Sailboat Charter in the Caribbean
A Dream Vacation for Sailing Enthusiasts
Are you looking for a vacation that combines adventure, relaxation, and beauty? Do you love sailing or want to learn how to sail? If so, you should consider a sailboat charter in the Caribbean, one of the most popular and diverse sailing destinations in the world.
Yacht Charter Companies in the Caribbean include:
- BVI Yacht Charters
- Dream Yacht Charter
- Horizon Yacht Charters
- Spinnaker Sailing
- The Charter Yacht
- The Moorings
- Trimaran Yacht Charter
- Voyage Charters
The Caribbean is a region of over 5,000 islands and cays, each with its own unique culture, history, and natural attractions.
You can explore the vibrant coral reefs, the lush rainforests, the colonial towns, and the white-sand beaches at your own pace and according to your own preferences.
You can also enjoy the warm and friendly hospitality of the locals, the delicious cuisine, and the lively music and nightlife.
A sailboat charter in the Caribbean gives you the freedom and flexibility to create your own itinerary and sail as much or as little as you want.
You can choose from different types of sailboats, depending on your budget, experience level, and group size.
You can also decide whether you want to sail on your own (bareboat charter) or with a professional crew (crewed charter).
Bareboat Charter vs Crewed Charter
A bareboat charter is ideal for experienced sailors who want to have full control over their sailing vacation. You will be responsible for navigating, anchoring, docking, and maintaining the boat. You will also need to provision the boat with food, drinks, and supplies. A bareboat charter gives you the opportunity to test your sailing skills, challenge yourself, and enjoy the privacy and independence of sailing on your own.
A crewed charter is perfect for those who want to relax and let someone else take care of everything. You will have a skipper who will sail the boat for you and a chef who will prepare delicious meals for you. You can also have additional crew members, such as a hostess or a guide. A crewed charter allows you to enjoy the luxury and comfort of sailing with a professional team, who will cater to your needs and preferences.
Types of Sailboats
There are many types of sailboats available for charter in the Caribbean, ranging from small monohulls to large catamarans. The type of sailboat you choose will depend on several factors, such as:
- The number of people in your group;
- The amount of space and comfort you want;
- The sailing performance and stability you prefer;
- The cost of the charter.
Monohulls are single-hulled boats that are more traditional and classic. They're usually faster and more responsive than catamarans, but they also heel more when sailing. Monohulls are suitable for smaller groups (2-8 people) who enjoy an exhilarating sailing experience.
Catamarans are multi-hulled boats that are more modern and spacious, and usually more stable and comfortable than monohulls. Catamarans are ideal for larger groups (6-12 people) who value roominess and luxury.
Trimarans are types of yacht that have three hulls: a main one and two smaller ones on the sides. Trimarans are designed to offer comfort, speed, and stability for sailing enthusiasts. They are also spacious and can accommodate up to 10 people in some models
A Neel 45 trimaran
Charter Bases and Companies
The Caribbean has many charter bases and companies that offer sailboat charters for different destinations, durations, and prices. Some of the most popular charter bases and companies are:
- Tortola (British Virgin Islands): The sailing capital of the Caribbean, with over 60 islands to explore. Some of the charter companies based here are Sunsail, Moorings, Voyage Charters, Dream Yacht Charter, Horizon Yacht Charters, BVI Yacht Charters, The Charter Yacht, Trimaran Yacht Charter etc;
- St Martin (French/Dutch Antilles): A cosmopolitan island with a blend of European and Caribbean cultures. Some of the charter companies based here are Sunsail, Dream Yacht Charter, Horizon Yacht Charters etc;
- Grenada (Windward Islands): A spice island with beautiful beaches, waterfalls, and rainforests. Some of the charter companies based here are Sunsail, Dream Yacht Charter, Horizon Yacht Charters etc;
- St Lucia (Windward Islands): A volcanic island with stunning scenery, including the Pitons (twin peaks). Some of the charter companies based here are Dream Yacht Charter, Horizon Yacht Charters, The Charter Yacht
- Belize (Central America): A diverse country with a barrier reef, Mayan ruins, and wildlife. Some of the charter companies based here are Sunsail, Moorings, Dream Yacht Charter,
The Charter Yacht
A Possible Itinerary for a 2-Week sailboat charter in the Caribbean
A 2-week charter gives you enough time to explore several islands and enjoy various activities. Here is a possible itinerary for a 2-week charter in the British Virgin Islands, starting and ending in Tortola:
- Day 1: Arrive at Tortola and board your sailboat. Get familiar with the boat and the crew (if any). Provision the boat with food, drinks, and supplies. Spend the night at the marina or anchor at a nearby bay;
- Day 2: Sail to Norman Island, where you can snorkel or dive at the famous Caves and the Indians. Visit the Willy T, a floating bar and restaurant. Anchor at the Bight for the night;
- Day 3: Sail to Peter Island, where you can relax at the beach or visit the spa. Hike to the top of the island for panoramic views. Anchor at Deadman's Bay or Great Harbour for the night;
- Day 4: Sail to Salt Island, where you can dive at the wreck of the RMS Rhone, a sunken ship. Visit Salt Pond Bay, where salt is harvested from natural pools. Anchor at Lee Bay or Salt Pond Bay for the night;
- Day 5: Sail to Cooper Island, where you can enjoy the eco-friendly resort and its amenities. Snorkel or dive at Cistern Point or Wreck Alley. Anchor at Manchioneel Bay for the night;
- Day 6: Sail to Virgin Gorda, where you can explore the Baths, a natural wonder of granite boulders and pools. Visit Spanish Town, the second-largest town in the BVI. Anchor at Leverick Bay or Gorda Sound for the night;
- Day 7: Sail to Anegada, the only coral island in the BVI. Enjoy the long and secluded beaches, the lobster dishes, and the flamingos. Anchor at Setting Point or Pomato Point for the night;
- Day 8: Sail to Jost Van Dyke, a laid-back island with beach bars and parties. Visit Foxy's, Soggy Dollar Bar, and White Bay. Hike to the Bubbly Pool, a natural jacuzzi. Anchor at Great Harbour or Little Harbour for the night;
- Day 9: Sail to Sandy Cay, a small uninhabited island with a nature trail and a beach. Snorkel or swim in the clear water. Anchor at Sandy Cay or nearby Sandy Spit for the night;
- Day 10: Sail to Guana Island, a private island with a wildlife sanctuary and a luxury resort. Visit Monkey Point, a snorkeling spot with colorful fish and turtles. Anchor at White Bay or Muskmelon Bay for the night;
- Day 11: Sail to Marina Cay, a small island with a Pusser's store and restaurant. Visit Trellis Bay, a cultural center with art studios and fire sculptures. Anchor at Marina Cay or Trellis Bay for the night;
- Day 12: Sail to Scrub Island, a resort island with a marina, a spa, and a pool. Visit Cam Bay, a national park with mangroves and birdlife. Anchor at Scrub Island or Cam Bay for the night;
- Day 13: Sail back to Tortola, where you can visit Road Town, the capital of the BVI. Shop for souvenirs, visit museums, and enjoy local cuisine. Return your sailboat to the marina and check out;
- Day 14: Depart from Tortola and fly back home with unforgettable memories of your sailboat charter in the Caribbean.
And another possible itinerary for a 2-week sailboat charter in the Caribbean
A leisurely 2-week sailboat charter in St Vincent and the Grenadines sounds like a wonderful idea. Here is a possible itinerary that you can follow or modify according to your preferences:
- Day 1: Arrive in Grenada and board your yacht at the Horizon Yachts Charters base at True Blue Bay. After completing the formalities, you can leave the marina and spend a quiet night at anchor or on a mooring in the bay;
- Day 2: Sail to Carriacou, the largest of the Grenadine islands. You can stop at Sandy Island, a beautiful uninhabited cay with a white sand beach and excellent snorkelling. Then head to Tyrell Bay, a well-protected anchorage with a friendly village and several bars and restaurants;
- Day 3: Clear customs at Hillsborough, the main town of Carriacou, and then sail to Union Island, the southernmost of the St Vincent Grenadines. You can anchor at Clifton Harbour, where you can find shops, cafes, and a lively atmosphere. You can also visit Happy Island, a man-made island with a bar that serves cold drinks and fresh seafood;
- Day 4: Sail to the Tobago Cays, a group of five uninhabited islands surrounded by a horseshoe reef. This is a marine park and a paradise for snorkelers and divers. You can swim with turtles, rays, and colourful fish, or relax on the pristine beaches. You can also enjoy a barbecue on the beach prepared by local boatmen;
- Day 5: Sail to Mayreau, the smallest inhabited island of the Grenadines. You can anchor at Salt Whistle Bay, a picturesque bay with palm trees and a crescent-shaped beach. You can also hike to the village on the hilltop and enjoy the views of the surrounding islands;
- Day 6: Sail to Canouan, an island with a mix of luxury resorts and local charm. You can anchor at Charlestown Bay, where you can find a dinghy dock, a supermarket, and a bakery. You can also visit the Raffles Resort, which has a golf course, a casino and a spa;
- Day 7: Sail to Bequia, the second largest island of the St Vincent Grenadines. You can anchor at Admiralty Bay, the main harbour of the island. You can explore the town of Port Elizabeth, which has shops, galleries, and restaurants. You can also visit the turtle sanctuary, where you can see hawksbill turtles being cared for;
- Day 8: Sail to Mustique, an exclusive island with villas owned by celebrities and royalty. You can anchor at Britannia Bay, where you can find Basil's Bar, a famous hangout for the rich and famous. You can also take a taxi tour of the island and see some of the stunning villas;
- Day 9: Sail to Petit St Vincent, a private island resort with cottages and a spa. You can anchor at PSV Resort Anchorage, where you can use the resort's facilities for a fee. You can also visit Mopion, a tiny sandbar with a single umbrella;
- Day 10: Sail back to Union Island and clear customs at Clifton Harbour. Then sail to Petit Martinique, a small island that belongs to Grenada. You can anchor at Petit Martinique Anchorage, where you can find a few shops and restaurants. You can also visit Petit St Vincent's sister island, Palm Island, which has a resort and a beach bar;
- Day 11: Sail back to Carriacou and clear customs at Hillsborough. Then sail to Sandy Island again for another snorkeling session or beach day;
- Day 12: Sail back to Grenada and anchor at Prickly Bay, a popular anchorage with a marina, a chandlery, and several bars and restaurants;
- Day 13: Sail back to True Blue Bay and return your yacht to Horizon Yacht Charters base. You can spend some time ashore and enjoy the resort's amenities or explore Grenada's attractions;
- Day 14: Depart from Grenada and fly back home.
Sailboat Charter in the Caribbean: A Few FAQs...
Definitely! Particularly so when sailing in the open water between the islands. If this is your intention you should download the eBook 'Secrets of Sailboat Fishing' by Dick McClary.
The Caribbean is a year-round sailing destination, but the best times to sail are from December to April, when the weather is dry, sunny, and breezy. The hurricane season runs from June to November, and it is advisable to avoid sailing during this period or check the weather forecast carefully before booking.
The Caribbean offers a variety of sailing conditions, depending on the location and season. Generally, the wind is steady and moderate, ranging from 10 to 25 knots, and the sea is calm to moderate, with waves of 1 to 3 meters. The currents are mostly weak, except in some narrow passages and channels. The navigation is easy, with line-of-sight sailing and many sheltered anchorages.
The visa and entry requirements vary depending on the nationality of the sailors and the islands they visit. Some islands are part of larger countries or territories, such as the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin, or Puerto Rico, and they follow the same visa rules as their parent countries.
Other islands are independent nations, such as Antigua, Grenada, or St. Lucia, and they have their own visa policies.
It is recommended to check the visa requirements for each island before sailing and have a valid passport and proof of onward travel.
The sailing licenses and qualifications required for chartering a sailboat in the Caribbean depend on the type of charter and the destination.
For bareboat charters, where the sailors operate the boat themselves, they need to have a valid sailing license or certificate from a recognized authority, such as RYA, ASA, or IYT. They also need to have sufficient sailing experience and provide a sailing resume to the charter company.
For skippered charters, where a professional skipper is hired to sail the boat, the sailors do not need any license or qualification, but they may need to pay an extra fee for the skipper's services.
The costs and fees involved in chartering a sailboat in the Caribbean vary depending on several factors, such as the size and type of the boat, the duration and season of the charter, the destination and itinerary, and the extras and services included. Some of the main costs and fees are:
- Charter fee: This is the price of renting the boat for a certain period of time. It usually includes basic equipment, insurance, taxes, and marina fees at the base;
- Security deposit: This is a refundable amount that is paid before departure to cover any potential damage or loss to the boat or its equipment during the charter. It can be paid by cash or credit card authorization;
- Fuel: This is the cost of refilling the fuel tank at the end of the charter. It depends on how much fuel is consumed during the sailing;
- Water: This is the cost of refilling the water tank at the end of the charter. It depends on how much water is used during the sailing;
- Provisioning: This is the cost of buying food and drinks for the crew during the charter. It can be done by self-catering or by ordering from a provisioning service provided by some charter companies;
- Mooring fees: These are fees that are paid for anchoring or docking at marinas or buoys along along the way. They vary depending on the location and availability of mooring facilities;
- Customs fees: These are fees that are paid for clearing customs and immigration when entering or leaving different islands or countries. They vary depending on the destination and nationality of the sailors;
- Tips: These are optional gratuities that are given to skippers, crew members, or other service providers during or after the charter. They depend on personal preference and satisfaction with their services.
The Caribbean has many beautiful and diverse places to visit while sailing, each with its own charm and attractions. Some of the best places are:
- The British Virgin Islands: This is one of the most popular sailing destinations in the Caribbean, with over 60 islands and cays to explore. It offers stunning scenery, pristine beaches, world-class snorkeling and diving, and lively beach bars;
- St. Martin/St. Maarten: This is a unique island that is divided into two parts, one French (St. Martin) and one Dutch (St. Maarten). It offers a blend of European and Caribbean culture, fine dining and lively casinos, and pristine beaches and coves;
- Grenada: This is a spice island that is known for its lush rainforests, waterfalls, and volcanoes. It offers excellent hiking and adventure activities, as well as delicious cuisine and rum;
- The Grenadines: This is a chain of small islands that are part of St. Vincent and Grenada. It offers secluded and tranquil anchorages, turquoise waters, and white-sand beaches. It is also home to the Tobago Cays, a marine park that is a paradise for snorkeling and diving;
- Antigua: This is an island that has a rich history and culture, as well as a reputation for sailing excellence. It offers historic forts and museums, lively festivals and events, and over 365 beaches to choose from;
- St. Lucia: This is an island that has a dramatic landscape, dominated by the twin peaks of the Pitons. It offers natural wonders, such as sulphur springs, waterfalls, and rainforests, as well as luxury resorts and spas.
Some of the safety tips and precautions to follow while sailing in the Caribbean are:
- Check the weather forecast before and during the sailing, and avoid sailing in bad weather or during hurricane season;
- Follow the navigation rules and regulations of each island or country, and respect the local customs and laws;
- Use the appropriate safety equipment and devices on board, such as life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, VHF radio, GPS, etc;
- Keep an eye on the fuel and water levels, and refill them when necessary;
- Avoid sailing at night or in unfamiliar waters, and use charts, guides, and landmarks to navigate;
- Anchor or dock securely in designated areas, and lock the boat when leaving it unattended;
- Be careful of coral reefs, rocks, shoals, or other hazards that may damage the boat or its propeller;
- Be aware of the potential dangers of swimming or diving in the water, such as strong currents, jellyfish or other marine life;
- Protect yourself from the sun, heat, and insects by wearing sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, long sleeves, and repellent.
Some of the things to pack for a sailing trip in the Caribbean are:
- Passport and visa (if required), as well as copies of important documents, such as sailing license, insurance, itinerary, etc;
- Cash and credit cards (preferably in US dollars or local currency), as well as some small bills or coins for tips or fees;
- Lightweight and comfortable clothing, such as shorts, t-shirts, swimsuits, and cover-ups. Avoid cotton fabrics that may take longer to dry;
- Waterproof and windproof jacket or sweater for cooler nights or rainy days;
- Sailing shoes or sandals with good grip and protection. Avoid flip-flops or bare feet on deck;
- Sun protection items, such as sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and lip balm. Choose products that are biodegradable or reef-safe to avoid harming the marine environment;
- Personal hygiene items, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, etc. Choose products that are biodegradable or eco-friendly to avoid polluting the water;
- Medications and first aid kit, such as painkillers, antihistamines, antibiotics, bandages, antiseptic cream, etc. Include any prescription drugs or special medications that you may need;
- Snorkeling or diving gear, such as mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuit, etc. You can also rent them from some charter companies or local operators;
- Entertainment items, such as books, magazines, games, music player, camera, etc. Bring waterproof cases or bags to protect them from water damage.
Some of the benefits of chartering a sailboat in the Caribbean are:
- Freedom and flexibility: You can choose your own route and pace, and visit different islands and places according to your preferences and interests. You can also change your plans if you want to stay longer or shorter at a certain spot;
- Privacy and intimacy: You can enjoy your own space and comfort on board, without having to share with other guests or strangers. You can also create your own atmosphere and mood on board, whether it is romantic, relaxing, or fun;
- Adventure and discovery: You can experience the thrill of sailing in one of the most beautiful regions in the world, with stunning scenery, pristine beaches, world-class snorkelling and diving, and lively beach bars;
- Savings and value: You can save money by renting a boat instead of paying for hotels, flights, or cruises. You can also enjoy the amenities and services of the boat, such as a kitchen, fridge, barbecue, dinghy, etc. You can also customize your budget and expenses according to your needs and preferences;
- Learning and skill development: You can learn new things and improve your sailing skills by chartering a sailboat in the Caribbean. You can also learn about the history, culture, and nature of the different islands and places you visit.
The above text was drafted by sailboat-cruising.com using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; we believe it to be accurate to the best of our knowledge.
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