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casey1004 07-02-2003 04:32 PM

I am looking for advice on whether I am ready to charter a 36 boat to BVI for one week. Submitted a sailing resume to the Moorings and they say I am qualified to sail anywhere in the world up to 45 ft boat. I have taken a learn to sail, advanced sail, coastal passage making and coastal navigation course all at a very excellent certified sailing school. Have sailed for 2 seasons (in the northeast, short season) and have skippered J-24 many times. Oh and the coastal passage making course was in the caribbean. Despite all, I am not 100% confident because I have never skippered anything outside of my usual sailing area. I don''t know how else to learn except to go and give it my best try. I''ll be taking my spouse and 2 children (7 & 9) and don''t want it to be a bad experience for them. I know no one can answer this except myself but I am wondering how to take the plunge!

DuaneIsing 07-03-2003 04:11 AM


You don''t mention whether you will have any competent crew with you. Can your spouse be counted on to provide effective help? If not, maybe you are asking a bit much. If yes, then read on.

I admire folks who recognize their limitations (we all have them), but I am surprised you don''t feel confident enough at this stage after all the schooling and experience you have had. If you felt confident during all the recent training on larger boats, it sounds to me like you should be ready. I had less preparation than you for my first charter last year in the BVIs and it went very well on a 45'' boat.

IMHO, the biggest thing is to use sound judgement and common sense. The mechanics of handling the boat should be pretty easy for you at this point, except maybe docking in stronger winds (but how often will you have to do that? once during the charter?) Think things through before executing them and have multiple escape plans.

I believe there are a significant number of folks sailing charters down there who are fairly incompetent or inebriated, or both, and (thankfully) they seem to get by without too much incident. If you stay sober while underway, and pay attention, you should be just fine.

BTW, we''re leaving Tuesday for our second charter there - 10 days this time! Can''t wait.

Good luck and go!


camaraderie 07-03-2003 07:40 AM

Casey... you sound ready to me! The BVI''s are easy sailing and all navigation is within sight so no worries there. Since you will be tying up to BVI supplied moorings most nights in good shelter, that should be easy too...just remember to get into your anchorage EARLY each day (3PM) if you want to pick up a mooring during high season as they go quickly.
The major problem I''ve seen with charterers is poor anchoring techniques often accompanied by poor ground tackle from the charter company. When you do anchor...drop the hook and let out plenty of scope, then back it down hard to insure a good set. Some places in the BVI have lots of weed on the bottom which can give you the illusion of a good set until the wind picks up (been there - done that!). looks as though you''re well prepared...the sailing is easy and the water and islands are wonderful so enjoy! Best...GB

hokesmith 07-24-2003 09:54 AM

I think you are more ready than a lot of folks who go down there. The BVI''s have got to be one of the best sailing locations in the world, not just because of the constant wind and lovely anchorages, but also because of the low distances between islands and the overall ease of the experience. When I was about 11, my mom and dad took our family down there after a one week Steve Colgate class. We managed just fine, and I''m sure you will too.

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