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Old 23-02-2013, 11:59   #1
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Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

We are heading out for a charter next week, and looking at the weather, the wind is from the east with a north swell? We have an itinerary based on very short hops as we have kids who don't like longer sails.

Day 1 Maho Bay St John (USVI)
Day 2 White Bay, Jost Van Dyke (BVI)
Day 3 Diamond Cay, Jost Van Dyke (BVI)
Day 4 Cane Garden Bay, Tortola (BVI)
Day 5 Coral Harbor, St John (USVI)
Day 6 Caneel Bay, St John (USVI)
Day 7 Red Hook Bay, St Thomas (USVI)

I have no experience of Jost Van Dyke. Does this sound like a good plan with the current weather?
WindGURU: Virgin Islands, British - British Virgin Islands
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Old 23-02-2013, 17:05   #2
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Wrote a detailed response and CF seemed to have technical problems and it was lost....

Problems I saw were,
White Bay can be rough and I don't think Island Yachts allows their boats in there.
Cane can be horrible with north swell. Check YouTube and watch surfers near mooring field.
Need to clear US customs when departing BVI.
Better to leave Red Hook sail to Lamehur or Salt Pond, Coral Bay, clear BVI at Sopers/west End, Jost then back to Cruz St John. This minimizes back tracking to clear customs in USVI allowing you to see more of St John.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 23-02-2013, 17:29   #3
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Re: Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

Too fast of a pace for a 7-day trip. Bring your itinerary down to ONLY 3 places; Caneel Bay (St. John USVI), Baths (Virgin Gorda BVI) and a third anchorage of your choosing. Great sailing waters...have fun! Mauritz
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Old 23-02-2013, 17:30   #4
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pirate Re: Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

I'd watch the prevailing easterlies. White Bay is not well protected from them and can be a really bouncy overnight! If the waves are from the north you'll have to scrub Cane Garden Bay. I've tried three years in a row to get there and the waves have not cooperated. If there is a strong easterly wind from White Bay to Sandy Key or Diamond Cay, you'll be bashing into waves. The channel in which Sandy Cay lies makes for some heavy surf on Sandy Cay. It curls around both north and south sides of the little island and makes life a little difficult as it comes around and heads for shore. It's a beautiful piece of real estate however.

Maho Bay to White Bay could be fun! I'd probably try to find a ball in Great Harbor up close to Foxy's for the night. It'll be a whole lot calmer!

You're going to love St. John. My buddy spent 6 weeks in Maho Bay alone last winter.

Fair winds!
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Old 23-02-2013, 17:31   #5
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Re: Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

Thanks!

White Bay is rough? I have never been there but I would thing the long reef in front of it would provide a lot of protection.....

"Better to leave Red Hook sail to Lamehur or Salt Pond, Coral Bay, clear BVI at Sopers/west End, Jost then back to Cruz St John."

So this sounds like you are basically saying to avoid the north side of St John?
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Old 23-02-2013, 17:33   #6
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Re: Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

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You're going to love St. John. My buddy spent 6 weeks in Maho Bay alone last winter.
Yes, its a great place. We have camped there as landlubbers two years ago and chartered in the BVI last year.
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Old 23-02-2013, 17:34   #7
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Re: Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

With a N swell, you'd do well to keep Tortola to your north, and use the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Go to Soper's Hole, then you can go south to Norman Island. Cane Garden Bay is simply untenable in heavy N swells - just look at a chart, seas break over the reef and it's nasty. How do I know...?

There are really few "long sails" in the BVI. Gee, we once went from CGB ALL THE WAY to Cooper Island Beach Club in, oh my gosh, one day! Great sail, but there was no N swell that trip.

Simply avoid anything on the N shore of Tortola would be more comfortable.

Have a great trip.
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Old 23-02-2013, 17:40   #8
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Re: Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

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With a N swell, you'd do well to keep Tortola to your north, and use the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Go to Soper's Hole, then you can go south to Norman Island.
Hmmm, we spent last year round all those islands on the southern side of the channel. I was figuring we would explore Jost Van Dyke with the northern side of tortola and/or st john as a pit stop.

Sounds like both those would be rough though....
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Old 23-02-2013, 17:42   #9
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Re: Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

St. John's best beaches are on the north side of the island; Caneel Bay, Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay. The entire island is a National Park; check with their office at Cruz Bay (a short walk from US Customs) for stuff to do while trekking/hiking. (Don't forget to visit Annaberg ruins.) You've listed several places to visit...no difference in scenery; that's why I only recommended 3 places, so as you leisurely take on the sights and do some water sports. Mauritz
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Old 23-02-2013, 18:06   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubikoop View Post
Wrote a detailed response and CF seemed to have technical problems and it was lost....

Problems I saw were,
White Bay can be rough and I don't think Island Yachts allows their boats in there.
Cane can be horrible with north swell. Check YouTube and watch surfers near mooring field.
Need to clear US customs when departing BVI.
Better to leave Red Hook sail to Lamehur or Salt Pond, Coral Bay, clear BVI at Sopers/west End, Jost then back to Cruz St John. This minimizes back tracking to clear customs in USVI allowing you to see more of St John.

Enjoy your trip.
I didn't read further, but I agree. We have sailed these waters for many years.
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Old 23-02-2013, 18:07   #11
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Too fast of a pace for a 7-day trip. Bring your itinerary down to ONLY 3 places; Caneel Bay (St. John USVI), Baths (Virgin Gorda BVI) and a third anchorage of your choosing. Great sailing waters...have fun! Mauritz
Don't do Caneel, I have never been there when it was not rolly.
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Old 23-02-2013, 19:32   #12
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Re: Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

Not sure where you are starting from. Chances are the swell will settle before you arrive.Cane Garden not good in the north swell. Baths not really an overnoght spot unless conditions are perfect. Ancorage out side of Spanish town 2 miles away is not bad though. The marina there is also very nice. Caneel bay and red hook always roll due to constant ferry traffic. Next to impossible to anchor in Cruz bay due to all the private moorings. Maho and Francis bay are right next to each other and are absolute gems. Protection is a bit better at Francis. Kids might like the beach at Maho.
Depending on your citizenship and start point you will have to check in and out of both sides. I spent all of last winter there last season and am heading back on a charter trip myself soon. I will more than likely just stick to the BVI this time as I chartering from there and will only be sailing for 7 days. Checking in and out just wastes too much time on a short duration trip. There are great places to sail to depending on where your start point is.
Just rechecked your post and I'm guessing your are starting on the American side. Starting from Charlotte Amilie heading east there is a nice spot at the east end of St Thomas that I'm pretty sure is Christmas cove, then to Francis/Maho for the next night. The facility at Maho has meals if you are not eating aboard. There are no dingy docks on St John except for Cruz, Caneel,or Coral bay. All other spots you have to beach the dink.Coral bay would take an entire thread itself to get the proper impression of that spot. Jost is an easy sail from Francis and has the easiest customs point of entry and exit. If there is not a lot of swell an mid morning stop at sandy cay on your way to Cane garden is fun. You could work your way back stoping at Sopers hole checking out at the west end customs office or go thru Jost again. Then when sailing back to the US side you need to check in at Cruz bay or Charlotte Amalie if you are heading that way. As you can see all the checking in and out can get to be a hassle on a short trip. There is plenty to do on the US side.
Keep in mind the wind is ALWAYS blowing from the east. Its a beat to the east and run to the west. Not a lot of current with the exception of a few spots that your charter company will fill you in on. Nothing to worry about. If you can't sail it , motor. You are on vacation. The south side of St John is lovely , but isolated.All depends what kind of trip you want.
All that being said people do sail between The US and BVI without checking in. I've had my share of customs issues here sailing between the US and Canada and I follow the rules. You don't want to have to buy that nice boat back from the customs folks cause you just have to give it back to the charter company.
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Old 23-02-2013, 19:37   #13
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Re: Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

Hi Starchaser,

Great feedback, thanks. We are starting the charter in a few days from Red Hook bay (St Thomas).

Any places you would recommend on the south side?
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Old 23-02-2013, 20:17   #14
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Re: Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

Salt pond is my favorite.Snorkeling there is really special.Following the east shore out to the point there are some really beautiful areas.Be careful on the entry.There are rocks in the center(also nice snorkel area),but plenty of water to the east and west. I prefer the east entry. Only has 4-5 moorings, but if you arrive in the morning chances are you can snag one. Other than Coral bay and Cruz bay there is no anchoring anywhere on St John because it is 75% national park and they are serious about protecting the coral. You can anchor at coral bay, but it takes some looking around due to all the permanent residents. Coral bay is a real slice of life. Sometimes looks a bit like someone forgot to wind the clock, but folks are real friendly and skinny legs has one of the best burgers anywhere. There are great hiking trails all over the island.
Can't say enough about Francis and Maho. Treat yourself to a cook out on one of the park grills on Francis beach. At sunset you will have the beach to yourself. Not sure what the phase of the moon is right now( you get away from that after you move back off the boat),but if you get a clear evening with moonlight its a seen you'll never forget. I love the place so much that after my sailing trip this spring I'm going to be married at that very spot!
Also staying at Francis/Maho you can make use of the facilities at the Maho campground. Try and catch the glass blowing. The kids will love it.You can also catch the shuttle to Cruz Bay, or anywhere else on the island, for a day trip from Maho.
If the swell is still running tuck up as far North and east as you can at Francis.Have a great time. Listen to what they tell you at your orientation. They know what they are talking about.
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Old 24-02-2013, 14:47   #15
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Re: Advice on USVI/BVI Anchorages for next week

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtsailguy View Post
Thanks!

White Bay is rough? I have never been there but I would thing the long reef in front of it would provide a lot of protection.....

"Better to leave Red Hook sail to Lamehur or Salt Pond, Coral Bay, clear BVI at Sopers/west End, Jost then back to Cruz St John."

So this sounds like you are basically saying to avoid the north side of St John?
Yes White Bay can be so rough it can be very difficult/dangerous to beach a dinghy in breaking waves. Not common but it can be rough. As always use your best judgement.

No, I'm not suggesting you avoid the north side of St John at all. I was trying to adjust your itinerary so that it made sense and worked with your wish for "short hops" including many of your "destinations". I'm not passing judgement upon your itinerary but trying to work within it.

It's seems apparent that you do not understand the process of clearing in and out of BVI/USVI. In your original post on days 4 and 5 your are departing the BVI (Cane Garden) and intending to sail to Coral Bay, USVI. That is fine but legally you would have to sail down to Cruz Bay St John, clear into the USVI and the sail around to Coral Bay. That is not a "short hop" (about 20 miles) and doesn't make sense if you want to see Coral Bay, do it on the way to the BVI. Coral Bay is not a common stop for charters and I assumed you picked it for a reason. If you delete Coral from your wish list then I would suggest sailing up the north side of St John and seeing Maho/Francis Bay and Leinster (ruins and great hike on a flat trail for young kids) around the corner. Seeing the USVI on the way to the BVI makes sense. Because you don't have to clear out of the US and can enter the BVI at West End or Jost whenever you'd like. Doing it the other way requires a lot of backtracking to clear into Cruz Bay and they sail back to wherever you want on St John.


On the previous well written post by Starchaser there are good suggestions. He also suggested you listen to what you are told during your charter briefing. I agree completely because weather forecasting beyond about 48hrs is horribly inaccurate and conditions are sure to change by then. The guys at Island Yachts will help you make wise decisions. I work for the competition and do charter briefings as well... Just remember that the info you get on a forum is worth exactly what you pay for it.

Enjoy your trip.
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