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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection

by Lynne
July 2006

General Tips:
Don't overpack! Everyone admits they pack too much - you will need far less on charter than you think, particularly in a warm climate.
Pack in duffle-type bags, which can be easily stored onboard when not in use. Some duffles have rollers if weight is an issue.
Take a carry-on with essentials such as personal care items, any medications and a change of clothes (including undergarments), just in case you make it to the island before your luggage does. (See Jackie's article on "Lost Luggage")
Bring zip-lock bags in a variety of sizes. These come in handy for packing sunscreen and other items that can open and make a mess in your luggage.
Don't forget your proof of citizenship (passport for most destinations). Until Jan 1, 2007 the BVI will accept a certified copy of your birth certificate and picture ID for US and Canadian citizens.
You may want to bring your own mask & snorkel, particularly if you have corrective lenses (which make all the differences for those who need glasses) or if you have a mask you know really fits your face. Most bareboat companies do however provide a good variety of snorkel gear (including fins in all sizes) for you to chose from when you arrive. Rented equipment is also available. Fully crewed yachts will have snorkel gear onboard for all guests. They will ask for your shoe size to make sure they have suitable fins available.

What to Wear:
You'll need plenty of T-shirts and shorts. Dress is casual in the islands and it is normally acceptable to wear shorts and T-shirts ashore to dinner. Slacks and a collared shirt or light dress for the ladies are a better choice for some of the more "formal" places (which are few); light sleepwear; a lightweight cover-up to protect you from sunburn (a long-sleeved white cotton shirt works well); hat and sunglasses; a light windbreaker (for up on deck at night or for those afternoon showers while sailing); sandals, tennis shoes or boat shoes (no shoes are worn on crewed yachts, but bring them for walking on shore); at least 2 bathing suits. If you're chartering a bareboat, you may want to pack a beach towel (crewed yachts provide them). All boats will have linens and bath towels on board.

Personal Care:
Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Creams are best, as oils can make the decks slick and may stain cushions; and, just in case, aloe or something like it for soothing sunburn pain; toiletries; medications (bring only what you'll need for the number of days you'll be away and in the bottle with the prescription details; a good insect repellent (some of the herbal varieties work well). First-Aid Kit - crewed yachts will have one on board, but the bareboat companies supply very "basic" items only. If you are concerned about what first-aid items will be on board, you may want to bring a small kit of your own.

A Word About Hairdryers And Other Electronics:
Many fully crewed yachts have generators or inverters and can accommodate the use of hairdryers on board. Most bareboats do not have this luxury, however, Renport's Power Plus Pak offers a fold-up hairdryer and all the electronics to make it work! See www.renport.com for details on this and other conveniences for your yacht. Although it's hard to convince people, the tradewinds are really the best hairdryer in the tropics - very effective and they don't heat up the cabin!

Don't forget your favorite CD's. Almost all bareboats and crewed yachts are equipped with CD players. Crewed yachts usually already have a colletion of CD's (and DVDs) on board, but you can always bring your own.
And don't forget that book you always meant to start - or finish - for those relaxing afternoons on deck.

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