Yacht Charter Glossary
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
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Yacht Charter Glossary - A handy guide to
What does "bareboat" mean? Many people
are a little fuzzy when it comes to terminology used
by yacht charter professionals. The following is not
a list of sailing terms, (although, should you like
to see several excellent sailing glossaries, go to
... but rather a glossary of terms pertaining to "bare
boat" or "bareboat" yacht charter holidays which often
serve to confuse those unfamiliar with industry definitions.
This glossary is short, so stay with
Bareboat or Bare Boat?:
Utter *bareboat* and some folks become
giddy envisioning a bunch of naked people frolicking
on board a yacht, sailing through paradise. Aaaaah,
no! Public "bare" - ness is illegal in the BVI.
A bare boat yacht or more correctly,
a "bareboat" is a sailboat or powerboat for hire without
crew. Similar to, "car rental" versus "limousine service".
When bareboat charters began, "bare
boat" simply meant "no extras". That is
not appropriate today, as several modern bare boats
have every extra one could imagine, including, microwave
ovens, TV's, VCR's, DVD's, air conditioning, ice makers,
blenders, etc. In addition, you may hire a captain,
cook or both, effectively turning a bare boat into
a "captain only" or "crewed yacht".
Bare Boat with crew OR
crewed yacht - What's the difference?
- Costs for a bare boat are individually itemized.
Several options (such as a cook or provisioning)
may be deleted to better suit your holiday budget.
Crewed charters are sold as package deals, with
all costs included. In some cases, alcohol and water
toy rentals are extra.
- On a bare boat (even if you hire a cook), you
may eat ashore as often as you'd like. There are
three provisioning packages available or you may
opt to do your own grocery shopping. Crewed yachts
supply all meals and food costs are included in
your charter fee.
- Crewed charters are often owner operated or full
time crew are employed. We do not offer charters
with full time crew. We represent bareboat companies
only. If you wish to have crew on a bareboat yacht,
we can make those arrangements ... but they are
hired by you, specifically for your holiday from
a pool of professionals used by various charter
A bimini is a weather resistant fabric
stretched over a stainless steel frame, fastened above
the cockpit of a sailboat or flybridge of a power
yacht which serves as a rain or sun shade. Bimini's
are an absolute necessity for Caribbean sailing ...
unless you have no concerns about sunburn or melanoma!
Note: Bimini is also a Bahamian island!
Cook or Captain Only Yacht Charters:
A captain only charter is exactly
that. No cook, stewardess or deck hand, just a captain.
Captain only charters are available on bare boat yachts
Note: If you want to drive yourself
(bare boat) but hate cooking and cleaning, you may
also book a "cook only" charter.
A catamaran has twin hulls running
parallel to one another connected by a central section
which is most often designed with a living and dining
area and in most, a galley.
I realize this may be insulting for
some, but many people inquire about "bare boat rentals",
which we really don't offer. "Chartering" refers to
"weekly" sailing or power boating holidays.
Boat rentals pertains to "daily"
charters for smaller boats such as hobie cats or day
sailors or a small power boat with outboard. Bare
boat charter companies and brokers sell *term charters*
which are a week or two in duration. You live aboard
a bare boat. Of course there are exceptions to every
rule and I can think of at least one BVI yacht charter
company which offers daily bare boat rentals.
A cockpit on a sailboat is where your
helm (steering wheel or tiller) is situated. This
is a sunken well with seating, recessed into the main
deck. A powerboat cockpit is usually an enclosure
located aft (rear) part of the boat used for lounging,
dining or fishing.
"Fully crewed" means there is a full
time captain and cook (who are often but not always
the owners) on board and sometimes a stewardess or
deck hand. It depends on the yacht if a stewardess,
deck hand or additional crew are supplied. Do not
confuse a crewed boat for a bareboat with crew. They
are not the same thing!
Davits are a wonderful feature available
on many catamarans and some power boats. Davits are
a pair of small cranes affixed to the transom (upright
part of the back end of your boat) which are used
to lift your dinghy and suspend it over the water
while underway (moving). By lifting your dinghy rather
than towing it, you are creating less drag and will
get better performance from your boat.
Caution: Crew will rapidly become
spoiled if you charter a catamaran or powerboat with
davits as they will not be required to worry about
hauling in your dinghy every time you want to anchor,
moor or dock. The good news is, if you charter a yacht
with davits, you may not need to bring all those lazy
crew members with you!
In-Mast Furling & Lazy Jacks:
Most modern yachts have furling genoas
but some also offer in-mast furling mains. This makes
furling your main sail effortless but it cannot be
fully battened. As a result, some sail performance
is lost. Lazy jacks are a terrific solution to both
Your toilet or latrine. In days of
yore, all available space on a sailing ship was used
for cargo space or as crew quarters. The bows of a
boat (pointy end) must be shaped to easily cut through
water and weight must be distributed amidships (middle
section) or slightly aft (rear). As a result, crew
quarters were spread throughout the bows of a ship
or aftermost part of the ship.
But what to do with that v-shaped
space at the bows? That space wasn't much good for
anything other than storing anchor line and ground
tackle (chain and anchor). Now there's a convenient
place for a latrine! As it was almost always located
forward or *ahead* ... the potty became known as "the
I have no idea if this is true or
false as I picked it out of the nether regions of
my head (the one on top of my shoulders), but it sounded
good to me!
In simple terms, a monohull is any
conventional sailboat or powerboat with just one hull.
The term "multihull" is a catamaran
or trimaran. It is a classification for yachts having
more than one hull which is extensively used by charter
Option or Hold:
Your yacht charter broker or bareboat
company may offer an "option" or "hold" on whichever
bare boat you are interested in chartering. This is
a tentative booking which is placed in your name pending
receipt of your contract, sailing resume and deposit
payment. An option is usually in effect for 5 to 10
days (depending upon the company) and provided payment
and documents are received within time allowed. After
receipt, your boating holiday will then be confirmed.
Usually a single bed (berth) which
is located within easy access to the helm in either
the main saloon or a companionway (corridor). A pilot
berth was originally intended for the captain or his
second in command, who took the midnight watch and
needed to be close to the helm.
Food and beverages or grocery provisions
for your sailing holiday. There are several companies
located in various places and close to marinas which
will do your provisioning for you and deliver to your
charter base. See BVI
Yacht Provisioning for more information.
RIB or R.I.B.:
You will see this reference in many
equipment lists. It stands for *Rigid Inflatable Boat*.
How can it be rigid and inflatable at the same time?
The hull is rigid (which helps the boat track through
the water) while inflatable pontoons are mounted to
the sides of the dinghy and provide a nice soft cushion
for one's posterior. R.I.B.s are much preferred to
the standard rigid dinghies of days past, which tended
to be responsible for innumerable and sometimes very
painful boat bites* after a night out!
Note: A "Boat Bite" is any bruise
or minor injury received aboard a yacht, which is
usually self inflicted through clumsiness, inebriation,
being in the wrong place at the right time or taking
part in sailing regattas. Racing sailors (at least
those who actually work) are often covered in boat
bites after a lively race!
Sleep Aboard (SAB):
You may arrive in the BVI late in
the afternoon or evening, when it is no longer possible
to get underway for your charter holiday. Most bareboat
companies offer what is called a "sleep aboard" the
night before your bare boat sailing vacation begins.
This means you may hire your yacht (at a reduced rate)
to sleep aboard while still docked on company premises.
A sleep aboard does not mean you may
leave any earlier than the time stated in your charter
contract, which is usually noon. Several companies
reserve the right to board your boat (with you aboard)
prior to noon in order to complete last minute preparations
Arrange your sleep aboard (SAB) when
you make your reservation. In high season, there may
be times when the yacht you've chartered isn't available
for a sleep aboard. In this case, ask your broker
or charter company to arrange nearby hotel accommodations
No, not the kind you bounce up and
down on! A trampoline is a stretchy, lightweight fabric
or woven netting stretched between between two hulls
of a catamaran (or three hulls of a trimaran) at the
bow (pointy end) of the yacht which acts as a safety
net for sailors when on the forward hulls. Although
initially designed as a safety feature to prevent
sailors from falling overboard, a trampoline also
offers a great deal of additional lounging space and
is probably the most popular feature on any catamaran
and one which children are automatically drawn to.
When I first designed this web site,
I included "trampoline" in our equipment list on all
catamaran pages. That reference was quickly removed
when clients began requesting catamarans with the
biggest trampoline! Apparently, they thought this
would be great fun for their kids to use to dive off
their boat! Errrmm, nope.
A trimaran has three hulls which run
parallel to one another with the middle hull often
being shorter than the two outer hulls. There are
very few trimarans available for charter. However,
the largest trimaran in the world, (Cuan Law), is
located in the British Virgin Islands and is available
for scuba diving or larger parties of up to 20 guests.
If interested in chartering Cuan Law ... call us!
A bed, aboard anything afloat, is
properly referred to as a "berth" . The "V-berth"
is situated at the bow and follows the contour of
the boat into an inverted V shape.
A windlass is probably the most wonderful
invention since the light bulb and can make your sailing
holiday a real dream. It is a device which will lift
your anchor for you. If you have ever had to struggle
to lift a 45 lb. anchor, you will certainly appreciate
this handy gizmo!
Treat theses little gems as if they
were your best friend in the world! Don't ask a windlass
to do what it was not designed to do. It is not intended
to be used as a come along, so don't try to reel your
boat up to the anchor using your windlass. Proper
procedure is to drive up over the anchor (so it is
positioned just below your bow) ... and THEN step
on the wndlass' *UP* button to lift your anchor off
the sea bed. A good windlass costs thousands of dollars,
so don't go burning out its motor because you didn't
understand how to use one!
No you don't put your anchor on a
scale to see how much it weighs! To weigh anchor means
to take up or lift the anchor off the sea bed when
getting underway or "under weigh".
Yacht Charter Broker:
There are bareboat and crewed yacht
charter companies and yacht charter brokers who sell
for them. Simply put, charter brokers sell term charter
holidays aboard any number of privately owned yachts
supplied through various charter companies or private
owners. For more information, see Charter Yacht Broker.
Don't confuse a yacht broker with
a charter broker. Yacht brokers sell yachts. Charter
brokers sell sailing or power boating holidays!
If there are any nautical terms
you would like to see listed in our glossary ... let
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