Yacht Club and Group Charters
If you have been tasked with arranging a Caribbean bareboat sailing holiday for your yacht club or group of friends, you have come to the right place! We represent three of the better charter companies in Tortola, BVI with a wide variety of yachts (including both power and sailboats) to suit almost any requirement.
In the past, we have handled yacht club charters with flotillas consisting of over 20 yachts and have managed to work out a rather painless system to help you achieve what you have set out to do. We know and understand what you are up against. It is no easy feat to get a group of people together for a sailing holiday!
The British Virgin Islands is the ideal place for your yacht club vacation as it offers great anchorages, fabulous beaches with terrific beach bars and restaurants, wonderful scuba diving opportunities and of course, smooth sailing.
Five Steps For Successfully Planning Your Group Charter:
Step One: Nail down your numbers and yacht requirements.
Before setting out to get pricing for your flotilla members, you will have to establish a very close estimate of the number of yachts your club or group will require. The number of yachts will ultimately determine the discount the charter company will offer.
In my experience and even with my own family, many people express an enthusiastic interest in being part of a group sailing holiday ... until it comes time to pay their deposit. That is when the shuffling of feet begins and it suddenly gets very difficult to contact them either by phone or email. Sadly, it is inevitable that as soon as it comes time to pay their deposits, several people who swore up, down and sideways that they really wanted to do this ... will back out! This situation can be very frustrating for the organizer because your discount is determined by the number of yachts you will be chartering.
In order to stop the "wanna be" types in their tracks, I have learned that the best and most effective way to weed out Mr. and Mrs. Wannabe ... is to establish a deadline for a "non-refundable sign up fee" . This fee is collected by you (the club organizer) and is (eventually) paid to the charter company as part of their deposit for each yacht. Some people will grudgingly walk away from two or three hundred dollars ... but very few will want to walk away from $500.00 to $1,000.00.
You as the organizer should determine what amount is sufficient to prevent the wanna be's from gumming up the works. The sign up fees you collect will then be paid to the charter company and applied to the individual yachts as part of their deposit.
So in order to establish who is serious and who isn't, set a deadline for commitments and collect their sign up fee. No sign up fee ... then they are out of the picture. With your sign up fees in hand, you will know exactly how many boats you will require and who is truly serious.
Of course, there is always the chance that a legitimate cancellation will arise. Work, family and illnesses do happen! In such an event, you simply return their money and set your sights lower in regards to the total number of boats you will require and possible discounts. The point is that you will want to get Mr. and Mrs. Wannabe out of your hair as quickly as possible so that you know exactly what you are dealing with.
Step Two: Select your dates.
Once you have established your yacht requirements and have collected your sign up fees, you will need to get together to determine the dates which best suit the majority of your club members. It is always best to choose the shoulder season or low season for a flotilla charter. This will allow your members the best opportunity for group discounts.
Arranging your group charter in high season is fine too, but be aware that discounts may be quite limited. Most yachts book up very well throughout the high season ... without offering discounts. For the same reason, try not to plan your group charter over any holiday periods as you will likely not be offered any discounts at all. Holidays are a guaranteed sell out period for all charter companies.
If your club members can swing it, try to start your charter on a weekday. The vast majority of sailors arrange their holidays to start and end on a weekend. As a result, the charter companies are usually very busy. If you want your group to get the attention they deserve, starting and ending your charter on a weekday is the best way to accomplish that.
Choosing dates is generally the hardest thing to do because somebody always wants different dates. Before you establish dates, get in touch with us and I will advise you as to when the best discounts are available for the time frame you are looking at.
If looking for 5 to 10 yachts, it is best to begin your planning at least 8 to 10 months ahead. If looking for 10 to 20 yachts or more, you should begin to plan your flotilla charter a year or more in advance. The less lead time we have, the smaller the selection of boats.
Continued ... Group Charters