BVI Charter tips anyone?

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Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
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BVI Charter tips anyone?

Post by Indulgence » Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:09 pm

. Last week the Admiral and I plunked down the deposit on a 32 foot Beneteau for the second week in February
with Sunsail in Wickhams Cay. We've sailed our 26X extensively for two years on blustery
Alberta lakes and the Okanagan. We've taken CYA Basic and Nav, lived aboard, anchored out
and generally use the boat a lot. We don't anticipate many problems boat handling or sailing.
. We fly from Alberta to Dallas/Ft Worth to Puerto Rico and then Cape Air to Tortola. Then BVI to
P.R. to Dallas to Alberta on the way back.
. We would like to hear any advice or anecdotes about:
- Customs, where do you clear back into the US? Concerned about flight times etc.
- Provisioning, we've arranged to arrive Monday night and pick up our charter boat Wednesday night.
We are considering doing our own shopping, if only for the local color. Anyone have any
comments or experience with that?
- Mooring, we understand there are mooring balls everywhere. I think they're $25/night. Yow!
Do you have to hook up early in the day in order to be sure to get a spot? It must be
pretty busy. Are there still places to anchor or is that no longer an option?
- Speaking of options- I'll talk to Sunsail about this but we have a bbq on the rail and cook out
all the time. Do these guys even have them available or is there just the alc stove below?
- Options again- is a dinghy standard equipment? Fenders? Lines? etc. I've seen guys rent
boats in BC who weren't given some pretty basic equipment.

This is a partial list- we're first time charter ...ers. Intend to have lots of fun learning
the ropes, but think good advice from people who've been there is priceless.

Q. What's the most important document you need to charter in the British Virgin Islands?
A. A cheque that doesn't bounce.

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Re: BVI Charter tips anyone?

Post by delevi » Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:58 pm


You will love the BVIs. I have chartered with Moorings, but the two companies have merged, so it should be the same. Windlass anchor, fenders, BBQ, dinghy w/ motor, etc are all standard equipment. You will also get local charts, GPS plotter, full instruments, etc, so you'll have all you need. One piece of advice is to plan your course before you go anywhere. Don't make the mistake I did when we sailed in the Greek Isles when I was anxious to depart since it was already 5 pm when we finished provisioning. The Island we planned to sail to was 50+ nautical miles and I wanted to minimize the time we would sail at night. We departed in a hurry, simply setting a gps waypoint and off we went. As we approached Naxos, the wind was blowing 35-40 kts. I couldn't see the harbor entrance. To our great fortune, there was a full moon. As I gazed away from the island for a moment and looked to starboard, the moonlight illuminated some sharp rocks sticking out of the water probably 50 feet away from us. As my heart nearly beat out of my chest, I promptly performed my fastest tack ever, avoiding disaster by just a few seconds. Needless to say, from that poitn forward, I plotted our course carefully, marking all routes on the GPS as well as labeling all hazards. The Carribean has many reefs and various shallows and other hazzards, so I can't stress this enough. Aside from that, it is an absolutely amazing place to sail, snorkel and just have a fabulous time. You will need your passport, of course. Other then that, there is a very causal, laid back attitude over there, so it is unlikely you'll be hassled by customs, etc...

One more thing. When you go thorugh your boat inventory, orientation, inspection, etc, be sure to lift the floorboards in the cabin and see if there is any water in the bilges. Charter companies are a bit slack with their maintenance and sometimes the plumbing leaks, which was the case with us. Unfortunately, I didn't discover the problem until we were some 300 miles from the base. When we sailed in the Bahams ina 40' Bneteau, I was much more thorough inspecting the boat. That one was perfect :)


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