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Old 07-09-2012, 22:43   #1
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Current tables for BVI

Does anyone know of an online current table for western Tortola/ Thatch Cut area?
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Old 09-09-2012, 00:26   #2
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Re: Current tables for BVI

Dude, with 3 feet of tide you really do not need to worry that much. Plenty of wind most of the time and almost no one sails @ nite. Anybody can sail thru Thatch Cut, even the bare boaters.
Relax, come down & enjoy some of the easiest sailing on earth.
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:17   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capta
Dude, with 3 feet of tide you really do not need to worry that much. Plenty of wind most of the time and almost no one sails @ nite. Anybody can sail thru Thatch Cut, even the bare boaters.
Relax, come down & enjoy some of the easiest sailing on earth.
"Dude" last time I checked there is rarely even 12 inches of tide, let alone 3 feet.
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:21   #4
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Thanks. I have read a couple warnings about not attempting Thatch cut during a north tide, which I believe is the ebb tide, which, if the tide tables for Tortola are similar to those for St. John, would put me in the Cut during the strongest current. Still, I would have thought that 2 knots wouldn't be much of a problem for a cat. Even with the eddies that are mentioned. Are the warnings exaggerated?
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:07   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q. Helm
Thanks. I have read a couple warnings about not attempting Thatch cut during a north tide, which I believe is the ebb tide, which, if the tide tables for Tortola are similar to those for St. John, would put me in the Cut during the strongest current. Still, I would have thought that 2 knots wouldn't be much of a problem for a cat. Even with the eddies that are mentioned. Are the warnings exaggerated?
Where did you read those warnings? Other than during major regattas, I don't know of anybody that pays much attention to how the tiny tides may affect them while sailing in this area. Unless your cat is severely underpowered or having major mechanical issues, I would focus more on really critical things like relative humidity and barometric pressure rather than tides and currents. :-)

IMHO the warnings you've discovered are either exaggerated or completely fabricated!!!

Let's assume I'm wrong and there are 3kt currents in Thatch Cut. Most cats easily motor at 7+ knots. With a SOG of 4kts you will probably only "struggle" for 15 minutes or so, maybe. After sailing, and racing in the VI for years, one quickly learns there is far less current next to the shore than out in the middle of a channel. So why be there? That mainsail can provide some drive while motorsailing too. Why not use it if more oomph is wanted?

I really am curious as to the source of the warnings you found.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:09   #6
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Welcome to the forum.

Are you chartering a cat? Where from? Voyage?
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:49   #7
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The following came up on a Google search for BVI currents. Scroll down to section 4.4 Tides and Currents. Searching the URL, it turns out to be the Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey. I guess the researchers need to get out of their labs more often!

http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/~cannon/t...text/sect4.htm
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:55   #8
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Re: Current tables for BVI

By chance, I found this page: Caribbean Sea. The Britich Virgin Island. Sailing and Cruising Information for Leisure Boating. Top Navigation page.
Quote:
Thatch Island Cut should not be attempted by sailing vessels from the N, except with a S current, as eddies and currents are strong. The tidal currents are very strong and eddies are formed
The last sentence appears in the UKHO "West Indies Pilot" from 1969. Nothing about dangers etc, not even marked with the signs for eddies or overfalls on any chart I can remember, and certainly not on UKHO chart 2006 "Virgin Islands: Anegada to Saint Thomas" updated to July 2010.

Thomas
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:58   #9
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Re: Current tables for BVI

Thanks for the welcome. I will charter a cat out of Tortola next March. I chartered a monohull last year and didn't like dragging a sea anchor everywhere I went (dinghy and motor). Also, the motion didn't agree with my wife so much.
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Old 09-09-2012, 12:29   #10
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Re: Current tables for BVI

I had seen the page cagney found, as well. The language appears to be taken directly from the source in the link I provided.
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Old 06-10-2012, 00:11   #11
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Re: Current tables for BVI

I was just reading U.S. Coast Pilot 5, which has a "general description of the British Virgin Islands" and states the following: "Sailing vessels should not attempt Thatch Island Cut from the N except with a S current, as the eddies and currents are very strong." I am guessing they got that straight from the Naval Research Laboratory document.
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Old 06-10-2012, 16:43   #12
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Re: Current tables for BVI

Q Helm
The coast pilot was written for commercial shipping not small craft; they are not good cruising guides.
Anything in there relating to "small boat" as in "a small boat may pass through the reef....", might be related to anything you could charter, but the passage you referred to is for sailing ships, BIG ones.
If you are renting a cat and want to sail through the cut, but are uncomfortable, just have one of the engines (or both) ticking over in neutral. Water down here is clear enough to see the shallows and once you learn to read the "colors" you can sail pretty much anywhere, with or without a chart, as long as you have good light.
Honestly, the VI are very easy sailing and I assure you your charter boat company will tell you exactly where you may not go before they let you take out one of their boats.
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Old 06-10-2012, 17:27   #13
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Thanks for the encouragement. I had already decided not to worry about it, based on previous posts, but Rubikoop was curious about where such information (or misinformation) was coming from, so I thought I'd mention this commonly used source (though I know it's not a good reference for the BVI).
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Old 07-10-2012, 16:09   #14
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Re: Current tables for BVI

Very strange: I saw Active Captain mentioned in another thread, so I have been checking it out. The notes on Thatch Cut and Soper's Hole are direct quotes from the U.S. Coast Pilot, but are not attributed to it!
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