British Virgin Islands 2018

There's that one particular harbor…

Decision FAQ

Still trying to decide?

If you’ve been invited to go with us, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are the most common questions we receive. Take a look. If you still have questions, please email! I’ll try to add questions to the list as they come up. If you don’t have questions, but are wondering what the hype is all about, check out some photos from past trips: Best of the BVI.

1) When is the trip?
We make the trip either in Oct/Nov or May/June. In either case we’re aiming for what is called the shoulder season. The winds are usually consistent, the weather is usually nice, the businesses are usually open, and the islands are usually quiet (no high season crowds). We’re gone for 9 days, including travel. Typically, we depart on a Wednesday and return on the following Thursday. This year’s exact trip dates are in your invitation email.

2) How much does it cost?
This information is provided in the invitation email. If you’re trying to plan your own bareboat vacation and want some help planning, email me and I’ll walk you through it: sempereformata [at]

3) How does the money work?
Once invitations go out, we operate more or less on a first come-first served basis. You pay 50% up front to secure your place on the boat. This down payment is non-refundable unless we can find a couple to replace you in the event you cancel. The remaining 50% is due the week before the trip. Leslie and I pay our share of the cost of the trip just like everyone else. We don’t make any money on this trip. You send the money to us. We keep it in a dedicated bank account, separate from our personal finances. We keep very good records and account for every dollar spent. Our books are open, so you can review the trip expenses at any time.

4) What does my money get me?

The money you pay covers 25% of all expenses shared by the group. Or said another way, 100% of all your costs once you arrive at the marina (minus the exclusions listed below). This means the boat (a 46-foot sailing catamaran), all provisions for the boat (some breakfast food, lunch food, snacks, drinks, supplies, etc), a hotel room at the marina the last night of the trip, 8 resort dinners, 3 resort breakfasts, 2 resort lunches (all other breakfasts and lunches are aboard), all park fees, ice for the cooler, trash fees, car rentals on two islands, and any other expenses not listed in the exclusion list.

5) What expenses am I responsible for in addition to what I pay you?
You are responsible for:

  • Travel. Getting yourself to The Moorings in Road Town on Tortola. This includes flights, ferries (depending on how you choose to get there), and taxis.
  • Scuba Rental. If you want to dive, the rental gear is your responsibility. Everything you need will run you about $175.
  • Optional Excursions. You can hire a bone fishing guide at Anegada, stay at a resort one or two nights, or make a spa appointment at Little Dix Bay Resort and Spa.
  • Souvenirs. We’ll have a couple opportunities to shop.
  • Drinks. Any beach bar purchases are your responsibility.
  • Departure Tax. There is a $20 or $40 departure tax depending on your mode of travel.

Since most of these are paid before the trip, it’s fair to say that souvenirs and drinks will be about the only thing you pull your wallet out for during the trip.

6) Help!?
If you decide to join us, I help with everything. I’ll help you find the best flights and tell you the best itineraries to get down there. I’ll help you set up any optional stuff such as spending the night ashore, setting up fishing at Anegada, renting scuba equipment, etc. Trust me, you’ll get more information than you know what to do with. In short, I can answer almost any question you can think to ask.

7) Is the trip as structured as all your preparation?
Yes and no. If you’re asking “Can I trust you to do a good job with this?” The answer is yes. I work hard to make this a great trip. It’s my vacation too! If you mean, “Are you going to ruin this trip by constantly hassling us to stay on schedule and running us ragged with a bunch of busy-stuff?” The answer is no. Once we get to the islands, I will continue to make sure all goes smoothly, but the bottom line: We are on “island time”. Everyone is laid back. Few things happen quickly. Within 24 hours of boarding, you’ll have figured it out. In the islands we call this “limin'”.

8) Tell me more about the crew.
I am your skipper. I operate the boat and have financial responsibility for everything. I’ve been sailing in the BVI since 2004. I’m qualified by the American Sailing Association and received my training right there in the BVI, so I know the waters pretty well. Leslie also completed ASA certification in the BVI. Depending on who joins us, we may have as many as 4 others with sailing experience with either ASA certification, Caribbean sailing experience, or both.

The cat sleeps 8 comfortably and this is the size of our group. Besides Leslie and I, there will be 3 other couples. As each couple commits, I’ll post their name on the “Crew” page. We try to invite people that we know will enjoy this “lifestyle” for the week. We also try to put together a group that we think will get along well. We’re looking for laid back people who know how to relax. No children or pets are allowed on the trip.

9) Tell me more about the boat.

We will be on a 46-foot sailing catamaran (Moorings 4600) that has 4 sleeping cabins with a queen size bed and shower and bathroom in each as well as some closet space. This boat is air conditioned. What more could you possibly want to know? You can see pics of the boat and get technical specs on the Moorings website link for the boat in the third column on this page from the left.

10)Do I have to help sail the boat?

Or maybe your question is “Can I help sail the boat?” You do whatever you like. If you want to help with the sails or at the helm, please just say so. You can help as much as you like. No one is required to do any work on the boat, however. If sleeping on the trampoline is more your speed, have at it.

11) Isn’t this a little dangerous?
If you’re thinking “White Squall”, you’ve got the wrong idea. Most folks have a mental picture of us out in the middle of the ocean when I start talking about this trip. We never leave sight of the islands. And in fact, we are in the middle of the islands for most of the trip, rarely more than a mile or two from shore in any direction. If weather is more your concern, don’t worry. We are never far from a safe harbor should weather blow up. However, the weather network is excellent in the islands and there are rarely any surprises as long as you pay attention. Hurricane season ends shortly before or after we arrive (depending on the time of year we’re there) and is rarely a factor.

12) I get motion sickness. Will I be ok?
Avoiding seasickness isn’t difficult. You just have to follow some simple rules. First, take some medication. There are a lot of options. I take non-drowsy Dramamine during the day and regular formula at night. As long as I’m using it, motion sickness isn’t an issue. Second, don’t go below while we’re underway. Just trust me on this. Third, take advantage of the ginger ale and ginger snaps we keep on board, which will supplement your medication. If you don’t want to take dramamine, there are other medications available. If you’re really concerned about it, I recommend you see your doctor prior to the trip. It will be worth it! If this is the only reason you’re considering not going, let me assure you (as someone that suffers from motion sickness), with the proper precautions, you can almost certainly avoid being sick and have a great trip!

13) What travel documents are required?
A passport is required. Period. There are no exceptions. No, your social security card won’t suffice. No, your driver’s license isn’t good enough. You must have a passport. If you do not have a valid passport through the third month after our return, I recommend you apply no later than 4 months prior to the trip. However, a visit to the State Department website will give you an idea of what wait time to expect. Usually a couple of months is all you need. But they often get behind, so better safe than sorry. In this day and age, you should have one anyway.

You will receive a Visa at your point of entry. There is no reason to apply for one in advance.

14) Can people reach us in the islands?
It’s important to leave your children (or pets, as the case may be) with people you trust and give them power of attorney. If an emergency arises, you will not be within easy reach. They will have to call the Moorings marina, who will in turn try to reach us on the boat. This can take 24-48 hours. You will almost certainly not have cell phone coverage. Once you’ve been notified, it may be as much as 24 hours before you get home.

This covers all the most frequently asked questions from those trying to decide if they want to go. If your question isn’t covered here, let me know in the comments section! I’ll add it to the list for everyone’s benefit.


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