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  #1  
Old 10-17-2006
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BVI Christmass Winds

I am considering a BVI cruising vacation for last week of December. I've been warned about the strong Christmass winds that blow through at that time of year. We will have a few non-sailors with us so I'm wondering just how uncomfortable those winds might be. We will be flying into Tortolla and plan on chartering a 47' catamaran.

Any experiences and thoughts about cruising the BVI's during the last week of December would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-17-2006
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btrayfors will become famous soon enough btrayfors will become famous soon enough
Basically, you pay your money and take your chances!

The Christmas winds are neither predictable nor inevitable. Some years you see them, some you don't. Most years when they come it's only for a day or two...or a week at most. Rarely, however, they may be pretty much around for six weeks or more.

In general, the tradewinds in the BVI blow harder in the winter months than the summer months, and tend to have more of a northerly component (e.g., ENE rather than the ESE winds common in summer). This, too, isn't inevitable.

Christmas winds are not just strong tradewinds. They are mini-northers which can blow at 40-50 knots or more. The good news is that you might go through your charter period without seeing them at all. And, if they should come, there are lots of good anchorages to snuggle down in and ride them out.

The bad news is the unpredictability....a bit like rolling the dice :-)

Bill
S/V Born Free
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Old 10-17-2006
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In Your Favor

CP35
The fact that you will have a big Cat will certainly help the non-sailors = flatter while sailing & less roll at anchor/mooring.
The BVI islands are so close together (anegada is exception) & waters somewhat protected by shape of the group that the impact of the wind = creating big waves is much much less than other Islands in the Carib.
The big Cat also has two good size engines to help you overcome any windage.
The charter staff will give you helpful hints & guidance on when to reef (if necessary). Also for most protected anchorages.
Just stay in touch with weather forecasts during the week (VHF WX broadcasts &/or web (internet cafe)).so that if there are big shifts you will not be surprised at night & you could adjust itinerary to select a more protected anchorage for that direction.
Wind is a good thing ......spoken from SF Bay....have Fun!!!
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Old 10-18-2006
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Thanks for the info!

You're right about the big Cats. I chartered one of these cats about 4 years ago. They're more like a moving hotel suite than a sail boat. But with two families of four the extra living space is more important than the sailing experience. (I can't believe I just wrote that. I guess that's what happens when your family gets involved in making vacation plans.)

We have pretty good winds in southeastern New England, although from what I've heard they are a step below SF Bay. Some year I'd like to make it out there to sail.
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Old 10-18-2006
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Stay in Drake's Channel and you'll have absolutely no problem. You can get a secure mooring at a number of spots from West End to Virgin Gorda. Once you leave the channel and head north past Anegada, you run the risk of some nasty breezes all the way down to Jost Van Dyke.
Stay in the Channel.
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Old 10-19-2006
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Anytime.....or Summer if you like Big

CP35:
SF Bay - One of the best things about it is summer consistency...starts off light then builds before the "switch" is flipped in the afternoon for the 20++ kts

BVI protected anchorage off Drakes Bay = Norman Island.......sometimes looks like a parking lot @ a NFL football stadium = mooring balls everywhere but there are a few spots you can still get an anchor down...at least the last time I was there..............Very Good snorkling in the area (The Indians & The Caves) plus the famous Willie T won't spoil the surprise why.
Pirates restaurant is quieter
Big Cats - Nothing better for large groups, comfort & entertaining....it will be a blast.
If you get the right conditions....Anegada is a great romp especially on a Cat coming out of Virgin Gorda (often a beam run) ...Have Fun
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Old 10-26-2006
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almost everywhere you might want to sail in the BVI, with the possible exception of Anegada, will be in protected waters. Even the stripped down charter boats still have sails that can be reefed. You'll be just fine.
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