Matt and Britney Weidert

Matt Weidert

2024 BVI Charter Season Preview

Today, I'm excited to share some updates for the 2024 charter season in the BVI. To kick things off in style, I've put together a Yacht Warriors' rendition of 'The Night Before Christmas' to capture the spirit of the season:

'Twas the start of charter season, in the vibrant BVI,
Where eager crews prepped to sail beneath the azure sky.
Boatyball moorings awaited, snatched up at day's first light,
Reserved at 7 AM, as the morning sun shone bright.
While sailors with maps, plotted courses with care,
In hopes that the Christmas winds soon fill the air.
With sails to be reefed in the brisk winter breeze,
The crews readied themselves for the spirited seas.
As cruise ships docked, their passengers flocked to the Baths in swarms,
The savvy charterers sought quieter waters, embracing the islands' charms.
Adventures abound in every hidden cove and bay,
With tales to recount at the end of each sun-kissed day.
From Norman to Anegada, through Sir Francis Drake,
The BVI sparkled, like a jewel on a cake.
Yet whispers were heard, on White Bay's sandy shore,
Of jet skis and changes, perhaps folklore?
But in this season of joy, under the Caribbean sun,
The spirit of sailing was second to none.
For in these waters, where the dolphins do play,
Each charter voyage was a magical holiday.

New additions to the BVI bareboat charter fleet

I've scoured all the charter fleets and discovered some noteworthy models available this season in the BVI. Let's dive into the details.

Rendering of the Island Spirit 525e

Island Spirit 525e

Familiar to fans of Bobby White (Sailing Doodles) on YouTube, this model is his chosen vessel for cruising.

Hailing from a boutique builder in Thailand, the Island Spirit 525e marks its debut in the BVI – a first for the entire Caribbean, as far as I’m aware. It stands shoulder-to-shoulder in features and size with the likes of the Lagoon 50/51 and FP Aura 51.

What makes it unique is its advanced electric propulsion system and solar panels, which can reduce engine and generator noise.

It also has the style flybridge that I like – complete with a bimini that integrates the helm station, perfect for socializing and enjoying the views.

The flybridge on this 40 footer makes it unique from the others in its class

Bali Catspace

Although a few were available in 2023, the Bali Catspace is still a fresh face in the charter fleet. Unusual for its class, this 40-footer features a sizable flybridge, typically found in larger catamarans.

It offers an attractive entry point for those seeking a flybridge experience. The signature Bali door also enhances the indoor/outdoor living space, a highlight for many charter crews.

Lagoon 51

Lagoon 51

The Lagoon 51 has sparked my enthusiasm. Unlike the older Lagoon 52 and the slightly underwhelming Lagoon 50, this model stands out. The Lagoon 50, in my view, was merely a larger version of the Lagoon 46, lacking significant new features other than additional cabin layouts.

Available for charter with Navigare and TMM, I’ve booked it for a charter this May on our next couple’s trip, seizing some year-end discounts. Its most significant improvement is the redesigned flybridge, which now includes a comfortable seating area under a hardtop bimini, seamlessly integrating the helm station.

Atop the Baths where you now have to pay to enter as a charter guest

BVI charter scene – what’s new in 2024?

Rule change at the Baths

To manage the increasing number of cruise ship visitors, the Baths have implemented a one-way system to streamline crowd flow. For a detailed breakdown of what this means for your visit, check out ​this comprehensive post​.

Surging cruise ship visitors

In our previous newsletter, I highlighted the concerning developments at White Bay, particularly the grand opening of a company catering to cruise ship tourists. This is part of a larger trend of escalating cruise ship tourism in the BVIs. The record-breaking influx of visitors in 2024 will likely continue to reshape the BVI landscape. Stay tuned as we monitor these changes.

American’s new direct flight to BVI

A significant achievement in 2023 was American Airlines’ inaugural nonstop flight from the U.S. to BVI. While this route offers a new option for travelers, it’s not without its risks. My preference remains flying to St. Thomas and taking a water taxi to the BVIs for a smoother journey.

When is your next yacht charter?
Consider booking with the Yacht Warriors.

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