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Old 02-04-2013, 08:50   #1
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1 month trip in the Carribbean

Hi Everyone,
It's been awhile (6 or 7 years) since I've sailed the Caribbean. I'm taking a group of friends on a 49' Leopard Cat for a month. Any and all input is welcome on the is post. I am a gatherer of information and never too proud to listen to and or take advice.
Here is the itinerary:

Thursday April 11th,
Fly into Tortola (Beef Island Airport -EIS) board the boat at noon the following day (April 12th), do grocery shopping. Head out next day for Baths and spend the next few days island hoping and exploring Anegada Then an overnight sail (**about 12 hours) to St. Martin.

Saturday April 20, (better to arrive a day earlier-April 19th-and board rested)
People depart/arrive at St. Martin (Princess Juliana International Airport- SXM). Then we visit St. Martin, Anguilla and St Barts.

Saturday April 27,
People arrive/depart St. Martin airport (Princess Juliana International Airport- SXM) and take the high speed catamaran ferry to and from the boat in St Barts. Those flying into St Martin arrive on April 26th, spend the night and take the ferry at 9:00am on the 27th. right near St. Martin's airport. Very scenic enjoyable 35 minute trip.
We visit on St. Barts, then sail to St. Kitts (**about 7 hours). After a few days in St. Kitts and or Nevis we sail to Statia and or Saba then onto St. Croix (**overnight sail, about 12 hours).

Saturday May 4, (better to arrive a day earlier-May 3-and board rested)
People arrive/depart St. Croix (E. Rholsen Airport -STX) We visit St. Croix, then sail to St. John (**about 5 hours), visit St. John, then sail back to BVI (**3 hours). Return boat to Tortola by noon Saturday May 11.

Saturday May 11
People depart from Tortola Beef Island airport or buy a sailboat and stay in the Caribbean forever.

**Sailing times are approximate. Depends on wind, current etc..
Just know without doubt that we have to be there in port for all arrivals and departures.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:57   #2
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Re: 1 month trip in the Carribbean

Thursday April 11th,
Fly into Tortola (Beef Island Airport -EIS) board the boat at noon the following day (April 12th), do grocery shopping. Head out next day for Baths and spend the next few days island hoping and exploring Anegada Then an overnight sail (**about 12 hours) to St. Martin.
Is it a better sail from Anegada to St. Martin? Can you check out of Virgin Gorda and sail to Anegada? I know you are supposed to leave in 24hrs, but do they really check when you arrive in St Martins?
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Old 02-04-2013, 14:17   #3
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Yes you can check out of Virgin Gorda. Better to sail from wherever the wind is to your advantage. Could be Anegada or could be Virgin Gorda. It depends. Yes St Martin does care that you check in. Most C&I officers are funny that way. 😄
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Old 02-04-2013, 14:48   #4
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Re: 1 month trip in the Carribbean

Thanks Rubikoop,
Yes I know you can check out from Virgin Gorda and I know you are supposed to leave within 24hrs. What I am really asking is do they care in St Martin if we check out of The BVI's (Virgin Gorda) go to Anegada for a couple days and then go to St Martin. Will those few days make a difference to C&I people there? Sometimes people have motor problem huh?
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Old 02-04-2013, 14:58   #5
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Re: 1 month trip in the Carribbean

I would skip night sailing! Sail away between 7-8 AM, arrive no later than 2 PM to your next destination; anchor for the night. Caribbean time is not meant to be "rushed time". Enjoy! Mauritz
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Old 02-04-2013, 15:29   #6
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Originally Posted by Joshooowa View Post
Thanks Rubikoop,
Yes I know you can check out from Virgin Gorda and I know you are supposed to leave within 24hrs. What I am really asking is do they care in St Martin if we check out of The BVI's (Virgin Gorda) go to Anegada for a couple days and then go to St Martin. Will those few days make a difference to C&I people there? Sometimes people have motor problem huh?
I believe BVI CI will care. Why would St Martin?
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Old 02-04-2013, 15:30   #7
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Originally Posted by Teknav View Post
I would skip night sailing! Sail away between 7-8 AM, arrive no later than 2 PM to your next destination; anchor for the night. Caribbean time is not meant to be "rushed time". Enjoy! Mauritz
We are talking about sailing from BVI to St Martin. Not flying a twin otter. The standard method is to leave at night so as to arrive in daylight rather than the other way around.
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Old 02-04-2013, 16:06   #8
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Re: 1 month trip in the Carribbean

Yeh..... I've always left at night after dinner. If I remember, it's a 12 hour sail?
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Old 02-04-2013, 17:47   #9
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Re: 1 month trip in the Carribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubikoop View Post
The standard method is to leave at night so as to arrive in daylight rather than the other way around.
Depends on what time at night. Do you mean 9PM? Or 4AM? If you mean 9PM...Um...If I were on Disney cruise I would do that.......
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Old 02-04-2013, 19:02   #10
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Originally Posted by Miniyot View Post

Depends on what time at night. Do you mean 9PM? Or 4AM? If you mean 9PM...Um...If I were on Disney cruise I would do that.......
If you notice I'm replying to a person suggesting you can leave around breakfast time and be there in time for a late lunch!!!

I really don't care if or when someone chooses to depart for any trip. From the BVI to St Martin it's all of 80 miles to windward. Most people I know budget 15-20 hrs and like to arrive while the sun is up. You can do your own math based on your own average transit speed. I do like the idea of Disney, except for the kids... Carnival ships breakdown there. :-)
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Old 02-04-2013, 19:12   #11
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Re: 1 month trip in the Carribbean

Joshooowa, Being a long time sailor in the BVI's, but having never made the trip to St. Martin by boat, it is my understanding that the preferable departure time is to leave enough daylight to be well clear of the reefs east of Virgin Gorda and/or Anegada in daylight, then enjoy a nice overnight motor sail to Anguilla / St. Martin arriving well after sun up for the same reason. It sounds to me like you have done this before. Enjoy and be safe!!
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Old 03-04-2013, 13:39   #12
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Re: 1 month trip in the Carribbean

Only problem I see is the stringent schedule due to flights. It leaves little room to make changes due to weather. Could make for a very uncomfortable passage if the weather isn't right. I'd probably plan on arriving a day earlier than you need to for any flights so you can wait a day if the weather isn't right.
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:53   #13
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Re: 1 month trip in the Carribbean

I've done the BVI to St. Martin trip many times (somewhere around 20 times round-trip). It will be 80NM against the prevailing winds and waves, so unless you plan on flooring your engines (and bashing the boat/passengers) your estimate of 12 hours won't be enough for the crossing. Even on a 57' mono I will go for 14-16 hours, the smaller time only possible when the conditions are exceptional.

The St. Barths Ferry is nicknamed "St. Barfs Ferry" for a reason, so unless your visitors are seasoned mariners they might not be feeling too good upon arrival, so they might be too excited about getting on a boat and sailing right after they get there.
Since you are on a schedule with little leeway you should expect 6 foot seas from ENE and 15 knots or more, also from E or ENE. With that weather you are going to be beating and motorsailing and bashing into the waves for 16 hours. You can clear out of Gun Creek in the North Sound. I like to do night passages and will usually anchor off the mooring field at Leverick in < 20 feet of water in sand, or off Prickly Pear and then wake up at midnight, motorsail out of the sound and between Prickly Pear and Neckar and then, when I'm in clean air, hope that I can shut off the engine. Usually I can't hold a direct course and have to decide how much I'm willing to tack and more often than not the engine stays on for much of the passage.

The anchorage at Basseterre on St. Kitts is quite rolly, but good enough to head ashore to the cruise ship terminal in order to clear in. I like White Bay just a couple of miles away, but there is nothing ashore there. The anchorage off Nevis looks wide open but is surprisingly calm. Anchoring is not allowed there as they have put over 200 (I can't recall the exact number) of mooring balls in place for cruiser use.

I'd always avoided Statia because of all the oil tankers and big storage tanks ashore, but when I finally did go there I loved it. The anchorage isn't great, but for anyone willing to do a hike the walk up to the new volcano caldera is a wonderful one.

When you sail to St. Croix all people aboard must be U.S. citizens or be LPRs; the visa waiver program for other nations that applies when you fly to the USA doesn't apply to sailboats - some people aren't aware of this restriction and it can cause a lot of problems. If everyone is from the USA then you've got no worries there.
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