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Old 22-05-2014, 12:48   #1
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BVI Sailing Times

Hi all. I am planning a charter for next April in the BVI and I already have a pretty good idea of what islands I want to hit and maybe where I want to spend a little more time. The question I have is in regards to sailing times. I want to make sure that there is ample time for kicking back and that we are not spending all day, every day sailing to the next destination. I understand that wind/weather plays a big hand in sailing times but I was wondering if I could get some rough estimates for a couple of legs of a journey. We will be on a 41' Beneteau. What would estimated sailing times be between: Road Town and Cane Garden Bay; Jost and Norman; Norman and the Baths; Saba Rock to Trellis Bay; and finally Trellis to Cane Garden Bay. Thanks in advance.
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Old 22-05-2014, 13:04   #2
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Re: BVI Sailing Times

T = S X D unless you're tacking. Really, it's that easy there. Nothing is that far away. The cruising guides are pretty good at explaining the times, too. One of our better sails was a LOOONG one from North Sound to JVD, out north of Tortola. Took all day, hove to a couple of times to swim, but we left early, and still pulled in mid to late afternoon.

How early are you willing to wake up? would be a better question.
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Old 22-05-2014, 13:09   #3
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Re: BVI Sailing Times

In April you will have a bit more settled conditions than in January and you can plan on 15 knots of wind from the east and seas 6 feet or less from the NE. The trips you have chosen are odd, and not ones normally planned for a charter since you are going a long way and missing intermediate stops.

Road Town to Cane Garden : dead downwind until past Soper's Hole then one or two tacks to get to Cane Garden. about 8NM DDW @ 5 knots. Then 7NM (includes tacking distance) at 5 knots.
Jost van Dyke to Norman : beating the whole way against the winds, often Norman to the West End can be accomplished on one tack, but after that it is working upwind. 4.5NM @ 5 knots then tacking 10 miles @ 5 knots.
Norman to Baths : tacking upwind, total of 20NM @ 5 knots.
Saba Rock to Trellis : winds are calmer in the North Sound then DDW to Trellis through or past the Dogs. 4NM @ 4 knots, then 10NM @ 5 knots.
Trellis to Cane Garden Bay : motor past little Camanoe and watch out for Bommies, then downwind sail past Monkey Point. 11NM @ 4 knots. Unless there's a good northerly component to the wind, then 5 or even 6 knots average.

Note I'm not giving you the times directly, but the distances and expected speeds, you can adjust the speed as you feel fit but the distances are off Google maps and tacking distances based on my experience sailing in the BVI. My 5 knots are a bit optimistic, that is what I got on my 43DS and your might want to take 1 knot off all speeds to be more realistic, or keep the speed and shorten distances if you motorsail.

(written from 200 yards away from Saba Rock)
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Old 22-05-2014, 13:14   #4
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Re: BVI Sailing Times

I'm sure it was a typo so...

T=D/S
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Old 22-05-2014, 13:27   #5
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Re: BVI Sailing Times

Thanks for the info. I don't really have a set itinerary yet, and I am mostly going to play the whole thing by ear, just go where the wind takes me sort of thing, but I wanted to have a good idea on what times would be in the event we did decide to take a whole day to sail somewhere.
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Old 22-05-2014, 15:54   #6
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Re: BVI Sailing Times

I'm with Zanshin, take shorter hops. We tend to get up, move to a new location for a dive/snorkel and then move to our overnight location. Maybe spend a couple hours a day sailing on average, some days we just motor if the hops are pretty short - also depends on wind and if it's just my wife and I or if we have others with us.
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Old 22-05-2014, 16:18   #7
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Re: BVI Sailing Times

The first thing to understand about the BVI is that it's best to consider a counter-clockwise route around Tortola. This gives a smoother passage upwind and breaks the upwind passage into bite-sized chunks. This also means that the passages you mentioned wouldn't be practical(too much back & forth). In a week, you can do what Maytrix suggested, stopping each lunch & evening at a different spot. This gives typical distances of 3-5 miles, with the exception of Bitter End to Cane Garden (Thats a nice late morning to early evening sail).

Typical itineraries are available here:

Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 - MapleCookie
BVI Sailing Itineraries, Horizon Yacht Charters | British Virgin Islands (Tortola)


Pete Williams
s/v MapleCookie
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Old 22-05-2014, 16:53   #8
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Re: BVI Sailing Times

I've been to the BVI's numerous times over the last 30 years and have tried the "circuit" a couple of different ways. In the end you can't get away from the fact that you will be beating into the wind at some point.

The last time I was there I tried a clockwise circumnavigation. We left Tortola to Norman Island, which was a quick couple of hours sail - good for the first day. Then while the crew still was energetic, we went to Jost Van Dyke (Soggy Dollar!). Both those legs had wind on the beam or aft of it. From there, you can go south to CGB, but we went on to Monkey Point and then Lee Bay. During these last legs, I found the wind bouncing off Tortola allowed us to beat into the wind but we did sail. After Lee Bay, we had a great sail to the North Sound, VG. Eventually we made it to the Baths close hauled. The rest of the sailing was easy - Coopers Island and the last night at Peter Island. The sail to Tortola the last morning was a beam reach of less than two hours. As I recall, the longest leg was to JVD, which took about four to five hours.

I'm on my way back to the BVI's in two weeks. If the crew agrees (they're paying for the boat, after all), we'll run that same course.

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Old 22-05-2014, 17:14   #9
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Re: BVI Sailing Times

Quote:
Originally Posted by PanPan View Post
I'm sure it was a typo so...

T=D/S
Right. Thanks for the correction. The OP would be completely lost if he followed my advice...
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