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EXPERT PICKS

Barefoot on a Bareboat

If you're going to the Caribbean to to take in the ocean, why not skip the land altogether? Charters generally last a week to 10 days. Weekly rates run from $1,900 to $6,000 during the high season and as little as half that in the off-season. The only requirement is that you have at least one proficient sailor in your group (though it's probably better to have more). If your skills aren't up to snuff, you can hire a skipper at $80 to $120 a day. Here, Yachting magazine executive editor Kenny Wooten picks the top outfitters.

Caribbean Yacht
One of the older and better-established charter companies, CYC is based in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. 800-225-2520

Catamaran Charters
Catamarans are fast, stable, and roomier than most monohull boats. With cabins in the four corners of the two hulls, they can sleep more people with greater privacy. Catamaran Charters has the largest catamaran fleet in the Caribbean, with bases in the British Virgin Islands, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and St. Martin. 305-462-6506

The Moorings
The world's largest charter company, with six Caribbean bases. The company's in-house travel agency can make all of your travel arangements. 800-535-7289

Nautor's Swan
Based in St. Martin, its fleet is made up entirely of Swans, which are considered the luxury sedan of yachts. The outfitter also offers "Learn to Sail" and "Learn to Cruise" programs. 800-356-7926

Stardust Marine
A French company, Stardust's large and relatively new fleet includes a sizable number of catamarans. Stardust offers a complimentary first night on the boat or in a hotel. 800-634-8822

Sunsail
This company has eight bases throughout the Caribbean, but not every type of boat is available at every location. 800-327-2276

Sun Yacht Charters
Sun is the only major bareboat company that offers a full-service base in Antigua. Other locations include the British Virgin Islands and St. Martin. 800-772-3500


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