditions and what to expect, I would love to hear from you.
Here is a breakdown on the cost at this point. Flights were $659.00 for each of us, roundtrip. That’s $1,318.00 that’s from Charleston to Atlanta then Atl to St Thomas. The cab ride and the ferry trip to Tortola will run $100. With a tip. Then the best charter rate I could get using a broker, was, Keep in mind the check in is after 6pm and the boat will have to be back by 11:am for check out. So really we forfeit 1 day. We can only sail 6 days and a few hours.
Flights Delta Charleston to STT x2 $1,318.00

Taxie and ferry $200.00
Jeanneau 36i 2/1 = $3,607.50
40 Year anniversary offer discount -$541.13
Damage waiver $378.00
VISAR donation 4 People $8.00
Prepaid fuel $180.00
BVI National Parks Permit $25.00
BVI Cruising Tax 4 people $ 56.00
Deposit $1,102.01
Final Payment $2,571.36
$3673.37
Divided by 2 couples $1,836.85

Budget for Food Boat-food $200.00
Going out dinner $200.00
Boat booze $60.00
$460.00

2X2 tank dives each 115.00 each $460.00

That’s a running total at this point of $4,074.85 for each couple? For you guys that have been am I I shooting low or high on the estimated stuff? What have I left off? More food or to low on the dining out? Please give me your thoughts.
Thanks, LT
 

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I posted a bunch of things about our BVI charter last year on my blog, including an inteinery.
Www.sailingwithkids.net

Not sure if you are talking about 5' tides. The Virgin Islands don't really have any tidal effect as far as I am aware.

Three boys, 200 sq ft of fiberglass, tropical beaches
www.sailingwithkids.net
 

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Ahhh, I see, you meant you had those tides at home!

Yes, the virgins are a lot easier I think. You can always see land as you hop between islands. The wind can get strong, but just plan ahead.

Three boys, 200 sq ft of fiberglass, tropical beaches
www.sailingwithkids.net
 

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If you are chartering a 36i, and you have to wait until 6 PM to get on your boat, I'm guessing your chartering with Sunsail? If so, one word of advice I can make that would save you a few $$ would be to have them remove the prepaid fuel expense. They can refuel at the dock there, and just have them replace what you used. I've been there the last two years, and each time it was only about $25 or so. Of course, we tried to sail most of the time, and if you have bad conditions you may motor more. I would expect it would still be less than the prepaid amount. I've never had an issue, just pay when you return the boat at the end of the charter. Others apparently do the same...

You mentioned about April conditions...last April (early April) my wife and I chartered a 36i, we weren't huge fans of the accomadations below - the port settee is quite small - but we found the boat to be quite suitable. We seemed to have a steady 20-25 knots for about the whole week. Sailing upwind in the Drake Channel was pretty rough. I think that might be a little higher than normal for April...as the previous week had something around 30knots also... In contract, the previous year we were there in February (when we expected higher winds) and had to motor several times due to lack of wind! We had no issues with the northern swells while we were there...
 

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Don't worry about the boats performance. Chartering in the BVIs is more about the destinations than the sailing. It will sail just fine.

Your food/dinner budget is a little low if this is for 4 people. Boat booze is all dependent on what you drink. Rum is cheap. You are also missing the exit fee which is about $20pp but don't hold me to that. Taxi and ferry for 4 people round trip is a little low. I would up that to $250.

Best advice I can give to first time charters: Accept that you will be living on island time the moment you step off the plane and you will have a much better time. Nothing happens fast or on time. For example, the local rum producers usually have stands in the airport with free samples. Most folks run right by them. They usually have very pretty and friendly girls working these stands and are more than happy to let you try all the flavors. Take them up on it. We actually spent about 15 minutes drinking and chatting with the girls in the airport last March. Lost of fun and a great way to start the trip.

Here is a write up I did and a video from our trip in March.

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/chartering/97927-bvi-charter-re-cap.html
 

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You dont get the boat till 6pm?
Well that SUX!! So you will have to spend the night on their dock?

Right, well, they may allow you to scoot around to,a very close anchorage, only a few hundred meters, but still its off their dock. Its at 18°25.508'N 064°36.815'W plot it carefully and you will see its on one side of the channel that leads into the Sunsail, moorings, Footlose dock. But at least you will be off on your adventure.

If you are forced to stay on their dock, or dinghy in, or go before you pick up the boat, there is a large supermarket just across the road and east about 300 meters, in carying distance. You can provision there. And theres a liquor shop on the way back :)

Do budget for your nights in resturants as they are good fun and part of the BVIs touristy crappy adventure. Foxy's charge like a wounded bull, I think their BBQ is $50 flat plus drinks so its not cheap. And the girls will want a Tshirt and its not a discount store!

So your wallet will be pillaged, but, hey, they are experts in it and you are a 'lil lame tourist.

Cant you fly into Beef Island on tortola and save the taxi and ferry fares?
 

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First String
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sounds exciting !!

It seems as though your food budget is a bit short both one and off the boat IMHO
You are probably correct. I was not thinking on that one for 2 of us dinner will by $50. without wine or drinks. and we will do 3 lunches and 3 or 4 dinners off the boat so Its low .you right.
 

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I like Tim R.'s reply #6.

In all my Caribbean bareboat charters, I've had one great boat, one POS, and the rest I don't remember at all. And I barely remember the best and worst boats. But I do remember lots and lots about the trips. The point being: the boat really does not matter, especially in the BVI.

For my friends and me, your food/booze budget would be low. But we never scrimp on food and we like lots of cold beer and good wine.

You may incur some mooring expenses, but I doubt you will use $180 worth of fuel.

I'm always shocked at the price of dives. Consider bringing your own gear and renting tanks in Tortola for the whole trip. You can get refills at most dive shops and dive every day for the same cost as one or two guided dives. In the Caribbean I can dive without wetsuit, so I don't need weights. At least bring snorkle gear if you own some; the gear that the charter companies supply is sometimes in unreliable condition.

We always bring some small tarps and a bunch of bungees to fashion breeze-catching, rain-repelling hatch covers for sleeping comfort.

Except for the gear I just mentioned, everything else you bring should fit in your carry-on luggage. Do not bring lots of clothes, make-up, and all that other civilization junk. Don't be upset if your checked luggage does not make it to the airport with you. It will get there eventually and find its way to your boat. But be ready to leave the marina without it.

Tim is spot on about island-time. Remember, that's why you are going to the BVI. Some people can't decompress in a week's time; I find that if I start island time as soon as I set foot in the airplane, I enjoy the first few days of the trip more than if I don't consciously adjust to vacation mindset.
 

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Will a kindle fire work for a gps while Down there?>
If it works as a GPS where you are now it will work fine there. If you want to use it as a chart plotter you will need to load the appropriate charts.

But you really do not need one. All sailing is line of sight. Paper chart provided by charter company, color of the water and depth sounder are all you need to navigate in close.
 

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First String
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Learn how to make a aft bridle while anchored to bring your bow into the swell if the wind is in a different direction.
Hey hate to bother you but could you go into detail a bit on this anchoring process? Where I sail the boat swings 180 with a 1.6 to a 2.3 kt flood tide. In the BVI I understand that will mot be the case, But wind will need to be tamed a bit. Thanks
 

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Hey hate to bother you but could you go into detail a bit on this anchoring process? Where I sail the boat swings 180 with a 1.6 to a 2.3 kt flood tide. In the BVI I understand that will mot be the case, But wind will need to be tamed a bit. Thanks
For your first trip to the BVI's you would be better off sticking to moorings. Just about all the places you will want to go have them and most don't leave much room to anchor anyway. Also, most anchorages that you will want to go to will not have much swell and the wind will keep you in line with all other boats that are anchored around you.

You are over thinking this. BVI's is cruising on training wheels. I have seen folks with very little experience do fine there.
 

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First String
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, I'm just nervous. I have never been sailing outside of my cruising grounds. it just seems to be big. I'm sure it will be fine. There is so much to see and do. I don't know which way to go from road town. I guess south across the the Drake over to the bite? Looks like the way they have me set up I will only really have 6 days of sailing. the bite to the Indians to the baths to the yacht club then the dogs. then over to Jost van **** to back around to soper's hole then back to the base?
Who has a good tip for 6 days. what will do the winds do? from west to esat right?
 

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When I used to charter invariably we'd arrive in BVI late in the day. The charter company used to charge a first night sleep aboard fee (20 bucks each or so)as the charter would start on noon the next day. Most of the companies were from noon to noon. However they usually waived this fee after a bit of discussion. So the next morning we'd do our shopping to augment the online shopping already done and set sail at noon. Silly to pay a whole day's charter fee for sleeping at the dock. If check in is at 6 pm when do they do you get the briefing? And you're not allowed to sail at night. What gives?
 

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