BVI Yacht Charters is 20 this June! This is a great landmark and one to be celebrated by anyone who has ever worked or sailed with us. We are so grateful for everyone’s support as there is no doubt that a company cannot survive this long without it.
BVIYC emerged in 1995 although it had been going under a different name since 1973 when Bill and Sarah Hirst first opened BVI Bareboats in Fort Burt, Road Town, Tortola.
Their first charter was a Pearson 300 named ‘Matchmaker’ although Bill said it should have been named ‘Moneymaker’ as the boat did 40 weeks of charter in its first year!
After regular expansion, the company, then under the new ownership of Steven Steer, a former Caribbean Sailing Yachts manager, moved to Inner Harbour Marina in the heart of Road Town.
Word soon spread of the ideal sailing conditions present in the BVI and as such, the fleet grew with the additions of Gulfstar 40s, CSY 44s and Morgans.
In 1995, with the help of a Dutch sailing friend, current owner Arjan Stoof purchased BVI Bareboats and soon changed the name to BVI Yacht Charters, a decision that paid off when Google began to dominate the world!
The fleet consisted of ten older boats along with an additional six operated under a management agreement for another charter company.
Many friendships and business relationships were formed in the early years that continue to this day. To name a few from those early BVIYC days, Greg Kalbfleisch and Hubert Kustermann have had boats with us all the way through.
In December 1995, the boat Mauwingo, a Gibsea 42, arrived on the dock with a delivery crew and a broken engine. Owners Charly and Ralf become good friends, and decided to leave their boat in our management. Today, Charly owns not one but three boats in the fleet.
It is this kind of wonderful loyalty that has played such an important role in the company’s life.
The early years proved difficult as the BVI took a direct hit from Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn in the fall of 1995, followed by Hurricane Bertha the following year. Luckily, the fleet sustained minimal damage due to maximum storm preparation. Six years later we barely survived the lack of tourists after the 9/11 attack.
Over time, the visitors did return and business improved although our luck did not.
A fire burned down Spaghetti Junction restaurant in 2004, destroying our workshop, storage and laundry rooms and forcing us to make an impromptu workshop in a 40ft. container to survive.
Throughout the years, the development and improvement of the internet made a huge impact on our growth, making it easier to communicate with customers. In 2006, we moved to our present location at Joma Marina.
With a strong commitment to customer service and maintaining the fleet to a high standard, the company has continued to expand. Today, we have over fifty boats in the fleet and operate bases in both Tortola and St. Martin. We offer a range of monohulls and catamarans some new, some nearly new and others not so new.
Being part of this industry is a special privilege. We have been involved in so many incredible vacations and nothing pleases us more than helping people explore some of the most beautiful islands on earth.
It has been an amazing journey and one we hope to enjoy for another 20 years and more!