BVI Charter Boat Show

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Preparing to Charter
BVI Charter Boat Show
November / December

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  Nov 2010   Village Cay Marina, Tortola    

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Our first Charter Boat Show. Lots of preparation of the boat. Cleaning, polishing, storing and displaying.

We hired a store room at a local boat yard and offloaded lots of cruising stuff.

Our brochures, being printed in Fort Lauderdale were clearly not going to make it for the show. So last minute decision, Iza flew up to Fort Lauderdale 3 days before the show, returning late in the evening before the show with brochures and other stuff that had collected at David and Carolann's apartment.

Meanwhile, Geoff carried on with various jobs on the boat and built a bar.

Iza returned late Tuesday night and we were due to take Dreaming On into the marina Wednesday morning, so not much sleep that night.

We had been allocated a "Stern to" berth. We guess these are sold to the newbees as nobody else wants them! They are 25' wide between 2 vertical piles. That's fine, but we are 24' 3" wide!!!

There was a lot of self-prep as we geared ourselves for the grilling interviews with brokers we had heard so much about.

We had been given differing views by other crews on what to prepare for brokers visits. Should we have cocktails and snacks available all day, or just coffee? Some boats had spent $1,000 on food during previous shows.

Our final decision was made on some very wise advice; the brokers don't have time for snacks and cocktails, they are working, with a busy schedule of boats. Have cold water, coffee and soft drinks available and you'll do fine. That's what we did and this worked well.

The show was hard work and emotionally draining. The brokers visit between 9am and 5pm for 4 days, so the boat and ourselves had to be ready by 8.30am and the last broker didn't clear the dock until 5.30pm. This meant cleaning up from overnight rain, washing and cleaning the boat starting 6.30am every day. Making sure all the toys were displayed.

The brokers came and went in quick succession all day, and we had well over 50 interviews. Most were fun and not as "heavy" as we had expected. All had good advice and we received many good comments and a lot of encouragement.

Then at 6pm every day, there was a social function. But we were still on display in a sense socialising and getting to know the brokers. We met many crews of all ages, most employed, some owner operators like us. A great crowd and all willing to give advice. Harvey and Traci, the crew on Pas de Deux, a 60' Fountaine Pajot catamaran were extremely helpful.

Attended our first AGM of the Charter Yacht Society. Tim Schaaf, Chairman, and the person we blame for getting us into this business was in fine form. Tim has been great since we first met him in the boatyard while our engines were being fixed. An incredible source of charter and local knowledge.

The third night was "International Night." Boats could volunteer to represent a country of their choice and provide appropriate food and drink.

About 25 boats volunteered. We did "Dubai." Iza put an incredible amount of work into the preparation, trying to work through the day while brokers were visiting, hiding half-prepared dishes when they arrived, trying to keep the boat tidy and clean all the way through. Then, with the last brokers not clearing the dock until 5.30, 30 minutes to change Dreaming On's image.

We printed out a 5' x 3' silhouette Dubai skyline and pinned this to our rear sun awnings, with a "Welcome to Dubai" sign and printed Dubai flag labels to stick in the evening passports of the visiting brokers. The sun awnings gave the feel of entering a tent. Our only regret was that in the rush to get ready, we forgot to photograph the set-up. We were told by many people that we were by far the best of the night. As a result, those that came revisited us and recommended other brokers to visit us.

In addition, everyone was taken by our new board game, a Dreaming On creation; "Virgin island Trivia Trail". A cross between Snakes and Ladders, treasure Island and Trivial Pursuits.

We had decided to follow a dolphin theme as we have a dolphin in our logo. We found some inflatable dolphin kid's water toys so had them displayed. We also had to make a passerelle for people to board the boat as we knew we would be moored stern to. This meant a walk from the timber yard in St. Thomas to the dinghy with 4 planks of 6" x 4" timber 8' long! Made up the passerelle and drew dolphins on the planks.

One of the items Iza had found and brought back from Fort Lauderdale was a number of small glass dolphin pendants in many colours. These were given to lady brokers, (the majority), and went down extremely well.

It seems that were were one of the nominees for best in class, based on us, the condition and presentation of the boat, the innovation of the board game and the range of toys. So we must have done something right!












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