Yacht Charters in the British Virgin Islands by Bareboats BVI
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Bareboats BVI - Bareboat Sailing and Motor Yacht Charters

Yacht Charter Glossary - A handy guide to industry lingo

What does "bareboat" mean? Many people are a little fuzzy when it comes to terminology used by yacht charter professionals. The following is not a list of sailing terms, but rather a glossary of terms pertaining to "bare boat" or "bareboat" yacht charter holidays which often serve to confuse those unfamiliar with industry definitions.

This glossary is short, so stay with us!

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Bareboat or Bare Boat?:

Utter *bareboat* and some folks become giddy envisioning a bunch of naked people frolicking on board a yacht, sailing through paradise. Ermmm, no! Public "bare" - ness is illegal in the BVI.

A bare boat yacht or more correctly, a "bareboat" is a sailboat or powerboat for hire without crew. Similar to, "car rental" versus "limousine service".

When bareboat charters began, "bare boat" simply meant "no extras". That is not appropriate today, as several modern bare boats have every extra one could imagine, including, microwave ovens, TV's, VCR's, DVD's, air conditioning, ice makers, blenders, etc. In addition, you may hire a captain, cook or both, effectively turning a bare boat into a "captain only" or "crewed yacht".

Bareboat with crew OR crewed yacht - What's the difference?

  • Costs for a bare boat are individually itemized. Several options (such as a cook or provisioning) may be deleted to better suit your holiday budget. Crewed charters are sold as package deals, with all costs included. In some cases, alcohol and water toy rentals are extra.
  • On a bareboat (even if you hire a cook), you may eat ashore as often as you'd like. There are three provisioning packages available or you may opt to do your own grocery shopping. Crewed yachts supply all meals and food costs are included in your charter fee.
  • Crewed charters are often owner operated or full time crew are employed. We do not offer charters with full time crew. We represent bareboat companies only. If you wish to hire crew on a bareboat yacht, we can make those arrangements ... but they are hired by you, specifically for your holiday from a pool of professionals used by various charter companies.

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Bimini:

A bimini is a weather resistant fabric stretched over a stainless steel frame, fastened above the cockpit of a sailboat or flybridge of a power yacht which serves as a rain or sun shade. Bimini's are an absolute necessity for Caribbean sailing ... unless you have no concerns about sunburn or melanoma!

Note: Bimini is also a Bahamian island!

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Cook or Captain Only Yacht Charters:

A captain only charter is exactly that. No cook, stewardess or deck hand, just a captain. Captain only charters are available on bare boat yachts only.

Note: If you want to drive yourself (bare boat) but hate cooking and cleaning, you may also book a "cook only" charter.

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Catamaran:

A catamaran has twin hulls running parallel to one another connected by a central section which is most often designed with a living and dining area and in most, a galley.

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Chartering:

I realize this may be insulting for some, but many people inquire about "bare boat rentals", which we really don't offer. "Chartering" refers to "weekly" sailing or power boating holidays.

Boat rentals pertains to "daily" charters for smaller boats such as hobie cats or day sailors or a small power boat with outboard. Bare boat charter companies and brokers sell *term charters* which are a week or two in duration. You live aboard a bare boat. Of course there are exceptions to every rule and I can think of at least one BVI yacht charter company which offers daily bare boat rentals.

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Cockpit:

A cockpit on a monohull (single hull) sailboat is where your helm (steering wheel or tiller) is situated. This is a sunken well with seating, recessed into the main deck.

Modern catamarans (double hulls) often have raised helms for improved visibility, making the cockpit strictly a lounging and dining area.

For our purposes, a powerboat cockpit is usually an enclosure located aft (rear) part of the boat that is also used for lounging, dining or fishing.

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Crewed:

"Fully crewed" means there is a full time captain and cook (who are often but not always the owners) on board and sometimes they may also have a stewardess or deck hand. It depends on the yacht if a stewardess, deck hand or additional crew are supplied. Do not confuse a crewed boat for a bareboat with crew. They are not the same thing! Confusing, I know!

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Davits:

Davits are a wonderful feature available on many catamarans, some power boats and larger monohulls. Davits are a pair of small cranes affixed to the transom (upright part of the back end of your boat) which are used to lift your dinghy and suspend it over the water while underway (moving). By lifting your dinghy rather than towing it, you are creating less drag and will get better performance (speed) from your boat.

Caution: Crew will rapidly become spoiled if you charter a catamaran or powerboat with davits as they will not be required to worry about hauling in your dinghy every time you want to anchor, moor or dock. The good news is, if you charter a yacht with davits, you may not need to bring all those lazy crew members with you!

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In-Mast Furling & Lazy Jacks:

Most modern yachts have furling genoas but some also offer in-mast furling mains. This makes furling your mainsail effortless, but it cannot be fully battened. As a result, some sail performance is lost. Lazy jacks with a stack pack are a terrific solution to both problems!

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Head:

Your toilet or latrine. In days of yore, all available space on a sailing ship was used for cargo space or as crew quarters. The bows of a boat (pointy end) must be shaped to easily cut through water and weight must be distributed amidships (middle section) or slightly aft (rear). As a result, crew quarters were spread throughout the bows of a ship or aftermost part of the ship.

But what to do with that v-shaped space at the bow? That space wasn't much good for anything other than storing anchor line and ground tackle (chain and anchor). Now there's a convenient place for a latrine! As it was almost always located forward or *ahead* ... the potty became known as "the head".

I have no idea if this is true or false as I picked it out of the nether regions of my head (the one on top of my shoulders), but it sounded good to me!

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Monohull:

In simple terms, a monohull is any conventional sailboat or powerboat with just one hull.

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Multihull:

The term "multihull" is a catamaran or trimaran. It is a classification for yachts having more than one hull which is extensively used by charter industry professionals.

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Option or Hold:

Your yacht charter broker or bareboat company may offer an "option" or "hold" on whichever bareboat you are interested in chartering. This is a tentative booking which is placed in your name pending receipt of your contract, sailing resume and deposit payment. An option is usually in effect for 5 to 7 days (depending upon the company) and provided payment and documents are received within time allowed. After receipt, your boating holiday will then be confirmed.

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Pilot Berth:

Usually a single bed (berth) which is located within easy access to the helm in either the main saloon or a companionway (corridor). A pilot berth was originally intended for the captain or his second in command, who took the midnight watch and needed to be close to the helm.

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Provisioning:

Food and beverages or grocery provisions for your sailing holiday. There are several companies located in various places and close to marinas which will do your provisioning for you and deliver to your charter base. See BVI Yacht Provisioning for more information.

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RIB or R.I.B.:

You will see this reference in many equipment lists. It stands for *Rigid Inflatable Boat*. How can it be rigid and inflatable at the same time? The hull is rigid (which helps the boat track through the water) while inflatable pontoons are mounted to the sides of the dinghy and provide a nice soft cushion for one's posterior. R.I.B.s are much preferred to the standard rigid dinghies of days gone by, which tended to be responsible for innumerable and sometimes very painful boat bites* after a night out!

Note: A "Boat Bite" is any bruise or minor injury received aboard a yacht, which is usually self inflicted through clumsiness, inebriation, being in the wrong place at the right time or taking part in sailing regattas. Racing sailors (at least those who actually work) are often covered in boat bites after a lively race!

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Sleep Aboard (SAB):

You may arrive in the BVI late in the afternoon or evening, when it is no longer possible to get underway for your charter holiday. Most bareboat companies offer what is called a "sleep aboard" the night before your bare boat sailing vacation begins. This means you may hire your yacht (at a reduced rate) to sleep aboard while still docked on company premises.

A sleep aboard does not mean you may leave any earlier than the time stated in your charter contract, which is usually noon. Several companies reserve the right to board your boat (with you aboard) prior to noon in order to complete last minute preparations and maintenance.

Arrange your sleep aboard (SAB) when you make your reservation. In high season, there may be times when the yacht you've chartered isn't available for a sleep aboard. In this case, ask your broker or charter company to arrange nearby hotel accommodations for you.

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Trampoline:

No, not the kind you bounce up and down on! A trampoline is a stretchy, lightweight fabric or woven netting stretched between between two hulls of a catamaran (or three hulls of a trimaran) at the bow (pointy end) of the yacht which acts as a safety net for sailors when on the forward hulls. Although initially designed as a safety feature to prevent sailors from falling overboard, a trampoline also offers a great deal of additional lounging space and is probably the most popular feature on any catamaran and one which children are automatically drawn to.

When I first designed this web site, I included "trampoline" in our equipment list on all catamaran pages. That reference was quickly removed when clients began requesting catamarans with the biggest trampoline! Apparently, they thought this would be great fun for their kids to use to dive off their boat! Errrmm, nope.

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Trimaran:

A trimaran has three hulls which run parallel to one another with the middle hull often being shorter than the two outer hulls. There are very few trimarans available for charter. However, the largest trimaran in the world, (Cuan Law), is located in the British Virgin Islands and is available for scuba diving or larger parties of up to 20 guests. If interested in chartering Cuan Law ... call us!

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V-Berth:

A bed, aboard anything afloat, is properly referred to as a "berth" . The "V-berth" is situated at the bow and follows the contour of the boat into an inverted V shape.

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Windlass:

A windlass is probably the most wonderful invention since the light bulb and can make your sailing holiday a real dream. It is a device which will lift your anchor for you. If you have ever had to struggle to lift a 45 lb. anchor, you will certainly appreciate this handy gizmo!

Treat theses little gems as if they were your best friend in the world! Don't ask a windlass to do what it was not designed to do. It is not intended to be used as a come along, so don't try to reel your boat up to the anchor using your windlass. Proper procedure is to drive up over the anchor (so it is positioned just below your bow) ... and THEN step on the wndlass' *UP* button to lift your anchor off the sea bed. A good windlass costs thousands of dollars, so don't go burning out its motor because you didn't understand how to use one!

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Weigh Anchor:

No you don't put your anchor on a scale to see how much it weighs! To weigh anchor means to take up or lift the anchor off the sea bed when getting underway or "under weigh".

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Yacht Charter Broker:

There are bareboat and crewed yacht charter companies and yacht charter brokers who sell for them. Simply put, charter brokers sell term charter holidays aboard any number of privately owned yachts supplied through various charter companies or private owners. For more information, see Charter Yacht Broker.

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Yacht Broker:

Don't confuse a yacht broker with a charter broker. Yacht brokers sell yachts. Charter brokers sell sailing or power boating holidays!

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If there are any nautical terms you would like to see listed in our glossary ... let us know!


For more information about BVI powerboat or sailing charters?
Contact our bareboat holiday specialist!

Phone: (284) 495-4168 Tortola, British Virgin Islands
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Launched: 2001 - Last Updated: January 27, 2014