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Tortola Yacht Charter

Essential Information

 

 

Address & Map

 
Base Address

Sunsail Tortola
Wickhams Cay II
Road Town
Tortola
British Virgin Islands

Location

The Sunsail base is located at Wickhams Cay II just outside Road Town.

Base Open Hours

The base is open 8.00 am until 5.00 pm, 7 days a week (evening staff to cover until all flights have arrived).

Base/Shore Facilities

39-room Hotel & Spa – Mariner Inn Showers and toilets
Restaurants & Bar
Swimming Pool
Provisioning Store
Selection of shops
Renport – Internet Café
Renport – DVD movies/players and electronic gadgets rental
Outfitters – water sport rental
Sail Caribbean Divers – dive equipment rental

Customs FeesApprox. $20 US (in & out)
Water    Yes
Ice    $3.50 US per bag
Fuel (diesel)Pre-paid fuel is more cost effective
Showers    Yes
Laundry    No
Garbage disposal Yes
Gas    Yes
Provisioning    Yes
Accommodation Yes
Bar & RestaurantYes
Money ChangeRoad Town Monday – Friday only
Bank    ATM machine on site
Other machinesin Road Town & Spanish Town
TelephoneThe base issues a free phone to each boat through partner Renport, allowing free calls onlyto the base. Renport offers great service plans that can be purchased on site, at rates fare more preferable than roaming.
Jeep/Car RentalAvailable through reception

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Arrival & Departure

 
Time Difference

The BVI is – 4 hours GMT

Flights

Luggage allowance is 20kg per person. Only one item of hand luggage per person is allowed and this must not weigh more than 5kg. For storage aboard we recommend traveling light and using folding luggage.

Lost or damaged luggage while flying is the responsibility of the airline and is not covered by your travel insurance.  You must not include in Checked Baggage money, jewelry, precious metals, computers, personal electronic devices, negotiable papers, securities or other valuables, business documents, passports and other identification documents or samples.

If an incident occurs, immediately report it to airport officials and ensure Property Irregularity Reports (PIR) are completed and submitted. Claims will not be considered once you have left the airport.

Airport

Tortola’s airport is situated at Beef Island, at the eastern end of Tortola. Airport Code: EIS
Beef Island Airport to Wickhams Cay II Marina: - Taxi ride: 30 mins

Airport Parking

Save up to 30% when you book your airport parking through Sunsail. Please call the team for more details.

Airport Hotels

We have preferential rates at many hotels at the UK’s major airports. Please call the team for more details.

Transfers

Sunsail can assist with arranging your airport transfers.  Please send us your travel details where required. The approximate taxi fare to Sunsail base from Beef Island airport is $16 (one way) per person.
Please note: Clients arriving independently should bring a copy of the charter contract / invoice.

If you pre-book a taxi, the local taxi driver will be advised of your name and arrival time, and carries a Sunsail sign to identify himself to you at the airport. Transfers should be paid to the driver directly in cash; unless transfers were arranged with a vacation planner in which case you must produce a copy of your booking invoice.

Take this opportunity to pre-book your premium transportation to The Sunsail Base on Tortola, for a stress-free travel experience. Our dedicated transfer service tracks your flight to ensure a taxi bus with Sunsail signage is awaiting your arrival, with:

- Reliable on-time service

- Special contracted rates & taxi/ferry packages

- No delays waiting for taxis to arrive, or fill up with random travelers

To book your transfers call a Sunsail Vacation Planner.

 

Transfers from/to BaseTransport CostTransfer
Meet at STT, transfer to Roadtown Fast Ferry, ferry to Road Town and taxi to Wickhams Cay MarinaTaxi / Ferry / TaxiAdults: $90 round-trip,
$45 one-way
Children: (4-11) $74 round-trip, $37 one-way
Toddlers: (1-3) $20 round-trip, $10 one-way
90 minutes from STT to base
Beef Island Airport to Wickhams Cay MarinaTaxiAdults $32 round-trip $16 one way
Children $16 round-trip $8 one way
30 minutes approx

St. Thomas Transfers
If you are landing into St Thomas in the morning or before 4pm (approx) you should be able to make the ferry to Tortola. To pre-book a taxi from the airport in St Thomas, the ferry and the taxi from the ferry terminal in Tortola to the Sunsail base, please contact our vacation planners. Please provide accurate flight details including flight numbers, times of arrival and departure, and number of passengers.

If you are arriving  later than 4.30pm and cannot make the last ferry or wish for a private transfer, you  may contact Dohm’s water taxi and book a private transfer: +340-775-6501. They do get booked up so please don’t leave this option to the last minute to confirm.

If you are arriving later than 4:30pm or wish to spend a night at St Thomas, we recommend staying at the Windward Passage Hotel which is a 10 minute taxi ride from the airport and across the road from the ferry terminal. This hotel is within the downtown area of Charlotte Amalie, where you can walk to various restaurants and duty free shops. If you are flying in the day before your 6pm charter start, we would highly recommend that you enjoy a day in St Thomas prior to arriving at the Sunsail base.

If you are arriving later than 4.30pm or wish to spend a night at St Thomas we would recommend staying at the Windward Passage Hotel, which is a 10 minute taxi from the airport and across the road from the ferry terminal. This hotel is within the downtown area of Charlotte Amalie, where you can walk to various restaurants and duty free shops. If you are flying in the day before your 6pm charter start, we would highly recommend that you enjoy a day in St Thomas prior to arriving at the Sunsail base.

If you travel via St. Thomas, enjoy the benefits of the BVI Tourism Board Meet and Greet service. Staffed with a professional team of tourism ambassadors, the USVI Greeter Program is structured to accommodate guests whom seek connections to taxis, ferries, the seaplane, luggage inquiries, and more. The service is accessible from kiosks stationed in the Cyril E. King Airport and the Edward Blyden Marine Terminal in Charlotte Amalie. The program is in place throughout the week, serving guests from the United States, South America, Canada, Europe, and the wider Caribbean.
For additional information, you may contact Mr. Kevis Hughes at the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board by email: khughes@bvitourism.com or by phone: 1 (284) 494-3134.
 

We are unfortunately no longer able to offer a taxi service, unless it has been pre-booked with the sales office prior to arrival. If you choose not to pre-book a taxi and have no other transportation arranged, then you will need to take the first government taxi available at the posted government rates. For more information including tariffs, please visit http://www.bvitourism.com/taxi-services.

Luggage

We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.
Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht. A small storeroom is available at the base which can be used to store luggage while on charter.

Passport and Visas

Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return. Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.

If you wish to sail to the US Virgin islands during your yacht charter you must have a US Visa, and a return flight ticket to your country of origin.

It is your responsibility to ensure relevant visas are obtained where necessary. Sunsail cannot be held responsible for refusal of entry or travel due to lack of visas. If you are in any doubt please contact your Embassy for full details.

You must fill in a Customs Declaration Form on entry to The BVI, whether you arrive by sea or air.

Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Please check http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html for the latest information before you leave. Sunsail is not accountable for any requirement changes.

Customs and Immigration

Before leaving the airport, you will have to clear Immigration and Customs.  A landing card will be given to you on the plane, along with a Customs declaration form. It is not possible to take fresh food into most Caribbean islands and airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles that may be confiscated by Customs.

On departure from Tortola a tax of $20 US per person will be charged – please organise departure tax payment prior to getting in line at the departure gate.

On Arrival

All boats are prepared, as per the booking, for a 6pm boarding time. The first evening is a sleep aboard where you will have the time to unpack provisions and settle into your boat.

The following morning you will receive an on-board Boat Briefing that is mandatory and takes approx 1 hour. If we have 2 of the same boats starting we may do this brief with other guests. Briefings start from 8am (7.30am on Saturday’s) and are scheduled by the base.

You are also required to attend a chart briefing. For bareboat charters this happens at 9.30am (8.30am on Saturdays), 12:30pm and 4:00pm daily. Flotilla briefings are on Saturdays at 9.30am for one week flotilla and at 10.30am for 2 week flotilla.

 

Out of Hour’s Arrival procedure

If you have provided arrival details later than 5pm, the night manager will be on the base to meet you.  If we do not receive arrival details, (and there are no confirmed times for arrival) a message will be left on the front door indicating the location of your boat on the dock.

On Departure

Please disembark by 11am or 9am if on the Virgin Airways flight.

Before disembarkation please complete your debrief form which is to let us know if you have encountered any problems with the boat or broken anything during the trip; this enables us to rectify problems for the next charter.

In addition to filling in forms we also require you to bag dirty laundry and leave in the cockpit, empty all cupboards and refrigerator of food and throw away, return any lifejackets borrowed from reception and ensure that the boat is handed back to Sunsail in a clean and tidy state.  We reserve the right to charge for boats left less than shipshape.

Final Friday Information
On your final Friday – Please leave your boat by 9am. Upon return to base please ensure that a member of your crew checks your return flight and taxi transfer time and complete the paperwork with the debriefer assigned to your boat.

At the airport you will need to pay the $20 departure tax, $5 for under 6 years old, which can be paid in cash or by credit card.

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Sailing Information

 
Sailing Experience Level

BVI is a Level 1/2 sailing area
Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and length of passages within your chosen sailing area.  Follow the link for more information on the sailing conditions.

This rating scale is designed as a guide based on the prevailing conditions during the most popular season.

Sailing Licenses

Although no sailing licenses are required for cruising in the British Virgin Islands, we strongly advise that you take any sailing certification on vacation with you.  This may be useful should you be contacted by Customs or Port Police.  If you have not already done so then Skipper and 1st Mate will be required to fill in a Sailing resume to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sail in this region.

National Park Day Time Mooring Permits
The National Parks Trust of the British Virgin Islands has established a system of daytime moorings in reef sensitive areas. This is to eliminate the erosion of reefs but also to help damaged reefs to recover.
For this reason, should you wish to moor, snorkel or dive in any of the BVI National Parks, a Mooring permit is required  The cost is dependent on the number of passengers but it ranges from $25 per boat per week for 4 people to $55 per boat per week for 10 people.. Payment must be made to the sales office in advance with the final balance and the permit is issued on arrival at the base.

There is also a government tax that enables you to cruise around the British Virgin Islands which will be charged by the sales office.

Night Time Sailing

Night Sailing is not permitted; you must be moored at least one hour before sunset at all of our locations.

Overnight moorings buoys, by Moore Secure, mostly cost $30 per night, although this can be up to $65 US per night in places like Peter Island. Payment can be made at the bar managing the moorings, or usually someone will come out to your boat to take payment. Dockage in Marinas currently starts at $1.50 US per foot per night.

Cruising Area Limits

BVI: All the British Virgin Islands, including Anegada and US Virgin Islands (Chase boat coverage and 4-hour guarantee is not offered if you visit Anegada and USVI).
For Bareboat Charter with Sunsail Crew NO sailing in US Virgin Islands and Spanish Virgin Islands.
Not all Sunsail yachts or sailboats are permitted to sail into the USVI.  If you wish to sail into the USVI you must be a US citizen, resident, or have a US Visa which has to be obtained before arrival in the Caribbean. You must also submitt a request ahead of time, if you wish to sail to the USVI, since it is outside our 4 hour guarantee area.
Rest of Caribbean: No further than 20 miles out from Puerto Rico to Grenada, excluding Saba, Montserrat, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago.

Mooring Fees and Taxes

Most overnight stops in the BVI will be at mooring buoys/anchor as opposed to alongside quays.
BVI National Park Fees and cruising taxes are paid before departure.

Formalities and Taxes

A valid passport & crew list is compulsory for clearance.

Checking out of BVI by boat: $15 US (paid to Customs Office)
Checking in to BVI by boat: $7.30 US approx (paid to Customs Office)
Departure Tax & Security: $20 US per person (paid at Airport)
Departure Tax: $5 US per person (paid on Ferry)

Cruising permit: paid on invoice, USD 6 per person per day

Chartering from another country into the BVI's, Customs will charge cruising tax on entry into the BVI set as USD 6 - 16 per person per day, depending on the yacht's home port.

National Parks Day Time Mooring Permit: paid on invoice USD 25-55 per boat, per week.

Night time moorings: USD 30 per night (Although this can vary, with prices up to USD 65 per night at places like Peter Island).

Virgin Island Search and Rescue (VISR): USD 2 per person.

Area & Sailing

More information on the sailing in this area

Charts & Pilot Book

All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are on board the yacht.  Charts and pilot books can be purchased from the Sunsail booking location.  

Fuel

We would highly recommend that all clients’ pre pay fuel due to the high volume of boats returning to the marina and requiring fuelling on any given day. Cost is approximately $5.98 US per gallon. Fuel is available at Marina Cay, approximately two hours from the base.

Coolers

Coolers are available at the base on a first come first served basis at no additional charge.  Please return them clean and undamaged otherwise there will be a charge for replacement. Only one per boat.

Skippered Charter Information

The skipper’s time is booked from 12:00pm to 12:00pm in 24-hour periods. If you have reserved him for the first day of your charter and have a 6:00pm start, he will use this time to ensure he is happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival. If you have reserved him for a later date on your charter he will start at 12:00pm on that day.

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. He is not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight and must have his own cabin. He must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of his contract with you.

For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the check out skipper’s time is booked from 6:00pm to 6:00pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day. This skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. It is suggested that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his time with you on the yacht. It is also suggested that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover…anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper will be required to give you as much information as you require concerning the yacht and its systems, sailing skills and navigation in general. For one-day check out skipper’s, it is the client’s responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay for his expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him back to the base. The average tip for a skipper is 15 to 20 percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at the client’s discretion.

More information on Skippered Charter Options.

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Banks & Money Exchange

 
Currency

US $ is the currency used throughout the British Virgin Islands. Credit cards are widely accepted except in smaller establishments. Small denomination $ travelers checks are also accepted.

US Banks are situated in Road Town, Tortola and Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda and operate under normal banking hours, 9am – 2pm Monday – Friday.  Local banks on Tortola include First Caribbean, Banco Popular, Scotia Bank and First Bank. Travellers checks,. We do advise clients to change money before arriving in Wickhams Cay, although US $ traveler checks are accepted as widely as dollar bills.  

ATMs are also available at these locations. There is also an ATM at the airport a 10 minutes cab ride from the Sunsail base. NB Please note there are no money changing facilities or ATM at the base.  

Credit Card Information

Visa and Mastercard are accepted by most restaurants and hotels, as well as by local stores and supermarkets

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General Information

 
Post Office

Located on Main Street, Road Town; Tel: 284 494 3701.  Mon. - Fri: 8:30am/4:30pm, Sat.: 9:00am - 12:00pm
Note: A postbox is available at the Mariner Inn front desk and stamps can be purchased in the boutique.

Language

The language of the British Virgin Islands is English.

Cost of living in the BVI

Prices vary from restaurant to restaurant, however the following is a guide for your reference:

  • A bottle of wine costs about $9 in a grocery or supermarket and from $22 in a restaurant.
  • A bottle of beer costs about $3 to $4
  • A cheap snack can be bought for about $5 (local chicken, rice dish)
  • A budget meal will cost around $10 to $15 (burger, roti wrap – not including drinks)
  • A mid range meal will cost around $20 to $25 (fish, meat in sit down restaurant – not including drinks)
  • A top end meal will cost around $60 to $80 (Brandywine Bay, Sugar Mill, etc., 3 course meal – not including drinks).
  • The average shopping bill for 4 people for 1 week (suggesting all breakfasts, all lunches and 4 evening meals are spent on board) would be approximately $350 to $400.
Restaurants

As well as the three restaurants on the base, there are numerous restaurants a short taxi ride away from the base. Most restaurants within the BVI close at 10pm
The Dove – 5 minute taxi
Le Cabanon – 5 minute taxi
Pussers Road Town – 5 minute taxi
Capriccio del Mar – 5 minute taxi

For more information on restaurants in Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost van Dyke and other islands please speak to our base team who will be happy to provide information and recommendations.

Restaurants closed during September – Low Season
If you decide to travel in low season there is likely to be a limited choice of restaurants to eat ashore and you should provision accordingly. This would be a perfect time of year to enjoy a BBQ off the back of your boat.

Tipping

Tipping is standard and expected in all restaurants / bars and for other services undertaken during your vacation. The rule of thumb is generally 10-15% of the amount charged. Some establishments automatically add this onto the bill.

Shopping

There is a deli and provisioning facility available at the base. Supermarkets are located in Road Town. Supermarkets are generally open daily and the hours of operation vary based on the day of the week as well as low or high season

At the base there are a number of souvenir shops.

DVD / Internet / GPS Packages

If you need to stay in touch or fancy settling down to a mid-week movie, you can consider the excellent packages available from Renport, pre bookable through your sales agent or conveniently located at the base. Coffee Makers, inverters and blenders are also available for hire. These products can be purchased in advance via the Sunsail booking location.

Hotels

Mariner Inn Hotel – located at the base.
The Mariner Inn Hotel has rooms available for those who want to overnight, or stay longer. Each room has A/C, and private bath with shower.  

Address – Mariner Inn Hotel (This hotel can be booked through your charter sales agent)
Wickhams Cay II
Road Town
PO Box
British Virgin Islands
Tel: 1 284 494 2333
Mariner Inn Hotel is situated just 20 minutes taxi ride from the airport and 5 minutes taxi from Road Town.
Mariner Inn Hotel consists of:
39 rooms with air conditioning
Rooms have either a king bed (accommodates 2 pax) or 2 single-beds that accommodate up to 2 or 3 pax with a rollaway (at additional cost). Each room has a private bathroom, a small under-counter fridge, sink and coffee making facilities telephone, wireless internet, TV, in-room safe, hairdryer, iron and ironing board
Please note that none of the regular rooms adjoin.

Hotel facilities consist of:
Nearest beach (20 minutes drive)
Swimming pool
ATM on the base
Bar and restaurant (last orders 9:30pm)

Mariner Inn main restaurant: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner available.
Charlie’s: Lunch and Dinner including a lighter fare menu for dinner.
Ginny’s: 07:00am until 3:00pm for coffee and sandwiches, plus special Indian nights during the week.

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Electrical, Phones & Music

 
Electricity

The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. In order to use electronic equipment that is 220v you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter. You may rent an inverter through your charter sales agent

Mobile phones

Your cellular phone may work when in the BVI please check with your service provider for coverage details and call costs. You will need to activate international roaming on your contract.

However, every yacht charter comes with a mobile phone - these must be collected from Renport before departing the base. This will also be covered in the chart briefing. These phones allow free calls to the base numbers which are pre set up in the phone memory and also gives the base the ability to contact you should the need arise. You can also use these phones to make local and international calls by purchasing credit with the phone - this is cheaper than roaming rates for calls.

Music/Ipods

All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your IPOD while sailing you will need to bring along an I-trip or FM radio transmitter.

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Activities

 
Fishing

Due to recent regulations set by the British Virgin Islands Conservation and Fisheries department, we are no longer offering fishing equipment aboard Sunsail charters in the British Virgin Islands.

Diving

A range of scuba diving packages are available and can be pre booked through your charter sales agent.

We also offer Rendezvous Diving with Sail Caribbean Divers – A PADI 5 Star IDC Centre, who offer Redezvous diving at various points throughtout the BVI, for Certified and Non Cerified Divers. Please call and talk to our sales agents about this product if you are interested in adding it to your vacation.

Watersports & Toys

Snorkelling
We have a range of snorkelling gear which you may wish to use. We are limited on children’s sizes so if you have your own you may wish to bring them with you.

Standup Paddle Boards & Kayaks
Experience gliding on the water’s surface with a standup paddle board! This is as close as it gets to ‘walking on water’ and is suitable for all ages. Kayaks are available for one or for two. A bit of kayaking is always a great ingredient to spice up your vacation.
Stand up Paddle Board daily rental rates:
   $25.00 (intermediate/beginner board – 11” long, 32” wide)
   $17.00 (entry level paddle board – 10′ long, 36” wide)
Kayak daily rental rates:
   $15.00 (one-man kayak)
   $20.00 (two-man kayak)
Float daily rental rate: $2.75

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Provisioning (Food and Beverage)

Sunsail can help with stocking up your yacht. 

We have partnered with Good Moon Farm in the BVI who can provide farm boxes of fresh produce through our online provisioning site. Boxes start at $40.

Click here for more information or to order provisioning online.

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Health & Safety

 
Illness or Injury

If you are sick and visit the doctor or hospital during your trip please have a member of your party contact the Sunsail base manager as soon as possible.
If you will need to make a travel insurance claim please contact your claim insurer’s emergency medical service immediately.
Obtain receipts for any medication, treatment or transport you have to pay for and submit with your claim.

Safety

All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets and harnesses, we leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.
We have a limited supply of children’s life jackets (age 4+ only) if you have your own children’s life jacket we would encourage you to bring it along. Additional life jackets are available for rent from SC Divers.
Children under the age of 16yrs should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

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