I received several reports in the past few days that have me filled with optimism about the upcoming winter yacht charter season in the northern Caribbean and Virgin Islands.
For starters, Virgin Island Sailing said that its first charters since those islands reopened for business November 1 have gone well. The company shared this feedback from clients: “We are one of the fortunate ones that came early and soaked up the peace and seclusion of the islands. we were the only boat docked in the bays and had entire beaches completely to ourselves. To be able to have the Gorda Baths just by ourselves was an experience of a lifetime!! This family was here to celebrate life and spend ‘off-the-grid’ time together, and that’s exactly what was delivered, in paradise. Yes, the hurricane damage is devastating, and families and businesses are torn apart, but yet nature is quickly repairing itself.”
Then came word from the BVI’s legendary own Foxy, who owns the popular cruise-up bar on Jost Van Dyke. He shared similar news in his own inimitable, musical way:
A similar report came in from longtime charter managers Lara-Jo Houghting at Churchill Yacht Partners and Nicole Caulfield at RJC Yachts, both of whom I have learned to trust wholeheartedly over the years. They flew to Sint Maarten to assess that island’s condition in late November, and reported back that while on-shore devastation does remain, the island appears to be safe, functional (including the airport and key marinas) and ready to welcome charter yachts to the harbors and bays that remain just as naturally beautiful as ever.
“We met with several locals on both sides of the island, and the people seemed to be very grateful to be alive despite their material losses, and compassionate towards their neighbors,” they wrote. “They confirmed that the Red Cross and their governments are supporting the people. … We met with crew members who have been staying down there for a while and they confirm that they have not had any security issues or concerns.”
And, despite initial fears that yachts might stay away from the damaged destinations, there have been even more charter yachts confirming their plans to take bookings in the Caribbean and Virgin Islands this winter. Here’s a look at some of them:
Plus, of course, the annual Antigua Charter Yacht Show opens today and is expected to be as busy as ever. That island—a longtime northern Caribbean hub for charter yachts—sustained minimal damage during hurricane season and has long been open for business.
Overall, it seems like the general message is that, yes, charter clients will see some post-hurricane devastation and recovery efforts underway, but they may also have the beautiful bays and islands much to themselves this winter, and the yachts’ presence is a welcome one as the affected islands continue to rebuild.
Any reputable charter broker can give you more detailed information about specific islands and itineraries, or help you book a Caribbean or Virgin Islands yacht charter this winter.