So, Irma may have won this round, but don’t despair: While your yacht is in the yard, you have options for getting on the water.
A number of leading bareboat companies got walloped this hurricane season, especially those with fleets in the Virgin Islands. They’re working to replace as many hulls as possible before the winter season — and the good news is that some other companies didn’t have all too many repairs to do. MarineMax Vacations, which has 45 bareboats from about 36 to 50 feet length overall, only lost four to Irma’s wrath, and the company had already preordered about 15 more to arrive by December. On Florida’s west coast, the fleet at Southwest Florida Yachts suffered only cosmetic damage, and it also has boats currently available.
2. Crewed Catamarans
Power and sailing catamarans that run with two or three crew in the islands are going to be a mixed bag this season. Some fleets with a lot of cats, such as St. Thomas-based Regency Yacht Vacations, reported only a fraction of their hulls damaged or lost. Others, including CharterPort BVI and Voyage Charters on Tortola, sustained severe wreckage. It’s worth a call to see if a crewed cat is available. As the fleets rebuild and new boats come online, openings should emerge.
3. Crewed Large Yachts
Only a handful of crewed charter yachts 80 feet and longer reported damage from Irma. Many were still in the Mediterranean for the tail end of the summer season when she struck; those that rode out the storm on this side of the Atlantic, for the most part, fared well. Quite a few owners and captains have already committed to the Caribbean for this winter, with a goal of bringing tourism revenue to the islands. If you call a broker, you should be able to find a crewed yacht, especially if your charter dates are flexible between now and April.