Yacht Charter trip to the British Virgin Islands

As we prepare for our yacht charter sailing vacation to the British Virgin Islands  this month, I want to post a few emails that we are sending out to the group that is going. Below is one from my wife discussing provisioning. The name of our trip every year is called Bonga Bonga. Some years we do tee shirts. I’ve got one dating back to 1997 when we went to St. Maarten.

SUBJ: Bonga Bonga 2009

Hey all,

Here are a few tips we have picked up during our charter sailing trips – thought I would share.


  1. Towels – you get two towels per person for the week – that is for swimming and showering – I take a few cheap hand towels along,  very nice to have later in the week when you towel is yuck.  Some people take a beach towel along – numerous smaller ones seem to be a better bet.
  2. Daily I give the floor in the salon a wipe down – gets rid of the hair, crumbs and sand – best for this is wipes – either Clorox or Baby wipes,  great for cleaning the counters too.  We have been taking baby wipes along for years and swear by them.  My used hand towel then becomes the door mat – helps tremendously with keeping the interior clean.
  3. Toilets – if even one toilet stinks the entire boat stinks – hang a toilet freshener in the bowl from day one and the problem is solved.
  4. Liquid body wash or soap – bar soap slips and slides all over your bathroom and when showering on deck it generally lands in the sea!
  5. BONINE – the very best motion sickness tablet – no side effects, you can drink etc.  Don’t be tough and be uncomfortable – be a woosy and have fun – take a tab on day one and then if the weather gets rough you’ll be ok! Otherwise since we have a catamaran if you’re not too susceptible then you should not get sick.
  6. Floaties – up until our last trip you could still not buy Noodles for a reasonable price. It’s nice to have something to float on other than the boat fenders. So consider squeezing one in or a cheep blow up floatee. Vacuum suck the air out before packing since the airline will nail you for baggage these days.
  7. Sippy Cups – although your drink is safer on a Cat,  the best bet is a sippy cup for less spills – bring the most outrageous cup – win award!
  8. Sunscreen – need I remind you.
  9. Snorkeling gear – there is gear at the charter base, so not worries borrowing any if you don’t already own.
  10. Zip lock bags – there is no Tupperware on the boat – zip locks are the easiest for food storage – left overs / cheeses etc. Only once have we been able to buy zip lock bags in the islands – so just in case I suggest taking them along.
  11. PROVISIONS – couple of take alongs – sometimes hard or impossible to get in the islands.

    1. Wasabi – I have bought 2 tubes as I have full confidence in my fisherman!
    2. Soy Sauce – for the endless sashimi
    3. Coffee – if you are fussy the coffee there is poor to pathetic – take your java along.  We drink decaf, so we take an extra plunger as not to hog the coffee pot.
    4. Benadryl for any bites and /or itch ease.  (Stingrays / eels – only kidding!  Mosquitos/jellyfish)
  12. Cloth shopping bags. Use these for the freezer. Put similar things together so that you cn pull out and not find all the stuff in the bottom of the freezer at the end of the week.

Provisioning in Tortola
Don’t over stock, there are places along the way to pick up supplies.

Whenever we have bought beef – it has been the biggest disappointment – don’t waste your time.  Eat fish – last trip we could not eat all G caught,  and cold meats are great for lunch.  But forget the steak,  unless you get very lucky – then invite us over!

Chicken – the only time I am interested is if I can buy an already roasted chicken – great for salads / sandwiches – to cook on the boat takes to long, hot.

Pasta Sauce – a couple times during the week it is great to just whip up an easy pasta dish – I might take a fabulous pesto or two along in the suitcase.

We always seem to eat the most at cocktail hour,  one days sample menu just to get your juices flowing.
Breakfast – FRUIT, yogurt, sometimes eggs and toast, cereal.
Snacks – chips and cookies
Lunch – Salad Nicoise
Sundowners – cheese and crackers,  salmon, dips etc.  (fresh bread is not easy to find  – crackers rule)
Dinner – Artichoke  pasta and Caprese salad. Chocolate!! Port!!

ICE is the big score every day – we go in search of it…..
Other than alcohol, nice to have iced tea and fruit juice along with lots of water.
Grant is the world’s expert on making tasty rum drinks. Rum, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, mango, passion. – ouch!
We always land up drinking wine with dinner – so stock up.

Fishing gear – we need one more Reel – anyone got a fishing reel – pls let us know.

Can’t wait  – see you all in a couple of weeks. And – you all should really take NauticEd’s bareboat charter course and  catamaran sailing course. It’ll make the trip much more fun for everyone.

Hotel reservations to follow..

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Grant Headifen
Last updated on May 16th, 2022