Crewed Yachts for Bareboaters

Any bareboat skipper who’s experienced a restless night at anchor knows that bareboating can sometimes be stressful. And while some veteran bareboaters positively enjoy planning trips and controlling ships, others know how glorious it can be to give up the helm and embrace the vacation. That’s when they try out crewed yacht chartering.
Author:
Publish date:
crewedyacht

Any bareboat skipper who’s experienced a restless night at anchor knows that bareboating can sometimes be stressful. And while some veteran bareboaters positively enjoy planning trips and controlling ships, others know how glorious it can be to give up the helm and embrace the vacation. That’s when they try out crewed yacht chartering. 

“In the planning stages of our bareboat charters, I like doing it my way,” says Mike Rutstein of Massachusetts, who charters in the British Virgin Islands each winter. “But by the end of the week I realize there is a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. I enjoy it, but wouldn’t consider it a relaxed vacation.”

Several charter companies offer crewed yacht charters in the BVI, including The Moorings, Horizon Yacht Charters and Dream Yacht Charters. Organizations like BVI Charters, Virgin Islands Charter Yacht League and the BVI Charter Yacht Society also represent dozens of privately run crewed yachts.

In addition to lightening the load on guests, crewed yachts offer increased luxury and comfort. Generally, married couples run the yachts, so captain, crew and chef add up to just two people. They provide three meals a day, keep your boat tidy and take care of all of the planning and entertainment along the way. 

 With extra help on board, crewed yachts can make family vacations more fun for everyone

With extra help on board, crewed yachts can make family vacations more fun for everyone

Of course, deciding to share your vacation with two virtual strangers can feel risky, which is where organizations like the BVI Charter Yacht Society can help. Now in its 30th year, the group hosts an annual trade show in which 120 yacht brokers and 80 crewed yachts gather in Tortola for a week of mingling. “The brokers come to see the boats and meet the crew, who are a big selling point for the overall charter. Brokers try to make the personalities fit their customers,” explains Janet Oliver, executive director of the BVI Charter Yacht Society. 

Matching crews and customers is essential, and Charley Zahr, who has skippered the 54-foot ketch Crystal Clear for 11 years, believes the benefits go both ways. “We spend the days sailing with our guests, and we eventually swap stories about our lives,” says Zahr. “I believe a lot of the people who have sailed with us were changed by the experience. On the flip side, my wife and I have one of our guests to thank for convincing us to start a family. They are now the godparents to our young son.”

Naturally, cost is a factor when choosing between a bareboat and crewed charter. Though costs vary from company to company and boat to boat, a party of six can expect to pay about $2,700 per person for a week on a crewed yacht, which includes meals, provisions and activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, windsurfing and kayaking. By comparison, a bareboat catamaran costs roughly $1,000 per person, not including provisions, food and activities. Additionally, a bareboat charterer is responsible for any damage to the boat.

While many bareboat sailors are not interested in giving up their independence, others agree that a lot of knowledge can be gained from sailing with a local pro. Yacht broker Margo Rose of Slip Aweigh Charters says, “A crewed charter is great because any sailor can learn from the professional crew. The crews love these waters and will share their many secrets with you.”

For South African Sheldon Lindsay, skipper of the 57-foot catamaran Nexus, the laid-back crew lifestyle is part of the appeal of the job. And that rubs off on the guests, too. “However you sail in the Caribbean, you are ultimately escaping the pressures of modern life,” he says. “That experience is one worth sharing.”

Watch a Q & A with a crewed yacht captain and crew on board the Moorings 4600, Eyesie (Charter Channel Episode 12).

Contacts

BVI Charters

BVI Charter Yacht Society

Dream Yacht CHarters

Horizon Yacht Charter

The Moorings

Virgin Islands Charter Yacht League

Photos courtesy of the BVI Charter Yacht Society

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more