Charter

The Moorings Base Re-Opens

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You never need much of an excuse for a party in the British Virgin Islands, but the grand opening of The Moorings’s revamped Tortola base at the end of January provided both motive and opportunity. Top brass from the company’s European headquarters joined the Premier and other local dignitaries—as well as what seemed to be the entire Moorings workforce—in celebrating the culmination of a long, hard haul.

I hadn’t been to the Moorings base for several years and the transformation from its 2005 appearance was stunning. At the head of the harbor, a new breakwater provides secure dockage for a fleet of catamarans. A restaurant (Charlie’s Bar, named after the company’s founder, Charlie Cary) extends over the water, and behind it is a large plaza fringed with shops.

The shower block is the best I’ve seen at any marina, let alone a charter base; and upstairs, there are beautifully appointed hotel rooms. Newly landscaped gardens and a new driveway separate the Moorings Village from the Sunsail and Footloose facilities further along the dock. The pool has been refurbished, and there’s a new spa. These are serviced by a 60,000-gallon-per-day desalination plant. All up, I don’t think you’d find a more upscale charter base, and certainly not a more modern one.

The Moorings managers are justifiably proud of the project, whose beauty runs more than skin deep. “We worked with the BVI government to make this the most environmentally friendly charter base in the Caribbean,” Moorings brand manager Van Perry told me. For instance, there’s a pump that picks up seawater from outside the breakwater and sends it to the head of the marina; there’s no more stagnant standing water, and fish and turtles are now a common sight between the yachts. “We even see dolphins in here,” one employee said. The breakwater itself incorporates a series of channels to ensure a constant water flow.

On shore, the green theme continues. Laundry water is recycled and used on the gardens; boats are cleaned with biodegradable soaps; and at Hodges Bay, the former Sunsail base-turned-repair facility, runoff from bottom scrubbing is trapped in a filtration system so that toxins from antifouling don’t end up in the bay.

There are some 400 boats in the combined Moorings/Sunsail/Footloose fleets; catamarans—both power and sail—feature strongly in the Moorings line-up. SAIL readers could really care less about power cats, but nevertheless I was intrigued when I heard that the latest addition to the fleet, a 37-foot power cat built in South Africa by Robertson & Caine, had made it to the Caribbean on its own bottom—getting enough of a push from the trade winds to cut fuel consumption by 30 percent. Now that’s a good use of windage.

Spring Offers

• Conch Charters has a limited-time offer for a mid-season BVI special—two weeks for the price of one. Valid between June 16 and November 7. www.conchcharters.com

• Aspiring photographers, be advised that Horizon Yacht Charters’s photo competition is still up and running. First prize is a one-week charter. www.horizonyachtcharters.com

• Sunsail is offering a 25 percent discount on its BVI flotillas during April and May, and 35 percent off bareboat or skippered charter boats on most weeks up until September 30. www.sunsail.com for details; book by April 15.

• The Moorings is celebrating its 40th birthday by offering a 20 percent discount on summer bareboat charters from its bases in Tortola, St Martin, St Lucia, the Bahamas, and Belize. Book by March 31 for dates between July 1 and September 1, on boats between 40 and 44 feet. www.moorings.com

• BYI Yacht Charters has a spring special too: up to 15% off monohulls over 46ft and multihulls over 42ft, from now till the end of April. www.bviyachtcharters.com

• St Thomas-based CYOA Yacht Charters is offering Season C (low season) pricing on all unsold Season A (peak season) charters until April 4. www.cyoacharters.com

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