A week aboard a sailboat in some exotic location has become an annual trip for Heather and I. Two years ago we sailed in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), last year we were in Belize. This year, we decided to take 3 couples, which were new to sailing, and return to the BVI.
On top of having 3 couples that had never sailed before, this was also the first time that I was the “captain” of the boat. On previous trips, I was able to be just part of the crew while my good friend Dave Mirolli ran things from the captain’s chair.
To get things started I contacted Moorings, and booked the 4600 sailboat. Since this was the same style of boat we had chartered on previous trips I was familiar with the operation of the boat, which gave this first-time captain a little more confidence about the trip.
A Few Tips on Chartering a Boat:
There are several companies that do bareboat charters out of the BVI. (Bareboat is the term used to indicate that you are getting just the boat, and will need to provide the captain and crew.) I chose Moorings for a couple of reasons:
1. Capt’n Dave had used Moorings on our previous trips. We had always been happy with the boat and service, so I figured there was no reason to trade the devil I knew for the devil I didn’t.
2. The Moorings facilities in the BVI (and Belize) are first class. At the marina you have access to showers, restrooms, wi-fi, and other facilities that make the start, and end, of your trip a little bit more enjoyable. (A spacious shower, with plenty of water means a lot more at the end of sailing a trip than you can probably imagine.)
3. While Moorings is not the cheapest charter company in the BVI I like their straightforward pricing model with no “hidden” charges. For instance, Moorings includes fuel and water in their charter price while other companies expect you to return it full. This makes the other companies’ price appear lower, but in the long run you pay about the same amount.
4. Moorings gave me “credit” for the previous 2 trips I had taken with Capt’n Dave, which qualified me for the returning captain discount.
There are several levels of chartering even within Moorings. What level you charter is really dependent on how much you would like to spend. The levels are:
Exclusive Plus: Boats that have been in the Moorings fleet for 6 months or less.
Exclusive: Boats that have been in the Moorings fleet for 6 months to 2 years.
Club: Boats that have been in the Moorings fleet for 3 to 5 years.