TravelTalkOnline

St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings

Posted By: CestLaVie

St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/17/2019 10:23 PM

We just returned from our 8th trip to BVI a couple of weeks ago. Four couples on a Mooring's 4800 cat. Trip report was made last month.

We are now looking at a return next year end of January/early February with two couples on a 40' cat. We have generally cruised almost exclusively in BVI and not made it to the USVI due to the hassles of checking in/out between the two countries. After taking a hard look at the beaches and lack of crowds on the north side of St John, we are committed to splitting time in both the USVI and BVI next year. On this past trip, we spent the first evening at Olga's on St Thomas directly adjacent to the CYOA base. We have always used the Moorings out of Tortola and have always had an excellent experience with that base, so diverting from this known source is difficult. That said, we see some potential benefit in considering a charter from CYOA to avoid the time/expense of shuttling between St Thomas and Tortola (we always fly American based on convenience and thus now end up in St Thomas). I am aware of and have the CBP Roam app on my phone so realize one hassle of checking in/out of USVI may be minimized.

I am specifically looking for input from any of you out there who has direct experience with both CYOA and the Moorings to get your input as to the advantages/disadvantages between the two operators. Bottom line, these are the two choices we will be looking at. From my initial look at CYOA, it does appear as though their pricing is a bit higher than the Moorings as we do get the standard Moorings discount as repeat customers and generally some discount during the boat show. As we have no experience with CYOA, looking to see if their pricing is either discounted comparably with the Moorings or if their pricing may be negotiable. Also, fuel is included in sailing charters from the Moorings-is there a charge for fuel from CYOA? Last, we generally provision our boat ourselves through a combination of the Moorings, RiteWay/Bobbys/Caribbean Cellars. Is there an equally suitable/.convenient option in St Thomas?

This group has been a fountain of information these past several years, so I am looking forward to the experiences of any of you who have chartered with both the Moorings and CYOA. Thanks in advance.
Posted By: rstevens

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/17/2019 11:30 PM

Been sailing with Moorings in the BVI for more than 30 years. But, last year I sailed with CYOA mainly because my son, his wife and their 1-year-old daughter live on St. Thomas. It was easier to load up the boat the night before, then sail to Red Hook in the morning to pick up the ladies. We also avoided the ferry cost and hassle.

Worked out well. We had lunch and headed for Jost. Got there in plenty of time with a pleasant sail. The boat was better than anything we had at Moorings (because it was new and had a watermaker). We took time to explore St. Thomas and St. John in addition to our usual BVI haunts. Worked out great.

Will do it again this June. Got the same boat. Let me know if you have any questions.
Posted By: Deepcut

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/18/2019 01:20 AM

I have done both Moorings in BVI and CYOA. Both are "good". Advantages and disadvantages in starting in USVI, but to me, the potential for "newbies" to be in relatively rough water coming out of CA definitely pushes me to BVI. (Think Christmas winds).

In BVI, I feel TMM is superior to Moorings in care of boats and certainly more customer service oriented. Customized 1 on 1 boat briefing and chart briefing. I felt so strongly about TMM, I put my boat in their fleet.

With liberal use of engines and generator whenever moored, fuel generally around $325-350 per week.

Check out TMM.
Posted By: cwoody

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/18/2019 07:37 PM

Taxes for getting into BVI from USVI were about $450 for the 8 of us in 2017.
If I have done my math right, Looks like we will be handing over a bit more this year. (with a smile! smile

BVI Cruising Tax $672.00 $16/person/day (16x7)x6
BVI Departure Tax $140.00 $20/pp
BVI Environmental Tax $70.00 $10/pp
National Park Trust $90.00 $90/week 8 persons
Vessel Permit tax $35.00 40-50ft vessel
Total $1007.00

But to answer your question. We used CYOA in 2017. Thumbs up to CYOA and starting your charter in the USVI.
Posted By: rhans

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/18/2019 08:26 PM

Some thoughts

**From my initial look at CYOA, it does appear as though their pricing is a bit higher than the Moorings as we do get the standard Moorings discount as repeat customers**

CYOA has a 10% loyalty discount for repeat customers. Call and talk to John he’s a great guy.

** we generally provision our boat ourselves through a combination of the Moorings, RiteWay/Bobbys/Caribbean Cellars. Is there an equally suitable/.convenient option in St Thomas?**

You are in St. Thomas. Folks from the BVI’s come there to shop.

This not assembly line chartering. The owners and managers are working side by side with the folks on the dock. They know what’s going on.

As far as rough conditions, we normally are there late December early January and I have seen worse in Drake Lake.

If 10 minutes from the airport to the boats is not enough to cinch the deal throw in one of the best wood fired pizzas I’ve ever had right behind the base.
Posted By: rhans

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/18/2019 08:34 PM

Originally Posted by cwoody
Taxes for getting into BVI from USVI were about $450 for the 8 of us in 2017.
If I have done my math right, Looks like we will be handing over a bit more this year. (with a smile! smile

BVI Cruising Tax $672.00 $16/person/day (16x7)x6
BVI Departure Tax $140.00 $20/pp
BVI Environmental Tax $70.00 $10/pp
National Park Trust $90.00 $90/week 8 persons
Vessel Permit tax $35.00 40-50ft vessel
Total $1007.00

But to answer your question. We used CYOA in 2017. Thumbs up to CYOA and starting your charter in the USVI.


Lets not forget the ferry cost 6 x 60.00 = 360.00 to be deducted from the above if flying into St. Thomas
Posted By: sail445

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/18/2019 08:42 PM

Is that the ferry fare one way or round trip?
Posted By: Orange_Burst

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/18/2019 08:42 PM

One of the down falls I see is we like to stay on land 3-4 days before or after our charter, and we like spending that time on Tortola.
Posted By: Shifty

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/18/2019 09:14 PM

We've used the Moorings in January 2017 and CYOA on numerous occasions -- most recently 3 weeks ago. Great experiences with both. I would rate the pr



-Great departure point to enjoy both the USVI and BVI. We love both the north side of St. John, the west side of St. John, Christmas Cove at St. James, and other easy-to-reach USVI destinations. And almost always far less crowded than many of the BVI hotspots.

-It's a small charter company. This cuts both ways. We thought the Moorings marina presence was amazing. And while you won't get that at CYOA, it is well-equipped setup and, more importantly, you will get personalized, detailed briefings from folks that are on-site and readily accessible-- FAR more so than with Moorings.

-In my opinion, you'll get boats better maintained and with more options (e.g. water maker)

-In answer to one of your specific questions, there are good provisioning options at CYOA. You can either use CYOA's provisioning service, you can self-provision at the Pueblo (a short taxi ride away), or you can go with third-party provisioning with FreshfoodsVI. Here's the link . .. https://www.resortcart.com/#/home. We've used FreshfoodsVI on our last couple of charters and have been very pleased. We show up and all of our food supplies are on-board and (partially) stowed.

-Airfare. We fly from Chicago, and we compare prices to St. Thomas and Tortola every year, with the same results. It is almost always significantly cheaper to fly to St. Thomas.

CYOA CONS

-Much smaller supply, so book the boat you want well in advance if you choose to use them.

-I mentioned earlier that the staff is very friendly and helpful. However, I will caution that if you're looking for a big warm-smiled welcoming committee, you won't get it. The front desk check-in and check-out process can be a bit terse.

-If you weren't planning to spend some time visiting anchorages at St. John, St. Thomas or St. James, but are expecting to make a beeline to the BVI, there's a good day sailing/motoring around St. Thomas to get there. I will say, however, that we've done this route for many years and it doesn't faze us a bit.

-If you are planning to include an Anegada excursion as part of your charter, that can be a challenge if you're starting and ending at St. Thomas, at least if you're not planning a trip of 8 days or more.

-Fuel. At present, CYOA does not have fuel services, so you are required to refuel at one of the other marina's in Charlotte Amalie before you return to base.


MOORINGS PROS

-Big, beautiful and well-provisioned marina.

-It's right in the middle of the BVI action, which not only means easy access to the hotspots, but also that you'll be in relatively close proximity to base if you run into problems. Note: by the time you get to Gorda Sound, you're a long way off from CYOA. Having said this, we've never had to contact CYOA for assistance in well over a dozen charters.

-Huge selection of boats, as you know.


MOORINGS CONS

-Again, I'm more impressed with the quality boats and options available at CYOA.

-If you plan to visit the USVI, you've got the same (and, frankly, worse, customs issues that you have in the vice-versa case).

-There's a mass produced feel (at least from the perspective of someone used to a much smaller charter company) that can be a bit off-putting. Our pre-charter briefing in January 2017 was an afterthought. And when we needed extra linens, pillows, etc..., it was tough to track someone down who could actually help.

-Over-all cost. As I recall, price comparisons between similar boats weighed slightly in the Moorings favor. But for us (again, flying out of Chicago), the pendulum swung considerably to CYOA's favor after considering costs of flying to St. Thomas as opposed to Tortola.


A WORD ABOUT CUSTOMS
Don't sweat clearing customs into the BVI. You can go through either Great Harbor at JVD or Soper's Hole on Tortola. CYOA will give you the forms you need in advance and we've always breezed through the process. I would counsel, however, that the process goes much faster/better when you've got your "Yes, Sir's" and "No, Sir's" and "Thank you, Sir's" down to a science (yes, they can be a bit officious). And now that you can clear back in to the USVI by a mobile app on your return trip, coming home is a snap.

In the final analysis, I'm very glad that both CYOA and the Moorings serve the Virgin Islands. Excellent companies, both of which have given us terrific memories. I think our 15+ trips with CYOA probably reveal a bias in that direction, but these are my thoughts as candidly as I can set them out.
Posted By: boom2it

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/18/2019 09:36 PM

Has anyone chartered with Island Yachts out of Red Hook? I like the idea of starting a charter from Red Hook and really want to sail an Island Packet. Not sure how they have bounced back from Irma but looks like they have a few boats in service.
Posted By: rhans

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/18/2019 10:44 PM

"-I mentioned earlier that the staff is very friendly and helpful. However, I will caution that if you're looking for a big warm-smiled welcoming committee, you won't get it. The front desk check-in and check-out process can be a bit terse. "

You've met different people at the Front Desk than I have. I have always talked to Marsha and she always has a big smile and a "Welcome Back"
Posted By: tothedogs

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/19/2019 12:17 PM

We have used IYC on numerous occasions. The people are great, the Island Packets are very high quality, sail well, and are maintained to a high standard by Skip and his team. Provisioning is right across the street from the marina. We are considering a boat from them in January.
Posted By: rfrimmel

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/19/2019 12:24 PM

If you do charter with CYOA, I would recommend renting car from Avis. Overall it will be cheaper vs taxi. You can go from airport to CYOA base, go to Pueblo or other grocery store to provision, get back to CYOA base where there is Avis branch within walking distance.
Posted By: boom2it

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/19/2019 03:03 PM

Originally Posted by tothedogs
We have used IYC on numerous occasions. The people are great, the Island Packets are very high quality, sail well, and are maintained to a high standard by Skip and his team. Provisioning is right across the street from the marina. We are considering a boat from them in January.


Good to hear thanks
Posted By: cwoody

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 03/19/2019 04:46 PM

Originally Posted by boom2it
Has anyone chartered with Island Yachts out of Red Hook?.


Loved CYOA but we are using VIYC this year. They are not in Red Hook but very close at Compass Point.
Like Orange Burst, we will be doing four days land based pre-charter, but we will near Red Hook pre-charter as well.
Posted By: Javelin

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 04/29/2019 01:07 AM

Island Yachts is a very professional outfit with immaculate boats. I chartered an IP 370 eight years ago. The boat was in perfect shape and everything in working order. Skip and Andrea really run a tight ship and their Island Packets are very sturdy vessels. They give a very thorough briefing and are very friendly.
The one thing that I didn’t care for is that they disconnect the chart plotter and autopilot. I can’t understand the reasoning for removing a layer of situational awareness.
Having said that, I highly recommend them if you are looking to experience an Island Packet. They are really great boats once you get the hang of maneuvering a full keel boat. They all have bow thrusters to help in that regard. The 370 has a 165gal water tank, so no worries about having enough water.
Posted By: Nibj

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 04/29/2019 11:41 AM

Shifty gave a great reply, but I'll just comment about a couple of things. We have chartered twice from Moorings (pre hurricane) and once from CYOA (earlier this month).

CYOA was good. No complaints there. We had some technical questions during the charter and got very quick and helpful text responses from CYOA.

St John is our new favorite place with Maho Bay a wonderful place for snorkeling (turtles, rays and SY A was nearby).

Provisioning: Moorings has the edge. We did "split provisioning" first time which was easy but resulted in an oversupply of some things (e.g. fruit juice, nuts). Second time we just used their a la Carte provisioning which went well. At CYOA we tried to provision ourselves and they directed us to Moe's on the harbor front. This turned out to be a small, expensive store (having said that our comparison for prices is the USA so we might be shocked anywhere in the VI). We would try the big Pueblo near Kmart next time.

C&I Jost: Doing customs and immigration at Jost took some time (the boat didn't have enough or the right forms and filling six immigration forms is time consuming) but only the skipper needs to go. The C&I people there are pleasant and helpful (two out of three anyway). Definitely better than ferry/Tortola. It is not cheap.

C&I St John: We tried CBP ROAM but after 1.5 hours waiting we decided to go in person since we were worried about dealing with this on arriving in Charlotte Amalie next day (someone at the airport told us they waited a day). The dinghy ride from Lind Point is long and wet. The C&I people in Cruz Bay did not try to provide a stress free welcome. The forms were available on our boat which helped with an otherwise less than fun experience. Still mooring at Lind Point puts you next to a lovely beach with snorkeling. So the day ended positively.

The start and end: You need to travel from Charlotte Amalie to at least Christmas Cove on the first day (and back on the last). This took us about 1.5 hours I recall. It was a bit rough (like say going to Anegada - look at the NOAA prediction) which was OK for us but might worry first time sailors. You have to fill with fuel at the end of the trip. The fuel dock staff at Yacht Haven Grande are very helpful and pleasant.

One odd thing: Our briefer told us we were forbidden by CYOA to gibe the cat. Maybe this was a reflection of our rather incompetent display of seamanship at checkout (not having sailed together for 2 years is the excuse, but lets leave it there). Still it makes sailing down the Francis Drake Passage a little unusual.

Overall our sentiment is we would use CYOA again.
Posted By: boom2it

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 04/29/2019 01:33 PM

Originally Posted by Javelin

The one thing that I didn’t care for is that they disconnect the chart plotter and autopilot. I can’t understand the reasoning for removing a layer of situational awareness.


Huh? I don't understand why they would do that, I guess they don't want you relying on electronics? As a sailor you need to be able to sail hands on and read a chart, but like you said having another layer to compare gives you that much more data and confidence in what you are seeing. As a bare boat sailor I am short handed and at times solo, having autopilot and chart plotter come in very handy when trimming sail or not having to look at a chart that's blowing around with one hand on the wheel. Our last charter with Moorings, the autopilot wouldn't stay engaged so no auto, which I don't mind so much as you get a good feel and response for your boat, but still popping on auto to crack a beer and relax for a few is really nice.
Now that the kids are older I actually have a full crew for our next charter and can delegate some of the responsibilities, that's if they still want to go now that they are older smile
Posted By: tothedogs

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 04/29/2019 02:04 PM

I would suggest asking Skip or Andrea for the underlying philosophy as to some of their practices. My guess is that it has to do with people relying on the GPS and driving the boat onto reefs or other hazards. I have seen this happen on several occasions. Same with autopilot.

As regards discouraging gybing the cat, as most of them have no running backstay, a hard gybe is not good for the rigging.
Posted By: sail445

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 04/29/2019 02:59 PM

An autopilot is essential if you want to enjoy your sail, you always have the option of turning it off.
Posted By: Thistle

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 04/29/2019 08:40 PM

Highly recommend CYOA! Chartered with them for the first time March '18 and again this past March. Wondering why it took us so long to figure out that being on the boat 10 minutes after walking out of STT is a no brainer. No more ferry headache! Last year we charted a 45' Beneteau, this year a Lagoon Cat. Both boats were in excellent condition and everything worked as expected including the water makers. We used the chart plotter and auto pilot the entire time. Give CYOA a call, I'm sure you'll have a very positive experience through every step of the process.
Posted By: sail445

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 04/29/2019 09:57 PM

Originally Posted by Thistle
Highly recommend CYOA! Chartered with them for the first time March '18 and again this past March. Wondering why it took us so long to figure out that being on the boat 10 minutes after walking out of STT is a no brainer. No more ferry headache! Last year we charted a 45' Beneteau, this year a Lagoon Cat. Both boats were in excellent condition and everything worked as expected including the water makers. We used the chart plotter and auto pilot the entire time. Give CYOA a call, I'm sure you'll have a very positive experience through every step of the process.


Another “Pro” for CYOA is you arrive in Old French Town where you have a variety of excellent restaurants with good service and a non stressed out marina and without the crowds that you would find in Manhattan at rush hour >>>Roadtown Tortola.
BTW CYOA is located where the first charter boat company in the Virgin Islands was opened ( Avery’s Boathouse)
Posted By: rhans

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 04/29/2019 11:00 PM

Originally Posted by sail445
Originally Posted by Thistle
Highly recommend CYOA! Chartered with them for the first time March '18 and again this past March. Wondering why it took us so long to figure out that being on the boat 10 minutes after walking out of STT is a no brainer. No more ferry headache! Last year we charted a 45' Beneteau, this year a Lagoon Cat. Both boats were in excellent condition and everything worked as expected including the water makers. We used the chart plotter and auto pilot the entire time. Give CYOA a call, I'm sure you'll have a very positive experience through every step of the process.


Another “Pro” for CYOA is you arrive in Old French Town where you have a variety of excellent restaurants with good service and a non stressed out marina and without the crowds that you would find in Manhattan at rush hour >>>Roadtown Tortola.
BTW CYOA is located where the first charter boat company in the Virgin Islands was opened ( Avery’s Boathouse)


You NAILED that. Great - Low stress - Friendly. Not to mention one of the BEST Pizza I've had at Pie Whole.
Just don't tell anybody.
Posted By: Halcyon

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 05/01/2019 11:17 PM

Another +1 for CYOA here. Last June 4 of us chartered a Beneteau 38' with a Sunday overnight. We landed at STT around 1pm Sunday, waited for our bags then grabbed a taxi. Taxi dropped us at CYOA by 2pm where we found our boat waiting for us with lights and AC on. Dropped our bags and walked to the end of the dock for lunch at Hook Line & Sinker. Provisions arrived at 5pm and by 6:30 we were stored, stowed and chillin' in the cockpit with Red Stripe's, Carib's and tunes waiting for the sunset. No fuss, no stress. CYOA treated us like family and we're already booked for May 2020 on a different boat but same arrival plan. 12 months to go and counting.
Posted By: jerriec

Re: St Thomas CYOA vs BVI Moorings - 05/04/2019 06:31 PM

We have chartered several times with CYOA as well as charter companies out of Tortola. I can tell you CYOA is a 1st class act. They are wonderful from the beginning to the end. The booking process is easy, the boats are well maintained and the crew there are super friendly. They also offer a repeat charter discount. We love spending a fair amount of time in and around St John so for us chartering out of St Thomas makes this easy. The ease and convenience of CYOA's charter base from the airport is heaven! It's literally a 5 minute trip. And there are tons of provisioning options on St Thomas. You can't go wrong with CYOA!
© 2019 TravelTalkOnline