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hillenme 01-23-2013 11:28 PM

BVI charter
 
Booking a charter for march with sunsail. Will be just the girl friend and i, looking at a 36i for 8 days. All my previous charters in Grenadines and Tobago cays have been with horizon. Good or bad experiences with sunsail? Any one bareboated the 36i before? Is the Sunsail 36i a Janneau? Got a nice itinerary for 8 days; must sees etc? It will be a first to BVI for me. Another point, my girl will be just three weeks done with sixteen weeks of chemo for breast cancer. She tells me (from experience) BVI is easy peasy compared to my beating Grenada to St Lucia and God knows we need the vaca, but want to be reassured it's super easy for two experienced sailors (have the okay from the doc, but she may be thinking club med relaxation type of thing...) Is there a windlass on their smaller monohulls or will that even be an issue in BVI? I always dropped the hook in the Windwards, but am thinking that would be a pain if her energy levels are low. Thanks for any input or suggestions! Also what's the best flight in, beef island or save money and take the ferry?

chef2sail 01-24-2013 02:43 AM

Re: BVI charter
 
Contact TakeFive as he just came back from the BVI charter with sunsail. I beleive he had a 36. Soory to hear about you girl.

BVI sailing is a lot calmer and less challenging and relaxing than Grenada, although that is my favorites.

GrahamO 01-24-2013 07:35 AM

BVI charter
 
We have done a number of BVI charters (not with Sunsail) and it is the easiest sailing imaginable. The islands are all a short hop from one another. The wind is generally predictable and ideal for sailing. There are sheltered moorings everywhere. I'm not sure you are even allowed to anchor but the issue never came up.
If you want a relaxing time just over-reef the main and take it easy. There is some good snorkeling and diving if you are into that. I cannot think of a better location for your situation. Have fun!

PM Me if you want more details about locations. I have some favorites.

Graham

GrahamO 01-24-2013 07:47 AM

BVI charter
 
I missed the last question - we used to get the direct flight to Beef Island but last time we went through Charlotte Amalie and got the ferry. It has pros and cons. The cons are it is more of a logistical hassle getting from the airport to the ferry, particularly if you have a lot of stuff. I'm sure Sunsail will pick you up off the ferry. The pros are the ferry ride is kind of fun and we really enjoyed the half day and overnight we spent in Charlotte A on the way home. It is a really lovely town. We nearly started looking for real estate......

Graham

Capt.Alex 01-24-2013 08:30 AM

Re: BVI charter
 
I agree with the above posts. Easy as can be, moorings everywhere. I would suggest you plan to leave your anchorages early in the am and try and arrive at the next one early in the day to be able to get a mooring. They can fill up by late afternoon and you may end up on a mooring on the outskirts of the harbor subject to an uncomfortable surge. On a 36 or 38' monohull I would want to be tucked up close to shore each night for comforts sake. Enjoy!

denverd0n 01-24-2013 09:23 AM

Re: BVI charter
 
My wife and I did a BVI charter on a Sunsail 36 this past November. Nice boat and excellent for two people. The facilities at the Sunsail/Moorings dock are also very nice.

The boat did have a windlass, but we didn't use it. We picked up moorings every night, except one night at the dock in Spanish Town. There are a lot of places where you can't anchor, and must use a mooring. But if you really want to anchor in an out of the way place, you can.

Don't get too hung up on a long list of "must sees." Take your time and enjoy the sailing, and don't try to see everything in one, 8-day visit.

We were there for 7 days and we went from Road Town to Norman Island (snorkeled the caves the following morning). Then to Cooper Island (nice beach and excellent restaurant). Then to Virgin Gorda where all the moorings at The Baths were full. Because of that we continued on up to Spanish Town where, due to the wind direction at the time, we decided to take a slip rather than anchor outside the marina. Cab to The Baths (take your park permit with you, so you don't have to pay again). Dinner at the Top of The Baths.

After that we headed to North Sound where we took a mooring at Saba Rock. Dinghied around the sound, shopped at Leverick and Bitter End. Dined at Saba Rock--excellent food and very reasonable prices. From there to Marina Cay. The restaurant there is nice enough, but the DJ music was kind of loud and intrusive. And don't even THINK about using the showers nor the bathrooms at the marina--they were seriously dilapidated and DISGUSTINGLY DIRTY! Trellis Bay is nice; some really beautiful stuff at Aragorn's Studio.

We spent the last night at the Sunsail/Moorings marina in Road Town, just because we didn't want to be rushed the next morning. We like to sleep a bit late, frankly. Breakfast at Ginny's was very good.

We flew into STT and then took the ferry. Don't bother with reservations for the ferry, or paying ahead of time. Just show up at the ferry terminal and buy a ticket for the next one leaving. We figured that we saved about $300 by using the ferry, but it does add some time. On the way back our flight out of STT was early in the morning, so we spent our last night at the Best Western Emerald Bay in Charlotte Amalie (nice beach, excellent beach bar).

The sailing in the BVI is super easy. Maybe a bit challenging if you want to go to Anegada (which we plan to do on our next visit). The Drake channel is protected enough to feel safe there, but open enough that you'll know you're not in a big lake. Everything is close enough (again, if you don't go to Anegada) that I can't imagine the lady friend being too fatigued by the short hops. And if she is then pick someplace nice and stay a couple of days to give her a rest. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

hillenme 01-24-2013 06:07 PM

Re: BVI charter
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GrahamO (Post 980306)
I missed the last question - we used to get the direct flight to Beef Island but last time we went through Charlotte Amalie and got the ferry. It has pros and cons. The cons are it is more of a logistical hassle getting from the airport to the ferry, particularly if you have a lot of stuff. I'm sure Sunsail will pick you up off the ferry. The pros are the ferry ride is kind of fun and we really enjoyed the half day and overnight we spent in Charlotte A on the way home. It is a really lovely town. We nearly started looking for real estate......

Graham

Thanks, I think we'll definitely do the ferry. They gave us a quote that includes Saturday night staying aboard (after 6 pm), so I figure with all day to get there take it easy and add one more Island to the list I've seen (or at least set foot on) :)

hillenme 01-30-2013 10:30 PM

Booked for March. I stopped by LateSail at the Strictly Sail show this weekend and booked the exact same boat for the same time for over $400 less. They claim not to share the charter company with you until accept the quote, but it was obvious it was still Sunsail. Very pleased!

hillenme 03-18-2013 01:28 PM

Re: BVI charter
 
Just returned from this trip. Thanks for input from folks on here. The trip was a breeze, never had a single issue with anything. The boat was perfect for the two of us. We did a lot of sailing so sometimes arrived places a little later then recommended, but usually found we could drop the hook for an hour or less and someone would leave a mooring, so we never spent the night that way. The swell was up the first two days so we had to rearrange our schedule a bit, but it was not an issue, we got everywhere so quickly. I think the highlight sailing was the reach from Leverick to Jost Van Dyke - great wind and big, long, rolling swells - much different type of sea than we get on the Great Lakes (and much more comfortable). I can definitely see returning to this cruising ground in the future.

GrahamO 03-18-2013 01:35 PM

Re: BVI charter
 
I'm pleased it all went well. We enjoyed the reach down to JVD as well.

My current sailing 'experience' seems to consist of writing very large checks to a yard for very little apparent progress. Maybe we should have stuck to chartering..... :)

Graham


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