Oct 14, 2021

Author and First Mateby Marc Robic

If chartering is something you’ve been dreaming about, this series is really for you. BUT be forewarned...it can be addictive!

We’ve been bareboat chartering in the Caribbean every two or three years, returning many times to some of our favourite islands such as the British Virgin Islands (BVIs), St-Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and Grenada. We’ve also sailed to the dual island of St-Martin/Sint-Marteen, St-Barth, Antigua, Anguilla and a few US Virgin Islands.

In Part 1, I introduced and discussed charter companies, types of charters, destinations and how to choose and book your charter boat and flights. Part 2 was about creating a sail plan, budget, setting and managing expectations and research... building excitement!

Part 3, will be all about the day to day of the charter itself with tricks and best practices to make the best of it.

CoverGetting there
Although there is a small airport on Beef Island in the BVIs, I always prefer landing in St-Thomas (USVI) for a few good reasons. Besides the flight carrier selection, costs and flexibility, we love taking the passenger ferry over to the BVIs. The views are amazing and it adds to the adventure.

Once you land and clear US customs in St-Thomas, you’ll grab a cab to the Ferry Dock in Charlotte Amalie. We use Native Son Ferry and purchase our two-way tickets immediately (unless we bought them online beforehand). During the ferry ride, there will (normally) be a stop in Soper’s Hole (AKA West End, Tortola) to clear British customs. Here you get off, clear customs and get back on the ferry, that will now proceed to the Road Town ferry dock. From there, your charter company will have a driver waiting for you. They are used to unexpected travel delays. So should there be any, do not panic. They will know and change the driver’s schedule accordingly.

Many of the charter bases are near Road Town Harbour. With Horizon Yacht Charters, we go to Nanny Cay, about a 15 minute drive.

When you arrive at the charter base you will be checked in, pay any outstanding balances and the security deposit. After that you will be introduced to your boat with a brief introduction of the main onboard systems to make the evening comfortable.

Since the boat will be plugged into shore power, with plenty of water available dockside, this is when you can take a shower and use all the water you want... Make sure to top off ALL tanks before leaving the dock! And make sure all passengers understand that the water you carry is all the water you have. There are few places you will be able to stop to fill up your tanks. In Leverick Bay for example, if you pay for an overnight mooring ball, it will include a water tank fill up the next morning before departure.

If you do arrive early enough the day before and did not pre-order your groceries, consider hiring a cab or a driver for a few hours to go grocery shopping with a stop at the liquor wholesaler. Plan to have dinner nearby. Nanny Cay has a beachside restaurant, Peg Legs, you can walk to at the end of the main peer. Road Town has many and the Moorings’ base also has its own restaurant on site. Since I am sharing, I will tell you one of my favourites is the Roti Palace in Road Town. It’s not a big place, but the roti is amazing and homemade.

DAY ONE
Pre-departure: you will have a boat briefing that will include an inventory list for you to check and confirm. It is designed this way for two reasons: first to make sure all equipment is onboard and working properly and two, to make sure YOU know where it is. From tools to emergency equipment to first aid kits, etc. You will most likely be given a cell phone to be used to call the base directly should there be any issues, a breakage or have any questions.

If you haven’t packed your snorkelling gear with you, make sure to rent it from your charter company, but don’t leave without it! We always bring our own, we find it cheaper and more hygienic. A few inflatable floaties might be fun too. Also, if possible try to limit the hard luggage you bring with you onboard, it takes a lot of space to stow away. At the very least, bring those that fit one into the other (small, medium, large), instead of several large ones.

Depending on how many charters are leaving the same day, your chart briefing may be in a group or individual, onboard your boat. This is where the best and most recent information is shared such as upcoming events, any new navigation hazards not yet on charts, anchorages, best spots for lobster dinners, snorkeling, etc.

Once the boat and chart briefing is complete, TOP off all your water tanks and get ready to set sail. In many cases, and depending on the harbour design, the base may have a dock hand get the boat out of its slip and get you to the outer marker.

From that point on, enjoy the vacation and the adventure.

Some of our favorite BVI anchorages, beaches and restaurants include:

• Peter Island’s Deadman’s Bay for the anchorage, beach and the Deadman’s Beach Bar & Grill (drink and food amazing!)

• White Bay, Jost Van Dyke: Soggy Dollar Bar

• Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke: Foxy’s

• Saba Rock, in Gorda Sound, Virgin Gorda

• Leverick Bay in Gorda Sound on Virgin Gorda (for the weekly beach party called “Jump Up”)

• Top of the Baths, Virgin Gorda for the pool side view and drinks overlooking the BVIs

• Soper’s Hole, West End Tortola. Super pretty village with stores, restaurants and provisioning outlets

• Cane Garden Bay, Tortola for the spectacular sunsets and beach side restaurants like Myett’s. Plus a visit to Callwood Distillery

• The Bight on Norman Island for snorkeling at The Indians outcrop and the caves at treasure point. If you don’t have children aboard, enjoy a wild evening aboard the Willy-T. If you do and want to dine ashore, Pirates Bight is a great bet!

Saba RockSaba Rock

The day before returning the boat, I also like to anchor in Manchioneel Bay at the Cooper Island Beach Club. Book a table for dinner and spend the afternoon enjoying the beach and drinks. There’s a nearby outcrop of rocks I like to dinghy out to and snorkel in! Amazing aquatic life.

From Manchioneel Bay, it’s a short sail back to Road Town or Nanny Cay. So no worries about getting the boat back late.

Just before arriving back to the base, you’ll need to call the base so they can coordinate someone to receive and guide you in to the fuel dock. From there, they will top off the fuel and water. This will probably be the last common expense of your charter. At this point, we normally gather all the extra food and drink we will not use and donate it to the charter staff.

While you are still onboard, the boat will be brought back to a slip and a final inspection will take place as soon as your luggage is all packed and you’re ready to disembark. This is where you can share any issues or problems that may need attention or maintenance. This is important for them to keep the boat in proper condition. If no damages are found, you will be refunded your deposit and sign the end of charter document.

The charter company will arrange for a cab or driver to take you to the ferry dock.

I hope you enjoyed this three-part series. But like I wrote at the beginning of each article, it can be addictive... Our next trip may be in Croatia, Italy or perhaps back to the BVIs to see how the post hurricane reconstruction has gone and discover new places!

Plotting the Next TripPlotting the next trip!

BVI Tourism has introduced an truly great new BVI NOW app available to help plan your vacation. Download is free and is full of up to date information. A must have! WWW.BVINOW.APP

Another new and very useful app will allow you to pre-book a mooring ball, so you will not have to rush to your next anchorage. Although they have limited locations, more locations are bound to be added monthly. Download the app, book a mooring ball in the morning and relax! Enjoy the day, knowing your spot will be there. WWW.BOATYBALL.COM

Cruising Guide:

www.bvitourism.com

• Chris Doyle’s Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands

• Chris Doyle’s Virgin anchorages WWW.CRUISINGGUIDES.COM

• IMRAY-LOLAIRE charts (A233 BVI) WWW.IMRAY.COM

• also search Chris Doyle Cruising Guides on Amazon

 

Some of the bareboat charter companies servicing the BVIs:

www.sunsail.com

www.moorings.com

www.footloosecharter.com

www.horizonyachtcharters.com

www.bviyachtcharters.com

www.dreamyachtcharter.com

For more, search: BAREBOAT CHARTER COMPANIES IN THE BVI for a full list

Marc RobicMarc Robic

Marc is a member of the Canadian Power & Sail Squadron. He and his wife, Claude sail their Catalina 270, Aquaholic 3, out of the Ile-Perrot Yacht Club in Montreal, where Marc spent 16 years as Harbour Master. They are regular Caribbean bareboat yacht charterers. With over 40-years experience, Marc is also an avid onboard do-it-yourselfer.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Related Articles

Tuesday, 22 June 2021 16:05

As bareboat charterers for many years now, most boats we’ve had the pleasure of renting had an electric head. Much to our enjoyment and that of our fellow passengers, they are super simple to...

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 04:00

If chartering is something you’ve been dreaming about, this 3-part article is really for you and I hope will encourage you to give it a try... BUT be forewarned...it can be addictive!

Tuesday, 06 April 2021 15:36

The desire or rather, the argument, to convince my wife (AKA First Mate) to convert our icebox to a fridge came after our first two trips onboard our Catalina 270, Aquaholic 3, up to the Thousand...

Tuesday, 25 May 2021 16:39

Last issue we got up with Montreal sailor Marc Robic who has accumulated a lot of tips and tricks for prepping your boat, especially as we emerge from lockdown.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021 00:17

This area is where YOU get to express your opinions. That can include your thoughts on articles in our Digest or on any boating matter. This issue’s piece comes from Marc Robic. Marc is a...

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 17:39

Spring has finally sprung! At least it has weather wise here in Montreal, so it is with great anticipation and boyish giddiness that I loaded the car with all the “things” I will need for this...

Boat Reviews

Video Gallery

 

 

Beneteau Oceanis Yacht 54By Zuzana Prochazka

Beneteau saw an opportunity to add a little thrill to any cruising adventure, so they took the hull of the First 53 racer (introduced just last year), and with a few fashionable changes, created the Oceanis Yacht 54, the new entry-level of Beneteau’s swanky Oceanis Yacht line. The result is a performance cruiser that sails like a witch and looks like a grande dame.

Design

Roberto Biscontini is the naval architect and Lorenzo Argento created the details of the exterior and interior design. 

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
Over the course of four days in September 1864, representatives from Prince Edward Island, Nova ...
The new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming ...
Commemorating 100 (+1) years of through-navigation on the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic ...
On Friday, April 2 at 7 pm ET on TVO and streaming anytime after that on tvo.org and the TVO ...
Salt Spring Island, the largest among the Gulf Islands, has a certain mystique—much of it having to ...
Located in Lake Huron, the internationally significant Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater ...
In Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were ...
You likely aren’t quite ready to travel yet, but we have our fingers crossed that we can all fly ...

Riverest MarinaThe new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming francophone village in Eastern Ontario, this joined marina and restaurant venue is the ambitious initiative of long-time entrepreneur André Chabot and biologist Alexandra Quester, both residents of L’Orignal.

The purchase of the L’Orignal Marina was made official in November 2020. The new year was barely underway when all 50 available slips were already reserved. No wonder the addition of member and visitor slips is already planned for the 2022 season – the 2021 count is up to 62 power and sail already. At the moment, the Riverest Marina offers boaters a stop where they can launch their boat...

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Photograph taken on Sept 15 while drifting home after the last Wednesday evening race at Collins ...
On the afternoon of Sunday, October 3, fourteen exceptional sailors were inducted into the Canadian ...
My husband and I purchased this beauty in Gananoque two weeks ago and boated it from there across ...
Last issue we featured a story about the engagement proposal aboard Via-Mara, a 1969 Trojan 42 Aft ...
With thanks to Sail Canada, here’s a collection of photos that are Olympic quality. Clearly our ...
Wow. That was a lot of fun reading the collection of boat names that came in from all over the ...
No individual had a greater impact on the modern sport of sailing than Bruce Kirby. Known and ...
Just off The Ocean Race European Tour, Daniel is setting his sights on competing in The Ocean Race ...
After being our fearless leader and publisher since CYOB kicked off, Greg Nicoll, handed over the ...
Swim Drink Fish is spearheading the Vancouver Plastic Cleanup by installing, maintaining, and ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
Dockmate®, manufacturer of advanced wireless remote controls for yachts, has announced expanded ...
Updated features and benefits offer next level of product excellence by integrating innovative ...
AkzoNobel Yacht Coatings has introduced a new, easier to apply topside system with two new products ...
Whether for news, weather or just to watch the game, onboard television reception is important. But ...
Kanvaslight® was specifically engineered for a long life in a salty, sun-drenched environment. The ...
Watermakers take ocean water and create perfect drinking water using reverse osmosis. A Schenker ...
If you’re headed out for a weekend afloat or on a week-long cruise you often must park your vehicle ...
Ten years ago, St. Margaret’s Bay (Halifax), Nova Scotia-based SailTimer Inc. made the first ...
Between the odor and working in confined spaces, replacing an onboard sanitation line is never a ...
For many boat owners who have gear to tote and the occasional stretch of bumpy road to negotiate, a ...

News

  • Prev
According to digital news outlet www.insuaga.com, a new, full-service and modern Port Credit marina ...
The Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame and the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston are pleased ...
Paul Tennyson adapted from the reinforced plastics business to form Canadian Sailcraft in 1963. ...
Canadian sailors Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance from Chester NS won the bronze medal at the ...
Royal Canadian Yacht Club’s Defiant completed a six-race sweep of the Cup for Canada over Zing, the ...
On September 6, Groupe Beneteau laid out its course to develop new boating experiences, new ...
Last Friday, the first ever Canada’s Celebration of Sailing honoured the season for Sailing in ...
Boating Ontario is very proud to have Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety jump on ...
Montreal-based Vision Marine Technologies, Inc. is headed to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout to ...
Summer is in full swing with Canadians enjoying time outside and on the water. So, while enjoying ...

Mia and Caleb's EngagementOn July 23 last year, CYOB published a piece on a beautifully restored 1967 Trojan 42 Motor Yacht in Oromocto NB. (That piece was also expanded in CY magazine later in the year.)

One of our Canadian Yachting contributors, Denise Miller, had shared the article on my social media and a young man reached out and asked if she could connect him with the owners of the boat, Dave and Barb. Denise leapt into action and Dave and Barb were thrilled. They concocted a plan that the young lady, Mia, thought she was coming to model for a sales brochure for Dave to do charter tours.

Read More