YACHT CHARTERS Newbies for
A first-timer’s guide to chartering in the tropics
Never chartered? No problem. Here are some tips to get you through your first (few) time(s) chartering in the Caribbean, a tropical paradise close to home where the time change is minimal, English is prevalent and the remarkable change of scenery will make you forget that snowstorm back home.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR CHARTER EASIER
Start small. Unless you have handled a 50-footer before, choose charter vessels that are easier to sail, reef and dock. Consider a catamaran if you need the extra room. Cats are easier to dock thanks to their twin engines, they’re better for people who suffer from seasickness and provide more space so everyone’s comfortable.
Do not miss the chart briefing. There’s no substitute for local knowl- edge, whether it’s about tourist highlights, shoal areas, weather or even how to pick up a mooring. “We always provide a full, in-depth individual chart and boat briefing with every charter whether they are first timers or salty dog charterers,” says Megan Wilson, sales manager at BVI-based Conch Charters. Jackie Ashford of Horizon Yacht Charters in Antigua adds, “We give them [our charterers] a one-to-one chart briefing so they can ask any questions—from the best anchorage to the best roti—no question is a stupid question.”
Don’t be blasŽ about the technical checkout where you’ll learn about your boat and all its systems. Make sure you know how to run the genset, monitor the batteries, change water tank manifolds and read the electronics. Use your phone to record the information or bring a friend for a second set of ears. Most companies now give you a dedicated cell
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among its crew, seven of them belonging to skipper, Bouwe Bekking. Scallywag, with just one 2014-15 crew, and Turn the Tide, with crew undetermined other than British skipper Dee Caffari and Kiwi boat captain Liz Wardley, who have three races between them, will be especially affected by this lack of experience. As two-time veteran Carolijn Brouwer, the principal helmsperson with the all-female 2014-15 Team SCA and now with Dongfeng, explains, you can only learn to drive in the Southern Ocean in the Southern Ocean—there’s simply nothing else like it in the world. Bottom line: expect Dongfeng, Mapfre, AkzoNobel, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Brunel to duke it out at the front of the fleet, while it will be tougher going for Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic.
Of course, the team of most interest to North American followers will be Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a veteran squad that in addition to Enright and Towill includes Britain’s Simon Fisher as navigator; U.S. sailor Nick Dana; Aussies Tom Johnson and Phil Harmer; Kiwi Tony Mutter; Irish sailor Damian Foxall; British sailor Hannah Diamond; and Danish Olympian Jena Mai Hansen. Discussing his chances in his second attempt at a VOR, Newport-based Enright said: “This is an American skippered
Our Moorings 4800, Apakorn, lies at anchor off a fishing village
The view of Antigua’s English Harbour from Shirley Heights is one of the best in the Caribbean SAIL MAGAZINE
China’s Dongfeng Race Team is packed with veterans from previous races, including its talented French-born skipper, Charles Caudrelier