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5 Travel Tips for your Caribbean Vacation

Planning, packing and traveling to your favourite travel destination may be inevitable, but feeling stressed in the process isn’t. Today we share our top tips on how to plan, create and enjoy a memorable Caribbean holiday.

  1. Pack Light. We have all overpacked at some point in our traveling lives and in some instances we do require that extra jacket, hat or pair of jeans during our travel.. but many times it just ends up following you home unused at the end of the trip. Our tip? Only pack the essentials. Pack only what you need and then allow 1 or 2 extra items. You will feel lighter, probably find you still don’t need all of it and airports will become a lot more enjoyable for the whole family. Download your FREE Packing Checklist to help you choose the items that are most important for you! 
  2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Travel is mostly exciting because of the journey and experiences, however we also get excited during the planning process which is also an important part of the thrill. A little planning can perfectly assist in creating a fun-filled vacation but it’s very easy to go overboard on the planning which can turn into stress. Many of us have tried to ‘make the most’ of a vacation at some point only to be disappointed if it doesn’t work out ‘perfectly’. Remember if you’re in the islands with those you love, it’s already perfect! Avoid trying to create the magical experience and simply just be present and enjoy each moment as it happens naturally.
  3. Boost your body. Give yourself a travel health kick 1 week prior to sailing. Add some extra B Vitamins and Vitamin C into your intake during the last week and boost your body for travel. B Vitamins can help lower stress levels and prevent mosquito bites and Vitamin C may help to prevent seasickness and reduce the risk of contracting colds and flu while traveling.
  4. Use your boat extras. Your boat is your home on water for a week or more so why not make the most of its facilities? Plan a beautiful BBQ night on board one evening, create a romantic star lit dinner in the cockpit, sit on the bow with a cocktail for sunsets, use your snorkel gear and water sports gear to enjoy the beautiful reefs and surrounds at your leisure
  5. Take only memories, leave only footsteps. Make lasting memories through photography, video, connections and laughter. Look at the gorgeous fish, coral, shells, flora and animal life around the islands. Although you may be tempted to touch, remember all the beauty that is there will await your next visit. Leave your footprints and sand castles and take your photographs, stories and life long memories. 

Just like life itself, sailing often comes with many different experiences. Some planned and others unexpected. As much as we strive to deliver the very best charter experience for you, how much you enjoy the ride is really up to you! Look at each encounter as an opportunity and let your island journey take you on an adventure of a lifetime. Relax, learn, play and enjoy every moment! Feel happy knowing that you’ve done your research and are making the best decisions for you and your family.  You’ve put the work into creating this trip and it’s time to reap the rewards.

It’s time to relax and enjoy your holiday!

From the Barefoot Family

 

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7 Reasons to Sail in Summer!

There are so many great reasons to sail in summer and it’s not just for the amazing deals available in off-season.

La Mouette, in the Tobago Cays – (Photo: Mark Pratley, Barefoot Yacht Charters)

The Caribbean in the summer gets a lot of bad press…it’s too hot, it rains a lot, there’s a risk of tropical storms…but for some, including us, cruising in The Grenadines is better in the summer and here’s why.

First let’s address the hurricane risk.  The Atlantic hurricane season is officially from 1 June to 30 November. Statistically tropical storms are more likely to form in the north and The Bahamas and Bermuda have more to worry about than St Vincent and The Grenadines, which is considered to be at the southern edge of the hurricane belt.

With sophisticated weather forecasting, you can get at least 3 days’ notice of any potential problems.  Barefoot Yachting check almost obsessively the weather patterns and if there is any cause for concern they can get you and your yacht to safety. Quickly.

And yes. it is hot and it does rain in the summer, but it doesn’t rain every day and it never rains for long. Everything gets dried out quickly. It’s hot here all year long and whilst it may be a little hotter in the summer, on your yacht you will always get the sea breeze to cool you down.  Still hot? Just jump in and go for a swim.

Petit Tabac, Tobago Cays

Petit Tabac, Tobago Cays – (Photo: Mark Pratley, Barefoot Yacht Charters)

So now there is no reason not to sail in the off season but what are the benefits?

  1. For starters you will get a good deal on your charter, or on a sailing course through BOSS. Less demand means lower prices for you. Not only that but you will get a wider choice of yachts available.
  2. Ironically, despite being hurricane season, in general the winds are a little lighter and the sea state more comfortable than in the winter. Perfect sailing weather.
  3. The crowds have gone! You don’t have to miss out on a great days sailing by having rush to get a mooring buoy, or a decent spot in the anchorage.  Tobago Cays without a hundred other yachts there!
  4. The islands are completely different in the summer. They have a much more relaxed feel about them because not everyone is chasing a dollar or two and coping with the hoards. You feel you’re getting to know the true Grenadines.
  5. You may get good deals on mooring buoys, just ask what their summer rate is.
  6. Less queues at the bars and restaurants, better service, less waiting.
  7. The shops won’t run out of ice!

So, a bargain boat, good sailing, no crowds and ice for your Rum Punch.  It’s a no brainer really.

Join us for summer 2017! www.barefootyachts.com

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A brand new course to celebrate BOSS’s 20th Anniversary!

This year B.O.S.S celebrates our 20th Year anniversary of sharing our Barefoot Offshore Sailing School with a brand new course! What an amazing journey it has been!

Over these years, thousands of sailors have passed through our Basic Learn and Cruise to Bareboat Skippers License courses.

Many of these students have gone on to complete their Advanced Offshore Courses on our exciting St. Lucia – St Maarten 9-day course and further their knowledge with our in-house add-on courses such as our Yachtsman’s Rigging and Diesel Engine Courses.

We are proud to welcome our graduates back to the waters of St Vincent and the Grenadines, to go on charter and partake in our very own homegrown courses.

A brand new course we are most excited and pleased to offer is The Barefoot Navigator alongside well-known author Jack Lagan. 

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The Barefoot Navigator course has been developed to provide hands on ancient navigation skills. We use everything  around us, from the indigenous birds of the area, wave and wind directions and the stars above to fix our position.

“Come join us as we rekindle the ancient navigation arts through the Barefoot Navigator”. Designed to help all sailors reduce their “Zone of Uncertainty” while out on the water. You may ask “how can we possibly do this?” The answer; by rekindling the navigation arts and techniques of the ancient seafarers!

Clients always ask us how are we able to set our prices at such excellent competitive rates. The answer is simple. We are the most active sailing school in the West Indies and have a high volume of clients who take our courses. We also own our own Marina and this helps us cut costs as we do all of our maintenance, turn arounds etc. all at our base.

We invite all sailors, old and new to come and join us as we continue to push forward purposefully to help all better their knowledge and skills both on and off the water. We are pleased to continue offering the full sleeve of ASA (American Sailing Association) Courses alongside our BOSS courses.

Come join us for some fun learning in the sun!

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St Vincent and the Grenadines – Zika Virus FREE

The rapid spread of Zika virus through the Americas, together with the association of infection with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, have propelled this previously ignored virus into the limelight. 

Says Professor Esper Kallas of University of San Paolo, Brazil.

What is Zika?

Zika fever is transmitted among humans by mosquito bites. It is a member of the flavivirus family, which includes the dengue virus.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outline that “most individuals (75%) infected with Zika virus experience mild or no symptoms”. About 25% of infected people develop symptoms 2-10 days after infection in four people may develop mild flu symptoms and a light rash that can last between two and seven days.

The World Health Organisation says people affected should drink plenty of fluids, ensure they rest regularly and treat pain and fever with common medicines.

Which countries are affected?

The World Health Organization has placed travel notices for those countries experiencing the transmission of the ZIKA virus.

This list of countries currently includes the US Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S territory, Saint Martin, Barbados, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti and Jamaica. A map on the Pan American Health Organisation website is updated weekly.

Should we be concerned about Zika in St Vincent and the Grenadines?

There have been no reports of the Zika virus in the islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and no travel notices are issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

If you are traveling to and from St Vincent and the Grenadines, do keep in mind that travelers who visit a country where Zika is found could still become infected if bitten by a mosquito in those areas (download our checklist to help avoid this HERE). Imported cases may result in local spread of the virus.

Prevention for Travelers

When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses are spread by mosquitoes, it is important to take precaution:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

We have created a special Mosquito Prevention Travel Checklist for you to download below to help you reduce your risk of mosquito bites wherever you go!

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created a checklist for travellers which you can download directly from our checklist. We are dedicated to keeping you healthy and happy!

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We want you to experience the very best of the Grenadines with nothing to worry about except which island to which you would like to set sail 🙂

 

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It’s the Season to be Sailing!

It’s the season to be sailing!

How about a tropical sailing Christmas? ? Have you ever wanted to just sail away from it all? Anchor off an uninhabited island, swim, snorkel, relax and watch the sunset in pure Island Life.

Clear water, soft sand, perfect breeze and good vibes

This is the perfect description of this time of year in St Vincent and the Grenadines, 32 islands that can easily become yours!

With no customs to concern you, no shopping queues or to-do lists. Just a sailing holiday getaway in paradise.

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A Tropical Sailing Christmas in Tobago Cays

This year, Christmas falls on a full moon, which means one of our favourite islands, Union Island will be hosting the best Full Moon Party of 2015 on Clifton beach at sunset. From Happy Island to Clifton beach, you can bar hop and experience the best this island has to offer by sea. Clear water, warm breeze, soft sand and a rum punch in hand!

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Union Island Full Moon Party!

We love to treat our guests like family and one of the best ways we do this is by inviting them to join our Barefoot Family! Life at Barefoot Yachts is relaxed, friendly and laid back. Just as Caribbean life should be! We take care of everything for you so you can arrive, unwind and enjoy every minute of your well deserved vacation! It’s a Breeze!

No matter where you are this Christmas, we wish you the most wonderful holiday season. From our family to yours!!

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Wishing the most wonderful Holiday Season and all the very best that 2016 has to offer! May all your dreams come true. May you always find your true north and forever have wind in your sails.

“To reach a port we must set sail –
Sail, not tie at anchor
Sail, not drift.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

See you Next Year!

Barefoot Yachts – 3 Generations of Selfless Sailors

Barefoot Yacht Charters has a love of Sailing…and Animals

Barefoot Yacht Charters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines sails smoothly in the capable hands of founder/owner Mary Barnard. It’s therefore no surprise that the same drive and dedication she puts into Barefoot Yacht Charters extends to her volunteer work as president of the non-profit Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Mary Barnard

Mary Barnard

Mary is not alone in her love for animals. Her daughter Leslie Barnard and partner Winston Ferguson, owners of the Driftwood Restaurant and Lounge at Barefoot Yacht Charters, are both on the VSPCA’s board of directors. Three happy canines – Lily, Lulu and Peipo – are part of the menagerie residing at the homes of Barefoot operations manager Philip Barnard and director of the Barefoot Offshore Sailing School, James Ward (Mary’s son and grandson). The dogs (two are rescues) usually spend their days lounging around one office or the other as their owners work to ensure fabulous yachting vacations for their guests.

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Three generations of sailing lovers…and animal lovers.

To find out about the history, activities and achievements of the VSPCA from its incorporation in October 2011 to present, go to their website, www.vincentianspca.org or Facebook. What isn’t chronicled is that of the first president, Kiersten Anderson, was the hull of the VSPCA’s massive undertaking in its early months, then Mary Barnard is the superstructure itself.

President for two years, Mary oversees the dedicated service of less than a dozen active volunteers – all with jobs, businesses, families and pets of their own to tend to, and without a central location to work from. But that doesn’t stop them from organizing fundraisers; managing the accounts; writing grant proposals; ordering pharmaceuticals; handling advertising; creating brochures and flyers; answering questions via phone and email; maintaining a website; picking up and storing donated food, medicines, collars, auction items, etc.; dealing with legal issues; educating the public… Plus the actual hands-on work of rescuing animals in crisis and finding them foster and adoptive homes, and organizing/working at the VSPCA’s community spaying and neutering clinics for the pets of low-income families throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Owner donations average about 10 percent of the VSPCA’s clinic costs, but the journey continues towards a zero-population growth of SVG’s dogs and cats. Preventing this cruelty – that of allowing thousands of our companion animals to be born into a lifetime of hunger, disease and pain – is one of the VSPCA’s top priorities.

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In addition to ensuring a steady course towards its goals, Mary also plunges into her role as ambassador, mediator and head schmoozer, as she coaxes her way through countless obstacles of apathy and even distain, and the proverbial red tape seen in governments, private organizations and individuals. But with a captain’s determination to weather adverse conditions she convinces others that the work and the recipients of the VSPCA are worthy to receive assistance in any form: financial, in duty-free concessions, visiting-vet work permits, donations of goods and services, and on and on.

Clearly, with Mary Barnard at the helm of Barefoot Yacht Charters and the VSPCA, and with family and crew aiming towards ideal destinations, both visitors and animals will continue to receive the consideration, care and commitment they deserve.

 

5 Caribbean Events Not To Miss!

 

When you sail the blue-green waters of the southern Caribbean with Barefoot Yacht Charters, you might want a break from the pleasures of diving, snorkeling and sunbathing to visit one of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ spectacular land sites.

If you’re in the mood to party Vincy style, get a better sense of Vincentians and their culture, ‘events’ are the way to go. Whatever your idea of a ‘must-see’ event, big or small, there are plenty to choose from in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Since not all 2016 dates are available as of this writing, let Barefoot Yacht Charters help with your itinerary as your vacation time approaches.

Music starts SVG’s year of activities with the Mustique Blues Festival. Premiere performances from local, regional and international artistes run from 20 January to 3 February. And the Bequia Music Festival enlivens that island from 21- 24 January. Blues, country, steel pan, calypso, jam sessions on the beach, with plenty barbeque, dancing, jump ups and fun

Theatre, gospel and dance Performing Arts festivals happen in February, April, September and November. So very Vincy are these shows, usually locally written and choreographed.

March brings a religious and fun side to many Easter celebrations, one of the most popular being Easterval on Union Island, starting the 19th. Then island hop to the Bequia Easter Regatta with its boat races, sports, games, music and street jumps from the 24th – 28th.

But, if your vacation dates don’t coincide with this one, catch the Mayreau and Canouan Regattas in May. Also in May, the Maroon Festival on Union Island explodes with flavourful foods, dancing, folksongs and drum-throbbing excitement – all to persuade the gods to bring rain to their desert island. While on Union, don’t miss their Full Moon Party!

If steel pan, soca, calypso, beauty pageants, colourful costumes, painted bodies, pounding beats and dancing feet are your thing, Vincy Mas (Carnival) is a definite must-see. Carnival officially starts 24 June and ends 5 July, but if you can’t participate in this celebration on the mainland, Bequia and Union Island Carnivals come alive a week or two earlier, while the islanders jump up at the Canouan Carnival towards the end of July.

It’s not surprising that there’s a whole Fisherman’s Month in April, and on Bequia a special Fisherman’s Day Competition in July. Lots of action, parties and delicious eating! Then in August, SVG showcases its historically famous, bountiful and versatile tree during the Breadfruit Festival. Also in August, Emancipation Month, with events to commemorate the end of slavery. Leap forward to Independence Day, 27 October, a celebration with parades, beauty pageants, sport competitions (cycling very popular), and activities of all sorts. Even British naval vessels join in the fun.

The unique Nine Mornings before Christmas festival takes place in communities throughout the islands. The party begins in capital Kingstown around 3.00 a.m. with a lighted flambeau street parade, traditional Vincy music, carols and games, and refreshments such as sorrel drinks and ducana (a sweet cassava delicacy wrapped in banana leaves and boiled). Nothing like this nine-day party anywhere.

Whatever must-see events in St Vincent and the Grenadines excite you, sail to them with Barefoot Yacht Charters. Vincy pleasures from the sea, the land and its people await you.

Bequia Sailing Regatta

Bequia Sailing Regatta

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5 Top Tips for Cooking on your Charter Boat

5 TOP TIPS

Before you know it, it’s that time to provision for your charter and cooking tasty meals on board your charter boat can take time and effort in planning and preparation.

It it is important to us that you and your guests have time on board to enjoy your vacation.

Here are 5 simple tips to cooking easily in your galley!

1. Healthy Energy-Filled Snacks

Do ever notice how you always feel hungrier at sea? Whether it is the sun, sea or salt, food always tends to be on the mind a little more when we are at sea. Whether you are trimming sails, pulling sheets, maneuvering the helm or balancing and moving with the movement of the ocean, your body will likely be functioning at a higher level or even just differently than what it would be at home. To make sure you and your crew are fueled, energized and satisfied, serve simple healthy snacks on your charter boat throughout the day. These may consists of fruit, chopped vegetables, dips, nuts etc. Hummus dip is one of our favourites for a quick go-to high protein, high energy snack.

Another favorite is this 5-Minute Guacamole that can be made quickly and easily on board your charter boat.

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5-Minute Tasty Guacamole Recipe

Ingredients

2 large, ripe avocados, pitted.
⅓ cup fresh salsa sauce
Juice from 1 lime
Sea salt, to taste

Directions

Mash the avocado in a bowl using a fork. Add salsa and lime juice. Add salt to taste and mix well.
Serve immediately with chopped veggies or fresh tortilla chips. If you are storing your guacamole, place the pit of the avocado into the dip, seal with a lid and place it in the fridge or cooler to prevent it from turning brown.

2. Meal Planning

It is a great idea to plan your meals in advance to remove the decision making each day. If everyone knows in advance what they are having, where the snacks are located and what to prepare lunches, the workload can be shared. Prepare a meal plan for yourself and your crew or ask our trusty on-site Nutritionist about meal planning or ask about our pre-prepared meals and chef packs to reduce your galley hours while on your charter! Once you have a list of all the meals you would like, you can generate your shopping list with the exact number of items you will need to purchase or you can choose to have provisioning prepared for you by Barefoot Yacht Charters.

Download our simple meal planning Menu Template to help create your charter menu. Reach out to our Lifestyle Consultant if you would like assistance planning your meals.

3. Bring your favourites

Bring your favourite spices and condiments with you on your charter boat! Barefoot Yacht Charters keeps some provisioning at the base and St Vincent has a wide array of local produce and the supermarkets do have some imported goods, however you may not find everything your taste buds desire so bring along any spices and sauces that you simply love.

4. Food Storage

Food storage space can be limited on the charter boat and most often, there is an ice box but you may have no freezer. Choose drinks that can be purchased and stored at room temperature add some non-perishable items to your menu wherever possible to help your provisioning to last longer on your charter boat.

5. Eat Fresh First

Organise your meals based on the freshness of ingredients. Plan for meals made with perishable foods as well as others made with canned ingredients. Eat the most perishable items first (fresh fish, dairy and eggs), and keep the meals based on canned foods or ingredients that keep well at room temperature for the end of the trip. Request frozen meals and pre-parared 10-minute DIY meals from the Barefoot Yachts provisioning options. Purchase frozen marinated meats from our restaurant; they will aid to keep the other food cold and will defrost gradually in the fridge.

As part of Barefoot Yacht Charters and the Barefoot Lifestyle, we endeavor to make your sailing vacation as stress free, relaxation and enjoyable as possible. Look out for our exciting new Chef Select Provisioning options to take the heat out of the galley and give you some extra time for sailing and seeing the islands!

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Support the children and win a sailing holiday with Barefoot Yacht Charters

Wouldn’t you love to know you are supporting the children of St Vincent and the Grenadines with Barefoot Yacht Charters, while sailing one of the most beautiful destinations in the world? Of course you would!

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That’s why folks are jumping into the American Sailing Association/Hands Across Sea Caribbean Getaway Sweepstakes. It’s easy!

Follow this sweepstakes entry link to make a donation to support literacy for Caribbean children, and you’ll be entered to win a one-week bareboat sailboat charter for four people in the spectacular St. Vincent and the Grenadines island archipelago, courtesy of Barefoot Yacht Charters.

Second prize is also spectacular: seven nights at beautiful Palm Island Resort & Spa, a luxury private island retreat in the Grenadines, courtesy of Elite Island Resorts.

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Best of all, if you’re sailing with Barefoot Yachts or staying at the beautiful Palm Island Resort, you’ll be helping Hands Across the Sea put great new books into the hands of Caribbean kids, from pre-school to high school age.

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You’ll find contest details and more at the ASA/Hands Caribbean Getaway Sweepstakes page. Entries close at 12:01 AM on October 1, 2014.

Good luck . . . and we’ll see you down here!

Hands Across the Sea and Barefoot Yacht Charters

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NEW Boats! SAME Paradise.

The launch of the new Barefoot Lifestyle brings new boats along with new exciting sailing opportunities. 3 new Catamarans have arrived in the Barefoot Yacht Charters fleet.

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These boats are spacious, affordable, easy to handle, comfortable and efficient for families or groups of up to 8 guests. Click the images to see more details on each new boat in the fleet.

ISAPHIL (the Mermaid) 2014 Lagoon 38

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Isaphil (the Mermaid) is fast, easy to handle and safe, the Lagoon 38 is the most popular boat  for circumnavigations and one of the most successful production charter yachts in the world.

She is extremely well-equipped with a full suite of electronics, and her fastidious owners have also added several touches not usually found on charter yachts of this type – both hot and cold water at the deck shower; additional fresh water capacity; solar panels; and high quality upholstery.

She has a simple but efficient deck lay-out, 360 degree vision in the rounded saloon and extremely well insulated engine compartments located a good way from the living quarters. This yacht can easily be handled by just two people, but is comfortable for up to 6.

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AMARYLLIS Belize 43

Amaryllis is an extremely efficient sailing catamaran and one of the fastest in her class, easily handled by a smaller crew but with many of the amenities one might expect to find on a much larger yacht.

This Belize 43 extremely well-equipped (including air conditioning), and every navigational aspect on this yacht has been optimised – the helm station protected by a fixed plexiglass screen, access to the gangways, under-deck stowage of halyards, direct anchorage and more. Meticulous attention has been paid to each detail for greater sailing ease.

Architect Olivier Flahault has succeeded in maximising space and storage capacity making it comfortable and eminently practical for long-term cruising. The saloon has a strikingly spacious feel, and an ingenious innovation enables the seating to adapt to either a circle or square arrangement.

TIR NA NOG Lagoon 38

Tir Na Nog is a 4-cabin / 2-head catamaran providing sufficient space for up to eight guests.

The aft cabins are slightly larger than the forward ones. Two heads with showers are centrally located in each pontoon. The panoramic salon and galley connect directly with the cockpit to offer fantastic indoor-outdoor air flow.

It has a huge interior volume for a 38-footer. Add to this, a large and comfortable cockpit for lounging and dining al fresco, as well as easy transom access to the water or your dinghy, and you have the ideal yacht for larger groups or families.

Choose one of our new, premium or value line boats and come experience the best of The Barefoot Lifestyle and the turquoise waters of the Southern Caribbean on an epic sailing adventure sure to last a lifetime.

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The Barefoot Family