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My wife and I have scheduled our first ever charter for the coming year out of Tortola with Trade Wind Yachts. We will have a captin aboard for the first few days.

Our initial plan was to take advantage of the provisioning service that is offered through TWY with Ample Hamper(?). We figure that this will be the most convenient... quickest way to get on our way... but a little more expensive than doing it on our own.

What are your thougts and experiences with the "provisioning" aspect of taking a 7-day trip out of Tortola? Any comments on the company that provides the provisioning service?

Thanks,

Sailer Pete
 

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We went the Ample Hamper route and had to
give away food at the end of the cruise. So
were I to do it again, I''d get two meals a
day for 5-6 days for a 7 day cruise. Figure
at least two-three nice meals ashore. You''ll get a bit of sticker shock on the soda/beer side of the list. Rum is cheaper but it impairs sailing!
 

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We''re also chartering with Trade Wind Yachts out of Tortola in Jun 02. We were told that the BVIs have a new regulation regarding the importation of meat products (there was supposedly always a prohibition about importing produce).

If you haven''t received this info yet, contact TWY and they can fax it to you.

Have a great time!

Duane
 

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Sailor Pete,

Congrats on your first charter! You will love it. My personal feeling is that the charter companies give you too much food at too high a price. Now, I have never needed to only provision for 2-3 people. Typically it''s six. You can go to the same Ample Hamper store that they will use and get your own provisions. You will save money twice. You won''t pay the extra for the charter company and you won''t buy as much food. Don''t worry about forgeting something or not having enough. In the VIs there are plenty of places to pick up a few things.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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Have a great time.

As for provisioning, I agree with several of the responses. Since my wife & I starting chartering over 12 years ago we did the provisioning one time. It was great to have everything there when you arrived or shortly thereafter but man did they over do it. Too much food, had to leave alot behind. Since that time my wife and I during the planning stage check to see what will be available at each stop we intend to make and go from there. We now purchase daily or stock for no more then two stops. Of course we do stock certain items, (hic) and bottled water in case. Most places depending on where you are chartering have stores available.
Suggest you obtain a Cruising Guide for the area where you and the wife intend to sail. Very, very helpful.
Again good sailing.
 

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The best prices for provisioning in Tortola are at K Mark''s ( I know, I know ) and Rite Way. The Ample Hamper at Soper''s has some of the more exotic food i.e. European imports. We always do the provisioning ourselves and leave the extra booze and beer to the staff at Sunsail at the end of the trip.
If you go to St Thomas you will find even better prices.
 

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Br far the best value is in Road Town at Bobby''s supermarket. They are most helpful, prices much more reasonable than Ample Hamper and you can even email/fax them your grocery list and they will assemble them for you at no charge. Highly reccomend.
 

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Sailthechesapeake,

Sounds to me like you have very recent experience down there! I can''t wait for the pics.

A jealous SailorMitch
 

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Bobby''s is far cheaper!! but - you have to tote your own, or get a cab. They also have a much larger selection.

- Having provisioned for returns from charter -

Mary
 

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Glad to read these messages regarding provisioning in BVI . We plan to shop ourselevesfor the charter- late October/November. The list from Ample seemed long and of things we wouldn''t want. It would be fun to see whats in the stores. So, our flight dates give us a full day before the charter to buy food, otherwise shop and enjoy the town. Our charter is Conch Tours- By the way, anyone heard of them? I think we will bring a few items from the States with us too but not sure what would make sense yet
 

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I am assuming you are on Tortola.

If you get a chance, do pick up the Island''s seasoning salt sold there. The Pusser''s they built in Charleston, SC, did have it, but they have since closed, and I ran out about a month ago. Am getting more in a month or two from a friend. Is a lovely blend of sea salt and mace and other spices. You may be able to buy it from the Pusser''s there in Roadtown, if not they have it at Bobby''s. Just beside Pusser''s, Roadtown there used to be a wonderful English pub that served an excellent dinner, or a "Ploughman''s lunch" of cheese and bread, and sausage, if you wished. If you have time to eat out at night, please go to C&Fs. Just ask the cab driver to take you there. It''s a medium scary ride, about halfway up the mountain, so be prepared. I know it looks like an enclosed carport, and it actually is just that, but you will get so much absolutely delicious food for your money!! Oh, I hope it is still there for you! Had many, many great meals there.

As for bringing things from the states, it has ALWAYS been illegal to bring fresh meat there, whether by air or sea. Steaks and other fresh meat may be more expensive, but please realize that you are in their country, and support the local businesses.

And, if you do end up having to give things away, please know that these people have nothing like you and I. Whether you give your leftovers to the men in the dinghy shack or the people at the dock who are there working charters (the captains and their crew), please know that everything is very much appreciated, and everything is shared, and sometimes very much needed. Captains are not there getting rich, believe me. I remember very well one time we were stuck there for 4 and a half weeks waiting for a coming-out-of-charter boat to be readied for return to the states. Very little money was made available to us by the delivery company for the layover, but the people we had given spare fuel cans and extra food to on previous trips left, in our cockpit, delicious meals cooked by themselves or their wives, expecting no thanks. Saved us from having to go the ''happy hour'' route many nights. So, please, with all we have here, don''t be upset at having to give a bit away.

Hope you have a lovely time on your charter,

MaryBeth
 

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marybeth,
thank you for the insight. I understand exactly! We will enjoy the the local establishments, and look forward to that time spent with other people! With that train of thought, shopping for our food, and wine, and such will maybe bring us closer then a provisioning company. Fact is, I had hoped to have a captain along with us for the first day, both to get us familar with BVI sailing,but also to spend time close to one who lives there. Indeed there are way more trees, even more deer then people where I live, and if we seem awkward, its from being isolated.
Maybe the suitcase with various dry goods should also be a way to bring as much to the island as we bring back? I really don''t know, but really DO want to know!
Paul
 

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Um, Paul,

What ''dry goods'' do you mean? :)

Sorry. Having a captain onboard for the first day would be a great idea, and would contribute to the local economy. Be prepared, tho, he probably won''t be an islander, but one who works there (usually a Brit). Islanders don''t seem to be into that kind of work. Pick his brain for places to go and things to see. Sailing to Virgin Gorda for the baths should be in there somewhere. As should going to Foxy''s. But there is Bomba''s shack on the other side of Tortola. You can anchor and, yes, they really do give free food to those of the female sex who lift up their shirts (thus the sign - tits out, eat free) It only takes a moment, and you get a great barbecue dinner. If you do not want the experience - DO NOT DRINK THE TEA - it really is made of mushrooms, albeit a tiny amount, unless you go during the full moon party. Stick with the rum punch, it''s great, too, if not wanting a really awesome experience. Do not mention the mushrooms in the tea if you really want the tea! If you talk about the mushroom tea, you''ll end up getting a watered down tourist drink that really has nothing in it.

If your charter has overnight ability and you can sail to St. Lucia for a Friday night, do it. Though you will have to dock at an approved marina, you can get a cab to Gros Islet on St. Lucia. They have a "jump-up" every Friday night. They block off the streets and it''s like an outdoor festival. Best thing is that the beers are only a dollar EC, which is about 35 cents American, last time I was there. Problem is - they mostly serve Heineken, which, to me, makes you taste like you have a mouth full of chalk the next day. DO indulge in the native food - blood sausage is not as gross as you would think it is, tastes great. And there are plenty of other foods around. Crab and conch cakes abound.

Oh, conch!!

Oh, wishing I was going,

Best wishes,
MaryBeth
 
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