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Old 06-11-2015, 09:09   #1
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Bareboat charter advice needed!!

Hi.

I'm looking at a few options for my next bareboat charter. So far, my wife and I have been chartering in the BVIs only (twice). We are planning a week just before Christmas and are considering the following options:

1) return to BVI
2) Antigua
3) Grenada
4) Abacos

We really liked BVIs but would like to try something different. In terms of flights, with the exception of BVIS we would have direct flights to all destinations from Miami. We almost completely ruled out no.4 as weather wise it is probably the most risky destination and water will be cold-ish relative to the other options.

I like the idea of Grenada and sailing up to Tobago Cays but reading a few forums I got the impression that it might end up being a rough passage as winds can be strong and swells would also make it less comfy.

What we liked about the BVIs was relatively easy sailing, proximity of most places, availability of mooring balls (although I know that most other destinations are far worse) and restaurants. We don't mind going to more laid back, less crowded places so that would not be a deal breaker. In addition, having been to BVIs early Oct/Nov and having seen how crowded some destinations were I know that the week before Christmas can only be worse.
What we would like to have is a relatively relaxing holiday coupled with some good sailing. we're not looking for 8hr/day sailing in tough conditions and that's why I'm hesitant on Grenada. My wife is not a sailor and needs some time at anchor/mooring ball to chill. this is how I can convince her in the future to charter again!! Going south from St Vincent to Grenada would not be an option as getting to St Vincent is a big issue for us flights wise.

Antigua sounds like the intermediate option with the flexibility to make it more interesting by going to Barbuda (weather permitting).

Any thoughts, ideas, feedback from people that have been to these places would be really appreciated as we can't make up our minds and time is running out!!

thank you
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:40   #2
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

Have you considered Belize?

Sail inside the second biggest barrier reef in the world and much less crowded than the Eastern Caribbean
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Old 06-11-2015, 13:32   #3
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

I've spent a fair bit of time in the Abacos and BVIs, so can make some comparisons about those two.

The Abacos have much more seclusion. It's fairly easy to find a bay or even an entire island to yourself there. The Abacos has lobstering in the winter. Most of the sailing in the Abacos in in the Sea of Abaco, which is fairly protected between mainland Abaco and the Abaco Cays. The Abacos can get some strong winds in winter and the water can be fairly cool. I wear a shortie wetsuit in for anything more than a quick swim. You won't find nearly as many mooring balls in the Abacos, but because it's so shallow everywhere, anchoring tends to be fairly easy.

What I like about the Abacos is it's easy to choose between an isolated anchorage off a sandy beach and a small town or resort as you desire. It really helps to know and understand tides in the Abacos. The Abacos don't have nearly the night life one finds in the BVIs.
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Old 06-11-2015, 13:36   #4
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

I've spent a fair bit of time in the Abacos and BVIs, so can make some comparisons about those two.

The Abacos have much more seclusion. It's fairly easy to find a bay or even an entire island to yourself there. The Abacos has lobstering in the winter. Most of the sailing in the Abacos in in the Sea of Abaco, which is fairly protected between mainland Abaco and the Abaco Cays. The Abacos can get some strong winds in winter and the water can be fairly cool. I wear a shortie wetsuit for anything more than a quick swim. You won't find nearly as many mooring balls in the Abacos, but because it's so shallow everywhere, anchoring tends to be fairly easy.

What I like about the Abacos is it's easy to choose between an isolated anchorage off a sandy beach and a small town or resort as you desire. It really helps to know and understand tides in the Abacos. The Abacos don't have nearly the night life one finds in the BVIs.
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Old 06-11-2015, 14:18   #5
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

SVG - no crowds, nice people, great snorkeling.
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Old 06-11-2015, 14:48   #6
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

I'll second the Spanish Virgins. Easy and cheap to fly into(San Juan) Similar sailing as the BVI's just a lot less people/boats. The only charter company I know of there is Sail Caribe and they were fantastic. Newer boats well equipped and a lot less expensive than BVI. If ya really want to go there it's only a day sail away. We did ten days and it was fantastic.

Cheers
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:12   #7
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

FYI,

Always check out the crime rate associated with where you are going:
Honduras, Central America still lead the world in murder rates -The Tico Times
https://www.osac.gov/pages/ContentRe...aspx?cid=17240
UN Report Highlights Crime Problem in the Caribbean | Americas Quarterly

Interactive Map:
Homicide Monitor
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:34   #8
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

If you've been to the BVIs only twice, you have seen very little. I used to skipper charters there and found new spots even after years of sailing. Antigua is interesting, but not the greatest for variety of shore attractions vs great anchorages. I can't speak about Grenada. I have also sailed the Abacos extensively. It's beautiful and feels more remote than the BVIs, but fully protected anchorages with deep water entrance can be hard to find. In calm weather you can anchor almost anywhere, but if a front comes through the wind will swing through all points. It is very easy to find yourself in a harbor for two or three days; not so great if you are on Man-O-War Cay...no alcohol. GO TO THE BVIs. North Gorda Sound has something for everyone - great shore facilities, or motor past Saba Rock into Eustatia Sound and anchor behind the reef. You can often have these anchorages to yourself during the day, and then motor back to a mooring and dinner ashore.
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:55   #9
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

Abacos are great. Antigua can be fun, especially if it's a short charter. Yes the passage to the Tobago Cays can be rough at times, but flat other times. Hard to say. You should probably try the Bahamas if you haven't. Best cruising in all the E. Caribe as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 07-11-2015, 11:16   #10
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

We chartered out of St. Lucia with Moorings, & went south to Tobago Cays. Overnights in Bequia & Mustique, & a couple of nights in the Tobago Cays. Husband & wife on a 43 monohull. We were advised to avoid St. Vincent, so we did, but a beautiful island to sail by. Overall it was a great trip, although the trip back north was a bit of a slog, with the winds out of NE.
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Old 07-11-2015, 17:13   #11
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

I have a cat with Sunsail in the BVI, no better place to sail IMO, but that's just my opinion, I might be wrong... Last year I sailed 14-22 Dec in BVI, used short notice time (called 16 days ahead to reserve my boat) was quiet and certainly not crowded like it is over Thanksgiving week (I've done two trips this time frame). Kicks in day after Christmas, but pre Christmas is not bad. Planning to do 08-16 Dec this year using my short notice time.
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Old 07-11-2015, 17:19   #12
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

And you will be a keyboard expert and go nowhere .

Sent from my GT-N7105T using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:45   #13
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

There is only one great charter destination and that's the BVI. I have been there for 20+ years and during that time I have traveled to all the other Islands and none top it for great anchorages and good food and drink. try new places in the BVI like Foxy's in Jost Or The Bitter end in North Sound VG. Yoy can even g out to Anagada for some great times.
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Old 08-11-2015, 15:02   #14
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by captaindanger70 View Post
There is only one great charter destination and that's the BVI. I have been there for 20+ years and during that time I have traveled to all the other Islands and none top it for great anchorages and good food and drink. ....
Wow, really, in the whole world?

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Old 08-11-2015, 17:48   #15
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Re: Bareboat charter advice needed!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by captaindanger70 View Post
There is only one great charter destination and that's the BVI. I have been there for 20+ years and during that time I have traveled to all the other Islands and none top it for great anchorages and good food and drink. try new places in the BVI like Foxy's in Jost Or The Bitter end in North Sound VG. Yoy can even g out to Anagada for some great times.

You need to get out more
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