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kootenay 09-12-2009 11:17 PM

First time charter Baja or BVI
My wife and I are new to sailing and will be doing our first bareboat charter this winter. Our sailing experience is limited. We did our Bareboat cruising course in BVI last year and are thinking it may be best to go back there as its more familiar for a first time but have friends in the Baja we could also visit in the La Paz area. We have filed our resume with moorings and have been ok'ed for either. With just the two of us 35 ft or so is about the size we are looking at. Any suggestions?

Zanshin 09-13-2009 01:57 AM

Do the BVI again. You will get the relaxation that comes along with an easy sail while building up zour experience. There is no other place that I know of that combines the scenery, water, shoreside facilities with easy and uncomplicated sailing.

waterdogs 09-17-2009 01:49 PM

Baja is a lot of fun too!
Went to Baja this past Summer and had a blast. You will not have any issues down there as long as you go in prepared for the navigation - charts are off by literally one+ miles. Very easy to get around. Get a copy of blue water press's cruising guide to the sea of cortez - it was 100% accurate and proved to be an invaluable tool for the trip.

richermartyn 09-21-2009 06:20 AM

I have read your post so i hope you didn't face any navigation problem and as your BVI going last year.. should you go back again...

vadimzh 09-22-2009 12:19 AM

Baja in summer could be hot. Baja in spring could be cold. Not super cold, but cold enough to require wetsuits. Winter is cold. In addition, if you are going to the Sea of Cortez, they have a peculiar wind from time to time.

So, my vote would be to go to BVI. Once you get more comfortable and want challenge, then go to Baja. BTW, I could share with you a couple of google "charts" and may be a place or two in BVI.


adamavis 09-22-2009 01:43 PM

Could you send me those google charts? Thanks!

adamavis @ yahoo . com

bareboatingtheworld 09-22-2009 05:53 PM

It's been a long time since I've been to BVI, but, I was in Baja the week after Thanksgiving last year (2008) and it was fantastic. The water was warmer than Croatia or Greece in August and the setting was beautiful. Unfortunately, for our week there was little wind after the first day.

Now, the real attraction is the nature. We swam with the sea lions twice off of Los Isolottes (no guide needed) and had a great time exploring the mangroves, cactus forest, and lagoon on Isola San Jose. Snorkeling was pretty good with regards to fish, not great for coral. We also were pretty successful catching fish.

I've just created a blog site ( that has a lot of details for this trip including a google chart of our anchorages, photo gallery, and daily log. I written some area insights with regards to before departing, provisions, living aboard, and sailing stuff. check it out and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

Gaetano Squicciarini
(sorry this is the first of many posts and they will not let me hyperlink yet).

vadimzh 09-22-2009 06:00 PM

Gaetano, interesting difference of experiences. I guess it all depends on the year and season. I have been in the Sea of Cortez in April couple of years ago. It was cold and we spent 4 nights doing anchor watches as it was blowing from about 8pm and until 8am in the morning. And boy, was it blowing... We did sail well, though. The nature if out of this world.

bareboatingtheworld 09-22-2009 06:39 PM


As you said, couldn't be more different. The nights were more peaceful than my flat in San Francisco. OK unfair comparison as the wind shakes the place in the late afternoon. I've never slept more secure for a week on a sailboat.

We had over 20+ knots out of the NW for our initial passage from the mooring base in la paz to espirtu santo, then little for the rest of the week. maybe an hour average each day. Guess the message would be earlier in the winter is better for comfort and I guess you just have to get lucky with regards to wind ... and whale spotting ... we weren't so luck there, but, it appears to be quite common when cruising in the sea of cortez.

vadimzh 09-22-2009 06:55 PM

Indeed, I will second your suggestion based on our two experiences. We did see plenty of sea life. And we even managed to miss a perfect picture of five orcas as we though they were going to take over our boat... I think a lot of perfect pictures of wild life missed that way. In fact, now that I am thinking, I have not seen many pictures of lions sneefing photographer... I guess our faces at the time were worth a picture as well ;-) But they are amazingly pretty and swim in perfect sync. It was like a national geographic show. If only skipper could sleep during nights...

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