Join Date: May 2007
Location: Boerne, Tx
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Things to take
The first thing I would pack is a series of well marked guidebooks, chosen from a huge stack you have read and thoroughly absorbed in the coming months. In terms of "gear", you can rent most nearly everything in the Virgin islands, save the obvious. If you scuba, you would be smart to take your own regulator, everything else can be rented. If you wear corrective lenses, please get yourself a snorkle mask with corrective lenses in. Having sharp vision while in the water immeasurably increases your pleasure. Take a sun tan with you. Three weeks before leaving, buy a packge of tanning sessions in the local salon. Beats the heck out of dealing with a sun burn the first week underway. Pack a light weight set of foul weather gear. You are going to the tropics, where it is warm, but sooner or later you will get caught out in a rain shower, a long way from harbor. Getting soaked, and wet when the wind is blowing will lead to hypothermia faster than you think. A bunch of disposable underwater cameras. Hard to find in the islands.
Where to buy the boat is worth discussing. Many will suggest you buy in the islands, and there certainly are lots to choose from there. However having done the Chesapeake Bay/Virgin Islands run up and down a couple of times, I advocate trying to find a boat up here, and sailing it down. The trip through the inland waterway is wonderful. The trip through the Bahamas is fantastic. etc. You can do it singlehandled safely if you plan carefully, though it is more fun with companions. You can do nearly every leg without sleep if you plan, and time departures appropriately.
Get a small ditty bag, and start putting lengths of small line, and string into it, and some smal shock cords. Every boat will have the necessary proper lines, but very few will have that piece of twine you need to tie back a curtain, or close a package, etc.
Think about getiing a piece of cancas about 4x5 feet, and putting grommets in each corner, maybe a few more. Very often yu will be at anchor, having a sundowner, and the sun will be glaring directly into your eyes. Hang the canvas up as a sunshade, and life is much better.
I watched a charter skipper leave on a ten day charter with my sister and her family. His luggage was the size of a dopp kit. Had a different colored swimming suit for every day, and a toothbrush. He borrowed toothpaste. Was bearded. According to all reports he and the trip were a blast! Read the charter websites, which all say you will bring too much. True.
Others will be practical, but I have listed some of the stuff no one thinks about, and which have made a big difference on some of my trips.