While crewed sail boat charters and bareboat charter vacations normally last 5 to 7 nights, not everyone has the time for a multi-night term luxury yacht charter. In this economy, saving up for a special bareboat charter or luxury yacht charter holiday might mean postponing until 2010.
Now for the good news – sailboat charters can be as short as one day and are the perfect compliment to a land-based Caribbean island vacation.
Let’s take a look at a single-day luxury yacht charter escape in the British Virgin Islands (also known as the BVI or BVI’s).
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS CHARTER
There are four major inhabited islands in the BVI, as well as dozens of (nearly 60) smaller islands, cays, and rocks scattered throughout the archipelago. Of course, the fun way to see these sights is by boat on a luxury sailing charter.
You can rent a small Caribbean yacht charter sailboat or a fast powerboat for the day in Road Town, Nanny Cay, West End, or several other locations. Some experience driving a powerboat or basic chart-reading skills are important to ensure you have a pleasurable day.
A great trip could start from Road Town, Tortola and head south across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to Peter Island. You can tie up to the dock in Sprat Bay, or anchor off the beach in Deadman’s Bay and swim ashore (remember to wear your water socks). Visitors are welcome in the public areas, the boutique, and the beach grill.
From Peter Island, it’s a short boat ride to Norman Island. This is author Robert Louis Stevenson’s legendary Treasure Island, and the source of countless tales of pirates and buried chests of gold. Today, the island is uninhabited except for a small restaurant on the beach in the Bight. Anchored in the bay is the old ship, William Thornton, affectionately known by bareboat charter lovers and the locals as the “Willy T,” a trading vessel converted to a bar and restaurant. It’s a great stop for a little “pirate” ambiance. Be warned – on holiday weekends, the Willy T is not appropriate for kids as it takes on a bawdy “adults only” atmosphere.
THE AMAZING CAVES
Just outside the bay are the Caves. These are more like grottoes and are a true snorkeler’s delight. You can tie up your boat to one of the National Park moorings and swim in. Don’t be surprised if a school of tropical fish swim alongside you, looking for a handout. The locals ask that you resist the temptation to feed the little critters, however. Human food is not healthy for the fish and may do them great harm in the long run.
After snorkeling at the Caves, it is a short boat ride to The Indians. These rock outcroppings are the size of houses and full of nesting seabirds in the summer. The waters around the rocks are teeming with fish of every shape and color. One local describes a swim here as a magical experience: “Floating among the fish, corals and sea fans will make you feel like Peter Pan flying through an enchanted forest.”
If the sun is still high in the sky, and you still feel fresh for more adventure, zip over to Salt Island. You can tie up to the dock and walk around the abandoned houses to the salt pond where workers harvest and sell sea salt. If you still have any get-up-and-go in your tank, hop back on your boat and cruise around the corner to the wreck of the HMS Rhone, the BVI’s first underwater park. Snorkel over the wreck and try to imagine what it looked like before it sank in 1867!
By now, you realize you are on “island time.” There’s little reason to hurry back to Tortola, unless you have an early dinner reservation at your hotel or resort. Assuming you are in the island groove, we suggest a cruise east to Cooper Island. Accessible only by boat, this island has a few rental homes and a tiny resort that’s looks like a vacation postcard from the water – palm trees and long, white sand beach. By now, you must be hungry from a morning/afternoon of exploring. Drop in a local restaurant for a late lunch. With a full belly and a big smile, it’s just a short sail or cruise back to Tortola.
DAY TRIP ITINERARIES
There are many other itineraries for a day trip by boat. Your hotel concierge can recommend the best local boat rental operators and give you some ideas as to where to go and what to see there. You can go fast on a powerboat or slower on a sailboat – the choice is yours. Either way, a day boat trip around the British Virgin Islands will be the highlight of your land-based island holiday!
Thinking about a St Barts yacht charter this December on a comfortable, head-turning megayacht? If you are, we have great news.
LIMITED EDITION 180’s
Two Amels Limited Editions 180 superyachts have just announced plans to head to the Caribbean this winter, and both will remain in the area through Spring 2017.
ELIXIR and 4YOU
Amels motor yachts ELIXIR and 4YOU, Limited Editions 180 models are available this December. Specifically, 2016 through April, 2017 for British Virgin Island yacht charter reservations. Furthermore, they avail south in the area of St. Martin and St Barts, as well.
Amels yacht 4YOU, a 2012 build, features a stunning contemporary Laura Sessa interior. She sleeps 10 to 12 in 6 guest cabins. Newer yacht ELIXIR offers accommodations for 10 guests in 5 cabins. She also boasts a Laura Sessa interior. In addition, she is a bit more eclectic than 4YOU.
The Limited Editions AMELS 180 series by naval architect Tim Heywood is ever-evolving. Specifically, it is one of the most refined and smooth-functioning yachts in the 55-meter range. The Master suite has folding balcony. There are also two more balconies attached to the main desk salon.
The roomy Sun Deck is 25 meters long. It has a luxury space of 155 square meters. This is quite possibly the largest sun deck you encounter on any 55 meter charter vessel.
The yachts’ rates begin at €275,000 per week. Further, they are up to €310,000 per week for holiday dates.
Yacht charter vacations fall into two categories – bareboat charter and crewed charter.
WHAT IS A BAREBOAT?
A bareboat charter is where you rent a sailboat or powerboat that has no crew. It is similar to renting a car that you drive yourself. Bareboat charters are for experienced sailors or yachtsmen and can be “self-drive” (where you do all the work and driving), or you can hire a skipper to drive the boat for you for either part of the trip or for the entire trip.
WHAT IS A YACHT CHARTER WITH CREW?
Crewed charters are where you rent a sailboat or powerboat that has a crew that consists of a captain/skipper to drive the boat and any number of other members. Additional crew members can be such positions as hostess/stewardess (waits on the charter guests), chef (prepares all meals), first mate (helps with the operation of the vessel), and engineer (handles the engines), for example.
HOW MANY CREW MEMBERS ARE ON A YACHT WITH CREW?
The largest yachts (megayachts and superyachts) can have as many as 18 crew members, and some even have more crew members than guests onboard at any time!
WHY CHOOSE A BAREBOAT?
Charter guests select bareboat yacht charters for a number of reasons; bareboats are more affordable than crewed yachts, an independent customer can pilot the yacht him/herself, or the customer owns the same kind of boat and wants to enjoy it in a different location than he/she does at home, for example. Florida yacht charters are often bareboat charters, as guests like to experience sail boat charters and pilot the boat around the islands of the Florida Keys.
UNIQUENESS OF BAREBOATING
Bareboaters will often participate in Virgin Islands Yacht Charter flotillas, where multiple Beneteau sailboats or Robertson and Caine catamarans will sail together throughout the islands, stopping in port to enjoy the Caribbean flair of such popular Virgin Island landmarks as Pusser’s or Foxy’s, or visiting the must-visit, no dock, swim-up Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands (aptly named Soggy Dollar because once you swim up to it, your dollars are soggy)!
WHY CHOOSE A YACHT WITH CREW?
On the other hand, charter guests select crewed yacht charter vacations because they are celebrating a special occasion or enjoying a corporate event, they want to enjoy a vacation where they don’t have to do any work, or they have a large group of people and want to spend a special vacation with them without having to do any of the vacation planning once underway.
WHAT ARE TRADITIONAL CREWED YACHT VACATIONS?
Corporate events include such things as Monaco Grand Prix yacht charters, where a company will rent a megayacht to be used as a meeting place (and floating hotel), what to pack on a sailboat vacation, as well as its being a perfect venue for entertaining clients and for watching the Monaco Grand Prix race. Crewed yachts are often selected for unique first-time vacation destinations, for instance, a Croatia yacht charter or Greece yacht charters, as captains and crewmembers know the waters, the locals, and the area.
The recipient of many favorable cruise-in-review client letters, crewmembers Iza and Geoff are asking,
“Why have turkey at home when you can have LOBSTER in paradise for Thanksgiving?”
Iza and Geoff and their 47’ Leopard catamaran DREAMING ON, awarded runner up at last week’s BVI Boat Show as “Best Catamaran under 50 feet,” are offering two specials for the Thanksgiving holidays.
Any 3 or 4 night charter with no surcharge
7 nights for the price of 6
Special bonus. In specific, guests may opt for Lobster on Thanksgiving or traditional turkey.
Launched in 2003 and immaculately maintained, crewed catamaran sailing yacht DREAMING ON is one of the most popular vessels offering crewed charters. This Virgin Islands yacht charter vessel offers accommodations for 6 guests in 3 cabins, each with ensuite bathrooms.
The yacht’s watertoy inventory includes towable toys such as a wakeboard, kneeboard, and a ski-tube, along with fishing and snorkel gear.
Doing her part for the yachting industry’s ongoing GREEN initiative, the catamaran is equipped with wind scoops to limit the need for air-conditioning. Solar panels have also been installed to provide clean electricity. The crew also purchases earth-friendly paper products, biodegradable cleaning products, and local organic produce when available.
When not on charter, Geoff and Iza are often seen helping with reef and beach clean-up projects.
Available for Caribbean yacht charters, the yacht is based in the British Virgin Islands. Her published rate is $11,000 per week for 2 guests, $12,250 per week for 4 guests, and $13,250 per week for 6 passengers. Rates are inclusive of meals and the ship’s bar.
She represents one of the major challenges in yacht design, for instance, creating a look that is distinctive but not outlandish. Trinity yacht MINE GAMES, a trideck superyacht, has just the right balance. Her deck house side windows nest in elongated ovals to create a sleeker superstructure. Her prominent bow and raised bulwarks make her look much larger.
At last news of a $1.5 million price reduction for the 49.9m superyacht. St. Martin yacht charter enthusiasts need not worry – MINE GAMES remains available for luxury yacht charter. She is available in both the Bahamas and the Virgin and Leeward islands of the Caribbean.
MINE GAMES is a 2007 build – conforming to ABS class and MCA compliance. She accommodates up to 12 guests. Her accommodations include a master, three doubles, and a twin. Her twin includes a Pullman berth. The yacht cruises at a swift 18 knots.
EXTERIOR AND TOYS
Mine Games is helicopter-capable, and she has a very large swim platform/beach deck. To sweeten the deal, a Triton two-person submarine (a favorite toy for yacht charter guests) is included in the new asking price of $31.45 million.
COMPANY PRESIDENT COMMENT
Jana Sheeder, President and Co-owner of 1-800 Yacht Charters and SailAway Yacht Charter Consultants says of the yacht,
“MINE GAMES has always been a favorite in the yacht charter marketplace. Her submarine, in particular, has made her a standout, and it has been a huge draw for people interested in a new experience during their vacations. Unique toy + gorgeous yacht = winning combination.”
We’re just back from a week on board sail catamaran DREAMING ON, sailing the BVIs in the capable hands of our wonderful crew, Geoff and Iza. We were also vacationing with another couple…and we all agreed that the whole experience exceeded our expectations by far, to the extent that we have already booked again for next year!
This is all down to Geoff and Iza who are a very special and generous couple – it was like sailing with good friends – the chemistry was perfect and we just hit it off.
SHE CONTINUES HER REVIEW…
They welcomed us on board their beautiful home and anticipated our every need. Iza is an amazing cook – the food (presentation, quality and variety) is better than you get in most good restaurants and all prepared in a galley kitchen – the sushi in particular was unbelievable! And Geoff…well, in our opinion he makes a better Painkiller than the Soggy Dollar (as well as being a great Captain).
They had arranged an itinerary for us (but it was flexible) and we went to different, islands and/or bays every day. For instance, a sail to Anegada, followed by a fabulous lobster dinner at the Reef Hotel – highly recommend this!
They took us to all their favorite spots in the BVIs and we couldn’t get enough of the clear blue waters and white sandy beaches – plenty of snorkeling, kayaking and paddle boarding to be had. In fact, we didn’t really have enough time just to hang out in one place for a day or go tubing or water-skiing, which is why we are returning next year. Now we know all the best spots and where we’d like to go back to and spend more time.
(Catamaran DREAMING ON) is comfortable and has plenty of space, both out the front on the ‘trampolines’ and the shady area at the back by the cockpit where we enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Overall, for anyone out there considering a luxury yacht charter, I would highly recommend, without hesitation, DREAMING ON, and Geoff and Iza – it will be one of the (if not THE) best vacations of your life! We certainly can’t wait to get back on board next year…..
“I’m looking forward to my first St. Martin yacht charter vacation, and my travel companions and I are having a Caribbean themed party to get super psyched about our trip. Any suggestions for top 5 cocktails (traditional / island) to put us in the proper frame of mind?”
Angel A., Miami, FL
Now that’s the spirit, Angel! What a fantastic idea to get pumped about your Caribbean escape.
We’re not too embarrassed to admit enjoying a libation or two (or three) during our own yachting excursions in the islands. Local specialties can be found throughout the Caribbean. but we’ve narrowed down the choices to our favorites (in no particular order).
KEEP IN MIND
As you sip these drinks, keep in mind you can heighten your experience by throwing on a pair of flip-flops, hiding behind a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses, and swaying to a little “Havana Daydreamin” with Jimmy Buffet.
Smooth sailing, Angel…
TOP 5 COCKTAILS
MOJITO – Cuba yacht charter
Some things are quintessential Cuban – hand-made cigars, guayabera linen shirts, and minty Mojitos. The history of Cuba’s signature drink dates back to the 16th century, when Sir Francis Drake and his comrades drank a mixture of crushed mint leaves, lime and unrefined rum. Locals say Hemingway drank them at Le Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, and James Bond enjoyed one in 2002’s Die Another Day.
PAINKILLER – British Virgin Islands yacht charter
Made with Pusser’s Rum, The Painkiller cocktail originated at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke island in the BVIs. The drink was once made with a secret rum recipe by Daphne Henderson, the owner of the Soggy Dollar. Charles Tobias, the founder of the Pusser’s rum distillery, persuaded Henderson to share her recipe. We’re glad she did, as Painkiller cocktails are now readily available throughout the Caribbean.
TOP 5 COCKTAILS CONTINUE
TI PUNCH – Martinique yacht charter
More an aperitif than cocktail, this simple mix of white rum, cane sugar and lime is usually served straight and is popular in all of the French Caribbean islands – Martinique, Guadeloupe, and the French side of St. Martin. Easy to make, it’s usually served “to taste” – drinkers are presented with a glass of rum, a lime, and some syrup to make it up as they wish.
We know what you’re thinking – we promised five killer cocktails but only named three. You caught us!
WHAT ARE THE TOP 1 AND 2?
Submit our contact form at https://www.1800yachtcharters.com/book-now-contact-us/ requesting the other 2 great drinks. We’ll send you the names AND the recipes to make all 5 of our favorite island-themed Caribbean yacht charter cocktails. Look forward to hearing from you and sharing some cocktails!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL?
What’s your favorite tropical cocktail to drink while on your yacht charter? Leave a comment below!
This appears to be a case of “Security versus Tourism.” The British Virgin Islands (BVI’s) have initiated a new policy. Specifically, everyone coming into the territory by sea is now required to present himself/herself IN PERSON to immigration authorities. This includes guests on both bareboat yacht charter and superyacht charter vessels.
The policy takes effect immediately.
According to a government spokesperson, Her Majesty Customs of the Virgin Islands has, “…taken this step to minimize the potential entry of criminals, firearms and illegal substances into the territory.”
Will the revamped policy affect charter passengers? Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters, explains how the new procedure differs from prior requirements: “In the past, only the captains of yachts were required to disembark and take with him or her all of the passports of the onboard guests. Now everyone must present themselves with their passports and their belongings.”
No one disputes the sovereignty of the local authorities to safeguard their islands and residents. Moreover, this island economy depends heavily upon charter yacht tourism. The new policy seems a bit draconian. Specifically there is little evidence to suggest tourists commit crimes. Additionally, not local residents of the US and British island chains, are responsible for any uptick in criminal activity.
So, are local authorities barking up the wrong tree? Sheeder thinks so.
She questions the necessity to impose upon well-heeled travelers who have already been “pre-screened” through the yacht charter reservation process. “The idea that firearms and illegal contraband will be brought ashore by luxury yacht charter guests is misplaced,” says Sheeder. “Clients sign a charter agreement that clearly outlines firearms, narcotics, and contraband are not permitted onboard. Furthermore, being in possession of such contraband can lead to the immediate termination of the charter – without refund.”
If any illicit materials are discovered by the crew, the yacht proceeds to the nearest port. Subsequently, the guests are then escorted off the yacht. With so much at stake, there seems little need to further screen these guests and their crews upon entry into the BVI.
HOW WILL REGULATIONS IMPACT YACHT CHARTER TOURISM?
How will the new regulations impact yacht charter tourism in the BVI? It’s too soon to tell, as the new rules went into effect September 1st. It is possible charter vessels will simply bypass the British portion of the Virgin Islands and modify their itineraries to focus solely on the US and Spanish Virgin Islands, where captains can still clear the passports for all onboard guests.
COMPANY PRESIDENT COMMENTS
In the the short-run, Sheeder is confident the impact upon charter clients can be minimized. “We pride ourselves in delivering The Superyacht Experience™. We will offer our clients alternative destinations in the US and Spanish Virgin Islands, and throughout the Caribbean. For those clients who still wish to explore the BVI, we know we can rely on the captains and crew. If they need to carry the luggage and escort the guests into the immigration office and back to the yacht, we know that they will do so in the most efficient, professional, and friendly manner.”
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