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  #11  
Old 01-14-2012
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Interesting... I thought Skip told us not to go into Cruz Bay. Our customs procedure is to pick up a mooring ball in Solomon or Caneel and take the dinghy into Cruz for customs.
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  #12  
Old 01-14-2012
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He probably did, I just wondered why. Maybe it's more that the charter companies don't want people docking, and less about the commercial traffic.
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Old 01-14-2012
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We've been in Cruz Bay at least three times with IYC and other charter boats, including anchoring on the North side and docking twice at the gas dock for water and once at the Customs dock. If it were my boat that was in charter service, I'd want the charter company to tell you to stay outside at a mooring and dingy in.

The most challenging moment in Cruz Bay for us was getting off the Customs dock with ferry traffic and several excursion boats circling as they awaited our departure. The Customs folks had shoehorned us in to the point of our bow overhanging the transom of the boat ahead of us and our transom nearly touching the bow of the excursion boat that came in right after us. If we didn't have a bow thruster on the IP 420, I would have deployed the dinghy as a tow boat to pull the bow off the dock! Once off the dock, we had to make a sharp U-turn and thread our way through the heavy traffic--several excursion catamarans-- but that was the easy part, once we had way on. For some reason, we had arrived at the beginning of rush hour. Had we arrived 15 minutes later, we never would have been able to tie up at the customs dock. To OvO's comment, I'd say the issue is BOTH docking and traffic, unless you come in at a quiet time.

We've had sailboats for 40 years and are obviously more experienced than a lot of bareboat crews, IMHO. I remember sharing experiences with the crew from another charter as we shared a taxi back to the airport. It was a kind of "What did you like, what didn't you like, where did you go, what experiences did you enjoy, etc.," In the 45 minutes to the airport you can cover a lot of ground. This was 13 or 14 years ago on our first Caribbean charter and we noticed that there were a lot of bareboat folks with sloppy sail trim, questionable anchoring techniques, etc., In any case, we related to our taxi-mates our pleasant surprise at the $.85/ft slip fee at Spanish Town. We thought the big deal was how cheap it was, compared to our New England scene, but they were amazed that we docked the boat ourselves! That was the "Ahah!"moment for us and explains why the charter companies set some of the limits they do.

My bottom line on Cruz Bay: Don't dock at Customs unless you have a very good reason. If you do, be prepared for some tight maneuvering with restricted room and an off-and-on chaotic traffic scene. If you can find room, docking the gas dock (for water) is easier, but you have to check in with customs first (if you are coming from the BVI).

That said, you should discuss options with Skip at IYC, if you are inclined to be more adventurous than the average bareboater.
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Old 01-14-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fallard View Post
If it were my boat that was in charter service, I'd want the charter company to tell you to stay outside at a mooring and dingy in.

The most challenging moment in Cruz Bay for us was getting off the Customs dock with ferry traffic and several excursion boats circling as they awaited our departure. The Customs folks had shoehorned us in to the point of our bow overhanging the transom of the boat ahead of us and our transom nearly touching the bow of the excursion boat that came in right after us. If we didn't have a bow thruster on the IP 420, I would have deployed the dinghy as a tow boat to pull the bow off the dock! Once off the dock, we had to make a sharp U-turn and thread our way through the heavy traffic--several excursion catamarans-- but that was the easy part, once we had way on. For some reason, we had arrived at the beginning of rush hour. Had we arrived 15 minutes later, we never would have been able to tie up at the customs dock. To OvO's comment, I'd say the issue is BOTH docking and traffic, unless you come in at a quiet time.
I've been sailing in the USVI / BVI since 1978, yet despite all that experience, your description above reinforces my perception that taking a bareboat into Cruz Bay is not a good idea.

It would be easier to sail to JVD, check-in and get water in Great Harbor. Now I just need to decide if it's worth the extra cost to charter the 440 (more space for family of 5, more water, two heads). With either IYC boat it will be a good experience, of that I'm certain.
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Old 01-15-2012
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I used to check into the BVI at JVD, but 2 years ago we spent 2 nights in Leinster Bay/Waterlemon Cay to acclimate to island time and then motored to Spanish Town. Our party of 6 included 4 newcomers (2 adults/2 boys) to the Virgin Islands. We took a slip at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor and did our check in at the adjacent customs/immigration office. Then we took a taxi to The Baths, returning to the boat about dusk. There are showers at the marina and there's as good a provisioning stop as you'll find outside Tortola, with the exception of Leverick Bay. We returned to the Top of The Baths for a great dinner: they've never disappointed. Before leaving the next day, we topped off the water tank. We then sailed back down the Drake channel at our leisure. Our 8 & 12 yr. old grandsons needed to explore Norman Island, but otherwise, we might have gone to North Sound as a jumping off point for Anegada, or done the counter clockwise route via Marina Cay to JVD.

We haven't checked into JVD since 2009, but we hear there are some moorings now and water? Unless you are into the Foxy's scene, we'd rather moor overnight in Little Harbour. The holding ground at Great Harbor is not so great--broken elkhorn coral, we understand--and it has been our experience that there are a lot of boats that drag anchor when the wind picks up.

For what its worth, we use a laser rangefinder for peace of mind when anchoring. You can periodically check on whether you or the upwind boat are dragging and get an early warning of the need for an anchor drill. The short range versions used by golfers and hunters are relatively cheap, but you might consider a longer range version if you intend to use it in reduced visibility conditions elsewhere, as the effective range drops considerably in haze. It's standard equipment on our own boat.
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Old 01-18-2012
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Couple of things to add, Cruz Bay is a problem for several reasons. Traffic, shallow water and no room. The channel back to customs is narrow, there are several shallow spots including a bad one by the fuel dock that you can easily hit in a sail boat. The customs dock is crowded and busy and the VI Port Authority charges to tie up there. The main harbor is loaded to the hilt with permanent moorings, live aboard and commercial boats so no room there. As far as customs goes it is much easier to take a mooring at Caneel Bay/Lind Point and dinghy in. For fuel and water Red Hook, Jost or Sopher's would be my first choices. Great Harbour has over thirty moorings now, some are owned by Foxy's some by the fuel dock. The fuel/water dock is on the left side right by the ferry dock, deep water right up to it.
Jay
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Old 02-21-2012
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iyc ip 37

I recently returned from a 10 day vacation sailing an island packet 37 through the bvi's with winds 20-28 each day. It is neither a boat or a charter company that I would recommend as the boat needs to be moving at between 4 or 5 knots to come about and the charter company is about the worst I have experienced. Three out of three separate boat captains in our group would not go back there.
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Old 02-21-2012
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Pat - Aside from the poor performance of the IP370, are there any other reasons why you wouldn't charter from Island Yachts? In other words, if you had a better performing boat, would you have been satisfied?

Thanks,

Doug
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Old 02-21-2012
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Pat:

We've chartered IP370s from IYC 4 times over the past 5 years, and ranged from the Spanish Virgins to St. Croix, to Anegada and just about everwhere in between in the USVI and BVI. The IP370 is not a sport boat, to be sure, but it is heavy and solid for its size and should be more comfortable than a Beneteau or Jenneau in the same size range when the wind picks up. As is the case with all IPs I've sailed (including the 35, 350, 380, 40, 420 models--over 80 days in all sailing IPs), the steering is stiff and takes effort. If you had the cutter rig--most are--you can have a hard time coming about if you are going slow and don't have the hang of getting the genoa through the slot between the forestay and inner headstay.

By comparison, our own boat is nimble and weatherly, but when we go on a charter, we are more interested in relaxing than racing. If you were looking for a race boat, your disappointment is understandable, but the Island Packets are not represented as such.

The boat is one thing, but I don't understand your disappointment with IYC. Could you elaborate?
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