When Andrew Thompson co-founded Horizon Yacht Charters in 1998, he wanted to bring megayacht-quality service to bareboats. Thompson had worked as captain and crew aboard the larger yachts, and he believed that people chartering bareboats should have every right to expect similarly high standards for their own cruising vacations.
‘Our Mission statement in 1998, was ‘to offer immaculate yachts, exemplary customer service and value for money’, 25 years later, our mission remains the same, and we go the extra nautical mile every day to deliver on that’ he says.
Today, Horizon Yacht Charters has two locations: the main base at Nanny Cay on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, and a second location at Blue Lagoon Marina in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Both locations are known for their exceptional customer service. The base in the BVI is also popular for its restaurants, showers, hotel, beach bar and pool. This location is easily accessible with daily flights from Miami on American Airlines, arriving at Beef Island, Tortola.
“Our company takes great pride in being a local business with local operations, management and staff,” says Kim Struiken, finance and business development director. “Our local roots play a vital role in our success. We are committed to our community and to delivering an exceptional experience to our customers. This combination is part of the formula which sets Horizon Yacht Charters apart.”
Horizon Yacht Charters’ high-quality fleet of about 50 yachts in the BVI includes monohulls as well as catamarans from 34ft – 54ft. The boats are maintained to a level that Thompson brings from his megayacht days, ensuring that guests can embark on their vacations with complete confidence in the seamless experience they’ll enjoy, regardless of the age of the yacht,(although most are 0-5 years old).
“We excel at providing yachts with all systems in order, with concours cosmetics and detailing “ Struiken says. “Most of Horizon’s staff have been here for many years. The first-ever employee of the company, Courtney Frett, our reservations manager, is still here, 25 years later. Our operations director, Henry Leonnig, has been here for 20 years, as have several other dock staff. They like what they do, and when people like what they do, they excel, and it allows you continuity of service – to offer real quality.” Struiken continues: ‘It is not just about the yachts, it is about the ‘boutique hotel’ level of personalized service you get at Horizon. Jalon Shortte epitomizes this as our larger-than-life Customer Service manager, who delivers boat and chart knowledge with a wicked laugh and a brilliant smile’.
Horizon Yacht Charters offers bareboat charters, skippered charters as well as luxury crewed charters with the added convenience of an all-inclusive package covering high-end gourmet meals, premium drinks, water toys, and more.
American Sailing Association (ASA) classes are also available at Horizon Yacht Charters Sailing School. Students can book a whole boat and cruise with a private instructor, or they can book a single cabin for a week on board a boat with an instructor and other students.
The instructors at Horizon Yacht Charters are top-notch. Just one example is Cara Brown, who, in 2022, was named one of ASA’s outstanding instructors. This award is given to the top 1 percent of all ASA instructors, as determined by student surveys. In 2022, there were 2,155 instructors eligible for the award; only 25 were named winners. And Brown was among just a handful of women in that already selective group.
“Cara is a terrific example of the outstanding team members we have at Horizon Yacht Charters,” Struiken says. “She’s originally from London, grew up in Italy, and has been sailing with Horizon in the BVI since she was a little girl—because her parents have had a series of yachts in our fleet since 2002, and they continue to do so to this day. Her own sailing experience includes the whole Caribbean as well as parts of Britain and Europe, she has a 200 ton yachtmaster licence in addition to her ASA qualifications. Cara is also a qualified personal trainer, ski coach ( having been Britain’s women’s downhill champion for 5 years) as well as a PADI-certified open water diver. She speaks English, French and Italian fluently, which means she can help so many people feel comfortable while learning to sail.”
Due to Horizon’s winning combination of top ASA instructors, a highly sought-after location, and exceptional customer service, it has been selected by the American Sailing Association as the destination for its 2024 Lenny Shabes Sailing Festival, scheduled from 16th to 23rd June 2024. Similarly, Jeanneau, one of the world’s leading monohull manufacturers, has also chosen Horizon for their Jeanneau owners rendezvous flotilla from 9th to 16th March 2024, driven by some of the same compelling factors.
Another way that Horizon Yacht Charters stands out is its additional charter broker services. While the staff at the base on Tortola can help clients book bareboat charters aboard sailboats in the Horizon Yacht Charters BVI and St. Vincent fleets, the team will also help clients book boats from other fleets all around the world—any kind of boat, anywhere the clients want to cruise.
“If we have clients who have been with us in the BVI and in the Grenadines, we can help them book a charter anywhere,” Struiken says. “Sometimes, people want to cruise somewhere different, and we are happy to assist with that.”
For clients interested in buying or selling a yacht, the Horizon Yacht Charters team is also available to help. The company is a distributor for Lagoon, Excess, FP and Nautitech catamarans, Jeanneau, Beneteau and Bavaria monohulls, as well as ranges of centre console RIB’s and day boats. Horizon also maintains an active brokerage service with a wide range of listings, both in the BVI, and in Grenada, where Horizon also have a yacht management, refit and storage business.
“We are able to support our clients as their boating needs change throughout the years,” Struiken says. “Families grow, plans change, sometimes cruising ideas become bigger sailing ambitions. Our fleet, school, charters and yacht sales allow our clients to progress however they choose. And when they come back to us year after year, they see the same staff, ready to assist them. They feel like they’re coming home.”
“Whether charter client or yacht owner, from the moment of first contact until the final wave goodbye, whether that is a week or decades later, our top priority is the customer experience. We look forward to welcoming you aboard”. Struiken concludes.
For more information, please give us a call on our toll free number (+1 877-494-8787) or visit our website Home .