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Old 03-03-2008
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Boat rentals in the BVI etc

Hello

I'm a life long sailor - from Optimist through Finn to a Tall Ship. I used to own a 27-29 foot Irwin in the 80's.
I don't have any apprehension about handling a 40 footer under sail, however I'm concerned about my abilities to handle it in the marina and at the mooring and the anchor etc. We are planing on going to BVI in October and charter a bare boat for a week or so.
In the mean time I would like to get some boat handling experience locally (SC NC VA) I've looked at ASA offerings but what are the other choices and recommendations. We are going to buy another boat, but not this week month or maybe even this year.
What do I need what is a waist of time etc -

Mark
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Old 03-04-2008
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If you charter in the BVI and don't overdo the water usage you might never have to dock until you return, and you can arrange the charter company to send someone out by dinghy to jockey the boat into the slip upon your return. Mooring ball pickup is a team effort and, to be frank, who really cares if you need 4 or more attempts before you get it sorted out? Anchoring is a bit more important, since a badly set anchor that drags can impact not only your own vessel but your neighbours as well, but reading up on the theory and following the suggestions should be sufficient, particularly for the benign BVI waters.

I do see that a 40+ footer is a different beast from one just shy of 30 feet. A well placed foot on the dock from the boat is sufficient with a smaller, lighter boat but won't have much effect on a 40 footer!

If you've sailed and owned a boat before then you are far ahead of the average charterer in the BVI and knowing your limitations is an important step - unlike the charter guests that consider the marina to be a marine bumper-car entertainment ride.
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Last edited by Zanshin; 03-04-2008 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 03-04-2008
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Moorings are available EVERYWHERE in the BVI and you will not have to dock the boat at all if you don't want to. If you are really nervous about it...I would suggest you hire a captain for your first day to help you practice with the boat. They generally cost around $200.
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Old 03-04-2008
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Agree with above - in four charter's I've never NEEDED to dock the boat. I normally charter a catamaran that is much larger than mine and has twin engines to boot. Never been a problem once you get the feel.

You get the feel the first time you go for a ball - and like the other post said who cares if you need to back and fill a couple of times. Almost everywhere you go will have many, many mooring balls and they all are well maintained with good pennants. You can either have a crew mate catch one at the bow with a boat hook or if careful of the pennant and your prop - back up to it and pick it up yourself, walk the pennant forward and cleat it (a favorite of catamaran single handers).

Jost Van Dyke doesn't have mooring balls in the more popular anchorages - there you will need to anchor. Make sure of your set and you'll be fine, it's all pretty good holding. You can always snorkle over your anchor and check it the water is clear down to forever.
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Old 03-04-2008
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I definitely considered hiring a captain for a day or two.
Do you think that taking a $700 two day course (104) in Charleston makes sense, or should I just wait for BVI.
Also how you feel about BVI in October?

Mark
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Old 03-04-2008
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I just go back from BVI on Sunday night. You are going to have a blast! The above posts regarding the abundance of mooring balls and the lack of them on Jost Van Dyke are dead on.

We had a captain for a day at the request of our charter company as none of us had had any prior catamaran experience. We grumbled at first but it turned out to be amazing because he was so full of local knowledge and lore. It was more like having a tour guide for a day. We were all sad to see him go.

If you need water all I can add is that Saba Rock in Gorda Sound (next to the Bitter End Yacht Club) has a nice facility that is very well manned by a competent staff. You can dingy over to them from your mooring and review procedure prior to setting out for the dock. We docked there in a 25knot cross wind with ease based on their guidance.

The sailing there is quite easy, all line of sight. You can actually use the drawing of the islands that is in the welcome magazine if you can't find your chart!!

Have a great trip.....don't forget Cane Gardens on the west side of Tortola!

Mike

p.s.- October is hurricane season. For that reason you will save thousands on your charter. They have not had a hurricane there in 9 years but who knows......you can dive on the wreck of the RMS Rhone to find out!
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Old 03-04-2008
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We (myself and 3 other guys) hired a charter captain for the first few days of a trip 4-5 years ago when we chartered a 48-50'er. Pick your captain carefully. Ours was a nightmare! None of us had experience beyond dingies and little 24' keelboats. Well, we figured that the captain would teach and help us out. Our concerns were essentially the same as yours, we knew we could sail we weren't sure about marinas, local navigation and handling under power. After attending the breifing at the begininng of the week, we definitely could have gotten by without the guy. I don't think he'd ever anchored before (we made him anchor 2x over his protests -- once for an afternoon and once overnight when there were no moorings left open where we wanted to be). What was worse, he really hated sailing and couldn't wait to get off the boat (when you were planning your vacation did you ever imagine waiting around for your charter captain or having to persuade him that you'd prefer to sail past 1PM???). Boy we couldn't get rid of him quickly enough. Good luck -- don't worry too much the BVI's are easy -- as others have said you can stay on mooring balls all week if you want.
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Old 03-04-2008
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You should be aware that October is a month you really need to find out what is open and closed. This is typically the month that many of the resorts and upper scale food establishments are closed for vacations and clean up / repair/ renovations. While this is occurring less now than in past years... don't plan on needing to stop at some place only to discover they are closed for the month. September and October both should be reviewed. On the good side... you will probably have your choice of moorings anywhere you go.... also keep an eye on the weather before and during your trip.

ALSO, this may be a good place to look into buying a boat... lots of us do and you have a wide choice.
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Old 03-04-2008
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I guess I need to explain why October - it's my birthday and my lovely wife is treating me to a tropical vacation. I spend winters in Park City Utah teaching snow skiing, and I need some time at home to catch up on honey dos, and business obligations. I guess we could go in September - that's close enough to my B-day but I guess the later in the Hurricane season the better of we are. I would be perfectly happy to never dock - but I'm sure we will have to spend some time ashore - shopping and dining.

Mark
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Old 03-04-2008
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These guys have given you good advice. I can only add a comment related to your question about October. September and October are the height of the "rainy season" down here. September is worse, but October is right in there. We tend to get tropical waves coming through every week or so, and they bring rain and humidity. A couple of years ago, we had a 6" deluge here on Nevis that washed out roads and flooded Charlestown. I'm not saying it will be constant rain every day, because you'll still have plenty of sun, but bring your rain gear.

And, as RealityCheck said, some places close down for vacation and head for Colorado or somewhere sunny and dry.
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