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Old 08-10-2008
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BVI in Hurricane Season

I am a fairly new sailor looking to do my first charter in BVI the second week of September. The crew will be just myself and my girlfriend (very inexperienced). Chartering a 34 foot Beneteau. My prior sailing experience consists of day sails on lake Michigan. Based on the time of year and my level of experience does this sound like a bad idea?



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Old 08-10-2008
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Welcome! Did a charter company actually approve you for a charter with that level of experience? I would be most surprised...but in your own interest I would suggest you arrange to hire a captain for the first two days at least so you can be assured of a good experience. Hurricanes are always an issue and early September is peak time for storms...but more often than not, it will not be a problem and the NORMAL sailing conditions that time of year are quite moderate.The BVI;s are wonderful and it is all eyeball navigation between the islands...though you had better know how to read a chart. Many businesses and restaurants will be closed that time of year and anchorages will be uncrowded.
Good luck with the planning.
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Old 08-12-2008
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follow up

Thanks for the hearty welcome Camaraderie. The charter company has approved me for charter for up to 41 feet. My sailing resume is quite a bit more comprehensive than my post suggests, however I will be entirely new to a liveabord. In your experience with the closure of many businesses ect will it be difficult to find provisions (diesel, water, food)? Do you generally provision outside of Tortila? Are there many occasions where you will need to anchor or is it pretty much just moorings? Any other insight would be greatly appreciated. Needless to say given the time of year I will be purchasing cancellation insurance.

Thanks in advance.

Sr Seabass
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Old 08-12-2008
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SrSeaBass - we might meet up, I am probably headed to the BVI for the first 3 weeks of September.

The winds and waves are going to be lower than during the peak season, there is even a chance of getting a calm day. So for the most part the sailing is going to be easy. Many (if not most) of the bars and restaurants will be closed but enough remain open so you don't have to worry about your BAC content or starvation if you decide not to cook.

If a tropical depression, named storm or a hurricane threatens to come by the charter company will make sure to contact you ahead of time so that they can prepare the boat - you will probably have to fend for yourself so the insurance is a worthwhile investment (I'm assuming it covers contingencies like storms and related bills).

It is going to be hot and muggy so if you are sensitive to heat it might be worthwhile to get a boat with AC.

The common anchorages all have moorings, with the exception of Great Harbour in Jost VanDyke. Anchoring is usually easy with sandy, grippy, bottom in less than 25 feet of water. Tides exist, but nobody has found them yet.
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SrSB..Zan has it all right. The ony thing I would add is that provisioning will be no problem...just costly relative to the states. Check out the AmpleHamper on line as they carry a wide variety of stuff and are used to provisioning. Here they are online:
http://www.amplehamper.com/

Glad you're more experienced than in the first post! Bring less clothes than you think you'll need and more money!
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Old 08-12-2008
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Ample Hamper was one of the first provisioning sources in the BVI, but they have not sustained their first place position. Riteway and Bobby's Marketplace are both better regarded these days, are both cheaper, and both more reliable. Both have on-line order forms to pre-order and will deliver throughout Tortola.
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Old 08-13-2008
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I went through this fascinating document Marinerís Guide For Hurricane Awareness In
The North Atlantic Basin
last night only to discover, much to my chagrin, the following chart regarding hurricanes:

I wish the peak wouldn't happen to be exactly in the middle of my planned visit.
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Old 08-13-2008
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SVAuspicious is very correct about provisioning. Moreover, most of the charter companies have an arrangement to provision the boat for you. It is wise to use that service the first time you are down in the BVI. I strongly suggest you use the "split provisioning plan", and order at least one day less than the length of your charter. Even doing so you will return to base with food left over. Bobbi's is very good about provisiioning. You will save some money provisioning yourself , BUT you will fritter away a lot of time grocery shopping, when you are supposed to be on vacation. Allowing the charter company to provision for you is also a safety consideration. They will include items you may well not think about, such as matches to light the stove, etc. When they deliver the stuff, carefully check off what they deliver against the invoice they provide. Almost always one or two items will be forgotten. No problem, they will run and get it.
You will love not having a bunch of boats in every harbor.
You will be distressed at the muggy heat and humidity.
Leverick Bay in North Slound has showers and water. You may want to include that in your planning. In the off season they have often invited us to lie along side all night ikf we eat in the restaurant. Very pleasant to shower, eat a nice dinner, and then not have to dinghy back to the boat
Many restaurants will not be open, but enough will be open if you really need a shore based meal.
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Old 08-13-2008
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SVAuspicious...I've used Bobby's in the past as well and been happy with them....still the AH had some nice treats! My last visit was several years ago so your info is probably more up to date and reliable.
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Old 08-13-2008
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I cant thank everyone enough for the info. Nothing beats feedback from actual experiences. Here comes a few dumb questions... Are there opportunities outside of Tortola for shore power? Based on the heat, a night of ac sounds like it would be a dream. The provisioning info/links seem like the best way to go. Im also hoping to fish and wonder if its worth the headache to provision for 1/2 the trip and grab groceries along the way? The charter company is supposed to include a pre provision package (salt, olive oil, tp, ect).
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