Boating and Sailing in St. Thomas

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Boating and Sailing

Calm seas, crystal waters, and nearby islands (perfect for picnicking, snorkeling, and exploring) make St. Thomas a favorite jumping-off spot for day- or weeklong sails or powerboat adventures. With more than 100 vessels from which to choose, St. Thomas is the charter-boat center of the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can go through a broker to book a sailing vessel with a crew or contact a charter company directly. Crewed charters start at approximately $2,725 per person per week, while bareboat charters can start at as little as $1,600 per person for a 50- to 55-foot sailboat (but this doesn't include provisioning, fuel, and optional add-ons like rental of water toys), which can comfortably accommodate up to six people. If you want to rent your own boat, hire a captain. Most local captains are excellent tour guides.

Single-day charters are also a possibility. You can hire smaller boats for the day, including the services of a captain if you wish to have someone take you on a guided snorkel trip around the islands.

Island Yachts. The sailboats and powerboats from Island Yachts are available for charter with or without crews. 6100 Red Hook Quarter, 18B, Red Hook, St. Thomas, 00802. 340/775–6666 or 800/524–2019. www.iyc.vi.

Magic Moments. Luxury is the word at Magic Moments, where crews aboard the 45-foot Sea Ray and 52-foot Sunseeker offer pampered island-hopping snorkeling cruises for $475 per person (children ages 2–10 are half price). Nice touches include a wine-and-lobster lunch and icy-cold eucalyptus-infused washcloths for freshening up. American Yacht Harbor, Docks B and C, Red Hook, St. Thomas, 00802. 340/775–5066. www.yachtmagicmoments.com.

Nauti Nymph. A large selection of 26- to 35-foot powerboats and power catamarans are available from this company. Rates, which vary from $560 to $945 a day, include snorkeling gear, water skis, and outriggers, but not fuel. You can hire a captain for $140 more per day. American Yacht Harbor Marina, Dock B and C, Red Hook, St. Thomas, 00802. 540/775–5066 or 800/734–7345. www.nautinymph.com.

Stewart Yacht Charters. Run by longtime sailor Ellen Stewart, this company is skilled at matching clients with yachts and crews for weeklong charter holidays. 6501 Red Hook Plaza, Ste. 20, Red Hook, St. Thomas, 00802. 340/775–1358 or 800/432–6118. www.stewartyachtcharters.com.

VIP Yacht Charters. Bareboat sail- and powerboats, including a selection of stable trawlers, are available at VIP Yacht Charters. Compass Point Marina, South off Rte. 32, Estate Frydenhoj, St. Thomas, 00802. 340/774–9224 or 866/847–9224. www.vipyachts.com.

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