SailNet Community banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry for starting another BVI thread but I have been searching multiple forums for the last couple of weeks and can't find the answers I am looking for so here goes.

I have chartered the BVI multiple times in the past but typically in non-peak times with no worries about crowded anchorages and in the preferred counterclockwise direction. I am taking a new crew (wife and I are only experienced crew) at the end of February into March and know that this is peak season essentially. We are sailing out of Roadtown on a Saturday morning early and have 8 days.

1) I wanted to know the thoughts on taking a clockwise direction from Roadtown to avoid the general flow of traffic in a counterclockwise direction, or is that over thinking since multiple ports are used for beginning a charter in the area

2)I realize it will likely be difficult to get a mooring in someplace like White Bay late in the day but what about places like the Bight, Cooper, and North Sound where there are large quantities of mooring balls? Can we still get a mooring at 4:00 this time of year or will I be stuck anchoring, as we like to hit a day stop or two before settling in for the night?

3)The most difficult leg would seem to be heading form JVD or Cane Garden to Anegada or Trellis with clockwise navigation. Is this too rough for some newbies or have the winter North swells dies down by this time in general?

4)Has anyone had significant problems holding a mooring ball with a dinghy this time of year? (never had to do this in the past but was curious)

5)Any other tips for sailing during peak time in the BVI from experienced charterers would be welcomed. I want to give my new crew a typical, awesome BVI charter experience but without running around late looking for sites for a mooring (I am comfortable anchoring but like to sleep soundly if possible). ;-)

Thanks in advance,
Cruzdoc
 

·
Mermaid Hunter
Joined
·
5,689 Posts
Upwind in the Atlantic is quite different from upwind in Sir Francis Drake channel. That is asking a good bit of new sailors. You might get lucky and have the wind die down at just the right time (ha!), but the seas can develop hundreds or thousands of miles away from weather systems you probably aren't watching. I wouldn't risk it with newbies. It's supposed to be a holiday, so I wouldn't even risk it with my experienced wife.

Most charterers leave Roadtown and head to one of two places: The Bight or Cooper Island. Why anyone would start out by giving ground to windward has always surprised me, but The Bight seems to be the most popular first stop. I get moving as early as possible and head for Cooper with Maya Cove and Key Bay as back-ups. Especially with new sailors aboard, the short, easy hop in ready view is reassuring. After the first night the charter "clump" to the extent it exists at all dissipates.

With regard to finding an open mooring, the safest course of action is to get moving in the morning. If you dawdle over breakfast and don't leave your overnight until 11 with a snorkel stop then you are may be disappointed at your first choice overnight. Get going, have your snorkel, and pick up a mooring by 2. Do your dawdling over tea/happy hour and walkabout in the afternoon.

The big mooring fields in The Bight, North Sound, and Cane Garden Bay rarely fill completely except at Christmas and New Years. Trellis can fill at the full moon.

There are more and more mooring balls in the BVI and fewer and fewer charters who can anchor at all, so the equipment on charter boats can be recalcitrant and maintenance isn't a priority. If you even think you might anchor check out the gear, including running the chain out and back in -- you may be unpleasantly surprised at what you find at the inboard end of the chain.

4)Has anyone had significant problems holding a mooring ball with a dinghy this time of year? (never had to do this in the past but was curious)
Aside from being quite rude and subjecting you to the ire of unpleasant retaliation?

MoorSecure (the folks that manage most of the moorings in the BVI) will tell you that the moorings are for boats, that dinghies are boats, and boats are boats. Legally you are on solid ground.

Practically not so much.

If you are fortunate you'll be in a mooring field with people like me, who will think unkind thoughts about you and likely glare at you when you return.

If you are less fortunate you may find a dinghy full of garbage bags if the dinghy is there at all. Theft can be a real problem. Take a look at your charter contract carefully and you will discover that your liability for the dinghy is startling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Although my experience near this time of year has always been the first two weeks of December, I think you'll find that the winds are still from the N to NE and, if there are Northerly swells running, you'll find that the only way to get from Jost to Trellis is likely to tack way out the the NW.

You'll have the same issue going from Trellis to Anegada. If there is enough breeze, even going from North Sound to Anegada can be a challenge.

You will also find that places like Cooper or Cane Garden Bay are usually no good if you have any swells running. You shouldn't have any issue with a mooring at The Bight at Norman - as long as you get there earlier in the day than 4pm. If you wait, there will still be balls, but it will be a long dinghy ride into the beach for dinner and drinks.

If you have inexperienced crew, they won't likely care for the long haul up VG to North Sound, but it would be a lot better than Marina Cay/Trellis up to Anegada.

You might look for historical wind data for February but, if it as I suspect, you might well skip Anegada on this trip. Since it is an almost due N sail from North Sound, a Northerly wind and sea pretty much rules it out. Even if it is NNE to NE, you'll have to tack over toward the W edge of the island and then be trying to find the channel directly into the wind.

On the other hand taking a long day to go from Road Town to Leverick Bay or Saba Rock puts you in good shape for:


  • A morning taxi ride down to The Baths for snorkeling.
    A great afternoon sail down to Jost or a stop at Trellis/Marina Cay.

If you've never done it, you may want to consider Little Harbor at Jost for an overnight (I recommend Harris Place for dining) and then go over to Great Harbor for a day visit, stop briefly at White Bay and overnight in Soper's Hole.

You can continue over to Norman and, after snorkeling the Indians and/or th e Caves, spend the night there. If you still have time and (depending on the wind) and overnight at Great Harbor (ball) or White Bay (anchor) might be a good finish.

I'd also seek advice from the experts at TravelTalk Online

Enjoy.

Murph

S/V Amalia
1965 Cal 30
Muskegon, MI

Doing the Great Loop in 2015/2016
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
I'd also seek advice from the experts .....
On the other hand.....consider not over thinking your plan....

We've been there a few times during peak season and have sailed it clockwise, counter clockwise and criss crossed based on next days forecast and actual conditions.

How can you go wrong.....just sayin' ;-)

Oh yea, dingy on the mooring ball ...... Nah

Enjoy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,985 Posts
Excellent recaps above that I won't repeat. I'll add a few experiences.

Last I was there, we sailed from Trellis to JVD. Swells were 8ft, with 15-20kts on a broad reach. Downhill was actually quite easy, as the swells were a good 10+ seconds apart. However, no one was beating into it. It's vacation, not work.

Great Harbor (home to both Foxy's and a Customs office) has mooring that are almost always taken by 1pm, if not noon. It's very popular, due to each of the above. Anchorage is deep, but available. You can move over to Little Harbor, as necessary.

I have this vague recollection that you can't stay in White Bay overnight. That may not be exactly correct, but there is some restriction. Maybe just anchoring overnight.

I am not a fan of Anegada. I don't think it has a particular attraction and it takes a ton of time from a cruising vacation. To each their own. I suspect most go for the adventure of getting a bit further offshore. Some charter companies restrict going anyway.

I'm a fan of North Sound, as you can pick from several anchorages. If there is forecast to be a bad weather day, this is a good place to be holed up, as you can change scenery by just relocating within the Sound.

Put me on the list of folks that would point at the A-hole that came back to their mooring, with the dinghy on it. However, I'm the least of your worries. With the all the young drunks around, you can expect way worse.

I think the best way to cruise the BVI is to research all the places you might like to visit. You'll never get to them all. Don't have more than 2 or 3 must see and maybe 4 or 5 more options. Have a very general idea of your path and then pick from that list each morning over coffee. Is it a short sail day or a good day to put some miles under the keel. Your mood, weather and hangover are going to help decide.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow! Thanks for the quick replies! I usually go to Cooper the first night like you SVAuspicious. I see no reason to tack all the way up the channel Day #2, as that can also be frustrating for a new crew. I agree that I will probably get everyone going early and try to be at our nighttime location by 2 PM.

I had to laugh regarding the responses to holding a mooring with a dinghy as I always shake my head at this tactic as well.

I have read about Cooper and Cane Garden being less desirable with some northerly swells but we have always had good fortune in these anchorages so will probably check them out again.

I knew winds were more from the NE but didn't realize they would get as far as from the NNE or N. That seems like it would take Anegada from a an easy reach to a difficult tack from North Sound. Will have to play that one by ear but I typically like making the trip to Anegada.

Minnewaska, we have managed to overnight at White Bay twice without much problem but it can get a little rolly at night, which is why I think some avoid it. They have few moorings which I would suggest over anchoring there due the rolling conditions overnight.

One last question - has anyone had experience using the cut through between Mosquito Island and VG to get to North Sound? Have been steered away from this approach by charter companies in the past but saw several catamarans go through there without difficulty the last trip and wondered if there was a safe approach that some are using that is well known.

Thanks again for the great (and quick) replies!
 

·
Mermaid Hunter
Joined
·
5,689 Posts
I have this vague recollection that you can't stay in White Bay overnight. That may not be exactly correct, but there is some restriction. Maybe just anchoring overnight.
There are no restrictions.

When the North swell is up it wraps around JVD and makes White Bay very bumpy. For the relatively light boats that make up the charter trade it can be rather uncomfortable.

I've spent many happy nights in White Bay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,985 Posts
There are no restrictions.

When the North swell is up it wraps around JVD and makes White Bay very bumpy. For the relatively light boats that make up the charter trade it can be rather uncomfortable.

I've spent many happy nights in White Bay.
Can't recall why that was itching the back of my mind. I wonder if it was a charter company that forbid anchoring there overnight. Anyway, glad to hear its fair game.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,985 Posts
....has anyone had experience using the cut through between Mosquito Island and VG to get to North Sound?....
Maybe there is some local knowledge, but my chart shows a 1-2 ft controlling depth through there. Some cats could pull that off, but maybe there is a channel. We always go around.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
695 Posts
Hi all, good information, we are going there in February for the first time. We fly into St Thomas on Friday the 6th at 14:25 and catching the Roadtown Fast Ferry for the 16:15 departure. Staying on board Friday night and start our charter on Saturday.
My question, if I may, is I assume that Saturday starts for the charters is most common, so will the Ferry be full and therefore a problem? Should I reserve ahead?
Will the first moorings as discussed here be busy because it is Saturday?

Thanks and we are really looking forward to it!
Gary
 

·
Mermaid Hunter
Joined
·
5,689 Posts
I knew winds were more from the NE but didn't realize they would get as far as from the NNE or N. That seems like it would take Anegada from a an easy reach to a difficult tack from North Sound. Will have to play that one by ear but I typically like making the trip to Anegada.
Me too. I don't remember ever having to tack on the way to Anegada since I had GPS. I used to ease West to miss the reefs but with GPS it has always been a one course trip from North Sound.

Janet's first kinda sorta in the ocean trip was Anegada to Sandy Spit.

One last question - has anyone had experience using the cut through between Mosquito Island and VG to get to North Sound? Have been steered away from this approach by charter companies in the past but saw several catamarans go through there without difficulty the last trip and wondered if there was a safe approach that some are using that is well known.
I think you'll be more than steered away from it. Your insurance won't cover you if you go through there.

That said, I've carried 6 feet through there with no problem. I take Auspicious through - charter boats I go around.

My question, if I may, is I assume that Saturday starts for the charters is most common, so will the Ferry be full and therefore a problem? Should I reserve ahead?
Full ferries hasn't ever been a problem for me. Ferries that don't show up or don't leave has been a problem.

Never ever ever buy ferry tickets ahead. Don't buy round trip tickets. Period. Dot.

Also don't believe the guys trying to grab your bags - they are schills for particular ferry companies. Get to the windows and see what is actually going to run that day and that time, particularly late in the day when you are arriving.

Enjoy the Pump Room upstairs and remember that you can get walkies for the ferry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,985 Posts
.....Also don't believe the guys trying to grab your bags - they are schills for particular ferry companies.......
Not only that, but you can carry your own bags on the ferry. You shouldn't ever pack more than a carry-on anyway. I find my bag disappearing in a third world country, only hoping to see it in the massive pile of bags at customs, to be very nerve wracking. That said, I've always gotten it back in the end. I just avoid it now.
 

·
Master & Commander
Joined
·
204 Posts
Just a thought since you've chartered several times and I don't know what your inexperienced crew is expecting but we've also chartered a bit in the BVI and on our next trip down, we're planning to spend more than 1 night at a particular anchorage. Rather than rushing the crew up at the crack of dawn to get in the days activities and get to the next anchorage to grab a mooring ball, we're figuring to sleep in (especially after a night at the Willy T, or any other establishment including your own boat where you have been imbibing) and enjoy the day doing whatever using the current anchorage as a base, especially if the swells keep you out of Cane Garden Bay and away from Cooper Island.
 

·
Freedom 39
Joined
·
1,156 Posts
Sorry for starting another BVI thread but I have been searching multiple forums for the last couple of weeks and can't find the answers I am looking for so here goes.

I have chartered the BVI multiple times in the past but typically in non-peak times with no worries about crowded anchorages and in the preferred counterclockwise direction. I am taking a new crew (wife and I are only experienced crew) at the end of February into March and know that this is peak season essentially. We are sailing out of Roadtown on a Saturday morning early and have 8 days.

1) I wanted to know the thoughts on taking a clockwise direction from Roadtown to avoid the general flow of traffic in a counterclockwise direction, or is that over thinking since multiple ports are used for beginning a charter in the area

2)I realize it will likely be difficult to get a mooring in someplace like White Bay late in the day but what about places like the Bight, Cooper, and North Sound where there are large quantities of mooring balls? Can we still get a mooring at 4:00 this time of year or will I be stuck anchoring, as we like to hit a day stop or two before settling in for the night?

3)The most difficult leg would seem to be heading form JVD or Cane Garden to Anegada or Trellis with clockwise navigation. Is this too rough for some newbies or have the winter North swells dies down by this time in general?

4)Has anyone had significant problems holding a mooring ball with a dinghy this time of year? (never had to do this in the past but was curious)

5)Any other tips for sailing during peak time in the BVI from experienced charterers would be welcomed. I want to give my new crew a typical, awesome BVI charter experience but without running around late looking for sites for a mooring (I am comfortable anchoring but like to sleep soundly if possible). ;-)

Thanks in advance,
Cruzdoc
1) Why not go to Marina Cay or Trellis that first night? Plenty of moorings, you've made some easting and probably gotten ahead of the herd.

2) I always advise charterers to get up and get going to do what they want to do and try to be at your night time location by 2. That relieves the stress of finding a mooring and still leaves you about 4 hours of light to watch the late comers circling around the full mooring field.

3) I have sailed directly to Anegada from Jost, Trellis and Cooper a handful of times out of maybe 100 trips. The odds of having decent conditions to do that while you are there are minuscule.

4) I know many that assume a dinghy hanging off of a mooring is a place to throw their trash when they pass by closely. :eek:

5) Gave you my tips in #2 above. If you follow the suggestion, you won't be running around late.

Enjoy your trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,446 Posts
If you have inexperienced crew, they won't likely care for the long haul up VG to North Sound, but it would be a lot better than Marina Cay/Trellis up to Anegada.
Wow, this us exactly what we did - a long hard beat to VG on day one. My relatively inexperienced crew humored me and seemed to enjoy it, sort of like "we're on a sailing vacation, yee ha!"
John
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top