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Ed Hamilton &

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

a new bareboat listing in The Pacific

by Ed
March 2008

We've recently added a new bareboat charter company to our list of options in the South Pacific. Tahiti Yacht Charter operates from the island of Raiatea in French Polynesia.

The company has gone through several changes over the years. Until fairly recently, it was owned by VPM, a French company with its focus mainly on the European market and a style of pricing and presentation that was not what most North American charterers were used to. This, coupled with our feeling that VPM was more concerned with growth and volume than quality, led us to choose not to offer this base until recently.

In 2002, the founder of TYC bought the company back from VPM, and has gone about rebuilding the brand with a nice selection of mostly newer, well-equipped catamarans ranging from 38 to 46 feet, and a 47 foot monohull. Their more luxurious 'Tropiques' bareboat cats come with 220v generators and air conditioning.
For those who want a bit more luxury and like to leave the work to someone else, there is the 'Grande Croisiere' class of cats, including the hugely popular Lagoon 440 and 500 models. These boats require a TYC skipper aboard, and come with 220v generators, air conditioning, and watermakers, the latter being a real plus in these islands.

Raiatea lies in the center of the Iles Sous le Vent, or Leeward Islands, which make up a section of Polynesia known as the Society Islands. Commonly referred to as Tahiti due their proximity to their more widely known and bigger sister, the Iles Sous le Vent cruising ground incorporates Bora Bora, Huahine, and Tahaa which shares an atoll with Raiatea.

The sailing here is an interesting mix of flat-water lagoon sailing, and open ocean, which is experienced when making the 4 to 5 hour hop from atoll to atoll. Within each unique lagoon, there are myriad anchorages and motus, (islets on the fringing reef), to explore. Polynesia is sold as a year round destination, but the best time to charter is from May - October. We recommend you avoid December through February, which is the rainy season.

Air access is easier than is often assumed with an 8 hour flight from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti, and an additional 40 minute or so inter-island flight from Papeete to Raiatea. Tahiti Yacht Charter operates from Apooti Marina, conveniently located 5 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes from Raiatea's main town of Uturoa.

If you'd like more information on sailing this tropical paradise, please give one of our bareboat brokers a call, or request boat information and prices. Sunsail and The Moorings also operate from Raiatea.

Photographs on this page were taken by David Kirkland and may not be reproduced without his permission.

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
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