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Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? #96805
05/07/2016 11:32 PM
05/07/2016 11:32 PM
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Posts: 212
Denver, CO
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SeanS Offline OP
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Denver, CO
Here's the question - I charter every year usually with a crew of 6-8 people. This summer unfortunately the normal crew isn't available. Thinking about now booking a last minute charter w/ just the wife on a 30-something foot monohull.

Is this a good idea or a recipe for disaster? Spending quality time with the wife on the boat sounds nice. On the other hand, she hasn't really helped out in the past much outside of galley duty, and she's nervous about actually having to help out with the sails, anchoring, etc. I'm a little nervous about having to run the whole show myself, since I usually have plenty of help.

Curious about other folks experience chartering a smaller boat with just a couple people, and how things worked out. Thanks.

Sean

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Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: SeanS] #96806
05/08/2016 12:03 AM
05/08/2016 12:03 AM
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Posts: 332
BaardJ Offline
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I introduced my non-sailor wife to BVI chartering with the two of us on a 32' monohull in 1991. Over the years we chartered 36', 37', 39', 40' and 47' monohulls together, and then graduated to cats when we started bringing friends along. She still gets nervous, and worries about how they will get the boat home is something happens to me.

I found a 36'-39' monohull is ideal for 2 persons. Reef early so you don't get into an uncomfortable situation - in-mast roller furler really helps since you're effectively shorthanded. With just the 2 of us, I also made a point of staying moored or docked on days when the winds were really blowing to reduce her stress level.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: SeanS] #96807
05/08/2016 12:12 AM
05/08/2016 12:12 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 9
California
ErikS Offline
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My wife and have done a few charters together (just the 2 of us), although now we also have 2 teenagers to lend a hand, and often another family.

Really depends on your wife's comfort level as far as helping out - my wife didn't have many concerns on our charters with just the 2 of us (usually on a 38' cat), but she has sailed with me on our boat on San Francisco Bay for some time.

You know the charter boats - they are pretty much laid out for basic handling - if she is comfortable with taking the helm while you work the halyards, etc., she could likely manage if she has some sailing knowledge. And, most of the charter companies will even offer (for a fee, of course) a skipper for the first day, if you want someone to help "show her the ropes," so to speak, get her comfortable with handling the boat.


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Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: SeanS] #96808
05/08/2016 01:53 AM
05/08/2016 01:53 AM
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Posts: 826
Tortola, BVI
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LianeLeTendre Offline
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Sean, you could always hire an instructional skipper for the first day or two to help both of you learn to work together to do things yourselves.

By having an instructor with you, it will take the stress out of the situation and give your wife much more confidence in herself.

Teaching somebody close to you (anything) is almost never a good idea. The wrong look at the wrong time or the wrong tone in your voice can create more stress.

Having an expert third party present will take the burden of teaching off you. You may even learn a thing or two yourself. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Wink.gif" alt="" />

An instructor is usually $200.00 per day plus meals. Cheap at twice the price if the goal is to have fun and save your marriage from undue stress.

Since this is your first time sailing with just the two of you, you may want to consider hiring an instructor for the whole time. By the end of a week, you will both be old pros.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: LianeLeTendre] #96809
05/08/2016 07:44 AM
05/08/2016 07:44 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 4,949
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Offline
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It's a great idea and you will find you have a fantastic time that is virtually stress free. Everything is easier with just two people. Go for it and don't look back!
G

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: SeanS] #96810
05/08/2016 07:59 AM
05/08/2016 07:59 AM
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FLJim Offline
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I would make sure the boat has an autopilot - it keeps the boat in the wind while you raise sails, holds a course while trimming sails, even does tacks while you're busy with sheets. Then hire a skipper for a day to show you how to do all that.

My wife was very nervous the first time we went as just a couple, but was quite happy by the end of the trip.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: SeanS] #96811
05/08/2016 08:30 AM
05/08/2016 08:30 AM
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Posts: 200
Phila., PA
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sonofasailor Offline
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We found ourselved in a similar situation a few years ago and although a bit nervous, we went for it. I'd have have to say of our 15 charters, it was probably one of the best. Although we truly love showing others our "happy place", it sure was nice to be able to just go, or not go, when and where we wanted. GO FOR IT!

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: sonofasailor] #96812
05/08/2016 08:45 AM
05/08/2016 08:45 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 144
We come from the land of ice a...
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Subaqua Offline
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treat your wife to a nice catamaran, I just happen to have owners time available on a 3900, owners version. smile Sounds like it could be perfect for you as it's short notice time that I have available and you're talking last minute.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Subaqua] #96813
05/08/2016 09:51 AM
05/08/2016 09:51 AM
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Posts: 426
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706jim Offline
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Well, I hate to be the lone dissenter here, but my concern would be handling the mooring pennant alone. It sure is helpful to have one person pick it up and a second to attach lines to it. During our first BVI visit, we helped a couple on a thirty some foot mono. The fellow's wife got a nasty rope burn while trying to moor at Marina Cay. Mooring in calm weather is one thing, but doing it single handed in high winds is another altogether.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: 706jim] #96814
05/08/2016 11:12 AM
05/08/2016 11:12 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 216
Texas
Whitesail Offline
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When my wife and I decided to start chartering, I enrolled her in ASA classes so she would understand the basics of sailing. Since then we have chartered a 46 ft several times. We enjoy the pleasure of each other's company and the simplicity of sailing with just us. We did have a few frustrations with picking up a mooring in windy conditions but no other issues.



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Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: 706jim] #96815
05/08/2016 11:13 AM
05/08/2016 11:13 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 4,949
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Offline
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I have picked up moorings truly singlehanded many times. With two people it simply not difficult. The secret is have everything ready in advance and make it a two step process. Have the person picking up the mooring simply tie the mooring line directly to the boat. After that you sort out the bridal, release the mooring line and your all set. It's when you try and do it all at once things go south. Control the line first, then rig the bridal.
G

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: FLJim] #96816
05/08/2016 11:33 AM
05/08/2016 11:33 AM
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Virginia & Charleston, SC
RickG Offline
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Quote
FLJim said:
I would make sure the boat has an autopilot - it keeps the boat in the wind while you raise sails, holds a course while trimming sails, even does tacks while you're busy with sheets. Then hire a skipper for a day to show you how to do all that.

My wife was very nervous the first time we went as just a couple, but was quite happy by the end of the trip.


We've done this many times since I did sailing school in 2015. Sweet Christine took Learn to Sail in 2008, but did not enjoy classes. The two of us went out for our very first bareboat charter in 2013 with a skipper the first two days with CYOA's Mei Nu Jenneau 44i and she was very comfortable having the skipper on board. It gave her a chance to try mooring with an extra set of hands on the boat. After we dropped the skipper off she was a bit more anxious, but we were able to handle the boat safely. After three years, her favorite days are long sails with just the two of us. She is a prize hooker and anchor tender.

On a subsequent trip, we chartered a 36-foot monohull that was waiting on a part for the auto-pilot. The choice was to wait for the part to come in and the repair or head out. Sweet Christine wanted to get on the water. She got a lot of helm time that trip, including Anegada. But, I did miss Otto! She's a better sailor every trip.

Cheers, RickG


St. John based 10/25-11/3.
Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: RickG] #96817
05/08/2016 12:02 PM
05/08/2016 12:02 PM
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Posts: 77
Seattle, WA
mattt Offline
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At the very least you should get her comfortable operating the helm under power, and agree on some hand signals. That way you can deal with the anchor and moorings.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: mattt] #96818
05/08/2016 12:42 PM
05/08/2016 12:42 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 839
USVI
LocalSailor Offline
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Rick G --- you may want to type slower -- calling the lovely Christine a " prize Hooker" could result in a MOB drill with her waving 'see you later, honey"

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: LocalSailor] #96819
05/08/2016 01:10 PM
05/08/2016 01:10 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
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setting up a bridle in advance will really help. We use a 30' dock line and a 6" Winchard carabiner. This making mooring very easy, no lines to tie, just snap the carabiner over the pennant. The $50 carabiner is a great investment.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: sail2wind] #96820
05/08/2016 02:12 PM
05/08/2016 02:12 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 397
Colorado
stormster Offline
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Some boats are set up to be single handed better than others. If you want a cat, one of the Mahe 36s at CYOA would be really easy to sail alone. (I checked into it before we sailed with kids. I was thinking if it was just the two of us, there might be an instance where one of us might have to deal with the kids and leave the other person to handle the boat. Turns out that was never an issue.)

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Whitesail] #96821
05/08/2016 02:21 PM
05/08/2016 02:21 PM
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Posts: 214
Newport Beach, Ca
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Go for the gusto. My wife and I have chartered alone for the past 11 years. We get a power cat, she drives the boat while I am in charge of securing lines, music and cocktails. Works out great! Enjoy!

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: TIMRIM] #96822
05/08/2016 03:33 PM
05/08/2016 03:33 PM
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Posts: 187
SF Bay Area
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OneEyedJack Offline
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Best to check with her lawyer to find out what he thinks. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Wink.gif" alt="" />

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Whitesail] #96823
05/08/2016 06:24 PM
05/08/2016 06:24 PM
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We have no issues with two person boat travel from St. Thomas to Martinique. The helmsman job is to put and keep the bow on the ball/pendant until the single crew working the bow gets the pendant secure. At the first hint of any load the standing order is the single person always ALWAYS lets the pendant go. You should never have more than one on the bow anyway. The helmsman should practice slowly approaching the mooring with no one on the bow until everyone on the crew is comfortable the helm can control the boat sufficiently for a single crew to walk forward and pick up the mooring with a hook. If one or more are ever wrestling or strained in any way on the bow during any anchoring, mooring, or docking the person at that wheel and controls is doing it wrong. The competent and prudent skipper will have a clear standing order to always release any line in the docking process that ever has any load on it. It is never worth it to risk injury to a crew member trying to overcome the errors of the person trying to drive the massive boat. The only reason to skip the two person trip is when one or more of the two do not have the passion to be on the boat. Have the crew working the bow stand just behind the helm. When the driver has the boat in control and in position the bow duty crew then walks forward to pick up the pendant just off one side of the bow. The helmsman drives and controls the heavy boat; never the person on the bow trying to use human strength to the horse the boat into position. Never try to hold a line under load ever! Never put yourself or any body part between the boat and dock. The boat is plastic. The human body and our hands are not.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: StormJib] #96824
05/09/2016 07:39 AM
05/09/2016 07:39 AM
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North Carolina
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KNoel Offline
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I must be missing something. If your wife is game, do it.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: KNoel] #96825
05/09/2016 09:14 AM
05/09/2016 09:14 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 295
Tampa, FL
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My wife and I have done many charters together. We consider it the best way to spend a vacation.

As for mooring, it's pretty easy. You do the work that might require some strength, and she does the work that requires a delicate touch. Which means, she should be at the helm and you should be at the bow. Why so many couples do it the other way around is completely beyond me.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: denverd0n] #96826
05/09/2016 09:38 AM
05/09/2016 09:38 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,359
Bradenton, FL
Winterstale Offline
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Do it.
Take sail2wind's advice and get the caribiner.

My husband and I are alone on our upcoming charter and we are really looking forward to it being just the two of us after 8 on a cat last year.



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Bridget
Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Winterstale] #96827
05/09/2016 09:44 AM
05/09/2016 09:44 AM
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Posts: 5,359
Bradenton, FL
Winterstale Offline
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And yes - Don is right about the mooring - show her how to head up to the mooring slowly at the helm, into the wind, and develop some hand signals - <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Laugh.gif" alt="" /> -- and above all, be patient with each other since you might not do anything perfectly <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Laugh.gif" alt="" />



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Bridget
Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Winterstale] #96828
05/09/2016 09:54 AM
05/09/2016 09:54 AM
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Posts: 1,288
Maryland
Kirk Offline
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It's been way too long since we're done a two person charter. The last four trips we've taken other people. Hope to do one this winter. Whenever we've done it people always ask if we're on our honeymoon. Never had any problems, but we're pretty much always just the two of us on our boat here at home.

As for hand signals-we pretty much just stick to one...it's pretty universal! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />


Kirk in Maryland
Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Kirk] #96829
05/09/2016 10:01 AM
05/09/2016 10:01 AM
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Posts: 5,359
Bradenton, FL
Winterstale Offline
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LOL....Kirk...I don't think that one ever means "put it in neutral now" but it's just a guess <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Laugh.gif" alt="" />



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Bridget
Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Winterstale] #96830
05/09/2016 10:23 AM
05/09/2016 10:23 AM
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Posts: 6,074
Maryland
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We started out doing double-handed charters back in the 1980's. My wife is game to help sail and pick up moorings though. That said, I knew that I could handle the boat by myself if need be. If you can sail the boat competently by yourself you can probably pull it off. A boat in the 35-foot range is pretty easy to sail by yourself, particularly if it's got an autopilot.

I'd suggest you only do it if your wife is ready to step up a little and help out.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Twanger] #96831
05/09/2016 10:50 AM
05/09/2016 10:50 AM
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trueblue Offline
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We started as a two person crew 20 years ago. The captain was an experienced sailor, I was an experienced passenger.

After two charters in the BVI (yes we survived #1 and #2) I insisted that I learn how to start the engine, handle the boat under power and bring the boat back to the harbor single handed in case the captain was injured. After 20 years we are both comfortable with all aspects of boat handling,

Two rules. 1. The captain is always (well almost always) right. 2. We always do a man overboard drill.

Gin and tonics helped with our daily discussions on how things could have been handled better.

Even now we both prefer to be alone on the boat.

Good luck!

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: denverd0n] #96832
05/09/2016 11:19 AM
05/09/2016 11:19 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 144
We come from the land of ice a...
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Subaqua Offline
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Quote
denverd0n said:
My wife and I have done many charters together. We consider it the best way to spend a vacation.

As for mooring, it's pretty easy. You do the work that might require some strength, and she does the work that requires a delicate touch. Which means, she should be at the helm and you should be at the bow. Why so many couples do it the other way around is completely beyond me.


My thoughts exactly.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Subaqua] #96833
05/09/2016 02:42 PM
05/09/2016 02:42 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 240
Texas
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I'd love to charter with just us two, but we bring friends to help cover costs. I'd never again go without AC in the summer (we had a rainy week with closed hatches and a boat full of mosquitoes, covered in DEET head to toe) - NOT sexy.
We sail on the lake at home alone all the time, but I haven't spent enough time driving to feel comfortable doing it on a chartered boat. My husband must be pretty good at it though, cause I don't think I've ever missed a mooring ball. Good advice about having just one at the bow, as I recall the only time we struggled was when a friend tried to "help" me.
We've also never had much wind, so lots of days were motoring anyway. You could always just do that, and enjoy the peaceful boat to yourselves. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Wink.gif" alt="" />

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: SeanS] #96834
05/09/2016 04:59 PM
05/09/2016 04:59 PM
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Hey Sean, some good comments and thoughts posted. We own a Mahe 36 and have her in charter at HYC. The Mahe is a perfect example of solo, couple or 2 couple sailing vessel. We spend time with friends and also the two of us. The fist mate did a basic crew sailing course and gave her all the confidence required and terminology to feel comfortable with the two of us. I have instructed in multiple different sports and know it is a BAD idea to try and teach a partner or spouse! Don't try and teach her and you'll be all good. ( take a carabiner or snap shackle, you can do it all your self with a ball) K.I.S.S keep it simple stupid. Aloha.


Live the Life to Live, Aloha Ola (Love Life)
Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Nalu] #96835
05/09/2016 05:55 PM
05/09/2016 05:55 PM
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This is too funny. We just returned from a fantastic charter on Saturday. Friday night at Cooper, we were tucked onto a mooring ball enjoying some rum drinks when a large powercat came up to take one of the northernmost balls. Husband at the helm, wife at the hook. What a mess that became. She was trying to pull up the mooring line and boat hook went flying. The flying boat hook was followed by her flying arms gesturing to her aloof husband at the helm. We quickly dropped our davit line and hopped in our dingy to retrieve their boat hook so they could complete their tie up. When we came along side, we got a very light and French "Thanks".

Like all others said, CAN she do it? Sure! but spend 30 minutes teaching her the proper ways to take the helm and stay married to the gal!

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: fletchccc] #96836
05/09/2016 06:41 PM
05/09/2016 06:41 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 977
annap, MD/BVI-Nanny Cay
hallucination Offline
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we have never had to use a second hook on mooring while single handed. But our little dingy got away a couple of times under sail. If you look below on Hallucinations, we have a back-up now.

this was done at the bequeath of the hooker.

Single handed balls are really not that hard, prepare everything first. Single handed anchors are so much easier .

I have a new "goal" where I enter the field, point/stall the boat, and see if i can lay up to the ball a few 10s of feet out. fun.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: hallucination] #96837
05/10/2016 02:34 PM
05/10/2016 02:34 PM
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I chartered with my wife a few years ago on a Moorings 32 monohull. I was in a similar situation, it was our first charter as a couple It worked out great, even she agrees. We both prefer bigger boats, so probably won't repeat it, but it beats not going. I would just talk it through a lot before getting there and then doing some training of each other on sail raising and moorings. I'd keep it simple and stay on moorings only.



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Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: SeanS] #96838
05/10/2016 02:57 PM
05/10/2016 02:57 PM
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Posts: 1,705
Maine
Breeze Online content
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Maine
So, worst comes to worst and on the second day you are in North Sound and you want to strangle each other.

Take a ball at Leverick, dinghy in and beg to be taken to a slip for the rest of the week. Stay on the boat, rent a car, visit all of VG and ride the free water shuttle all around North Sound. When your time is up, key the Iron Jenny and motor back to base ( yes you can do this in one shot if you start early. We've motor- sailed from Leverick to CYOA on St Thomas and made a noon check-in, and that included a swim at Christmas Cove. ) Granted, that was a very early morning departure from NS, but everyone got their coffee with refills and their toast/cereal and no one complained.

There are always ways to work around an issue, and virtually no reason to beat yourself up. See it for an opportunity, not a potential disaster.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Breeze] #96839
05/10/2016 06:20 PM
05/10/2016 06:20 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,114
West Palm Beach FL
bviboater Offline
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bviboater  Offline
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Posts: 1,114
West Palm Beach FL
A couple of things to maybe make it easier to just two people with one not the best sailor. First get at least a 35' mono,IMHO anything smaller starts to get a little crowded. Next take the stress out of raising the sail, raise the main by yourself while still on the mooring and leave at least one reef in the sail. Its much easier to shake out a reef than to try to put one in. As for picking up a mooring,if it really becomes an issue, again do it yourself by reversing into it and picking up the pendent at the stern and with a dock line thru it walk it forward (make sure the dinghy is tied to the side of the boat out of the way). Just some thoughts. Good luck and most of all have fun.


John
Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: bviboater] #96840
05/10/2016 08:29 PM
05/10/2016 08:29 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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sail2wind  Offline
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GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
I respectfully disagree in approaching a mooring from the stern, too many bad things could happen.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: sail2wind] #96841
05/10/2016 09:20 PM
05/10/2016 09:20 PM
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 1,049
S
StormJib Offline
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StormJib  Offline
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S
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Moorings are approached with the bow into the wind and current. The retrieving and securing of the mooring pendant is a one person and only one person job, the others are just in the way under the guise of "helping".

Here is one demonstration on how the task is executed. Boat control is the key skill set and deliverable for success. The helm must have have the boat in control for the other tasks be successful. Slow, deliberate, into the wind stopping within easy reach of the pendant. If there is any doubt the helm should start over and repeat the approach.

https://youtu.be/m_B2SO4Af-o

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: StormJib] #96842
05/11/2016 10:30 AM
05/11/2016 10:30 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 6,074
Maryland
Twanger Offline
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Twanger  Offline
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Posts: 6,074
Maryland
Many years ago at Marina Cay I watched a charter captain in a monohull pick up a mooring by himself. He rigged the mooring line from the bow and ran it back to the helm. He then pulled up alongside the ball, grabbed the loop with the boat-hook and tied on. He popped it in reverse for a second and was soon hanging off the mooring from the bow.

I've thought about doing this with a big carabiner. Once you're hooked on you have all the time in the world to make it pretty or more permanent.

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: Twanger] #96843
05/11/2016 12:08 PM
05/11/2016 12:08 PM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 65
Chicago, IL, USA
vytis104 Offline
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vytis104  Offline
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Posts: 65
Chicago, IL, USA
My wife and I have done it just the two of us a few times. We typically get something in the 32-36 foot range. The first time grabbing a ball is hard, but then it gets easier and easier. I always have a line run from the bow to the stern in case the boat hook goes in and I need to solo it. But we have never used it. It is a fantastic trip as a couple, just keep it simple and take it slow. When it is just the two of us I always raise the main on the ball before she breaks us free....then you just glide away...

Re: Charter w/ just 2 people - good idea or not? [Re: SeanS] #96844
05/11/2016 12:31 PM
05/11/2016 12:31 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 31
Virginia
JohnV Offline
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JohnV  Offline
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 31
Virginia
We have been doing this for 5 or 6 years. My suggestion would be to go to Norman and pick a ball away from the crowd. This will reduce 'pressure' and give you a shot at a second ball if you miss. Make sure the person getting the ball hooks the pendent line and not the eye of the pendent. Practice the next day after everyone leaves. Worked for us!

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