Colder weather in the Mediterranean and the Northeast U.S. means it’s time to head to sunnier climes. Fall is when the charter yacht season heats up in the Caribbean. Shows in the BVI, USVI and Antigua give brokers from across the globe a chance to check-out the fleet and book vacations for their clients.
“The more well informed the sales force (brokers), the more successful they will be at placing clients on our charter yachts,” explains Janet Oliver, executive director of the Charter Yacht Society of the BVI, based in Road Town, Tortola, which puts on the BVI Charter Yacht Show. “The better the client experience, the higher the chances of them returning and, of course, sharing their experience with their friends and families. Pictures and crew profiles cannot replace face to face interaction.”
33rd Annual BVI Charter Yacht Show
November 5th-8th 2014
Charter Yacht Society of the BVI
Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola
The BVI Charter Yacht Show will once again welcome a capacity fleet of 70 yachts, with a waiting list already started back in the summer. There will be quite a few new yachts, and some of them are coming into the industry for the first time. Plenty of the BVIs’ favorite and most frequently booked crewed charter yachts will also return. Catamarans continue to dominate the show, but there are some power cats and a small handful of monohulls booked as well.
This year will see a repeat of last year’s first annual Croker (Crew/Broker) Olympics.
“Crews and brokers team up to compete in competitions such as the three legged race (in swim fins), crab races, galloping fenders and pie throwing. In 2013 we raised $500 for VISAR (Virgin Islands Search and Rescue) at the event,” says Janet Oliver.
The educational component of the show will include new broker and new crew orientations. Instead of the usual CYBA (Caribbean Yacht Brokers Association) Education Seminar, there will be a round table with a panel discussion by clearing house, brokerage and crew representatives. Topics will include how to handle repeat business in today’s social media world, pre-charter communications and what’s new in the BVI.
A ‘green theme’ to the show continues.
“We will offer refillable bottles, host an informative seminar on environmental matters in the BVI and do what we can to assure waste is dealt with in a responsible manner,” says Oliver.
The highly anticipated annual Culinary Competition, set for November 7th, will be rum-themed this year thanks to sponsor Mount Gay.
40th Annual VICL Fall Yacht Show
November 10th-12th 2014
Virgin Islands Charteryacht League
Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas
“This year is our 40th annual show and we’ll be celebrating our involvement in the community as one of the oldest operating non-profit organizations in addition to show-casing the yachts, captains and crew who participate,” says Brianne Beatty, new executive director of the St. Thomas, USVI-based Virgin Islands Charteryacht League.
Forty brokers and 20 yachts, half of last year’s attendance, had already signed up by mid-August. The fleet will feature sailing yachts, both multihulls and monohulls, and motor yachts as well. These yachts have hailing ports from all over the United States and the Caribbean and charter in the USVI and BVI at least part of the year. Brokers have signed up from various agencies all over the globe, yet the majority hail from the U.S. and the Caribbean.
“We have scheduled a sit down lunch seminar for brokers, captains and owners on November 11th to discuss topics that are important to them and the industry as a whole,” says Beatty. “Some of the topics suggested are broker commissions on multiple repeat clientele and policies on combining discounts such as children’s discounts and half board.”
The eco-friendly show will switch from a box to buffet lunch for its seminar, omit straws and offer reusable cups to cut down on trash. The VICL will also add recipes for natural cleaning products and tips to go green in all the captains’ bags.
New this year is a return of an old favorite, and that is Grand Marnier as the theme of the November 11th Culinary Contest.
53rd Antigua Charter Yacht Show
December 5th-11th 2014
Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting
Nelson’s Dockyard Marina in English Harbour & Falmouth Harbor Marina and Antigua Yacht Club
Marina in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua
Over 57 boats registered for the Antigua Charter Yacht Show by mid-August, over half of the usual fleet that tops off between 95 and 105 in total annually.
“Everyone thinks we’re a power yacht show, but the fleet we have showing is almost equal between power and sail,” says show manager, Sarah Sebastian. “Also, it’s not all big boats either. We have everything from 55-foot monohulls and catamarans to a 297-foot motoryacht, plus, this year we’ll have Athena, at 295-foot, the largest private sailing yacht in the world.”
Twenty-three brokerage companies had signed up by August, with brokers representing destinations such as Indonesia, Bali, the Canary Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries.
“I expect we’ll soon see charter guests from places like China, Singapore and Dubai,” says Sebastian.
New are seminars on everything from destinations to onboard safety and firefighting.
New also is a stop to the yacht hop party in favor of a Marina Night in each of the three host marinas. These quieter hors d’oeuvres-type events will allow the brokers to better focus on the yachts and crews.
This year’s Charter Chef Competition, set for December 9th, continues with its theme of healthy eating by asking chefs to prepare a three-course Caribbean-style gluten-free dinner.
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.