How to Book
Dream Machine is managed by CYOA who handles every detail of bookings as well as all terms and conditions. As the owners we pretty much go through the same process booking the boat as you do. So let me explain the process the best I can.
First - are you qualified to charter a bareboat? A pretty large bareboat. If the answer to this is negative or you perhaps feel a little rusty and/or stressed with the responsibility you might consider hiring a captain (or "sailing guide") - either for the duration of the charter or for a day or two until you get the hang of things. No shame in that. CYOA can assist you with the hire of a captain - you just need to let them know.
Second - what size and type of boat will suit your needs? How many cabins you need depends on both the size of your crew as well as who among you can bunk together. CYOA manages many different boats so you should study the fleet guide and find what would work for you in the price range you are willing to pay. In general, price increases as the boat gets larger and newer. Equipment affects the price but to a lesser degree.
The full details regarding booking a boat can be found on the CYOA web site here. Here is my commentary on the process:
1. Once you have found a boat or maybe two that you like and you have found some dates open on the on-line reservation calendar that will work for you (having an alternative set of dates helps) you can either call CYOA reservations (800-944-2962) or you can click this button and fill in the form.
Either way, you will likely be communicating with Sarah who is very nice and professional and spends many days each year looking over the boats and taking notes. She has the reservation calendar in front of her which is possibly more up-to-date than the on-line version. Personally I prefer to call her because you can very quickly discuss options. There is nothing high pressure about this call. Sarah is not trying to talk you into or out of a boat. That's not the CYOA style at all. You can call them and have an entirely pleasant conversation to look at your options. If you do call Sarah please mention that you have been at the Dream Machine web site.
2. Once you think you have found what you are looking for you can let reservations know and they will put a hold on the boat and dates. The hold is usually for 48 hours. The purpose of this time is for you to get your ducks in a row and potentially look into travel arrangements to see if you can get to St Thomas on the dates you want to book at a price that doesn't make you want to puke.
3. I highly recommend that you consider a sleep aboard. This allows you to use the boat as a hotel room the night before your charter begins. You have access to the boat starting at 16:00 and possibly sooner. If you are self-provisioning you can spend the evening tracking down everything you are going to need. You can begin check out early the next morning and be on your way. A sleep aboard effectively gives you a whole day on the first day of charter vs. a half day you will get without it.
4. Keep in mind that CYOA is open for only half of Sundays. You can depart or return but you must do it by noon on Sunday. Plan accordingly!
5. You confirm the reservation or let the hold expire. Assuming you confirm the reservation, CYOA sends you a login to myCYOA - their on-line reservation and paperwork system. One of the things you will need to do as soon as possible is to fill in your sailing resume. Fill it out and be honest and complete. From this resume CYOA will determine if they believe you are qualified to charter the boat you are reserving. This is only step 1 in determining competence. In the checkout process you will take a short check out cruise in the bay. CYOA will not allow you to take the boat on your own if there is any question regarding your ability to sail the boat (one of the reasons our boat is managed by them!). So better to have a full and honest determination up-front than to be in an awkward position later on.
6. You will normally pay 50% of the charter fee at the time of the reservation.
7. Now comes the long and difficult part. You wait. Order your Crusing Guide to the Virgin Islands and read up on all the wonderful places you might go. Check out the Links Page. Point your browser to the various web cams (also on the Links page) and dream glorious times ahead on the Dream Machine. Check out the CYOA Facebook page - it's usually updated with some new posting a few times a week. Make a "like" link to the Dream Machine Facebook page - it should get an update once a week or so.
8. When the day finally comes to take Dream Machine out we sincerely wish you safe travels and a beautiful trip. Please treat her like you would your own property. Take good care of her. If you find something broken or lacking please report the issue when you return the boat so it can be taken care of before the next charter guest.
If you have any questions regarding how to make a booking or any detail for your charter I will be happy to try to answer your questions and/or point you to a useful source. See the CONTACT tab above.