Frequently Asked Questions
We aim to provide the best service available when you charter with us in the Antigua & Barbuda. Below are several questions that we hear frequently. If you happen to have other questions or concerns, please feel free to e-mail or phone us any time.
- Chikungunya Virus
- What are your office hours?
- On which dock can I find the yachts?
- Where are you located on Antigua?
- Who are the base owner operators?
Customs and Immigration
- Can I bring frozen meat through customs?
- Do I need a visa?
- How long will it take to clear in and out of each island?
- Do I have to clear in and out of each island?
- How much to call home using my phone?
- Will my phone work offshore?
- How does the complimentary HYC cell phone work?
- Will my cell phone work there?
- Do you have yachts for Race Week?
- What other water sports are available besides sailing?
- What are our options for scuba diving in Antigua & Barbuda?
- Where do you recommend that we rent snorkeling gear?
- What is the one way fee to St Martin?
- Do you offer one ways?
- Are there mosquito nets on the boat?
- Are there mosquitoes? What time do they come out?
- Are there pirates?
- Are there boat boys?
- What specific sailing skills must we have for your islands?
- What is Barbuda like?
- What is Antigua like?
- Do you have any suggested itineraries or routes?
- What’s the weather like in the summer?
- How big are the seas?
- Do you provide crew?
- Do you offer Sailing instruction courses?
- Will my sailing experience require a skipper?
- When are the best times of year to schedule a charter in Antigua & Barbuda?
- Is the drinking water safe to drink in the islands?
- What facilities are there in Jolly Harbour?
- Are there beach side restaurants?
- How much ice should I buy?
- Where can we get provisioning?
- Does the supermarket take credit cards?
- Does the supermarket have carts?
- What are the supermarket hours?
- Do you offer provisioning?
Yacht Charter Equipment
- Do you supply coals for the BBQ if I’m not provisioning?
- What do you supply on board?
- What’s included with your charter?
- What kinds of electrical appliances does the yacht support?
- Is there a proper fridge and freezer?
- What safety equipment is provided?
- What do I do with the dinghy if there’s no dinghy dock?
- Can I lock the dinghy?
- Do I always have to lift the engine off?
- Can I get a hard bottomed dinghy?
- Can I get a bigger outboard engine?
- Is there a spinnaker?
Payment and Currency
- What happens in the case that we need to cancel our charter?
- How long does it take to mail a check to you?
- What credit cards do you accept?
- How do I pay for my charter?
- What is an estimated exchange rate for US Dollars?
- What is the official currency of Antigua?
- Where can I get water and fuel?
- Do you offer “Sleep-Aboards”
- What is we arrive at your office after hours?
- When can we board the boat?
- What should we expect when we check in?
- What if my bag is delayed?
- Do I need to tip the taxi driver?
- What is the taxi fare?
- How far is the base from the airport?
The Chikungunya virus is now reported to be in the Caribbean.
- Viral disease spread by mosquitoes which bite during daylight hours
- No direct person-to-person transmission
- Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever and joint pain, particularly affecting the hands, wrists, ankles and feet
- Most patients recover after a few days but in some cases the joint pain may persist for weeks, months or even longer
Please take precautions to minimise your risk of being infected.
- Use mosquito repellents to avoid mosquito bites
- Use mosquito screens
- Wear clothing to cover your arms and legs
For more information on the Chikungunya virus please visit the US CDC website here.
What are your office hours?
Office hours are 0900-1700.
On which dock can I find the yachts?
Boats are located at Jolly Harbour Marina on ‘B’ dock, opposite Melini’s restaurant. Horizon is on the left hand side.
Where are you located on Antigua?
Jolly Harbour Marina, on the west coast of Antigua.
Who are the base owner operators?
Jackie and Al Ashford
Can I bring frozen meat through customs?
Previous guests have brought frozen meat through customs and have not been stopped.
Do I need a visa?
Visitors from these countries require a visa for Antigua: Bangladesh, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka. Check with the High Commission
How long will it take to clear in and out of each island?
It will vary, but should take 45 minutes. Be prepared to wait.
Do I have to clear in and out of each island?
Yes, it is the law. Clearing in and out involves three authorities: Immigration, Customs and Port Authority. You must visit each Department to complete the process. Only the Captain should go to clear in and out and he/she must take the passports of each crew member, plus boat registration papers and the last clearance papers for the boat.
How much to call home using my phone?
This will vary on where you are calling and at what time. A good test is to check how many funds are on the phone before you make the call, and then check how much is left after you have completed your call.
Will my phone work offshore?
The range tends to be around 4 miles offshore.
How does the complimentary HYC cell phone work?
It is a ‘pay as you go’ cell phone with EC$10 added to it. Extra top up can be purchased from bMobile top up providers around the island.
Will my cell phone work there?
It is advisable to check with your provider before you travel – mentioning each of the Caribbean islands that you intend to visit as this will make a difference.
Do you have yachts for Race Week?
No, many of our owners do not allow their yachts to be raced.
What other water sports are available besides sailing?
- Kite surfing (on north east coast)
- Windsurfing (on north east coast)
What are our options for scuba diving in Antigua & Barbuda?
There are a number of companies that you can dive with: Jolly Dive or Indigo Divers based in Jolly Harbour, or you can dive with Aquanaut based in English Harbour.
They will require you to meet them at either the Dive shop or at the dive site.
Where do you recommend that we rent snorkeling gear?
You can rent snorkeling equipment from our partner Indigo Divers (www.indigo-divers.com).
What is the one way fee to St Martin?
Plus US$795 to the charter fee. The one way fee is not subject to any discounts.
Do you offer one ways?
Yes, we offer the one way trip from Antigua to St Martin. We recommend a minimum of 8 nights for this trip.
Are there mosquito nets on the boat?
No, we don’t provide nets but the spray is effective. If you are prone to mosquito bites, then please take advice from your doctor before you leave home.
Are there mosquitoes? What time do they come out?
Yes, you will find mosquitoes in the islands and they tend to come out at around 5.45pm. Please use the complimentary can of OFF to spray on your exposed limbs (not on your face).
Are there pirates?
No, we are not aware of any pirates in our area.
Are there boat boys?
No, we don’t have any boat boys in Antigua or Barbuda.
What specific sailing skills must we have for your islands?
- Two experienced crew
What is Barbuda like?
Barbuda – our sister island in the north (4 – 5 hour sail away)
- Robinson Crusoe Island
- Famous frigate sanctuary
- 11 mile pink beach
- Deserted anchorage
What is Antigua like?
Antigua is an island of contrasts:
Bustly English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour:
- Home to mega yachts
- Restored 18th century dockyard
- Many restaurants – from French to local cuisine
- Lively bars
- Visit Shirley Heights each Sunday from 5pm – jump-up with bbq, steel bands, reggae band
North of Antigua
- Uninhabited islands
- Hill hiking for fantastic views
- Great snorkeling
- Uncrowded anchorages
East coast: Visit Nonsuch Bay – a beautiful, unspoilt bay with wonderful converted sugar mill – Harmony Hall. Italian restaurant, art gallery, close to Green Island for exploring and snorkeling.
West coast: Great sunsets and views of Montserrat
Plenty of lunch time stops:
- OJs Restaurant – famous local restaurant
- Turner’s Restaurant
Do you have any suggested itineraries or routes?
We have several sample itineraries posted on the Antigua Itineraries page.
- Antigua – Antigua – 7 nights
- Antigua – Barbuda – Antigua – 7 – 10 nights
- Antigua – Nevis/St Kitts – Antigua – 10 nights
- Antigua – St Martin – 10 – 14 nights
What’s the weather like in the summer?
The summer is around 10 degrees warmer than in the winter and the breeze is around 10 – 15 knots. Temperatures are around 80 degrees in the winter months and a little warmer in the summer.
How big are the seas?
The seas tend to be around 1.7 – 2.2m in height but this can vary depending on the conditions at the time.
Do you provide crew?
We provide professional skippers and cooks at all our bases. Their fees do not include food and beverages and optional gratuity. Crew gratuities are usually based on 10 to 15% of the charter fee.
Do you offer Sailing instruction courses?
We have experienced instructors should you wish to learn to sail or hone your sailing skills.
Will my sailing experience require a skipper?
If you are unsure on whether you have the necessary experience to sail the area of your choice, please submit a sailing resume through our website and we will be happy to assist you. As well as full chart and boat briefings to familiarize you with your cruising grounds and yacht, with prior notice, we can also provide a checkout skipper who will be happy to spend an extra couple of hours with you on a one-to-one basis.
When are the best times of year to schedule a charter in Antigua & Barbuda?
Good times to go:
- From beginning of November through to end June
- Christmas Day parade and party in Nelson’s Dockyard
- New Year’s Eve fireworks and party
- Antigua Sailing week – last Saturday in April for 7 days
- Classic Yacht Regatta –mid April
Is the drinking water safe to drink in the islands?
We do not advise that you drink tap water. Bottled water is widely available.
What facilities are there in Jolly Harbour?
Jolly Harbour Marina is a 300 acre site with:
- Fuel dock
- Large supermarket
- Liquor Store
- Golf course
- Swimming pool
- Close to beach
Are there beach side restaurants?
How much ice should I buy?
2 – 3 bags to start with.
Where can we get provisioning?
You can provision in Jolly Harbour, English Harbour, Falmouth Harbour, St Johns and there is also a small store behind Dickenson Bay.
Does the supermarket take credit cards?
Yes, they accept Visa and MasterCard. They will ask you for picture ID.
Does the supermarket have carts?
Yes, you will be asked to pay US$20 deposit for taking the cart to your boat.
What are the supermarket hours?
The supermarket opens at 7am and closes at 9pm every day (shorter hours for Christmas Day)
Do you supply coals for the BBQ if I’m not provisioning?
You should pick up your own BBQ coals and lighter fluid if you have not asked us to provision for you.
What do you supply on board?
We supply linen, towels, toilet tissue, soap and a Welcome Starter Kit. This includes:
- Bottle of rum
- Bottle of spring water
- One roll toilet tissue per bathroom
- Gas Clicker
- Insect repellent
- Dish liquid
- Roll paper towel
- Guest soaps
- 2 trash bags
What’s included with your charter?
- VHF radio
- Dinghy and outboard motor
- Charts and guide
- Flashlight & sparebatteries
- BBQ grill
- Fire extinguishers
- Through-hull plugs
- Deck brush
- Cockpit table
- Linens, pillows, towels
- Clothes pegs
- Cigarette lighter outlet 12V
- Roller furling genoa
- Hot water
- 110V Inverter in all Bavaria Yachts
- Cellular boatphone
- First aid kit
- Flare kit
- Tool kit
- Boat hook
- Signal horn
- Bucket with lanyard
- Inbuilt cockpit table cooler or deck cooler cushions
- All galley and cooking utensils
- Log and depth sounder
- Electric windlass
- CD player with saloon and cockpit speakers
What kinds of electrical appliances does the yacht support?
if your yacht has an inverter on board then you may use electrical appliances that you have brought with you (hairdryer, recharging batteries, etc.) while sailing or at anchor. You may need to bring an adapter. Most of our yachts are 110V with U.S receptacles. In Antigua you will find both 220V and 110V available in certain areas. We advise that you check with us first since the relevant information is dependent upon your yacht as well as which country you are visiting from. All yachts have 12V sockets.
Is there a proper fridge and freezer?
The fridges will vary depending on which yacht you have. Bear in mind that you should not buy more than 3 days worth of fresh produce as the fridge is not going to be as good as your fridge at home.
What safety equipment is provided?
Each boat is fully equipped with a safety box containing all the sailing essentials that a skipper may need.
What do I do with the dinghy if there’s no dinghy dock?
You simply take the dinghy up on the beach and tie to the nearest palm tree.
Can I lock the dinghy?
Yes, we provide a lock with a padlock. Please make sure you check this off on your inventory sheet.
Do I always have to lift the engine off?
It is for you to use your own judgement on when you should decide to take the engine off.
Can I get a hard bottomed dinghy?
Yes, all of our dinghy’s have hard bottoms.
Can I get a bigger outboard engine?
The maximum size engine that we have is 4 or 5hp. This is because we ask that you lift the engine off the dinghy when you are sailing in slightly bigger seas – to ensure that the dinghy does not flip with the engine still on.
Is there a spinnaker?
No, we have mainsail and genoa on all yachts.
What happens in the case that we need to cancel our charter?
We are unable to offer refunds within 90 days of your charter start date unless we can re-sell your reserved dates. As we adhere to this policy, we strongly suggest that Trip Cancellation Insurance is purchased.
How long does it take to mail a check to you?
Up to 10 days.
What credit cards do you accept?
We accept VISA and MASTERCARD. We do not accept AMEX
How do I pay for my charter?
You can pay by using Visa or MasterCard. Or you can mail a US$ Cashier’s Check. Please allow for the mail taking up to 10 days to arrive in Antigua.
What is an estimated exchange rate for US Dollars?
US$1 = EC$2.688
What is the official currency of Antigua?
Eastern Caribbean dollar – EC$
Where can I get water and fuel?
You can pick up water and fuel at Jolly Harbour Marina and at Antigua Slipway in English Harbour.
Do you offer “Sleep-Aboards”
Since some flights arrive too late in the day for you to start your charter, where possible, we offer the option of a sleepaboard on your first night at an additional charge. Boarding is after 5.00pm and the yacht will be prepared for your late arrival. Please enquire about this option should you require it.
What is we arrive at your office after hours?
If an arrival is scheduled outside of hours, on notification they will arrange for a Jolly Harbour Marina driver to collect guests from the airport. They will escort the guests to their boat.
When can we board the boat?
You may board the yacht at noon (charter contracts start and finish at noon). Allow a couple of hours to complete the chart and boat brief procedure before you are ready to leave the dock.
What should we expect when we check in?
When you arrive at the office, please have your passports ready for copying – we will return these to you. We will then undertake the paperwork in terms of taking for the Hull Damage Waiver, Cruising permit and any provisioning that has been ordered in advance. We will walk you through our INFORMATION FOLDER. We will then undertake a chart briefing where you will be given the appropriate Imray Charts for your cruise and the Chris Doyle Guide to the Leeward Islands. After the Chart Briefing, you will receive your Boat Briefing. It is sometimes a good idea to send some of the crew to the supermarket in order to provision at the same time.
What if my bag is delayed?
If your bag is delayed, you will have to report this to Customer Services desk at the airport. They will fill out a form and give you a copy with a reference number and a local telephone number. Please tell them that you are sailing with Horizon Yacht Charters and give them the office number. Typically, your bag will arrive in the next day (or two). The airline will deliver your bag to wherever you are – so this will not hold up your sailing time. If the bag does not arrive after a number of days, the airline may give you a daily compensation figure to spend. Please check with your airline before you leave.
REMEMBER: this happens about once per month so be prepared – pack some shorts, TShirts, flip-flops, toothbrush, toothpaste and any medical supplies that you may need. This should not ruin the start of your holiday – so come prepared!
Do I need to tip the taxi driver?
Yes, typically 10 – 15% gratuity is offered.
What is the taxi fare?
The taxi fare from the airport is US$30 for up to four people with four bags.
How far is the base from the airport?
20 minute drive.