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Old 30-05-2016, 09:47   #1
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BVIs to St. Martin - Guadalupe - Martinique

Seeking advice on passage making. Hoping to leave the BVI in January for a 2-3 month stay in the French Islands. It would seem that as the distance to destination increases, the point of sail becomes easier. The passage to St. Martin is about 80 miles, or 10-12 hours if the winds are not too strong. Heading for the French Islands further south becomes a 2 day trip, but might allow a more comfortable reach. I have made the passage to St. Martin, but in the spring with light winds; I think we made a midnight departure, and had an easy motorsail. Has anyone done this in winter?

Also asking about crew. The commodore has made it clear she will fly and wait in a hotel while I move the boat. Is it advisable to pick up crew in the BVI? I assume I would be responsible to for their return airfare. However, I am skeptical about sailing with strangers. Paying travel for family and friends to fly down and back will become cost prohibitive. Any suggestions?

The boat is a 41 Jeanneau that is set up for chartering in the BVI. Thinking about mounting the dinghy to the transom.
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Old 19-08-2016, 17:04   #2
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Re: BVIs to St. Martin - Guadalupe - Martinique

Hi Alec,
We're thinking of this passage in October but Anguilla, St Martin first. We're did you depart BVI,s VG?
Lighter winds are a bit more likely October time so I presume motor sailing is the way?
Thanks, Marc


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Old 19-08-2016, 17:53   #3
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Re: BVIs to St. Martin - Guadalupe - Martinique

We have made this trip several times. It's 14 hrs once you pass round rock (VG) to Merigot bay@ 6-6.5 knots. You're hard on it and beating into it all the way. You check in at a kiosk at Budget Marine (French side) right at the bridge. Some visit Anagada first before heading to SXM and the point is better. From SXM, the rest of the islands is a day sail. All fairly easy and all visible from one to the other. If going to St. Vincent, keep your wits about you. Lots of people have had issues there. Read up on everything and have a plan and an alternate plan.

Have Fun!
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Old 19-08-2016, 18:23   #4
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Re: BVIs to St. Martin - Guadalupe - Martinique

Each time I have done that trip (mostly November) it has been uphill all the way. We usually leave North Sound BVIs around 1600 and are there before the first bridge opening into Simpson's Bay the next morning. This year we (or I) will be leaving the British Virgins in January and heading south, probably straight to Guadaloupe.
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Old 20-08-2016, 05:52   #5
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Re: BVIs to St. Martin - Guadalupe - Martinique

I always left North Sound on Virgin Gorda at about 4 pm and motor-sailed to Marigot Bay the next morning. There was always a relatively large amount of traffic on that route, so keep a sharp watch. Cruise ships, coastal freighters, and sailboats coming right at you on a reciprocal course. The one time I sailed without motoring, we made Saba on one long port tack, just after sunup.

In January, you could see some pretty strong Tradewinds, sometimes 20-25 knots for days or even a couple of weeks.
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Old 21-08-2016, 12:14   #6
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Re: BVIs to St. Martin - Guadalupe - Martinique

Has anyone done the crossing via St Croix to Anguilla looks a marginally better point, wind dependent of course.


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Old 21-08-2016, 14:12   #7
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Re: BVIs to St. Martin - Guadalupe - Martinique

Done it quite a few times. Had some pretty rough crossings. Also motored there in glass smooth seas. Best trip was going up to Anagada first. Then NE for about 50 miles. Then rhumb line to STM. Beautiful close reach. A lot more fun when there is no fuel being used.

Heed the warning about the Xmas winds. It can blow 25+ for a could weeks straight. Got blown in in PR for 3 weeks in 2010. You will pay heck trying to make easting in the Xmas winds.

If you want reliable crew pay them a little bit. Feed them and get them home. You will not have trouble finding them but will have trouble vetting them. Ask around the charter bases and the marinas. There is always someone looking for an adventure.

Good luck. Safe travels.

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Old 21-08-2016, 14:28   #8
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Re: BVIs to St. Martin - Guadalupe - Martinique

It is so much easier to sail to Martinique and then sail back along the island chain.

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Old 20-09-2016, 07:45   #9
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Re: BVIs to St. Martin - Guadalupe - Martinique

I've done the passage FEB 2015 with a Lagoon 400 catamaran.

We stayed the day on Anegada and left the BVI north of Anegada at 6 p.m. using the motor for the first hours to get east of Anegada. As we were clear of the island we set sails and sailed directly to Saba without the engine. We arrived around 11 am.

Apart from the first hours with the engine going against heavy swell it was a smoother sail than we thought altough 18-22 kt of winds were blowing from the east.

I think Anegada -> Saba was a good decision as we did not want to motorsail the whole time. It would have been impossible to reach St. Martin directly with the boat on that day. We stayed on Saba for one day and had a great ride around the beautiful island by taxi and then sailed to St. Martin the next day.
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Old 20-09-2016, 10:56   #10
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Re: BVIs to St. Martin - Guadalupe - Martinique

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec H View Post

Also asking about crew. The commodore has made it clear she will fly and wait in a hotel while I move the boat. Is it advisable to pick up crew in the BVI? I assume I would be responsible to for their return airfare. However, I am skeptical about sailing with strangers. Paying travel for family and friends to fly down and back will become cost prohibitive. Any suggestions?

The boat is a 41 Jeanneau that is set up for chartering in the BVI. Thinking about mounting the dinghy to the transom.
Alec,

We'll likely be making the same passage at about the same time on our Lagoon 450 and my wife certainly prefers to skip that passage. Maybe our wives can fly ahead, we sail one of our boats, then fly back and sail the other one.

Send a PM if interested.


Lucky Larry
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Old 24-09-2016, 04:43   #11
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Re: BVIs to St. Martin - Guadalupe - Martinique

Alec - I've done the BVI - St. Martin trip many times (over 20 time, at least). It always takes longer than expected unless you are willing to turn on the iron genny. I like night passages and will leave the North Sound sometime after midnight and head towards St. Martin after squeezing between Neckar Island and Virgin Gorda. Once you've had your fill of St. Martin then St. Barths is a must-see stop (Ile Fourchue and Anse Colombier are my favorite anchorages there) and from there you can head either to Antigua or to St. Kitts/Nevis and then comes the hop across to the Deshaies on Guadeloupe.
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