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Hi all, this is my second post in this category and I want to hear your opinions. Are the BVIs superior to the USVIs for bareboating? There certainly seems to be more activity associated with the BVIs. Can somebody out there tell me why one might be better than the other? :confused:

BTW, I am leaning towards the BVIs over Belize and the Abacos. If I go in late June 2010, do I run a good chance of rough weather? (hurricanes, depressions, etc.?), or is it all random?

Thanks, Bill
 

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Capt Rich
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Hi Bill,

We have lived in the Abacos and the Virgins, and run a charter company...not an ad. The Abacos are great, better snorkeling and beaches. The Virgins have better sailing, cheaper flights and cheaper supplies. It is a toss up to us, if this is your first time bareboating I would do the virgins, as there is a lot more water to cover. The Abacos are very laided back but you will have a good time in either. Once you decide, post and we can let you know some of the better places to stop. I would not worry about weather in June of July but buy the trip insurance.

Rich

Hi all, this is my second post in this category and I want to hear your opinions. Are the BVIs superior to the USVIs for bareboating? There certainly seems to be more activity associated with the BVIs. Can somebody out there tell me why one might be better than the other? :confused:

BTW, I am leaning towards the BVIs over Belize and the Abacos. If I go in late June 2010, do I run a good chance of rough weather? (hurricanes, depressions, etc.?), or is it all random?

Thanks, Bill
 

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June 1 is the start of Hurricane Season for the Caribbean/ Gulf. You never know what each year will bring but historically, June is one of the "safer" hurricane months, if any such thing exist!

You will find far more to do, more anchorages and moorings, more accommodations of all types in the BVI than in USVI.

I personally like St. John in the USVI for the hiking and snorkeling and less dense sailing. St. John is about 70% National Park and lesser expensive moorings are available and most have really nice hiking trails of varying difficulty and distance. The one from Waterlemon Cay to Coral Bay is not easy but well worth the effort in my view as it the one from Lampshier Bay to the Petroglyphs. These are about a good day's trip round-trip if you stop to take advantage of the views and Danish ruins. If you don't hike then Waterlemon's snorkeling where you are almost guaranteed a great encounter with large sea turtles and a nice reef. St. James Island and it's Christmas Cove also has a nice anchorage and reef for snorkeling.

Overall, hands down most people will prefer BVI for ease of sailing, good conditions, generally less expense and a very wide range of amenities from none in a remote anchorage to large marina slips. Everything is just a short sail away if you want to hop around. About the longest hop would be from Virgin Gorda or Jost Van **** to Anagada which is the only non volcanic island in the BVI.

In past years when I went down I stayed several month each time and hopped back and forth from BVI to USVI but by far most of my time was in BVI. BVI is the worlds top cruising grounds for a reason.
 

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Why not sail both the USVI and the BVI? We really liked St. Johns for its quiet bays. The BVI's are the perfect spot to pick up a charter boat.
Clearing customs was a little difficult (we are Dutch) but we discovered that if you take the ferry from BVI to USVI (rent a car and look arond the island) and keep the card they give you, you can clear customs with your BVI charter boat the next day.
 

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Having sailed several times over many decades in both the USVI and BVI, I'll tell you that although the BVI are now the "preferred" option, the anchorages are much more crowded than they used to be. Back in the 80s, it was the opposite, Gorda Sound was virtually deserted. I cringe when I see the pictures of the Bitter End now, with dozens of mooring balls and just the huge numbers of bareboats. You can enjoy many uncrowded anchorages on St. John with great beaches and snorkeling. If your vacation is only 7-10 days, you can sail around St. John, make a quick trip to Tortola or JVD (check in at Soper's Hole) and have experienced both areas... I really enjoyed the peaceful and quiet anchorages on St. John. Now, if I could find more charter company options in the USVI, I'd be happy. We chartered with VIP and the boat was in rough shape, but overall it was an OK experience. Does anyone have any other positive experiences with USVI-based charter companies?

June is "technically" hurricane season, but historically, there have been very, very few hurricanes during that month. That's when we usually go... early - mid June.

Thanks!
 

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From what I could see...St John was the only USVI, I would have wanted to explore. ..I stop over for a day and a night in st thomas..on my way out of the BVI....I don't think you can go wrong in the BVI....
 

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Freedom 39
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Run,
Feel free to send me a PM for further information/suggestions. If you want to rent an Island Packet there is Island Yachts out of Redhook Island Yachts U.S. Virgin Islands - Charter Vacations. If you want a FP Cat, a Beneteau or a Hunter Mono, you can go with CYOA out of Frenchtown CYOA Yacht Charters Bareboat Charters in the Virgin Islands.

June-October is my favorite time to sail too, the water is very warm and the anchorages are nearly deserted.

Having sailed several times over many decades in both the USVI and BVI, I'll tell you that although the BVI are now the "preferred" option, the anchorages are much more crowded than they used to be. Back in the 80s, it was the opposite, Gorda Sound was virtually deserted. I cringe when I see the pictures of the Bitter End now, with dozens of mooring balls and just the huge numbers of bareboats. You can enjoy many uncrowded anchorages on St. John with great beaches and snorkeling. If your vacation is only 7-10 days, you can sail around St. John, make a quick trip to Tortola or JVD (check in at Soper's Hole) and have experienced both areas... I really enjoyed the peaceful and quiet anchorages on St. John. Now, if I could find more charter company options in the USVI, I'd be happy. We chartered with VIP and the boat was in rough shape, but overall it was an OK experience. Does anyone have any other positive experiences with USVI-based charter companies?

June is "technically" hurricane season, but historically, there have been very, very few hurricanes during that month. That's when we usually go... early - mid June.

Thanks!
 

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FarCry,

Thanks for the info on Island Yachts and CYOA. They seem to be good options to VIP, although a bit more expensive. Do they both have a good reputation of maintaining and servicing their fleet?

I cannot send you a PM yet, because I don't have 5 posts...

Thanks!
 

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Depends on your interests, I suppose. Two years ago in May I sailed from Jost Van **** to St. John, spent the afternoon at Maho Bay (after checking in at customs at Cruz Bay) and then overnighted around the corner in a lovely little bay near a hiking trail and good snorkeling. I had an incredibly relaxing time. Nice bit of snorkeling, 3 or 4 other boats in the overnight anchorage. Nice and quiet after the afternoon mooring scrum of White Bay in Jost.

I'm going out again for a 7 day sail in May and intend to spend at least two nights in St. John.

Customs are a bit of a hassle - check out of BVI, check in at USVI, check out of USVI, and check in at BVI (at least I think that's what you've got to do - we didn't, but that's another story).
 

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Freedom 39
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EvanstonJohn,
The little bay you overnighted in is called Leinster and as you noted, has good hiking trails and decent snorkeling.
 

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Leinster also has the ruins to visit, which are cool. Additionally, you can dinghy to Mary's Creek and get Rett's Shuttle to Cruz Bay for shopping / dinner. I love Leinster.
 

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We went to reef bay (only boat) and had a look at the Petroglyphis and walked the really nice trails. Lamshur bay (again only boat) and Salt pond bay was also very good and an option for a repeat some time. Customs was difficult since you couldn't find a decent spot to anchor (bay was quite full and people yelling at you where not to anchor); we later learned (as usual afterwards) that a dingy ride from Caneel bay is what a lot of people do.
 

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Anchoring in Cruz Bay is typically prohibited by most bareboat companies (for good reason)... as you discovered, the best way is to pick up a mooring near Caneel or Salomon and take the dinghy to Cruz.
 

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sigmasailor, thanks for the tip on dinghying from Caneel. Anchoring was a problem for us in Cruz Bay, nearly ran aground on the one side, was yelled at not to anchor in any of the permanent moorings, finally parked alongside customs at the dock for a bit. Of course, the facts that I had neither checked out of the BVI nor had the boat's registration in my possession somewhat overwhelmed the parking issue. We worked everything out courtesy of a very kindly INS agent who didn't make us wait for Sunsail to fax the registration to the office. However, she drew the line when we attempted to dump a bag of trash in the dumpster! ("Did you declare that??" Uh, no . . .)
 

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I am thinking BVI next May/June ....
 
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