Bareboat Yacht Charters Blog

So you’re about to enjoy your first bareboat charter in the Caribbean.  You own a powerboat back home and can’t wait to try your hand at a Caribbean yacht charter vacation.  If you practice the same mechanical checks on your bareboat charter yacht that you do on your own boat, chances are you’ll be in for a hassle-free adventure.

The best advice we can offer a motoryacht bareboat charter client is this – perform a daily engine check – even if the engine was running well yesterday!

Here’s a step-by-step engine maintenance guide to follow during your Caribbean yacht charter odyssey:

Before starting your boat:

  • Engine compartment: Take a quick look – make sure the bilge is clear.  Look for oil or water leaks, look for loose wires, and make sure all belts are ok.
  • Raw water inlet: Valve should be open and the strainer clear.
  • Fuel filter: Use a transparent filter and check for water or dirt. Drain off if needed.
  • Engine oil refill: Check with the dipstick. Fill if low, but take care not to overfill.
  • Checking bareboat engine

    Checking bareboat engine

    Ready to Start:

  • Switch over to starting battery. Start the engine with the gearbox in neutral, and run at medium revs to warm up.
  • Check the cooling water: Is it running from exhaust?
  • Look at the instrument panel:  make sure batteries are charging, and check the oil pressure.
  • While running:

  • Check the stern gland twice a day for leaks. Tighten the grease filter (if fitted) as needed.
  • Gearbox oil: Check periodically when the engine is running and warm. Remember to top up with gearbox oil, not engine oil.
  • These daily maintenance tips can prevent costly time delays during your vacation.  Now get out there and have some fun!

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    Any bareboat yacht charter enthusiast can tell you, if you are planning a Caribbean yacht charter, the ideal destination is the British Virgin Islands.  Known to repeat bareboat charter yacht skippers as, “Nature’s Little Secrets,” the 50 or so islands, islets, and cays of the British Virgin Islands are nothing short of a yacht charter paradise.

    Caribbean yacht charter clients, especially bareboat charter families, have long been sailing the turquoise waters surrounding the British Virgin Islands, drawn to the sheltered anchorages, white-sand beaches, and easygoing lifestyle of these islands.

    Once a hideaway for pirates and brigands, the BVI’s have only 17,000 residents – in contrast to the 100,000 people living in the American Virgin Islands (often referred to as the United States Virgin Islands, or USVI). Caribbean yacht charter customers won’t find highrises or fast food on any of these islands, and they’ll find only a few posh resorts mingling with the more casual villas, family-owned inns, and funky beachfront bars and restaurants.

    Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke are the most developed and most visited islands. Cooper Island, Peter Island, Norman Island, Marina Cay, and Sandy Cay are less developed but are popular with day-trippers. Most of the islands are close to each other and close to the USVI, making island-hopping the mode for the BVI.

    Tortola (Spanish for turtle dove) is the capital of the British Virgin Islands (or BVI).  Road Town, on the southern coast, is Tortola’s capital. The entire island centers around Road Town and its beautiful harbor-businesses, luxury yacht charter marinas, restaurants, shops, pubs, and hotels.

    Some fairly celebrated establishments like Pusser’s Road Town Pub grace the streets.   A favorite watering hole for thirsty barefoot sailors, Pusser’s pours English Ale on draft and mixes up some tasty concoctions with its famous Pusser’s Rum.

    Pusser's Landing - a must see on your British Virgin Island bareboat yacht charter vacation

    Pusser's Landing - a must see on your British Virgin Island bareboat yacht charter vacation

    On Tortola’s north shore is the busy but laid-back Cane Garden Bay. This popular anchorage with its crescent-shaped beach has seen increasing crowds but has managed to hold onto its tradition of family-run inns, bars, and restaurants. Music is an integral part of Cane Garden Bay, and the friendly, open-air bars that line the water’s edge host local musicians whose island tunes can be heard floating across the bay.

    Five miles from Tortola is Jost Van Dyke Island. Known as “the party island” of the BVI, “Jost” has only 150 residents, but it has six bars! Life on Jost Van Dyke has been described as “one long island-style happy hour” – with pig roasts, beach bars, and dancing in the sand. Foxy’s Tamarind Bar, an open-air ramshackle restaurant and bar has become a landmark and is undisputedly the most “happening” gathering spot for boaters in the BVI. Owner Foxy Caldwood is famous for his parties, none moreso than his annual New Year’s Eve party, which made Time magazine’s list of “Top 5 Places to Spend New Year’s.”

    Norman Island is the largest uninhabited island in the British Virgin Islands and is steeped in pirate legend. Locals call it Treasure Island because of age-old stories of buried pirates’ loot. Blackbeard, one of the most famous and feared pirates of all time hung out here between raids.

    At the western tip of Norman Island you will discover, “The Caves” – a popular spot with snorkelers and swimmers. The far northern cave is the most incredible, extending 70 feet into the mountainside.

    Virgin Gorda is home to one of the Caribbean’s most amazing sights – exotic pools and grottos formed by gigantic granite boulders strewn across white-sand beaches. Known as “The Baths,” this surreal natural wonder (and snorkeler’s dream) is one of the most visited spots in the BVI.

    The Baths of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands

    The Baths of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands

    Nature Little Secrets are a secret no more!

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