With our years of experience in the charter industry, we’re pleased to take care of many of the details related to your charter. But there are some things that you can do to make the most of your trip to the Caribbean and your time spent on board.
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Here are some of our best tips on how to make the most of your bareboat charter:
Although your charter is already booked, you need to show you are able to handle the boat before it is released to you. This is a general safety precaution that benefits you as much as it does the charter company. Many people worry about this step but try not to become anxious, as the charter company isn’t purposefully critical and wants to help. You will sometimes be asked to demonstrate simple skills such as departing from the dock, maneuvering the boat in tight spaces, docking and mooring. The other part of the handover session simply involves becoming familiar with the boat and you’ll be introduced to all the equipment and systems of that particular model.Make sure you are at your best, so get a good night’s sleep the night before – we can help recommend a comfortable hotel for your first night.
- Research your destination in advance
Planning is half the fun, and when it comes to Caribbean bareboat charters preparation will actually make your trip much better. We recommend reading up on each island to prioritize what you’d like to see, anchorage and mooring information and where to stock supplies. You don’t have to plan where you’ll moor each night, as this can be determined on a daily basis according to the winds, weather and how everyone is feeling that day. But, knowing what there is to do on in each place will keep you from having to make last minute decisions.
There are certain attractions that you will want to give yourself time for. Keep your itinerary flexible and allow yourself to spend a full day at popular attractions, such as the Baths of Virgin Gorda. Many people don’t allow enough time, thinking few hours is enough. Our top tip is that while it’s ok to see fewer things, you really need to leave enough hours in the schedule to soak up major stop offs.
While we are on the subject of time, it’s good to remember that in the Caribbean you are on island time. Things take a little longer, so food may take longer to arrive in restaurants. Try to let go of the hurry and just relax. This is the sailing life!
- Bring the right support crew
As well as crew, you need the right support and books are the perfect tools. They don’t need charging or a signal to work. Stock up on a cruising guide for the region, while many boats already have these on board, it is fun and informative to read in advance as well.
Books on the area’s topography are great too. Look for one with plenty of photos of the islands’ coves, anchorages and bays. You’ll then be able to recognize them when you see them in person! Finally, consider purchasing a chart of the area. Again, this may be found on board but having one of your own that you are familiar with never hurts.
We cover some of the best packing tips here, but the general rule is to pack light. This might involve a little more preparation and thought, so don’t pack the night before you leave. Some would even say to lay out everything you are thinking of bringing and then pack half of it.
Space on the boat is limited, and packing at the last minute could see you packing everything under the sun just to be sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
One thing many peoples are not quite prepared for is the strength of the sun. Focus on avoiding too much sun exposure and its unpleasant side effects of sunburn and heat exhaustion. This means bringing long sleeved cotton clothing, a hat and plenty of sun block. Painful sunburn can really limit what you are able to do during your trip.
Your destination will determine how much cash you should bring. Some islands have better shopping opportunities, more can’t-miss restaurants and bars and things to do than others. It also depends on how much you want to spend.
Although many places take credit cards, there are often international fees for using them. Cash just makes things easier.
There are many, many sailing apps that can make your trip more fun if you plan to stay connected and not go off grid. Here is a good roundup of options for your iPhone and iPad and some navigation apps for both Apple and Android devices to get you started. Our staff can help recommend their favorites as well.
Our goal is to help you plan the best charter, every time. We hope these tips help you make the most of your Caribbean sailing experience!