My husband and I grew up sailing with our families. For our recent family vacation, we were daydreaming of sharing our love of the ocean with our teenage children.
But with a vacation budget to stick to and the non-stop programming of a cruise ship not what we had in mind, we decided to charter a sailboat with another family to explore the British Virgin Islands.
The BVIs offer easy-to-navigate waters that are tailor-made for sailing, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned sailor. Prices vary according to the type of boat you choose and the level of service and amenities you require. With current seasonal discounts, a group of eight people can find amazing deals for as low as $42 per person per day for a mono-hull boat that you sail yourself.
The cost benefit of a boat-charter vacation is that the price covers your accommodations, a self-catering kitchen, transportation to inaccessible island locations, as well as unmatched scenery and adventure every day of your trip. (Food and water toys are extra.)
Get started by checking out Moorings, Sunsail, and Horizon Yacht Charters — which are based in Tortola — or Fairwind Sailing School Charters, based in St. Thomas. These companies can help plan a trip to suit any level of sailing experience. They also offer the option of hiring a skipper or, if at least two people in your group have sailing experience, “bareboating,” meaning you play captain. A skipper can be hired for an additional $190-$250 per day.
Bareboating, obviously, saves you a ton of money. If you want to learn how to sail, check out the American Sailing Association for an accredited school.
by Julia Pemberton Hellums