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  #11  
Old 01-13-2013
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Re: Comments from this week's BVI Charter

Thanks for the recap and glad you had a good time.
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  #12  
Old 01-14-2013
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Re: Comments from this week's BVI Charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slayer View Post
Thank you TF! Sounds dicey trying to get moorings. What is the latest time of day that you have a decent chance of getting one?
I don't think that there is any single answer to that question. It varies so much at different times of the year, and different days of the week, and different weather conditions. While I mentioned a couple of times that mooring balls were in short supply, they were always when weather conditions would cause more boats to seek protection (some of which might leave as soon as the weather cleared). Boats seemed to come and go during all times of the day. Remember that most of the balls are free for day use, and I don't think that they come around to collect until late afternoon. So there's always a good chance that someone would depart late in the day before they have to pay. Bottom line, it does not matter how many balls there are, as long as it's greater than zero.

We were glad that we weren't there between Christmas and New Years, as I suspect there is so much traffic then that mooring balls may often be filled to capacity. But outside that, it's probably a crap shoot with pretty good odds. Maybe someone who lives there can fill you in better.

We were determined not to let fears over mooring ball availability affect our fun. We weren't going to go racing out of the mooring field early in the morning just to get to our next destination. We were going to sleep in, eat, snorkel, and do whatever we wanted to, and leave when we were ready to. We figured the worst that would happen is that we would have to anchor (which we preferred not to do because we're not familiar with the quality of hold in this area) or we would have to pay a little more for a slip in a marina.

Don't forget that overnight mooring ball rental is a business, and if there's sustained demand for them, then there's an economic incentive to put more in. This might make the anchoring folks unhappy as they see their free anchoring areas encroached, but it's good for the environment since it protects the coral better than people dropping anchor all over the place.
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  #13  
Old 01-14-2013
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Re: Comments from this week's BVI Charter

Wow you brought back some good memories of my only VI trip, a three-boat (C&C 42 cutters) charter 35 years ago out of Charlotte Amalie, out to Bitter End and all around Drake Channel.

We were five "adults" in our mid-20s chaperoning 19 prep school kids from Massachusetts on spring break. What a recipe for disaster. But it wasn't. The kids grew up and got along, learned to drink responsibly (Cruzan was $1.25 a fifth and they'd sell to you if you looked at least 12, so no-drinking just wasn't in the cards) and some actually learned how to sail.

I thought at the outset "boy, would this be great without the kids", but it ended up being more fun with them. When we pulled alongside another sloop to anchor at Bitter End, there were a couple of European lasses sunning themselves topless on the fwd deck. I waited for the boys to make idiots of themselves, but they were cool, and talked about it quietly rather than making yahoo noises. I couldn't've been prouder.

Some day I'd like to go back. Is Foxy's still there? And Tiny Snell's at Trellis?

Glad you enjoyed it, and good work matching sails to the strong breeze. I found that if you liked to actually beat to windward down there, you were a distinct minority ;-)

Last edited by nolatom; 01-14-2013 at 03:10 PM.
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  #14  
Old 01-15-2013
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Re: Comments from this week's BVI Charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post

We were glad that we weren't there between Christmas and New Years, as I suspect there is so much traffic then that mooring balls may often be filled to capacity. But outside that, it's probably a crap shoot with pretty good odds. Maybe someone who lives there can fill you in better. As suggested, yes that Christmas-NYE time-frame is VERY busy.



Don't forget that overnight mooring ball rental is a business, and if there's sustained demand for them, then there's an economic incentive to put more in. This might make the anchoring folks unhappy as they see their free anchoring areas encroached, but it's good for the environment since it protects the coral better than people dropping anchor all over the place.
I agree with the science that in delicate areas fixed moorings do less overall damage than boats coming and dropping anchors for the night. But as one of the "anchoring folks", who happens to be local, I DO NOT anchor in live coral or on grass. If I can't get to a large patch of sand, that I know is there because I've anchored and/or snorkeled there already, I grab a mooring ball. So keep in mind there are many of us who are aware of the the coral and we are not dropping anchor all over the place. You might also consider the economics as well. Grabbing a mooring in the BVI is $30/night. Not much really if you are on vacation for a week and you've spent thousands on a charter boat and airfare. Look at it another way for locals and cruisers. That mooring fee becomes $900/month, or almost double what I pay for a slip with electricity/water/bathrooms etc. I already have a slip for my boat that I pay for whether I'm in it or not. When I have very good ground tackle and local knowledge, why do I want to pay $30/day to be tied to a mooring? That same mooring contract you sign at payment states that they are not responsible for any damage caused by their mooring failing. Some used to state that if there were high winds you had to leave. I do not have empirical data but I do know locally of far more instances of boats being damaged that were connected to mooring balls than were connected to their own anchors. Anchors typically drag, giving some warning if you are aware. Moorings typically fail completely and sometimes silently.

This BVI anchoring/mooring idea has been fodder for much debate amongst my friends. It goes something like this:
1)Do you think there are more and more moorings because the seamanship skills of charter guests have declined and they are willing to pay the fee for simplicity?
2)Do you think it's just another revenue stream with the benefit that they can pack more boats into a smaller area?
3)Moorings are installed to protect the environment? Would now be a good time to bring up the subject of holding tanks and pumpout facilities?

I happen to believe #2, I wish it was #3 but hope it is not #1.

Last but not least. I enjoyed your balanced trip report. I've read hundreds of these things and frequently you get the "everything was perfect, we were surrounded by dolphins and rainbows and the wind was always on our beam...." or "the knob on the drawer under the stove was loose. I only needed to open the drawer once during my trip but it sure was annoying. I had to call service to have the screw tightened a quarter of a turn and I waited almost six minutes. I will never use ABC company again after they refused to give me a full refund and comp my next trip!!!"

I'm always glad to read about charters who know how to sail in brisk winds like what you described. Many never raise their sails and only motor or are horribly overpowered flying full sails because they do not know how to reef.

I hope you come back and sail here again.
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  #15  
Old 01-15-2013
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Re: Comments from this week's BVI Charter

I think mooring balls are great for charterers. I'm not sure I'd trust the delicate reefs to charterers (including me) who lack to local knowledge drop anchor in the right places. And even if you know enough to miss the reef, do you know what other areas will hold well? So for those of us who lack that knowledge, the mooring ball is worth the price.

I am very sympathetic to the locals like you, and have no problem with you anchoring since you have the local knowledge to do so safely. I know what you're saying about mooring failures. The pennant we grabbed in Sopers Hole had one of the three strands completely severed. But it was the only ball left, and we only stayed a couple hours, so we used it.

As for holding tanks, I was surprised that we were told to dump our tanks into the open waters, since we really weren't out past the 3 nm limit. I winced every time I did it, but had to in order to avoid a $150 fee from the charter company. I also noticed an awful, constant stench in the back corners of Wickhams Cay II (where the Footloose boats are kept). It was interesting that the high-end Moorings boats are kept as far away as possible from that stagnant area. I have heard about a similar stench around where Conch Charters is located. It made me wonder whether Road Town lets untreated sewage drain into the harbor. What do you know about this? Purely speculation on my part, but these tiny islands in the middle of the big ocean might not have much incentive to clean up their stuff. If true, it makes the dumping of holding tanks a drop in the bucket, so to speak.
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  #16  
Old 01-15-2013
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Re: Comments from this week's BVI Charter

When briefing charter guests before departure, I strongly suggest that after they are connected to a mooring ball they put the engine in reverse and pull very hard on the mooring ball. Lastly it's wise to put on a mask to jump in for a quick look before deciding this is the place you want to trust for the night. Using this strategy I've pulled out three in the past 6 years with my little 31' mono powered by an anemic 15hp Yanmar!!!! I'm confident any cat or mono of typical charter size would have not been in the same place if the wind had picked up at all. That old phrase "trust but verify" is a good one to recall.

Considering waste... Another potential lengthy discussion.... It is my understanding there is not an entity like the EPA and if there is, it's standards for treatment and disposal of waste would not be comparable to those of which you are used to in the US. There is a lot of discussion on this subject on traveltalkonline dot com under the BVI section, just do a search. If you really want entertaining current environmental/political debate in the BVI, look into the proposed airport expansion which would mostly eliminate the Trellis Bay area you so enjoyed on your trip. Don't let me suggest that the USVI doesn't have plenty of our own problems, we do.
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  #17  
Old 01-20-2013
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Re: Comments from this week's BVI Charter

We posted some shots from our charter on Facebook. Pics are here and video is here. Both are supposed to be viewable by anyone, but it looks like Facebook has changed their policy so that you need to log in to view them. So if you don't have an account you're out of luck.

We hoped that this trip would satisfy us until springtime, but unfortunately it has had the opposite effect and we're just dying to get out on our own boat again as soon as possible this spring.
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  #18  
Old 01-20-2013
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Re: Comments from this week's BVI Charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
We posted some shots from our charter on Facebook. Pics are here and video is here. Both are supposed to be viewable by anyone, but it looks like Facebook has changed their policy so that you need to log in to view them. So if you don't have an account you're out of luck.

We hoped that this trip would satisfy us until springtime, but unfortunately it has had the opposite effect and we're just dying to get out on our own boat again as soon as possible this spring.
Nice video

I can see you guys moving up to a larger boat in a few years now
It wasnt that long ago you just jumped into it. Now your becoming cruisers
Glad you had great time and also got some experience.

Last year we chartered this time of year someplace new...Long beach California....check that out sometime

Dave
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  #19  
Old 02-04-2013
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Re: Comments from this week's BVI Charter

I finally managed to get the embed code for our BVI charter. For those of you without Facebook accounts, you can now view it right here:

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  #20  
Old 08-05-2014
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Re: Comments from this week's BVI Charter

Looks like we're heading back to BVI this January. We found a great deal on a brand new Oceanis 41 (will be delivered to the charter fleet mid-Nov) and have it on hold while we confirm all the other arrangements that we need to make. We will have a total of 4-6 people. Six would be a little crowded on a 41 footer, but it was a good price for that time of year.

More details later after everything is locked in.
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Formerly posted as "RhythmDoctor"
1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)

Last edited by TakeFive; 08-05-2014 at 10:59 PM.
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