Bareboat Charter Crew Briefing List

Posted by Grant Headifen on May 14, 2010 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Be the First to Comment

We received a lot of interest in the Bareboat Charter Clinic Crew Briefing Check list that we sent out via our mailer earlier in the week. Some additional and excellent tips were sent in by some of you and so we have updated the list. See it now at the bottom of this page:

Yum yum while sailing

Yum yum while sailing

Bareboat chartering is one of the most fun things you can do on this planet. This August we’re leading a fully booked flotilla in Tonga to sail the islands around Vava’u. But next week we thought we’d pop over there to do a reconnaissance trip. So watch out for our video blog report in a few weeks on that.

Each year we invite our Bareboat Charter Master Graduates to join us on a flotilla. While this year is Tonga, next year we’re thinking of some where in the Med. Come join us on that – watch out for the announcement.

One of the things that we find particularly great about our trips is a fully engaged and working crew. With this comes knowledge about leadership and team work, boat systems, dinghy operations, provisioning requirements and just basic bareboating skills by everyone on board. It’s not that everyone should know how to sail but some good knowledge of what to expect before hand makes the trip go smooth with out drama, confusion, injury, or arguments. Everyone invests A LOT of money in a trip like this.

What we’re suggesting is why not make it as fun as possible. So if you haven’t taken the NauticEd Bareboat Charter clinic yet and haven’t sent it onto your crew,  go ahead and do so because the small comparative investment in the clinic by everyone will make the trip seem ten times more fun (and safe). The one tip like walking under the boom side of the boat when going down wind is tooooooo invaluable for your crew.

Bareboat Yacht Charter Clinic

Bareboat Yacht Charter Clinic

In addition to this, if you’re traveling to Greece, Spain or Croatia, you’ll be required to show harbor authorities a VHF endorsement on your Sailing Certificate. When you take and pass the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Clinic, you’ll get that endorsement stamped on your Sailing Certificate.

So go ahead, get started now with the Bareboat Charter Clinic and let NauticEd teach your crew prior to the trip. And while you’re at it, please hit the Like Button on that page to tell your facebook friends that you like this clinic.

Here again is the Bareboat Charter Curriculum

Module 1: Planning and Arriving
1.1 The Types of Charters
1.2 Good Captainship
1.3 Arrival at the Base
1.4 Provisioning
1.5 Freezer and Fridge Management
1.6 Generators
1.7 Fishing
1.8 Kids
1.9 Local Area Familiarization
1.10 VHF Operations

Module 2: Checking out the Boat
2.1 Getting Familiar with the Boat
2.2 The Deck
2.3 Breakdowns
2.4 The Engine
2.5 The Fuel System
2.6 Starting the Engine
2.7 Operating the Engine
2.8 Stopping the Engine
2.9 Plumbing and Tankage
2.10 Seacocks
2.11 Showers
2.12 Heads
2.13 Bilge Pumps
2.14 Galley Stove
2.15 DC Electrical System
2.16 AC Electrical System
2.17 Sails

Module 3: Underway
3.1 Knot Tying School
3.2 Communications
3.3 The Nautical Chart
3.4 GPS
3.5 The Autopilot
3.6 Mooring
3.7 Anchoring
3.8 The Windlass
3.9 Docking
3.10 Seasickness
3.11 The Dinghy
3.12 Briefing the Crew
3.13 Conclusion

Register now at

Chronicles of a Sailing Yacht Charter Week in the BVI’s: Day 2

Posted by Grant Headifen on October 8, 2009 under Bareboat Charter | Read the First Comment

Saturday September 26th 2009

Catching the ferry from Charlotte Amarlie was easy the next morning. The ferry terminal is about 15 minutes away from the Marriot. We took the “Fast Ferry” which motored us at about 15 -20 knots to Road Town. The trip was about 1.5 hours. We cleared BVI Customs in Road Town with very friendly customs agents then another taxi ride of about 5 minutes to the Sunsail Base.

ferry ride to Road Town

ferry ride to Road Town

Upon arrival, we sent some of the crew to the two grocery stores to provision. Cash and Carry is a bulk shopping place which is quite inexpensive but you have to buy a lot of each item. Shop Rite is next door and is more of a traditional grocery store. Between the two stores you can get everything you need for the week including precooked chicken which serves as a great idea for cold dinner and lunch the next day. Take a Van Taxi to the stores so that you can lug everything back to the base.

Boats on the dock at Sunsail

Boats on the dock at Sunsail

We were disappointed to learn that Fishing Licenses are only issued on weekdays in the BVI’s and from only one place through the entire island chain – Road Town. And since today is Saturday and we’re not returning here until the end of the trip – our spirits of eating Tuna Sashimi are waning. Also we are warned by the locals that the fines for fishing with out a license are very heavy.

Come on BVI  Authorities. Make it easier for your tourists – allow local sporting shops to sell fishing licenses.

We learn however that if you call Last Stop Sports on (284) 494-0564 a few weeks ahead of time, theywill arrange to get a fishing license for you. Take note.

A few other things not to forget or check before you leave the dock.

  • Adequate sheets and towels
  • Mask and Snorkel supplied free by the base if you need
  • Boat hook
  • Boat brush
  • Swim Ear for after swimming
  • Sea Kayak
  • Cooler with properly operating plug
  • And lastly unplug the yellow dock line (power cord) before you pull out.
  • A more extensive list is given in our NauticEd Bareboat Charter Clinic
  • Also in our Bareboat Charter Clinic is an excellent Crew Brief list prior to leaving the dock.

With charter yachts, you can never tell what kind of music system you’ll get on the boat. Some come with just CD players some have mp3 connections. So I recommend that you bring some favorite CDs as well as your iPhone/mp3 player and don’t forget the cable plus you can also bring your FM transmitter. Between all those you should be covered music wise.

Anthony Wighting is the Sunsail Base Manager and was very helpful in getting us underway early enough for us to get 5 miles to the south to The Bight on Norman Island.


We pulled out of the dock at 4:30 which is about the latest we should have in order to get to Norman island before sun down at 6:30 this time of the year. Norman Island lies on about compass heading 212deg Mag once you clear Road Harbor and is about 5 miles away. We chose Norman Island for our first night because it was a Saturday night and we didn’t want to miss the Famous Willy Tee’s floating bar.

Willy Tee’s lies in “The Bight”, which is a large bay on Norman Island.  A famous rock out cropping called The Indian’s is just outside The Bight. The Indians is an excelent place for snorkelling and has a few underwater swim through caves and lots of colorful fish. Given the time – we elected to leave the Indians until tomorrow but we did get this stunning photo of The Indians with the setting sun light.

The Indians - famous for its snorkelling. Just outside The Bight on Normal Island

The Indians - famous for its snorkelling. Just outside The Bight on Normal Island

Folowing our entrance into The Bight, we moored to one of the Mooring Balls far enough away from Willy Tee’s so that those that wanted to sleep would not be awoken by the party noise that would surely come later.

A stunning sunset from The Bight.

sunset over USVI

Our advice for Willy Tee’s is take a maximum of $20 ( the entire BVI’s run on US dollars). When you have spent that – go back to your boat. The place is entirely encourageble and it seems like the energy field surrounding the vessel removes all your common sense and knowledge about alcohol consumption.

Swinging from the rafters at Willy Tees floating Bar. The Bight - Norman Island

Swinging from the rafters at Willy Tees floating Bar. The Bight - Norman Island

Remember what your dinghy number is.

The Infamous Ski Shot on Wille Tees

The Infamous Ski Shot on Wille Tees

Don’t take your wallet and camera’s WILL end up full of sea water. Otherwise we had a fun evening at Willy Tee’s. Seriously however, the real problem with Willy Tee’s is that it usually is your first night out and your excitement level is at it’s height.


Yacht Charter trip to the British Virgin Islands

Posted by Grant Headifen on September 12, 2009 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Be the First to Comment

As we prepare for our yacht charter sailing vacation to the British Virgin Islands  this month, I want to post a few emails that we are sending out to the group that is going. Below is one from my wife discussing provisioning. The name of our trip every year is called Bonga Bonga. Some years we do tee shirts. I’ve got one dating back to 1997 when we went to St. Maarten.

SUBJ: Bonga Bonga 2009

Hey all,

Here are a few tips we have picked up during our charter sailing trips – thought I would share.

  1. Towels – you get two towels per person for the week – that is for swimming and showering – I take a few cheap hand towels along,  very nice to have later in the week when you towel is yuck.  Some people take a beach towel along – numerous smaller ones seem to be a better bet.
  2. Daily I give the floor in the salon a wipe down – gets rid of the hair, crumbs and sand – best for this is wipes – either Clorox or Baby wipes,  great for cleaning the counters too.  We have been taking baby wipes along for years and swear by them.  My used hand towel then becomes the door mat – helps tremendously with keeping the interior clean.
  3. Toilets – if even one toilet stinks the entire boat stinks – hang a toilet freshener in the bowl from day one and the problem is solved.
  4. Liquid body wash or soap – bar soap slips and slides all over your bathroom and when showering on deck it generally lands in the sea!
  5. BONINE – the very best motion sickness tablet – no side effects, you can drink etc.  Don’t be tough and be uncomfortable – be a woosy and have fun – take a tab on day one and then if the weather gets rough you’ll be ok! Otherwise since we have a catamaran if you’re not too susceptible then you should not get sick.
  6. Floaties – up until our last trip you could still not buy Noodles for a reasonable price. It’s nice to have something to float on other than the boat fenders. So consider squeezing one in or a cheep blow up floatee. Vacuum suck the air out before packing since the airline will nail you for baggage these days.
  7. Sippy Cups – although your drink is safer on a Cat,  the best bet is a sippy cup for less spills – bring the most outrageous cup – win award!
  8. Sunscreen – need I remind you.
  9. Snorkeling gear – there is gear at the charter base, so not worries borrowing any if you don’t already own.
  10. Zip lock bags – there is no Tupperware on the boat – zip locks are the easiest for food storage – left overs / cheeses etc. Only once have we been able to buy zip lock bags in the islands – so just in case I suggest taking them along.
  11. PROVISIONS – couple of take alongs – sometimes hard or impossible to get in the islands.

    1. Wasabi – I have bought 2 tubes as I have full confidence in my fisherman!
    2. Soy Sauce – for the endless sashimi
    3. Coffee – if you are fussy the coffee there is poor to pathetic – take your java along.  We drink decaf, so we take an extra plunger as not to hog the coffee pot.
    4. Benadryl for any bites and /or itch ease.  (Stingrays / eels – only kidding!  Mosquitos/jellyfish)
  12. Cloth shopping bags. Use these for the freezer. Put similar things together so that you cn pull out and not find all the stuff in the bottom of the freezer at the end of the week.

Provisioning in Tortola
Don’t over stock, there are places along the way to pick up supplies.

Whenever we have bought beef – it has been the biggest disappointment – don’t waste your time.  Eat fish – last trip we could not eat all G caught,  and cold meats are great for lunch.  But forget the steak,  unless you get very lucky – then invite us over!

Chicken – the only time I am interested is if I can buy an already roasted chicken – great for salads / sandwiches – to cook on the boat takes to long, hot.

Pasta Sauce – a couple times during the week it is great to just whip up an easy pasta dish – I might take a fabulous pesto or two along in the suitcase.

We always seem to eat the most at cocktail hour,  one days sample menu just to get your juices flowing.
Breakfast – FRUIT, yogurt, sometimes eggs and toast, cereal.
Snacks – chips and cookies
Lunch – Salad Nicoise
Sundowners – cheese and crackers,  salmon, dips etc.  (fresh bread is not easy to find  – crackers rule)
Dinner – Artichoke  pasta and Caprese salad. Chocolate!! Port!!

ICE is the big score every day – we go in search of it…..
Other than alcohol, nice to have iced tea and fruit juice along with lots of water.
Grant is the world’s expert on making tasty rum drinks. Rum, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, mango, passion. – ouch!
We always land up drinking wine with dinner – so stock up.

Fishing gear – we need one more Reel – anyone got a fishing reel – pls let us know.

Can’t wait  – see you all in a couple of weeks. And – you all should really take NauticEd’s bareboat charter course and  catamaran sailing course. It’ll make the trip much more fun for everyone.

Hotel reservations to follow..

Chartering a sailing boat on a sailing vacation? Take the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Clinic

Bareboat Charter sailing Course

Bareboat Charter sailing Course

Chartering a catamaran on a sailing vacation? Take the NauticEd Catamaran Sailing Confidence course.

Learn to sail, handle and maneuver a catamaran with confidence

Learn to sail, handle and maneuver a catamaran with confidence