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Old 03-11-2011, 06:22   #1
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Christmas Winds in the BVI

Hello all. I am new to the Cruisers forum and a novice sailor. That being said, I grew up on the ocean in Mass., motoring and hauling lobster traps and such, so am comfortable on the water. My question relates to chartering in the BVI in December (Christmas week). Is the water choppy or even rough as I have heard - - Christmas winds? I have two duaghters and a wife that tend to get seasick. Don't want my first charter to be my last. Please provide any advice on good times of bad times to sail the BVI. Thank you.
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:45   #2
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Re: Christmas Winds in the BVI

It will be windier and can be rough in north exposed areas - not as bad in the channel.
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:55   #3
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Re: Christmas Winds in the BVI

Everything is close. Thats the nice part about hte BVI. If it is little choppy, sail to closer destination. In the BVI it is easy to change your plans in relation to distance. I have sailed there during Christmas. Great time. LOTS OF TRAFFIC. Lots of Credit Card Captains.

Bob
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Old 03-11-2011, 07:32   #4
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Exclamation Re: Christmas Winds in the BVI

I recall a passage from St Barts to St Croix in December where the christmas winds were steady easterlies at 20-25 knots and swells were 10-15 feet but the periods were very long. The next morning, found a lot of flying fish on deck. Exhilarating if you're going downwind.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:00   #5
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Re: Christmas Winds in the BVI

Try posting your question in the BVI forum @ www.traveltalkonline.com. Lots of long-time charterers and locals in that forum. All of our BVI charters have been in late May, so can't help. Anchorages are pretty well protected, though I understand Cane Garden Bay can be really rough when the Christmas winds are up.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:10   #6
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Re: Christmas Winds in the BVI

I've sailed down there a few times when the Christmas winds were blowing in the middle of January. Not easy beating up the Sir Francis Drake channel. Spent three weeks there once, 2 tucks in the main all the time.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:54   #7
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Re: Christmas Winds in the BVI

Been sailing in the BVI since 1969. Had my own boat there for 11 years, and spent many Christmas's there.

The so-called Christmas winds are not really predictable within a narrow window. They don't show up every year. When they do, they generally blow for a few days, then are gone.

When they do blow, they often blow quite hard. Expect 30-40 knot winds or more; once-in-awhile more than that. I took a trip from the BVI direct to Grenada (416NM) in the early 90's. The Christmas winds blew like the very devil, and for a much longer time than usual. We had 45 knot winds most of the trip, and during the next month coming up the Windwards and Leewards we had relatively "normal" days as well as "Christmas Wind" days. Last day in the Leewards we had 50knots all night while anchored; crossed the Anegada passage with 30-35 knot winds making 7-9 knots under furled genoa alone -- seemed almost light.

But that's NOT the norm. Most years, as I said, the Christmas Winds come for a few days, blow like the devil, then depart. Makes for a good time to go pub crawling or just hunker down in a snug anchorage.

Bill
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:22   #8
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Re: Christmas Winds in the BVI

Agree with all of the above, and will add that you can do all your sailing in the Sir Francis Drake Channel if you want to. It's fairly protected, as it's surrounded by the islands. If you find yourself having to beat into the wind and the crew finds it uncomfortable, you can always motor-sail. The distances are short and the anchorages generally calm.

I've spent eight winters in the Leewards and my "guesstimate" is that your chances of having Christmas winds >25 knots during Christmas Week are about 1 in 10.
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Old 03-11-2011, 18:10   #9
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Re: Christmas Winds in the BVI

Thanks very much to all. Great information. So good to snorkel at Christmas time other than when the winds are up?

What is everyone's favorite time of year to sail the BVI?

Thanks again,
Bill
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Old 03-11-2011, 19:00   #10
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Re: Christmas Winds in the BVI

If you haven't already found this sit here is a great place for some great info on the BVI.

Traveltalkonline: Viewing forum: British Virgin Islands
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:41   #11
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Originally Posted by 1stTimerMD
Thanks very much to all. Great information. So good to snorkel at Christmas time other than when the winds are up?

What is everyone's favorite time of year to sail the BVI?

Thanks again,
Bill
Winds and or large swells stir up the water decreasing visibility making snorkeling poor. A couple of calm days will let much of the sediment settle making for much better snorkeling. Sunny days rather than cloudy days help too. It will be what it will be when you get here.

We like the BVI best in August and September when there are the fewest boaters around. Winds can be light and daytime temps with humidity can be very warm. The water temperature is fantastic! One can anchor or grab a mooring ball without much concern of a CCC causing too much havoc. We do miss the entertainment of watching the CCCs "learning" to connect to a mooring though.
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:47   #12
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Re: Christmas Winds in the BVI

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnjpinz View Post
Lots of Credit Card Captains.

Bob
Ok. You got me. What's a Credit Card Captain?
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:59   #13
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Ok. You got me. What's a Credit Card Captain?
Don't have the link handy but please search YouTube for Ode to the Credit Card Captains and watch!!!!

Generally the term refers to those who charter boats when their credential of competence is the credit card that was used to grant them access to their vessel of choice.
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:01   #14
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Found a link to CCC it's truly a classic.
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:06   #15
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Re: Christmas Winds in the BVI

Aha. Asked and answered. I know some people who drive their cars like that.
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