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Old 12-04-2010, 09:59   #1
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BVI After-Action Report

Thanks for info (both asked and searched) over the past 9 months. Charter was quite the party. After Baja I was a bit thrown by the number of boats in every harbor and the proximity of all the islands, but still there was good sailing to be had. (Though one day we did a 28.5 mile lap around Tortola to make the 5.5 miles to JVD... just to get some distance. See day 6)

Locals and frequent visitors to JVD may be saddened to hear that Syndey (of Sydney's Peace and Love) passed. We were there the night before his funeral and thus had to eat at Abe's.



Barecat Charters gets my . Nice people, pristine boat, good service. They aren't the "Machine" that Moorings is, so expect the occasional tiny mixup. (Like no lights on the boat upon arrival when you're searching the pier.) But it's a small price for the service and cheaper price.

Thanks again and fair winds. Time to dust off our boat for the season.
I love the smell of deisel and mildew in the morning... smells like Spring!
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:11   #2
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Sounds like you had a great trip. Check out this link on two BVI charterers that were in a little over their heads. They are lucky they made it back.
Tale of a fateful trip -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:12   #3
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I hope that either your Anegada route isn't plotted straight from your GPS or, if it was, that your charter boat had a 2 inch draft
Looks like a nice trip and the Baths, while nice, aren't all they are made out to be.
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:25   #4
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I hope that either your Anegada route isn't plotted straight from your GPS or, if it was, that your charter boat had a 2 inch draft
Looks like a nice trip and the Baths, while nice, aren't all they are made out to be.
That is a GPS plot on a calibrate image. Boat had 4' draft. Maybe the clouds are throwing you off but we were never East of the channel. Came in, took a left and anchored off Neptune's. Oh, I see your point... On the way in I stowed the laptop once we hit the bouys. So there's a straight line from bouys to anchorage. Yeah...that would have been a "slow" path to take. (crunch). Same with the exit of Leverick. Didn't have the breadcrumbs on until we got out. Good eye!
As far as the baths, I was there when I was twelve and wasn't that excited about them then. And if that weren't enough, the sight of a cruise ship offloading "Tourons" as one of the locals called them, validated our avoidance.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:47   #5
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Glad to hear you had a great charter cruise. I agree, there certainly are a lot of boats in the BVIs. With time you can learn to experience them a bit differently though. On my first cruise there I picked up a mooring almost every night. On my last 3-week cruise there, I never did and had about 4 anchorages to myself.

Certainly, it doesn't have the solitude one can find in Baja or the Abacos, but with some effort, one can get away from most of the crowds.
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Old 12-04-2010, 14:29   #6
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Sounds like you had a great trip. Check out this link on two BVI charterers that were in a little over their heads. They are lucky they made it back.
Tale of a fateful trip -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY
That was a great story that would be unbelievable except I have seen so many repeats in real life in the Bahamas, BVI's and other "high volume" newbie" cruising locations. I love the description of the "wife" of the "facilities" inside the sailboat. Maybe that link should also be in the "women with issues" thread.
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Old 12-04-2010, 19:37   #7
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That was a scary tale. Scary that Moorings (c'mon, we all know it's them) will give a boat to any moron with a credit card. While we were on a day mooring at the Rhone, some 40+ cat, overflowing with douchebaggery zoomed up at max motoring speed and shot between the 50 foot sloop next to us and our Lagoon 380. They were a flash but I swear they were close enough to us that I could have jumped aboard.
They proceeded to haul ass right up to the where the dinghy line was and beyond before I rolled my eyes and turned back to washing down my gear.

Next day we were told that the same cat had run aground on the part of the Rhone that runs up the rock face. Yikes!. Sad for the Rhone site, but at least that guy didn't take someone out with him. He was zooming right through swimmers and boats... could have been much worse.
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Old 12-04-2010, 20:07   #8
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R. I. P. Sydney. He was a character!
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Old 12-04-2010, 20:09   #9
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. Scary that Moorings (c'mon, we all know it's them) will give a boat to any moron with a credit card. .
Most companies will let anyone who can pay charter a boat, much like almost anyone can rent a car. However, that does not mean, they simply turn the keys over to anyone and let them go.

The fact is the Moorings requires all first time charters with them to submit a sailing resume. If they have any questions, they require the charter party to start with a Moorings captain on board. They also require all first time charters to attend a chart briefing/orientation of the area.

Are there people who charter who are not very knowledgeable or just plain rude? Of course. It would be ridiculous to expect people who's cruising consists of a once a year party sailing vacation to have the same skills or attitude at a seasoned, long-term cruiser. The fact that some people who charter are rude or throw common sense out the window does not mean that the charter company has no standards. Clearly it is in their best interest to take some steps to reduce the likelihood of their boats not being trashed.

Certainly there are stories of woe about charter boats. I can also point to many examples in these forums of people who became stranded, went aground, fell a sleep at the wheel or are amazed they survived 38-knots at anchor in their own private boat.
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Old 12-04-2010, 21:01   #10
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I'll give you that. I am playing into the line that I get from the smaller charter companies. But personally I have no yardstick to compare the two. I turned in the same Nautical Resume to all and had no issue with any of them. (Hard to question USNA training.)
Barecat did require a ride-along skipper to go to Anegada though (Of course the skipper did nothing but ogle my netbook charting and tell salty tales.) while 5 or 6 Moorings boats had just piled up on the reef the month before. Tom of Barecat had a great hat for his salvage company. It said "Your Mayday is my Payday!". He loves Moorings.
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Old 12-04-2010, 23:22   #11
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Point appreciated Down2TheC- Thanks for the polite response.
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Old 14-04-2010, 19:27   #12
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I have used BareCat twice and have 17 days booked with them this summers off season. Great people and good prices.
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Old 21-04-2010, 14:16   #13
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Our first time charter in the BVI was back in 2007 and it was 180 deg from that "tale of a fateful trip".

Obviously the writer was never on a sailboat to be surprised at the accommodations. I took my wife to a Strictly Sail show and had her board a similar size boat that we were chartering so that she was well aware of what she was in for. Do you think the couple in the article are still married?..

It's sad that some folks don't value their lives or the lives of others when they partake in an adventure and don't do the proper research before they set out. I wonder if the writer would hike the Appalachian trail in a pair of sandals and then complain what a horrible experience it was.

On our first charter, we planned to go in low season (beg of June) and it payed off well. No swells, abundance of mooring balls, no crowds at dinner time...no fuss, no stress. Easy to acclimate to Island Time...

Contrary to her stressful experience, it was the most relaxing vacation I was ever on since while at the helm, my mind was only on what was at hand. There was no room in there to worry about was going on back home, in the office or the rest of the world for that matter.

Hopefully we'll have a repeat of our experience when we go back next month.
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Old 21-04-2010, 15:16   #14
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I read the story "Tale of a Fateful Trip." I've sailed the BVI as one of my destinations for over 10 years. Reading the story, I can't figure out where they anchored in order to get in trouble. Sailing the BVI is a no brainer. Picking up a Mooring line takes a really minimal level of skill. If they were told to raft up to a boat on a mooring, they were given some really bad advice. The moral of the story is if you don't know what you are doing, find someone that does, and take them along, or better yet, for people like the reporter, hire a crewed charter. Although reading the story, I not sure that even a crew could keep those people from hurting themselves. The story describes the very kind of people I try to hide from when I pick an anchorage in the BVI.
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Old 25-05-2010, 11:34   #15
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I have a few points to add

The Baths: I have been there three times, first in 2003 as a land based "Touron", then in 2006 and 2007 on a bareboat charter. I have found the only real way to see and enjoy them is to be one of the first on the moorings at 06:30. The place is empty and fun with lots of fish. At about 08:45 when the Tourons start arriving you head up the path to the Top of the Baths restaurant for a fantastic breaky. Fantastic here being entirely subjective depending on whether this is the beginning or end of your charter. After breaky the baths are mobbed, so you head off to less crowded waters. We usually spend the night before off Spanish town so it is a quick sunrise motor down.

Chartering and Sailing resumes: After our 2006 charter we had a few hours to kill and entertained ourselves by watching the next group of charterers head out. That was probably the most entertaining game of dodgem I have ever seen. I had to turn my head more than a few times. While this was going on the base managers were standing near by. I asked them how they are able to watch this everyday, their reply was that all of the boats are insured. One particular conversation I heard was a request from a charterer asking for help leaving the dock, given how much detail I put into my sailing resume I ask the managers about this too. They explained that they never really look at the resumes, they just keep them on file. The catch is that they are a part of the contract and if something happens to the boat the insurance company will go over them. If you are found to have not really been qualified for the charter the insurance does not apply and you personally are on the hook for the damage.
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