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Looking to charter a catamaran from Phuket next March. Having trouble figuring out a good charter company. I see Sunsail and Moorings are there. Can anyone offer advice to this newbie charter gal?
 

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From what I have seen (not a bareboat charterer myself, but I sail with them daily) you can't go wrong with Sunsail or the Moorings. There are some less expensive companies out there, but it would be much more hit or miss, which might not be worth the savings if it ruined your vacation.
Just my 2 cents.
 
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Capta, Thanks for the info. Do you mind me asking what you mean by "I sail with them daily"?
We operate a crewed charter business in the Windward Islands and literally sail and anchor around many bareboats daily. We also know many of the service personnel scattered throughout the islands who are on call to address any equipment problems these boats may have.
However, as I stated, I am not actually involved with any of them, nor have I sailed on a bareboat since the '80s.
 
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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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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the info about Moorings! Do you mind sharing the mom and pop place in usvi/bvi? We hope to head there next and bareboat.

I have been in touch with Moorings, a local company, and with Boatbookings. I'm thinking about going with Boatbookings .... Has anybody had experience with them?
 

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Thanks for all the info about Moorings! Do you mind sharing the mom and pop place in usvi/bvi? We hope to head there next and bareboat.
CYOA Yacht Charters in St. Thomas. We depart that island ASAP and head over to St John or the BVI post haste. STT is awful, but the charter base is almost walking distance from the major airport (not quite). Not sure if they like being referred to as a Mom and Pop, but they only have a half dozen or so monohulls and about 20 catamarans.

I have been in touch with Moorings, a local company, and with Boatbookings. I'm thinking about going with Boatbookings .... Has anybody had experience with them?
I've used Ed Hamilton & Co Yacht Charter Agents and thought they did a very good job. I believe they also cover the pacific.
 

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How does Phuket Thailand convert to the USVI???


Good grief!

Or should I say FFS!!!
What's in your knickers? I used a pro/con example of a mom and pop I know in the USVI and the OP asked who they were. What's the rub?
 

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I basically agree with Minnewaska. I've only done 2 charters, one with the Moorings in the windward isles or the Caribbean, and one with a smaller operation (BVI Yacht Charters) in the BVIs. Since the OP specifically asked about the VIs, I hope nobody gets upset for me talking about it.

The moorings boat had a genset, but it had just been rebuilt and the head wasn't properly mated to the block. Our skipper didn't try running it before we shoved off (lesson learned!). Since we were a bunch of racers and were going downwind, the Moorings wasn't able to replace our boat in a timely fashion. So, we just bought ice for the fridge and had low batteries all the time. Somewhere more dense, I'm sure they'd be able to swap the boat out quickly. They also didn't provide things like matches for the stove, etc.

With BVI Yacht Charters, perhaps I'm being unfair, because the boat was only on it's 3rdish charter (it was post-Irma, so most of the fleet was new). There were a few small issues with the boat that I pointed out during the pre-leaving inspection. Most of them (rusty lock, torn canvas on the bimini, etc) they fixed before the chart briefing. They provided matches and all the other little niceties. They were also cheaper than the Moorings. They did go over the boat with a fine-toothed comb when I returned it, but didn't ding me for anything.

So, I agree. Nobody ever got fired for going with the Moorings, but if you have some sort of local knowledge about smaller charter operations, then you can definitely do better.

To answer the original question, I know nothing about charter companies in Phuket. Phang Na bay is amazing, though. However, there are an insane number of fish traps, so be careful.
 
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