FAQ's: Planning Your Charter in BVI. Common questions and faq's relating to booking a catamaran in the BVI

Find out what is included in my charter, am I qualified to skipper a catamaran, how do I get to the BVI and more.

FAQ's: PLANNING YOUR CHARTER
Am I qualified to "skipper" a cat?

This is the most frequently asked question we hear each day. There is a very simple answer. If you can handle a monohull sailboat, chances are you should have no trouble handling a cat the same size. 

GET PRE-APPROVAL AND SUBMIT YOUR RESUME: CLICK HERE

We will require suitable prior skippering experience on a comparably sized vessel of the type you are chartering, not simply crewing experience. This is especially true of our largest cats, the Lagoon 500, the Lagoon 50 and the Lagoon 52. For these vessels we require the skipper's resume and a resume for the first mate. These vessels are large, and it is far easier to operate them with an experienced crew, who knows how the vessel systems operates and to help assist in docking, anchoring etc. Boat ownership, prior charter experience, and marine certifications such as ASA and RYA are also taken into consideration

We will also require suitable navigational experience to safely navigate in these waters. Please remember that the BVI is tidal salt water, with some areas open to the Atlantic Ocean, so we can get some large swells. This may affect potential anchorages and sailing plans whilst here. 

For us to get this information from you, we provide a sailing resume to be filled in. This Catamaran Company specific sailing resume is vital for us to ascertain your experience and decide if you can safely operate the catamaran that you have chosen, in the waters of the British Virgin Islands. Please get this resume back to us as soon as possible, so that we can vet it and give our recommendations. 

GET PRE-APPROVAL AND SUBMIT YOUR RESUME: CLICK HERE

To enhance your sailing experience, hire an instructional skipper for the first day of your cruise. He or she will cover jibing, tacking, anchoring and general catamaran sailing with you. He or she will act as your personal "yacht briefer" and often, will speed up the hand-over process at the base which will get you on the water faster. Instructional Skipper day rate applies. See below “Can I hire a captain” for more information.

Once at the base and before beginning your bareboat charter, a yacht familiarization and chart briefing will be conducted. All your questions will be answered at this time.

How do I get to the BVI?

There are two ways to get to our charter base on Tortola.

Option # 1:
Fly directly onto to Tortola airport called Terrance B Lettsome International Airport. The airport code is ‘EIS’. The airport is located on Beef Island on the east end of the island of Tortola, which is about 10 minutes away from our base at Hodges Creek.

There are no direct flights from mainland USA or Europe to Terrance B Lettsome International Airport on Tortola, (airport code EIS). The 2 main commuter routes to Tortola from US mainland are via: San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) or Charlotte Amelie, St Thomas (STT). Commuter flights are usually between 30 and 40 minutes. Ferry ride from St Thomas to Road Town is usually 50 minutes.
Most choose the St. Thomas route due to a larger choice of airlines, and flight costs tend to be less expensive than routing through San Juan to Tortola. But lately the introduction of a new airline to that route, flying via San Juan to Terrance B. Lettsome International airport, Beef Island, Tortola (EIS) has been more practical (late arrival) and cost effective but you must research the flight to Puerto Rico (very inexpensive flights from US mainland) separately from the flight Puerto Rico / Tortola. For the latest route, search the below airline websites directly.
If flying via San Juan, Puerto Rico, use the following carriers to get to Tortola, BVI:
Inter Caribbean Airways
www.intercaribbean.com

Cape Air (code share with United & Jet Blue)
 www.capeair.com 

Seaborne Airlines. (code share with American and Jet Blue)
http://www.seaborneairlines.com

 

Option # 2:
If flying to St Thomas, USVI (STT) take the Ferry over to Road Town on Tortola, BVI. It is best to choose a flight that arrives no later than 3pm, which will give time to catch the last ferry of the day departing downtown St. Thomas (Charlotte Amalie) at 4:15pm, arriving into Road Harbor, BVI at 5:05pm.

Ferry Options from St Thomas.
Road Town Fast Ferry
BVI: (284) 494-2323
USVI: (340) 777-2800
www.roadtownfastferry.com
Smith’s Ferry Tortola Fast Ferry
BVI: (284) 495-4495
USVI: (340) 775-7292
www.bviferryservices.com
Native Son
BVI : (284) 495-4617
USVI : (340) 775-8685
www.nativesonferry.com
There are other options such as private taxis from St Thomas to Tortola. Please email charter@catamarans.com for information.
Does my boat have a Blender?
All Lagoon Catamarans have a blender that can be used under sail.
Gemini Catamarans have use of the blender on shore power only.
Does the catamaran have a Microwave?
All Lagoon Catamarans have use of Microwave, but the generator must be turned on.
Gemini Catamarans have use of a microwave on shore power only.
Does the catamaran have Coffee Makers?
Lagoon Catamarans have coffee makers, but the generator must be turned on.
Gemini Catamarans have use of the coffee maker on Shore Power Only.
Does the catamaran come with a BBQ?

ALL our catamarans come with BBQ’s. Most Lagoon Catamarans have propane BBQ’s and the base staff does refill propane on your behalf. Gemini Catamarans BBQ’s are all charcoal. Please email charter@catamarans.com for any questions/confirmation.

Does our catamaran have WI-FI?

All our catamarans have WIFI installed. Please click this link to set up the WIFI. WIFI is 12 volts so it can work with the inverter as long as batteries are kept charged. Wi-Fi is set up at time of boarding your catamaran. It is an easy and not a complicated process. One launches a browser and you follow the steps. The cost of Wi-Fi is as follows:
$20.00 - 1 Device 24 Hours
$25.00 - 5 Devices 24 Hours
$100.00 - 1 Device 1 Week
$125.00 - 5 Devices 1 Week
$135.00 - 10 Devices 1 Week

Does my catamaran come with a DINGHY?

All our catamarans come with a dinghy
Gemini Legacy 35’s has a 10ft hard bottom inflatable with 6HP
Lagoon 380 ‘s to Lagoon 42 have a 10 to 11 ft hard bottom inflatable with 15HP
Lagoon 52’s has a 14ft hard bottom inflatable with 25HP

Does my catamaran have a charter plotter?

Yes, all our catamarans have charter plotters.  We do recommend you download the chart plotter app online. You can download this prior to arriving on BVI and you can plan your itinerary.  It has some great features like looking back on your trip in the track timeline and you can see photos wile tracking.  Go cruising, fishing and sailing with the same detailed charts and advanced features used on the best GPS plotters - get the most out of your time on the water!

https://www.navionics.com/usa/apps/navionics-boating

 

What is included in the Deck and Navigation?
  • Cooler
  • Electronic Windlass & All Chain Rode
  • Stereo: Aux Cord or Blue Tooth. Bring Aux Cord with you.
  • VHF, Wind Depth Speed & Autopilot
  • Chart plotter

Download this app prior to arrival to plan your trip:
https://www.navionics.com/usa/apps/navionics-boating

  • First Aid Kit, Navigation & Tool Kit
  • Local Chart (Paper)
  • Transom Shower & Ladder
  • Binoculars & Life Jackets
  • Refrigeration
  • Hard bottom inflatable Dinghy & Outboard
  • Water & Outboard Gas/ Oil
  • Full cockpit Bimini top
  • Fans in Cabins, galley and salon
  • Tool box and spares
  • Waterproof Chart
  • Cruising GUIDE NOT PROVIDED.
    Order and bring yours.
    We recommend:
    Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands by Nancy & Simon Scott... last edition was 14th edition. They also have a website for regular V.I information updates (www.cruisingguides.com). It is published by Cruising Guide Publications, Inc.
How is the Galley Equipped?
  • Kitchen Knives
  • Serving/Cooking Tools
  • Grater & Peeler
  • Whisk
  • Serving dishes
  • Dish Drainer
  • Measuring Cup
  • Can Opener & Corkscrew
  • Cutting Board
  • Saucepan Set
  • Oven Baking Dishes
  • Kettle
  • Corelle Dinnerware
  • Cutlery and Serving Platter Set
  • Coffee Mugs & Tumblers
  • Dustpan & Brush
  • Place mats
  • Wine Glasses
  • Storage Containers
  • Mixing Bowls & Colander
  • Juice Pitcher & Thermos
  • Clothes Pins
  • Kitchen Towel & Tea Towels
  • Oven Gloves & BBQ Utensils
What linens and towels are in cabins/staterooms?
  • Pillows and pillow cases
  • Blankets
  • Fitted & Flat Sheets (beds are made up for your convenience and comfort)
  • Towels (except beach towels and wash cloths)
    1 set of towels included (1 bath towel/1 hand towel per person per week)
    1 set of sheets included (1 bottom,1 top, 2 pillow cases per cabin) 

Extra towels/linens upon availability
$3 for bath towel
$2 for hand towel
$7 for set of sheets (1 bottom,1 top, 2 pillow cases)

  • Coat Hangers
  • Toilet Brush
  • Small Trash Cans
What Fun Stuff is included aboard?
  • American Flag, Courtesy & Q Flag
  • Use of Hard Bottom Dinghy and Outboard
  • Full Dinghy Equipment
  • Cruising GUIDE NOT PROVIDED.
    Order and bring yours.
    We recommend:
    Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands by Nancy & Simon Scott... last edition was 14th edition. They also have a website for regular V.I information updates (www.cruisingguides.com). It is published by Cruising Guide Publications, Inc.
What cockpit gear is onboard?
  • Boathook
  • Bucket
  • Deck Brush
  • BBQ with Rail Mount
What is in the safety and security gear?
  • Life jackets
  • Harnesses
  • Horseshoe Buoy with Rail Mount
  • Flare Kit
  • Horn
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Fire Extinguishers and Mounts
What to bring?

The climate in the British Virgin Islands stays relatively constant year-round with temperatures ranging from 75-85 °F. You'll need a bathing suit, some T-shirts, a couple of pairs of shorts and a good hat to fend off the sun. You'll also need some sunscreen of the highest SPF rating you can get and some canvas deck shoes or sneakers. Insects are seldom a problem, but it's a good idea to bring repellent just in case. Please bring cash to pay for trash pick-up, moorings balls and smaller beach bar and restaurants. Please draw cash prior to arriving on island.

Should I bring my own snorkel gear?

For hygiene reason, masks and snorkels are not provided. Most guests bring their own or rent from our partners on site Sail Caribbean. All their equipment is well maintained and sanitized after each use. Of course, you'll want your toothbrush, some shampoo etc. Anything beyond these essentials is up to you, but don't over pack if you can help it. Be sure to use duffle bags since there is little storage space for suitcases on a boat. Life vests are standard Coast Guard sizes, so if you want life jackets for the kids please bring them with you.

What is in a Starter Kit?

For your comfort and convenience (first night aboard), the following mandatory items will be placed on board prior to your charter start for a fee of $55 per charter:

  • 1 Roll of toilet paper per head
  • 1 roll of paper towel
  • 1 bottle (sm) of Dishwashing liquid
  • 1 box of matches
  • 1 pkt of handwipes
  • 1 box of garbage bags large
  • 1 bottle of rum
  • 2 cans of juice assorted, 4 cans of coke
  • 1 bottle of mineral water (1.5L)
  • Small bag of ice
Can I sleep aboard the night prior to my charter?
Yes, we do offer a “sleep aboard” option the night prior to the charter.
If your charter starts at 12 pm, we can offer the night prior to your charter aboard for one half of the daily rate. This option, when available, can only be reserved 30 days prior to departure. Please email charter@catamarans.com to check availability and pricing. Your sleep aboard will start at 5pm. Please note that this is a sleep aboard only: your boat orientation and briefing will take place the next morning. Please organize dinner arrangements accordingly.
Can I hire a Captain?

Yes, you can hire a captain for a 1 day, two days or the entire week. There are two different types of Captains available: regular or instructional.

You can hire a regular captain who will sail and take charge of the boat, its equipment and your safety so you can relax and enjoy your sailing vacation. The cost of the regular captain is $205 per day. However, if you would like to learn how to tack, gybe, anchor, pick up moorings, learn to sail and operate the catamaran with detailed instruction then the fee for this is $220 per day.

Do note that it is required by BVI Law to provide the Captain with a bed to sleep and give access to a toilet at ALL times. If you are sharing a toilet with the captain, the toilet must be accessible at ALL times of the day AND night. Please view the layout on your catamaran of choice. Some catamarans come with additional head/shower/sink on bow for the captain’s convenience. We also offer provisioning options for your captain: a $52 daily fee will get him/her completely covered and will alleviate the worries of providing the right food and quantity for his/her needs.
It is also a local custom to tip the Captain who have done a good job for you. A rule of thumb is $500 to $800 for a week charter and $30 for a one-day instructional skipper. All gratuities are optional. Any questions, please email charter@catamarans.com

Is there a suggested Sailing Itinerary?

Please use the suggested itinerary we put together. This has been updated in February 2018. Click on this link: SAMPLE 7 DAY SAILING ITINERARY http://www.catamarans.com/british-virgin-islands-sail-Itinerary/
Please also check out the online cruising guide at this link.
http://www.onlinecruisingguide.com/

Can we go to Anegada?

Yes, our Catamarans are allowed to go to Anegada due to shallow draft. Do check weather daily to ensure safe passage.

 

Do I need a passport to travel to the BVI?

Everyone, including US citizens do need a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for another 6 months upon entering the BVI. Visitors from some countries might require a visa to enter the BVI (BVI Tourist Board for information). If in doubt, please check with the BVI Tourist board or contact the nearest British Embassy.

What is the local currency in BVI?

The currency is US dollars (US$). We do advise you to bring cash with you on charter for trash pick-ups, mooring balls, ice runs etc. Most bars and restaurants accept credit cards such as Mastercard, Visa and American Express. Some smaller, more isolated bars and restaurants might only accept cash. Draw cash prior to your arrival in BVI. ATMs are not available everywhere.

What is “Operation Sail it Forward BVI”?

The Catamaran Company runs a group on Facebook called ‘Operation Sail It Forward BVI’. This group is set up for charter guests to post pictures, videos and tips about their itinerary in real time. Our loyal guests sail it forward by posting the latest anchorage tips, mooring ball updates, local beach bars and restaurant status and useful information getting to and from BVI. Please join ‘OPERATION SAIL IT FORWARD’ by clicking here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/395158714235374/?ref=bookmarks