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Old 09-11-2015, 10:47   #16
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

thanks for all the replies!

we narrowed it down to BVIs vs Antigua. flights wise much cheaper to get to Antigua for us, and boat will also be slightly cheaper. However, still not at ease with the fact that 90% of the times we will be anchoring vs mooring and not sure if Antigua is still worth it should we not go to Barbuda (due to weather). Maybe flexibility is higher in the BVIs?

Has anyone chartered in both places? what do you think?

thanks
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:45   #17
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

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Originally Posted by Veneziano View Post
thanks for all the replies!

we narrowed it down to BVIs vs Antigua. flights wise much cheaper to get to Antigua for us, and boat will also be slightly cheaper. However, still not at ease with the fact that 90% of the times we will be anchoring vs mooring and not sure if Antigua is still worth it should we not go to Barbuda (due to weather). Maybe flexibility is higher in the BVIs?

Has anyone chartered in both places? what do you think?

thanks
I've chartered both (many years ago) and have more recently taken my own boat to the E Carib on multiple winter cruises covering all the island chain down to Grenada.

A few notes on Antigua/Barbuda:

One of our favorite E Carib destinations and the next time we do a winter passage from the Ches Bay to the E Carib, Antigua will be our first destination rather than the more popular USVI/BVI. English Harbour on the south side is a must see for any cruiser, but it can be crowded. No mooring balls that I recall. Falmouth Harbour has much more room and on shore you can walk from one to the other. Plenty of restaurants/bars. Moving clockwise around the island you get to Jolly Harbour which didn't exist on my first visit and we skipped it more recently - but it's a big yachting center and likely worth a visit although I don't know about moorings there. Plenty of other protected anchorages continuing all the way around to Parham Harbour and North Sound, which is our favorite. No moorings and no restaurants, although maybe some local places to eat ashore. We didn't try. Excellent exploring in north sound. There's a high dollar resort at Jumby Bay that has an excellent anchorage but only guests allowed on shore.

Barbuda is a gem and uncrowded, but more challenging to visit. The whole west side is an eleven mile pink sand beach. No mooring balls, but nice sand. Dinghy into the beach just south of the prominent Palm Beach House and call a water taxi on VHF to get a ride across the lagoon to Codrington. A very small, quaint, and friendly town. Must do >> get a tour of the Frigate Bird rookery in the north portion of the lagoon. In the south sound (aka Gravenor Bay) there is an excellent anchorage as long as the wind isn't too much south of east. There may be a resort under construction there, so check first. Otherwise there is nothing there and a long taxi ride to Codrington, but not crowded.

A YouTube video featuring Barbuda:

PM me if you'd like some more detailed info.

Dave
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Old 09-11-2015, 17:15   #18
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

Chartered 2 weeks in both BVI and Antigua/Babuda last year. Enjoyed both for different reasons. Barbuda was about the only place without mooring balls, if that concerns you. Enjoyed the less crowded Antiguan anchorages such as Great Bird and Green Islands, and Barbuda is a gem if you like to avoid crowds. Jolly Harbour and Falmouth are great for provisioning and eating out. We did more sailing in Antigua than BVI because destinations are farther apart. Had dolphins surfing our bow wave for about 20 min in Antigua, never had that happen in BVI yet.


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Old 12-11-2015, 12:49   #19
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

I wouldn't let fear of anchoring determine where to charter. Consider this a great excuse to tune up your anchoring skills! This article will help a bit with what not to do.

It isn't really that hard unless there's very poor holding or very crowded anchorages. Sounds like Antigua has neither from what 2Hulls is saying.
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Old 13-11-2015, 07:20   #20
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

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I wouldn't let fear of anchoring determine where to charter. Consider this a great excuse to tune up your anchoring skills! This article will help a bit with what not to do.

It isn't really that hard unless there's very poor holding or very crowded anchorages. Sounds like Antigua has neither from what 2Hulls is saying.
Absolutely.

The last place I want o be in the tropics is on a dock.

Find me a nice secluded anchorage.

Make sure your anchor is set (reverse at 1500 rpm), take some transits while setting and check the tackle forward of the bow roller for vibration. Put on mask and check to see how the anchor set. Relax and enjoy.
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Old 13-11-2015, 07:57   #21
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

I've done USVI, BVI, and Renaissance Islands - of the three, enjoyed the latter the most, though all were great experiences. Went through DYC at BVI and St. Martin - the people at St. Martin were highly competent and helpful and a pleasure to work with. No complaints about BVI DYC, but can't say as much, either.

Renaissance Islands, IMJ, provide much more variation and selection for sailing, parking (anchoring, mooring balls, and marinas), and shore culture and restaurants than the VI's, and if you've done the VI's, will offer a welcome change and difference.

And if shore leave doesn't interest you much, the sailing also provides more variation and options. If you're up for a long day sail that takes you more than a few miles offshore, you can go down to Kitts & Nevis (I did not). For a shorter sail, about 10nm from St. Martin, St. Barts and Ile Forchue, a very quiet, well protected, and pleasant little horse-shoe shaped island between St. Martin and St. Bart. And if you want to stay real close, similar to BVI experience, just circumnavigate St. Martin and hit Anquilla and Tintamarre islands, either overnight or just day stops.

I had to learn stern-in anchoring (Mediterranean mooring) at St. Barts, which was a good experience, though somewhat stressful under the critical and sometimes rolling eye of the harbormaster and a small audience that eventually gathered to watch the spectacle. There was a stiff breeze and it had gotten dark as well. My wife didn't appreciate it, but I regard it as one of those unforgettable learning experiences, and wouldn't trade it for any uneventful mooring ball experience. It took three tries to set the anchor, but after learning to drop it waaay out, no problem.

Chris Doyle's guide to the Leeward Islands provides about all the info you need to get around offshore and on. Happy to provide other details if you're interested.

Carl
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Old 11-12-2015, 13:38   #22
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

Most people here are missing the point.................YOUR WIFE.

Away from the BVI's you are going to find bigger seas and with some bad luck you might find the Christmas winds arriving early.

Two years say 28 days tis hadly long enought to enjoy all of the BVI's there are l am sure lots more places for you to explore in the BVI's AND keep your wife a happy sailor.

YES you might have more fun in the "islands' but that could end your sailing life IF your wife hates every second of this cruise.

The BVI's win hands down once you take your wifes needs into consideration.
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Old 06-01-2016, 20:21   #23
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

I too will be chartering over Christmas 2016, and am interested in feedback on what the Christmas winds are like. I've sailed both BVI and St. Vincent & The Grenadines, and loved them both, but never over the holiday (early December and March). I am planning on chartering a Lagoon 450 for 9 days (12/21-12/30), but haven't decided on exactly where. I've been in big swells and heavy winds in BVI, and it was not comfortable. I'm also concerned about the number of boats in BVI. Is it tough to pick up a mooring ball? I loved The Grenadines, as I thought it was similar to BVI but far fewer boats. What are the winds like over Christmas? Big water or manageable? Curious.
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Old 08-01-2016, 18:17   #24
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

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I too will be chartering over Christmas 2016, and am interested in feedback on what the Christmas winds are like. I've sailed both BVI and St. Vincent & The Grenadines, and loved them both, but never over the holiday (early December and March). I am planning on chartering a Lagoon 450 for 9 days (12/21-12/30), but haven't decided on exactly where. I've been in big swells and heavy winds in BVI, and it was not comfortable. I'm also concerned about the number of boats in BVI. Is it tough to pick up a mooring ball? I loved The Grenadines, as I thought it was similar to BVI but far fewer boats. What are the winds like over Christmas? Big water or manageable? Curious.
IF the winds are up 20/25 knots gusting 30+ big seas big swells and very often from different directions.......washing machine seas NOT NICE.....manageable of course BUT if you are on a charter holiday in St Martin/Sint Maarten I would suggest this is not where you want to be doubly so if you are the sailor and your wife/partner is not.

This year as 'now' we have a few days of light winds <10 knots But we did have 30+knots the other week so maybe that is it for this year but in past years it has been windy right into March. For a charter holiday the BVI's are hard to beat.
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Old 28-01-2016, 12:33   #25
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

I have bareboated in both places. The weather in Antigua always seems to be perfect. No sure why, whenever we are there, there are clouds all around but the sun is shining in Antigua. It is a little more wild then the BVI but well worth it. By this I mean, less services and such strictly geared toward cruising sailors. In the BVI, you can always find a place for your trash and a mooring ball waiting for you. The seas in Antigua are a little larger then BVI but not scary by any means. The water is clean and warm and the people are very friendly. You never feel threatened at night there. All that being said, you really can't beat BVI for casual cruising. If you want a sailing vacation, go to Antigua. If you want a island vacation where you stay on a sailboat, go to BVI. Hope that helps. Cheers!
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