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MarineMax Trip Review

The BVI on a MarineMax 433 by Gage Lewis 2013


Dufour 433 MarineMax My husband and I decided to charter a sailboat with two other couples and we are so happy we decided to go through Virgin Island Sailing! This was going to be our first bareboat experience and our first time in the Virgin Islands, so choosing a reputable and responsive charter company was imperative. Joann from Virgin Island Sailing was so patient with us and answered all of our many questions and happily accommodated several changes to our requirements. She found us a 42’ Dufour sailboat from MarineMax which was perfect for our needs and budget.


With our boat booked we were ready to get to the Islands.

MarineMax 433 Group



Day One:
We flew into St. Thomas on January 23rd and our flight was 2.5 hours delayed arriving. We quickly realized we were going to miss the last ferry to Tortola where our boat was docked, so we emailed Joann at Virgin Island Sailing to let her know. She was extremely helpful and alerted MarineMax that we would not arrive before they closed. We were thankful we had a plane full of people going to Tortola and a local called ahead to the ferry and asked if they would hold it for all of us, and they did!

looking out to sea

We arrived in Tortola and took a short cab ride to Hodge’s Creek Marina where Marine Max is located.  When we arrived, the office was closed, but there was a friendly sign welcoming us and pointing us to our boat which was lit up, had music playing and everything ready for us to move in for the week. 


We ordered our provisions through Bobby’s Market beforehand and they delivered everything that evening. We also were able to quickly walk down to Pusser’s for a quick bite to eat before returning to the boat for the night where we had a complimentary bottle of rum waiting on us!




Day Two:

Friends on Deck The next morning we had a thorough, patient, and customized briefing with Darren Mason from Marine Max who was extremely knowledgeable. We all decided to head to Cooper Island first, which was a quick sail across the Channel to catch a mooring ball, got in a good swim, and then hopped on the dinghy and headed up to Cooper Island Beach Club where you can pay for your mooring ball. This place was great! They have happy hour from 4-6, had lots of games to play at the bar, cocktail tables in the water, and plenty of seating to watch the sunset. It was a great first day. We ended the night cooking dinner on the boat and playing a game we bought at the Beach Club.
Sailboat Sunset


Day Three:

Sailboats in the bay The next morning we woke up early and sailed to Norman Island and The Bight. It was about a 2.5 hour sail and the winds were great with a steady 13 mph wind. We had no problem getting a mooring ball once at The Bight and paid when a dinghy came around to collect. A few of us took the dinghy to the Pirate’s Bight Restaurant and Bar for happy hour and my husband and I hung out on the boat to take in some sun. We were glad we did because Deliverance (a floating provision shop!) came around and we re-stocked some essentials, ice, beer and wine!


That night we had dinner at Pirate’s Bight, watched another great sunset, and listened to a great band that played until about 10:30 p.m. when we decided it was time to head to Willy T’s! That is a must if you are in The Bight at Norman Island.

dinner at Pirate's Bight


Day Four:

The Caves

The next morning we grabbed a mooring ball just around the corner at The Caves to do some snorkeling which was well worth the stop!

We left the caves and sailed to Jost van Dyke which took us about 3 hours with 10-13 mph winds. We picked up a mooring ball at Great Harbour and immediately took the dinghy over to White Bay where we went to One Love Bar and Soggy Dollar before the sunset. We headed back to the boat after sunset and took the dinghy to Foxy’s for dinner. We had a great time at both places and would highly recommend all three!

Relaxing on the beach



Day Five:
The next morning we sailed the short distance to Diamond Cay in between Jost van Dyke and Little Jost. This was my favorite day of the trip. We got the last mooring ball and took the dinghy in to Foxy’s Taboo for lunch. It was a great place with an even better view. We took a walk to the Bubbly Pool and took a little detour to watch the waves roll in from the ocean. It was absolutely stunning! Once we got to the bubbly pool we were so glad we took the time to hike was awesome!

The Bubbly Pool Waves
Full Moon

After realizing we needed to set sail, we hurried back to the boat around 1:30 and had a great sail back to the West End of Tortola to stay in Soper’s Hole for the night. This was the first time we were unable to get a mooring ball, so we used the anchor for the first time, which was simple with the electric windlass system on our boat.


We took the dinghy to the docks at Pusser’s and got a taxi to Bomba Shack for the full moon party. We had a great time and couldn’t believe the amount of people at one little place! The full moon was spectacular too!


Day Six:
We lost our crew the next morning because everyone else had to get back to the real world, but my husband and I had two more nights on the boat alone. We decided the easiest thing to do would be to head over to Peter Island since it was already noon. We decided on Great Harbour, but we came up short on a mooring ball again. We decided to anchor, but were a little weary since the winds were blowing a steady 15 mph that day. After a couple of hours we felt confident we weren’t going anywhere so we took the dinghy around the cove and it was really beautiful. Peter Island is very peaceful and a great spot to watch local fisherman catch fish in a protected area within Great Harbour. We headed to Oceans Seven for dinner and it was our best meal yet! Hands down the best conch fritters I have ever had and I have tried a lot!


The next morning we decided to go back to Hodge’s Creek, power up at the dock, and have a relaxing night out in Road Town. Bentley who was on duty at Marine Max was so helpful when we arrived. He handled everything and got us all hooked up and ready to spend the night on the boat with air conditioning! He even offered to give us a ride to Long Bay Beach, but we had enough sun at that point! We went to Road Town that evening, watched the sunset and had drinks at Village Cay, and then walked to the Dove restaurant for dinner. This is definitely a special occasion kind of place, but was one of the most amazing and inventive meals I have had. They also have a champagne happy hour from 5-7 which was a lot of fun. We didn’t have a reservation and it was crowded, but the hostess was very accommodating. After spending the night on the boat, it was time to take the ferry back to St. Thomas. Marine Max didn’t need us to do a thing, just close up the boat, take off the trash, and off we went.


MarineMax Vacation

This was an amazing vacation and we can’t wait to do it again, especially with the help of Joann and the rest of the team at VI Sailing.


Gage and Courtney Lewis
Washington, DC
MarineMax 433 Dufour
Charter dates: January 23-30, 2013

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