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...

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...

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!

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, 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.

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

  • Prev
Boats have been in high demand for the past two years and there’s no sign of this easing. ...
When we arranged to interview the designer and manufacturer to write a profile of the X Shore Eelex ...
The weather wasn’t cooperating for our test of the new Fountaine Pajot Isla 40. Rain, storm clouds ...
Last August, we were again invited to the Neptunus Yachts facility in St. Catharines, Ontario to ...
Cruisers Yachts’ 34 GLS is the latest model in the Cruisers Yachts line that includes a dozen ...
On a beautiful summer morning in July, I hopped aboard a new-owner delivery from the Outer Harbour ...
When company founder Marcio Schaefer designed the Schaefer 303, he managed to really dial in the ...
There is an unmistakable look to the Azimut S6 Coupe that will stand out in almost any marina. The ...
No longer an outlier or a flash-in-the-pan idea, electric boating is fast becoming a viable ...
Sea-Doo’s all-new Switch marries the performance of a personal watercraft with the versatility of a ...

Video Gallery

 

 

X Shore Eelex 8000By Andy Adams

100% Electric performance available now

When we arranged to interview the designer and manufacturer to write a profile of the X Shore Eelex 8000 for the June 2021 issue of Canadian Yachting magazine, it was on the understanding that we always prefer to actually drive and experience the boats we write about, and we were especially keen to drive the X Shore when BCI Marine here in Canada, got their first boat from Sweden.

There has been a lot of media attention around everything electric lately, especially electric vehicles, but so far, most electric boats are a concept, not yet a reality. The X Shore Eelex 8000 is a reality and a very impressive one at that.

Read More

 

 

Beneteau Oceanis 34.1

 

Beneteau Oceanis 34.1By Zuzana Prochazka

Boats have been in high demand for the past two years and there’s no sign of this easing. Sailboats, that can move with the power of the wind, have made an especially significant comeback probably because of the high prices of fuel.

Even more interesting is the increased interest in smaller models that have been doing well at recent boat shows. These compact cruisers have definitely held their own even among the 50-foot behemoths at the docks. A good example of this is Beneteau’s new Oceanis 34.1, the second smallest in the line. 

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
Cowichan Bay is a waterfront village with a row of shops, artisan products, marine supplies and a ...
Instant towns have sprung up in the past, especially on the BC coast. In the late 1850s, Victoria ...
Following the War of 1812, a battle that Canada narrowly won against the United States, the ...
You’ve weathered COVID and you’re ready to book your charter to paradise. You’ve done some ...
If you are looking for an interesting destination for a weekend trip or longer, Quebec City will ...
A holiday often is defined by the experiences we make in unique and beautiful settings. But what ...
St Vincent and the Grenadines is open to tourists and Horizon Yacht Charters are looking forward to ...

Cowichan BayText and Photos by Marianne Scott

Cowichan Bay is a waterfront village with a row of shops, artisan products, marine supplies and a variety of places to eat. It also has a delightful Maritime Centre. You can easily spend a day or more here at one of three marinas hosting transient moorage. The place feels like an old-fashioned fishing village.

We arrived at this quaint hamlet on a calm day when the sun burned off twists of mist and created undulating oval diamonds on the wavelets. From the water, the village looks enticing with its dense jumble of colourful character buildings, float homes and houses-on-stilts lining the coast.

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Boat names and puns go together like …. Well, like nothing else. Here’s a couple shared by our pal ...
Frequent Windsor racing contributor to Sailing in Canada Roger Renaud, caught this gorgeous ...
The Kingston Yacht Club (KYC) celebrated its 125th anniversary in the summer of 2021, in all the ...
A study on water levels projects an unprecedented drop of water levels on Lakes Michigan-Huron and ...
Ahoy me hearties. June is Sailpast month, so Keelly and her pal Tracey were themed out as (not ...
Last month, Canadian Country Singer Brian John Hardwood, released his new single “Rich”, featuring ...
Things are busy on the Trent already and it’s barely June. Mike Gridley sent us this shot last ...
From cottage boats to luxury cruisers, there have been a host of major design changes over the past ...
Thanks to Louise from Gyles Sails and Marine for catching us up on this weekend’s massive parts ...
The marine industry provides exciting opportunities for Canadians. Every month CYOB will introduce ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
Words of exasperation wafting across a marina often signal a boat owner fighting with a jammed ...
Chatting at the club bar last week, the subject of current boat projects popped up. One boater ...
Books to read while you’re semi-snoozing in the cockpit on a lazy summer afternoon. Some diversion, ...
With Albin Group Marine's new line of Cartridge Submersible Bilge Pumps, Aerator Pumps and Twinport ...
The Freedom LTE-A is a Dual Band MU-MIMO 2.4Ghz + 5Ghz WiFi transceiver with a built-in universal ...
Three books in a series of books by Canadian author Erik Skovgaard. These three books, as the ...
The little darlings can’t wait to get on the boat. Just make sure they have properly fitting PFDs ...
With a bold, fresh look and key features, the new JBL-R4500 is the latest in the WAKE Series of ...
When the twist-type connector was invented in 1938, production boats were made of wood and didn't ...
Luxor Marine & RV products offer boat owners an innovative architecturally pleasing range of ...

News

  • Prev
As bonus of my journalistic responsibilities here at CY Media, I occasionally get called upon to do ...
Professor Charles Spence, from Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory, has researched ...
Cut out for adventure and marine activities, the NC 895 Sport offers seriously convincing arguments ...
The Canada Games, held every two years, alternating between summer and winter, are the largest ...
The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge (MEBC) took place in the principality July 8 to 13 and shows how ...
Parks Canada has just released an Up-to-Date Big Chute Marine Railway Status Webpage with weekly ...
Groupe Beneteau is launching a partnership with Quebec-based Vision Marine Technologies to develop ...
Portsmouth Harbour in Kingston was the site of this weekend’s Canadian Waszp Class Championship ...
A resistance force has mobilised in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Threats of crowds egging Jeff ...
For more than 18 years since the launch of the first model, the Elan Impression line was one of the ...

RS Electric BoatsSailGP, the international racing series featuring high speed F50 wingsailed catamarans, is partnering with RS Electric Boats – sister brand of sailboat manufacturer RS Sailing – to use the Pulse 63 electric RIB as chase, coach and support boats.

RS Electric Boats will supply SailGP with four Pulse 63s, which were designed to be electric boats from the outset. The unique aerodynamic hull form is designed to support the weight of the batteries while allowing rapid acceleration, functional speeds up to 23 knots and ample range.

 

 

Read More