Choosing a chartering service to provide your boat charter in the British Virgin Islands can seem overwhelming because there are many choices available. This choice can be made easier if you and your sailing group take some time to understand the goals of your trip. For example, is this an intimate trip with your significant other, or is it a trip for a group of eight or larger? Do you have a specific preference for a type of boat? For example mono hull or catamaran? Are you most interested in saving money or having the latest and greatest boat available? Read our check list to help you to choose the right yacht charter for your holiday needs.
Over the time we’ve been sailing the BVI, The Moorings has come to have a larger and larger share of the charter market. The Moorings (as a brand— more on that later) tends to focus on boats that are 0 to 5 years in age and generally well-maintained, although some would argue at a premium price. There are a few other companies that similarly provide premium boats. And then there are a variety of companies that provide boats typically in the 5 to 10 year old age group. Similarly, some companies focus on catamarans while others have a mix of catamarans and mono hulls. If you want to charter a boat, you should explore each of the companies offering such boats and decide if there boats and pricing is appropriate for you.
All of the chartering services offer discount packages based on length of trip and, especially, time of year. You should know that the parent company of the Moorings also owns Sunsail and Footloose. Often boats that were in service with the Moorings migrate to Sunsail and then to Footloose as they age. Also, age is not necessarily a detriment to a boat if it’s been well maintained. Some of the other charter services offer lower prices.
We ended up buying a new catamaran which we put into charter service in the British Virgin Islands. Personally, we were always cost sensitive. When we charter, we tend to go off-season (late spring or early summer), and now we always get a catamaran even though we sailed mono hulls for many years.
So start off by deciding what you want your trip to be. What size of group do you want on your trip? Do you want to sail yourself? Or do you want your boat captained and crewed? Do you want a brand-new boat? Or is reducing cost an important consideration for you?
In any case, cruising in the British Virgin Islands will be one of the greatest vacations of your life.