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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finaly got all of the crew to decide on which boat and have booked a week in May, 2015 for a sail out of Road Harbor. I am working with Ed Hamilton's group, they have been very helpful thus far. This will be my first trip to the Islands and I'm already running out of reading material, my guide book has too many dog ears.
I have a starter list of what I want to see and do, but in just one week I won't get to all of the places I've been reading about. What would you all think are the two top don't miss spots?
 

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Two top don't miss spots? That depends on a lot of things. What is your group into? Do they like to party? If so then the Willy T in the Bight at Norman and the Soggy Dollar/Foxy's on Jost Van **** should be on the list. Natural beauty, then the Baths of Virgin Gorda and the beaches on the north side of Anegada. I could go on and on... On traveltalkonline dot com your question has been covered a zillion times. That'd be a really good place to do a search.

I'm in the charter business and the biggest common mistake I see for first time visitors is trying to see too much. They end up dashing from place to place as if they are being chased. The BVI is far to big to try and see in one week. It's wise of you to try and pick a few highlights. If you are a fun loving group you might search on line for The Drinking Man's Guide to the BVI. It's full of fun info and hundreds of dollars worth of coupons.

Enjoy your trip.
 

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Two top don't miss spots? That depends on a lot of things. What is your group into?
Yeah, what FarCry said. I couldn't imagine chartering a sailboat with the thought that bars are the top spots; there's plenty of alcohol in my town. So I would be looking for the best diving/snorkeling.

the biggest common mistake I see for first time visitors is trying to see too much. They end up dashing from place to place as if they are being chased.
I've been on trips like that; they suck. My experience is that in one week, most people can't even wind down enough to truly enjoy the experience of a sailing vacation. You should have at least one 24-hour period that the boat does not move. The best advice I can give you is to extend your vacation by at least a week.
 

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I have done 2 week and 1 week charters in the BVI and agree that it is really hard to limit yourself to just a week, but I believe you are going down to the BVI for what you can't find anywhere else. So, the first reply is a good one in that you should hit the Willy-T and the Soggy Dollar, but use them as end-of-the-day wind-downs.

I love the Baths and highly recommend getting there early one morning and staying all day. On one week trips, we tend to do a different anchorage every night, but I do like the idea of staying in one spot two nights as someone mentioned.

Our boys really loved the RMS Rhone and the hike to the top of that hill on Salt Island is a nice one.

Snorkeling the reef areas north of Long Bay (a great anchorage) is also a crew favorite for us.

So those are my suggestions!

Happy Sailing,
 

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I agree with everything said from all. First time to BVI can be a bit overwhelming in the fact that there is so much to do and you will want to do it all... don't. Take your time, pick a few spots you have read about (you can't go wrong), spend two full days at one anchorage and chill, probably mid week. I like to fish, scuba, snorkel, party, chill out ... When are we going again?
 

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In our week-long charter, we basically circumnavigated Tortola, hitting the various surrounding islands each night. Definitely don't try to cover too much ground, but if you circumnavigate it you want to plan wind and speed to allow you to take a leisurely pace, and still get back in time the last day. We went counterclockwise to cover the upwind legs first: Trellis Bay, Gorda Sound, Marina Cay, Jost Great Harbor, White Bay (via dinghy), Bight at Norman Island. We had already been to the Baths (twice), Cooper Island (twice), Spanish Town, and the Indians, so we skipped those this time.

Sounds like OP will be with someone with experience down there, so he could just go along for the ride. [EDIT: Oops, I mixed OP up with another person on another sailing website. Disregard that sentence.]

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies, it seems there are a few things that I hear from most, I will not be able to "see it all". I have also come to understand this first trip may be less about the sailing as it is about enjoying where we are. the folks coming along will want to spend time swimming, snorkeling, and hanging out. I'm still looking forwarded to getting there, I've been wanting to get there for many years now.

At the moment I'm thinking the counterclockwise route will be the way we want to go as well. For the time being I will need to be content getting this Morgan I'm sailing in better shape, still maintenance to be done.
 

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Oh, it will be about the sailing too!

 

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I've been there once but the 2 places that for me are a must see (if you are into snorkeling) are the baths and the Indians. The Baths specially is one of the best snorkeling I've see ever!

Then if you want to take a day off from sailing and indulge you and your wife with some luxury, stop for a day at the scrub island resort and enjoy their fantastic infinity pool overlooking your boat anchored next to marina Cay

I'm trying to get down there again in ~may 2015..but I need to find some crew/passenger first :)

Any takers?
 

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Another must-see snorkeling place is the caves on Norman Island. Suggest you anchor/moor in the Bight and dinghy around the point to the caves. There's a large mooring area for dinghies.

I've never been able to snorkel at the Baths. The swell has always been too large, and the area closed to swimming and snorkeling.
 

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The Baths and the Bubbly Pool were my favorites. Getting to both really early worked out very well for us, we had them both to ourselves for at least an hour before anyone else showed up. My favorite snorkeling was at The Indians. If you make it to Anegada I recommend renting a scooter.

I was lucky enough to go with a group made up of my sailing friends so we let the wind decide where we were going. For example, we had good wind for broad reaching from Anegada right down the Drake Channel to Norman Island so we did that instead of going directly downwind to JVD. When we had light winds we only made a short jump. If you can convince your crew to be flexible you can make the best of the conditions each day :)
 

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The places I would put on my list for a first timer, in no order, would be:

The Bight at Norman Island
The Baths
Virgin Gorda = Bitter End Yacht Club / Saba Rock
Foxy's
Soggy Dollar

Weird mix, but these are locations you are most likely to get in "did you go to" conversations with people for years to come.

There are plenty more great places. If you're a party type, some of these (Foxy's, SD, Willy Ts at the Bight) are lively at night. If not, lunch is usually tame. You'll still likely want to say you were there.

Best approach is to have a list of destination and just take it a day at a time. I personally like to sail in the morning to arrive by very early afternoon. It gives me an activity for the day, so I don't mind moving every day. However, I like to have at least one total down day for the week. That could be a lousy weather day or a place I like enough to want to stay. Get into "Island Time" planning. ie some loose goals, but no plan.
 

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This was our itinerary in 2012, but we didn't go to Anagada, instead we stayed two nights at Bitter End. Highly recommended and allowed our crew to rest some frazzled nerves after a rough day out front and a lack of sleep on the hook a few nights before.
 

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Missingyou, how did you like sailing clockwise around Tortilla? We are planning a similar itinerary, counter-clockwise. Last trip, I aborted an attempt to sail from Jost to BEYC via North route because the seas were too big for my crew.





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...... Last trip, I aborted an attempt to sail from Jost to BEYC via North route because the seas were too big for my crew.
On our last trip, we did BEYC to Jost in 8ft seas. Everyone seemed to be pouring into North Sound to wait them out. However, we had been there two days already and didn't want to stay a third.

We decided we would venture out and just return, if it was too unpleasant. The period between the waves was so long, it was a no brainer. Slow roll up one side and down the other.
 

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On our last trip, we did BEYC to Jost in 8ft seas...
What time of year was this? Christmas swells? Or was there a storm offshore that the swell could be traced to?
 

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Missingyou, how did you like sailing clockwise around Tortilla? We are planning a similar itinerary, counter-clockwise. Last trip, I aborted an attempt to sail from Jost to BEYC via North route because the seas were too big for my crew.
I was a newb to sailing, so it was all new for me, it was in March of 2012. We were chartering a 50ft Cyclades. The first day out front from Jost to Marina Cay was OK, but after leaving Marina Cay things got interesting. We were beating into 8 to 10 foot seas and ended up with some sick folks onboard. I got to helm that day and got some tremendous experience from it. The Cyclades handled it without problem, but my arms were sore for a few days after. I think I decided after that day that I wanted a sailboat, but it would have to be a good size to start.

We were going to go to Anagada, but we were all a little beat up after the tough sail so we stayed an extra night at BEYC. I did some hiking up the hill, it was great, tremendous views. Highly recommended.

All in all I had fun, and got the sailing bug. In fact I came back and did my ASA 101 and 103. Then I started shopping for a boat, looking at 473's, 50ft Oceanis and Sun Odysseys, then by August had my first sailboat. ;-)

We are going back again this March, but for 9 days instead of 7. Anagada is again on our agenda. I'm not sure if we will do the same clockwise itinerary or not.
 

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Do charterers usually go 'round in a clockwise or clockwise circuit. Is there any advantage of going a particular direction? Is there a direction where you would encounter fewer crowds/ more mooring opportunities?
 

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Do charterers usually go 'round in a clockwise or clockwise circuit. Is there any advantage of going a particular direction? Is there a direction where you would encounter fewer crowds/ more mooring opportunities?
No idea. I don't think it really makes a difference. I suppose the winds and the weather might help make the decision.
 

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What time of year was this? Christmas swells? Or was there a storm offshore that the swell could be traced to?
Don't recall the exact dates, but it would have been last few days of Jan to early Feb. Vaguely recall a storm system offshore, but nothing serious.
 
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