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post #1 of 14 Old 01-14-2008 Thread Starter
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pls help with 3 specific BVI questions

Hi - couldn't get this info from traveltalkonline bvi forum, so thought i would ask here

chartering 40' footloose monohull for 8 days in Feb. Never been to BVIs before and was hoping someone could shed some light. sail 30 foot monohull at home in B.C.

three questions:

1. how scarce are mooring balls this time of year - by what time do you need to arrive at popular mooring ball fields to be assured of snagging one?

2. weather in february - wind and waves?

3. Is footloose as bad as some of the posts on the traveltalkonline bvi forum made it sound? starting to regret my decision to save the $$ over Moorings.

thanks so much in advance for any advice.

cheers

-ArgleBargle
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-14-2008
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Hello ArgleBargle (coming to you from the cafe at the Virgin Gorda marina)

1. Mooring balls are a bit like parking spaces the mall. Sometimes, even when the mall is full, you can find a good spot quickly; other times you seem tonot be able to find one at all, even when you feel you should be able to.
The popular anchorages can fill up starting at about 4-5pm. The Bight is often quite busy, but rarely 100% full, and you have a couple of options just outside the Bight as well. I've never seen the North Sound full, but there too you can anchor off Prickly Pear or motor/sail to Leverick Bay for more mooring balls. Anegada doesn't have many mooring balls, but lots of room to anchor. Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke has no mooring balls and I would recommend getting there early in the day (but not before 10-11am) and to set your anchor in peace and quiet and then dinghy or walk over to the Soggy Dollar

2. Wind and waves are typically similar most of the season. 12-20 knots and not a great amount of waves unless you head out to Anegada, in which case you might get a atlantic swell but chances are it will be hardly noticeable to someone from rougher waters.

3. I've head charter guests call back to base on VHF to demand immediate repair and monetary recompense because 1 of their 5 showers isn't working. With that mindset any charter company will be unlikely to make the customers happy. Stuff will go wrong. So far my only negative with Footloose was assisting some people whose transmission failed on their 52'. This happened in the late afternoon off JVD and Footloose didn't have a spare boat so the next morning they proceeded to replace the transmission while the boat was anchored in Great Harbour. I think small stuff always goes wrong and much more of that will break on an older charter than on a newer one. That is part of the price difference between the two type of boats.


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post #3 of 14 Old 01-14-2008
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ArgleBargle,
Zanshin answered all your questions except possibly (due to intrepretation) the last one. No you will not regret having used Footloose over the larger charter companies based on services rendered. Being on a slightly older boat might disapoint you because of less ooh and aah's, but service wise the smaller companies can and often do provide much better service - they aren't overwhelmed by 5000 'guests' asking for more soap in the head's and their guests often know not to expect that from a second tier company.

The first time I chartered I had electrical problems on my sunsail cat (lagoon 41), they wanted me to drop anchor at the nearest hidey hole and wait overnight (it was 10am when I radioed them). I sailed it to thier base and suggested they come tow me into their dock and fix the problem now, before I drifted onto the reef at Maya Cove.
The last time I chartered with voyage charters on a 38 ft (Maxim 38) cat the engines both overheated. They asked if the wind was good for sailing and suggested I do so. I did. They were willing to launch the recovery boat and come, but I said nah, it's a sail boat - I'll call when I'm on the mooring ball if still needed. The engine problem went away after I dove under and scrubbed the jelly fish out of the raw water intakes.

It's all the same if your expectations are to sail, have fun and make sun tan lines a thing of the past.
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-14-2008
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Zanshin comments on points 1&2 are well said and accurate. No personal knowledge as to #3, never chartered a sailboat. I have however heard the same silly radio complaints regarding minor mechanical problems and the countless calls for all to be on the look out for lost (not tied up to boat adequatley) dinghys that come from people on charter baots.

Sort of off topic but humorous. A few weeks ago I listened to an open request on VHF 16 for the best "route" from Red Hook to Jost Van Dyke. It was met with a long silence until a responder suggested taking the ferry rather than piloting a vessel if directions were needed.
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-14-2008
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I forgot to mention day moorings at the Baths. In order to get a mooring ball you really should get there well before 11am, after that you need to cruise back and forth to snag one that is coming available. I get really irked by a*****s who ignore the well-published rules about anchoring in coral and parks who end up dropping the hook off the baths. That is one of the few times in the BVI where I look for a bigger police presence! Surprisingly, it seems that the private boat owners tend to be the culprits off the Baths.
I ate breakfast with one of the Sunsail flotilla captains this morning after posting - he had some stories about guests and their "emergencies". But the funiest one was that they had sent out a chartered Cat that had been repaird and which had no halyards or lines for the main. The customer never noticed the nonfunctioning gear.... Just add that to the mono-multi discussions


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post #6 of 14 Old 01-14-2008
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Z,
That's a " stars in the skippers eye" problem or a newbie just wanting to get underway.
At the Baths, we drop the dinghy and use it to patrol the balls, gives us two chances of getting their first. Alternatively, grab a ball at Colision Point next to Spanish Town and dinghy down to the baths (about 10 minutes).
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-14-2008
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ChucklesR - I singlehand, so cannot use the dinghy method. I usually get there early enough to moor, swim ashore and walk up to get a good Gazpacho at the top of the baths or a sandwich at the Mad Dog Cafe. The gazpacho is to die for!

They are lowering my boat into the water as I write this, so I am going to sail up to Prickly Pear and drop the hook tonight.


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post #8 of 14 Old 01-14-2008
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I can not imagine being in the BVI single handed. Who wears the bikini/sarong/thong?

Then again, the last time I was there the bartender at Saba Rock, responding to my daughters gripes about her boyfriend (left back on the boat) was 'Who brings sand to the beach, girl? You wann mon, you goes out and gets one'.

That's unfortunately not true for middle aged trolls, er, guys.
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-14-2008
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I have chartered twice with Footloose in the past and will be chartering with them again in March. I have absolutely no complaints about them or their boats. Both trips were great and the boats showed very little wear to them. The personell were great to work with. the one time I needed help was with a dingy outboard that didn't want to keep running. I took it to the Moorings service dept at Bitter End and they tuned it up with new plugs etc and it worked great after that. I recommend them to all of my sailing friends that charter. Many have gone to them and given me good reports back.

Go forth and sail!

Jeff
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ChucklesR - the bartender at Saba Rock you mentioned - was that a small, young very friendly young lady who seems to work every shift? I've spoken with her before and can imagine her saying that! In fact, I'm using the Saba Rock Wifi connection to post this.

Back to the subject - I might have to retract my statement about the mooring balls in the North Sound never filling up. I sailed up here from Spanish Town today and arrived at around 5pm and I passed only one or two free mooring balls! I think that there were several open towards the Bitter End dock, but the whole area is quite full. A couple of 100+ foot mega sailing yachts are anchored out in deep water. The anchorages around Prickly Pear are still open, but I had left so quickly that my dinghy was still on deck and not ready, so I opted to use the dock and charge the batteries / wash the boat / use the internet and used the opportunity of a free space. By the way, Saba Rock has 3-4 slips that can be used and the rates are significantly cheaper than most other places ($25 for power, around $1/foot plus free unlimited water and I think you get ice as well; plus the people are friendly)


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