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Old 23-10-2015, 11:26   #1
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Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

Good afternoon, all!
We are planning our second bareboat charter for December 2016, so, yeah, lots of time to plan.

Our original idea was to go St Thomas to St John then down to St Croix then up to Spanish Virgins and back to St Thomas. But, after reading up on prevailing winds etc, I'm thinking that St Thomas to Spanish Virgins to St Croix to St Thomas might be better.

Trip is for 10 days on a Helia 44 catamaran. We know it will be a lot of sailing!

Thanks for any advice, tips etc.
take care!
Beth


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Old 23-10-2015, 20:23   #2
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Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

Welcome to the forum.

Your second idea is typically better than your first. We did have some south and even west winds a couple of weeks ago. The Hellia's do OK to windward for cats but regardless of vessel, your Stt to Svi to STX to STT/STJ itinerary is the most logical. You have a lot more sailing planned than most visitors do that charter around here. I assume you've discussed your itinerary with your charter company. Enjoy your trip.


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Old 24-10-2015, 05:31   #3
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Beth.
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Old 24-10-2015, 07:14   #4
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

Thanks for the welcome, GordMay & Rubikoop!

And thanks for your input, Rubikoop. I'm going to push for the 2nd float plan. Of course, this is our basic Plan A. It all will depend on weather etc anyway. We have discussed our plan with our charter company but explained that they won't be giving us official approval anyway until it's much closer to the dates and the known wind/weather patterns.

Our first bareboat trip was in the BVIs so we're looking forward to sailing where it's a bit less crowded.

Thanks again!
Cheers!
Beth


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Old 24-10-2015, 08:39   #5
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

Not sure how interested you are in the activities ashore, but I've been going to the USVI and occasionally BVI and a couple of times to Vieques for the last 30 years. St Thomas is not a very nice place to spend time ashore, but if you are a diver there's a good wreck dive south of the St Thomas airport - the WIT Shoal. St John has good snorkeling / diving on the east end and offshore at Frenchcap island and hiking in the National Park plus some good restarants in Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. Vieques is nice, and my sister went to Culebra; she raved about the snorkeling. Have not been to St Croix except to change planes. All depends on what your interests are, and none of the above touches on the sailing part. Another thought - rather than St Croix, you might consider going north to Anegada - about the same distance, but north rather than south and it's BVI so you would have to go through the customs hassle.
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Old 24-10-2015, 08:54   #6
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

Hi BHI Guy!

We did a really thorough tour of BVI, including Anegada, last year. (Anegada was our #1 favorite for snorkeling!) We do plan on spending at least a night or 2 moored at St John next December. Most of our crew has already been to St John at some point in the past and, although I do think it is worth a 2nd, 3rd or even 4th visit, we have decided that, for this trip, we want to focus on other destinations.

We are looking forward to the snorkeling off Culebra AND St Croix. We are not divers yet, but we do plan on getting into that at some point in the future.

Thanks so much for your input! Take care!
Cheers,
Beth


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Old 24-10-2015, 08:56   #7
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

Your second plan is much more reasonable. The winds from STT to Culabra will be out of the
East and don;t forget this is "Christmas Wind" time. From Culabra to Vieques will be a close haul to reach. From there South East to St. Croix and finally back up on a reach to St. John. Be mindful of a ground sea in Southern St. john anchorages. You can always go around though to either the West or East of St, John.....

You're planning on a lot of sailing with little time to enjoy the on shore sights..,..but enjoy!
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Old 24-10-2015, 09:30   #8
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

This is an ambitious 10 day cruise. Your calendar will probably require you to do the upwind sailing in less-than-ideal conditions. Even with ideal wind direction the sail from Vieques to either St Croix or St Thomas is a hard day. St Croix to St Thomas is usually a pleasant reach, but St Croix to St John is another beat.

Honeymoon Bay St Thomas is a nice first or last stop.

The bioluminescent bay in Vieques is a MUST. Hire one of the local vendors to take you in by truck and then kayak.

Remember you must check in with customs when you transit from USVI to either PR or the "Spanish Virgins." Puerto Rico customs officials are very rigid. Phone them as soon as you enter PR waters, and if you need to make an overnight stop in one of the lovely bays in SE Vieques before clearing in, tell customs where you are and when you will be clearing in.

You could spend a week in Culebra and Culebrita.

If you tour the Spanish Virgins, the winds dictate that it is easier to go clockwise.

You could spend two weeks in St John, there are so many nice bays and hikes.

St Croix can be toured in a day or two by rental car.

Consider traveling less and having more fun along the way. Bon voyage.
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Old 24-10-2015, 10:09   #9
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

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Originally Posted by twistedmaples View Post
Thanks for the welcome, GordMay & Rubikoop!

And thanks for your input, Rubikoop. I'm going to push for the 2nd float plan. Of course, this is our basic Plan A. It all will depend on weather etc anyway. We have discussed our plan with our charter company but explained that they won't be giving us official approval anyway until it's much closer to the dates and the known wind/weather patterns.

Our first bareboat trip was in the BVIs so we're looking forward to sailing where it's a bit less crowded.

Thanks again!
Cheers!
Beth


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Beth,
You are very wise to have intentions rather than rigid itineraries. You are also wise to have discussed your intentions to sail the SVI and St Croix with your charter company. CYOA I assume? Last week I made two trips from St Croix to St Thomas on their cats. The weather was great, flat seas and about 5hr transits over the roughly 40 mile passage.

December can make for some pretty "sporty" conditions and I've chosen to return early to make weather windows quite often. Honeymoon/Druif Bay off Water Island along with Christmas Cove are great places to spend a day or two should you chose to shorten up your trip.

Have fun. Maybe I'll see you in December.


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Old 24-10-2015, 12:15   #10
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

St. Thomas to the east end of St. John, then to St.Croix. St. Croix to Vieques, then Culebra. Culebrita to St. Thomas. The leg from St. Croix to Vieques is the longest open ocean leg so doing it downwind will be a lot more comfortable.
Culebrita to St. Thomas is less than 20 miles upwind, portions in the lee of islands. If you end up having the Christmas Winds or heavy winds are forecast, move around St. John in a clockwise direction to take advantage of the relatively sheltered north side of the island while going upwind and go downwind in the wells on the south side.

10 days is hardly enough time to enjoy St John.
Have fun.
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Old 11-11-2015, 08:09   #11
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

Thanks so much for all the replies, advice & comments!

After all the input, we have really started doing more research. Looks like we are adjusting our plan so we will sail from St Thomas to Spanish Virgins and then spend as much time as possible there! The return to St Thomas will be decided once we see what conditions are at the time but, worst case scenario: we sail towards St Croix and then tack back toward st thomas / st john depending on winds etc.

Of course we still have lots of time to plan but checking out videos of all the gorgeous little spots in SVI is quite entertaining!

Thanks again for all your help!
Beth


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Old 11-11-2015, 12:32   #12
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedmaples View Post
After all the input, we have really started doing more research. Looks like we are adjusting our plan so we will sail from St Thomas to Spanish Virgins and then spend as much time as possible there! The return to St Thomas will be decided once we see what conditions are at the time but, worst case scenario: we sail towards St Croix and then tack back toward st thomas / st john depending on winds etc.
Hi Beth - I've spent a lot of time in all the locations you mention and for a charter your revised plan makes more sense than your original "aggressive" schedule. Of your two original plans I would have recommended the clockwise version to avoid the long upwind beat from SVI to STX. The upwind beat from SVI to STT is more likely to be directly on the nose, but is much shorter.

In the SVI be very careful of the moorings - some are OK but many are not, at least the last time we were there in 2014. Dive on any mooring you pick up to assess it.

If you plan to get to STX, be aware that you need to get permission from the National Monument office in Christiansted if you want to anchor over night at Buck Island National Monument. You have to do this in person. Best to check with the charter company to see if they have any pre-arranged formalities with the Monument office. If not, call them before you leave home and ask about the rules. In the right weather Buck Island is the best attraction for going to STX, IMHO. Otherwise, anchoring outside Christiansted is the only real attraction to be able to visit the town - but it's worth it.

A Plan C could be to spend your whole time around St. John. You won't be disappointed unless you're looking for a beach bar in every harbor. Using the Park mooring balls is required around St. John, but they are well kept and only US$15/night.

PM me if you'd like details on any of the locations.

Good luck,
Dave
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Old 11-11-2015, 18:09   #13
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

Dave, the latest and greatest from the NPT is 26.00 moorings starting Jan. 1st. Still a great place and a decent deal.

Cheers
Rick
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Old 11-11-2015, 21:23   #14
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

I'm fairly new, but sailed monohull and cat in USVI, BVI, and Leewards. Did the ST->SVI->St.Cx->ST loop, including a continuous sail from Vieques down around St. Croix and back up to St. Thomas in a Island Packet 44. It rained and blew force 6 most of the night around St. Croix and made some pretty big waves - would not want to have been in a cat, but the monohull handled them beautifully (and the entire crew was seasick). That part of the trip took 36 hours.
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Old 11-11-2015, 21:29   #15
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Re: Bareboat Charter (From St Thomas) Including Spanish Virgin Islands & St Croix

Culebra and Vieques are nice - be careful about some of the more secluded and quiet spots on the south side of vieques - the mosquitoes are mean - anchor where there's still some air and water movement!
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