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Norman
Link to this postPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:51 am    Post subject: Note Charter Companies - BVI

So I've been thinking about next year already...I've only used Sunsail so far, but thought maybe I was missing something by not trying another company. Not that the price is the biggest concern...but would I be saving that much with other some of the other smaller outfits in the BVI's? (Mid 30's ish monohull) Any other pros or cons? Any thoughts?
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walker
Link to this postPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:05 pm    

Check out Conch Yacht Charters. They are a very good company with very good prices.
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DawnB
Link to this postPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:50 pm    

I agree about Conch. thumbsup

We have also had good luck with BVI Yacht Charters, although not recently. If you are the least bit handy, a 3rd tier company can save you a lot of money and not be that big of a deal to fix problems that might arise along the way.
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tothedogs
Link to this postPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:10 am    

I have used Sunsail in the past as well and tried TMM on my last trip. They did a very good job and had more of a personal touch I felt, at a good price.
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Norman
Link to this postPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:40 am    

So what's "a lot of money"?

Last year (late Jan) we used Sunsail...small boat - 322i (only 2 people)
For 8 nights it was 3050 before discounts.
They took off 260 for repeat charterers and
458 for reef week discount so...
2332 before all the fees (which there are a LOT of...)

So how much cheaper could it be? A hundred bucks? Five hundred?

Or is it more of a better experience....more personal than the Sunsail/Mooring base?

So far I've never had an issue that needed fixing while out on the water, but I've been lucky and have had two boats that were basically brand new. I assume any charter company can get to me fairly quick in the BVI's if the boat has an issue...or am I misinformed?
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erapier
Link to this postPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:14 pm    

Used TMM 3 years ago and am using them in 3 months. Great personal service and great boats
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tothedogs
Link to this postPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:54 pm    

For the 32' boat that you had in January, it sounds like you got a reasonable value deal. Generally speaking though, it is very rare that Sunsail does the additional 25% reef week at that time of year in prime season.

The main issue I have with Sunsail is that your charter is really 6 1/2 days as your first night sleep aboard counts as night one. With most of the other companies, the charter technicallystarts at noon (you most always are away from the dock much sooner) and a sleep aboard the night before is very reasonable around $150 +/- depending on the company. Most of the others offer 10% repeat discounts as well as extra days out of prime season at the weekly rate.

A direct comparison can be very difficult as it is rare that any 2 companies have the identical boat. A quick look at the BVI Yacht Charters site shows they have a Benny 32 for $2250/week in high season.

Regardless, if you feel you are getting reasonable value, go where you feel comfortable.
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Norman
Link to this postPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:33 am    

That's true...the Sunsail/Moorings base was a zoo on the moring trying to get out....you have to wait for the boat check-out.

I guess I was just thinking if the price isn't a huge factor in the differences in the Charter Companies, what do these other companies have to offer? I guess a "what's in it for me?" Very Happy

And I'm not trying to be Mr. Pro Sunsail...it's just that that's all I've used so I wondered what I'm missing.

Another issue is that since my boat here is a 30 footer, people aren't giving me a lot of choice about what they'll let me charter...only so many feet bigger when I'm the captain....so there aren't a ton of boats to pick from. I've shared a 39 and a 40 foot charter, but I wasn't the captain so that doesn't seem to count.
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Twanger
Link to this postPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:44 am    

If you live in the US, and are a US citizen, I believe you owe it to yourself to consider chartering out of St. Thomas. Flights are generally more reliable with fewer connections to get to your final destination [STT]. It's often cheaper than flying into EIS, Tortola. If your bag does get lost you don't have to worry about it making one more leg to catch up.

There are good charter companies located in STT. We always charter with CYOA. They are fantastic. Small company with a very personalized touch. Prices are good.

Also - the charter companies don't necessarily require that you own a boat the length that your will charter. I own a 20-foot motor boat, and the sailboat I spent most of my time on was a 23-footer. Usually a charter company will let you charter a boat that's a few feet bigger than you chartered last time. We started at 33 feet, and I've chartered boats as big as 45 feet. In this regard, establishing a trusted long-term relationship between yourself and a charter company is golden. I have chartered from CYOA for 25 years and the staff knows me on a first name basis. If you treat them and their boats with respect, the favor will be returned.

Last thing... it's very easy to clear in and out of the BVI if you are a US citizen. We always clear-in/out of BVI at Great Harbor, Jost, and back into the USVI at Cruz Bay, STJ.
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tothedogs
Link to this postPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:56 am    

I have taken a lot of boats from Sunsail over the years and have tried other companies. If anyone remembers them, my first charter in the BVI was around 1983 or so with the now defunct West Indies Yacht Charters. I have no experience with Sunsail since they moved from Hodges Creek/Maya Cove to Roadtown a few years ago so I cannot comment on things in the combined operation with The Moorings. Generally speaking, I have been happy with them, the quality of boats and the service. My main issues have been the circus in trying to get checked out on departure day as if they have say 25 boats going out, there are 25+ people asking for stuff, needing last minute repairs etc. and there are never enough employees around to deal with things in a timely manner even considering Island Time. That said, for the right price I would charter from them again.

My last 3 charters were with TMM in the BVI, Barefoot in the Grenadines, and Sunsail (small 25 boat base) in the Abacos. Personally, I have had a better experience and found better value with the smaller companies/bases as they have maybe 30 boats total as opposed to Sunsail's 200 in the BVI which IMO, reflects on maintenance and provides a more personal touch that I like.

I do not think anyone will give you difficulty taking a larger boat or a cat if your sailing experience is on a 32 footer. That is where I began and have taken mono's to 47' and cats to 40' with no questions or problems.

As I said before, if one is happy and feels they are getting value for their money with any company then stay with them.
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kentth
Link to this postPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:04 pm    

I would not worry about the size of the boat you usually sail. My boat is a 14 ft Catalina Capri, really enjoy racing. Been racing small boats for about 30 years.

My first charter was with Sunsail on a 33', second with Sunsail on a 40', both monohuals. Last year we chartered a Island Spirit 37 cat, with Provalor. what I would consider a third tier. What I believed help was taking the US Sail bareboat course.

Sunsail never did take me out for a check ride. Provalor did, it was more of a get acquainted with the boat ride. I really appreciated them taking me out and answering some questions I had. This was also the first time I had sailed a cat. Even with the check ride we got out before we did when going with Sunsail.

The only issue we had with Provalor, was when we had some problems. The problems got fixed, but they took a little longer then what I would have liked, and a couple heated phone calls. We saved a bunch of $$$ over Sunsail, and I probably would go with Provalor again if he was still in the business. One thing I like is they gave us a cell phone to use, while there, it came in very useful.

So go for the boat that you will fit into comfortably, and shop around. Before signing on the bottom line, do what you have done and ask, you will definitely hear the pro and cons of any and all charter companies here.

Kent
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fuplayer
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:37 pm    

I am strongly considering BVI Yacht Charters this year, my first with them. Anybody have any experience with them?
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DawnB
Link to this postPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:19 am    

fuplayer wrote:
I am strongly considering BVI Yacht Charters this year, my first with them. Anybody have any experience with them?


I have used them a few times (although not lately) and never had a problem. They had great staff and good boats. Not having used them lately, I only can go by what others have said, and it seems like they are still a class operation.

Let us know how you make out!
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Guest
Link to this postPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:00 pm    

I know people @ Conch & TNN & I trust they offer the best service! Smile
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Calypso Me
Link to this postPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:29 pm    Post subject: Note BVI Yacht Charters

We have been chartering in the BVI for 25 years. Have used a couple of defuncts, Conch, TMM and BVIYC. Have used BVIYC for the last 3 charters and have another scheduled. I found them to be very easy to deal with, have great equipment and staff. We sleep aboard and while other companies won't let you aboard until 5pm, they have always accommodated us and allowed us on board as soon as we arrive. I found Conch equipment be older and we did have some mechanical issues. Nothing bad to say about TMM they were just was pricier for the same type of boats.
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