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Old 13-01-2013, 09:56   #1
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Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

Hi -

We're off on our first bareboat charter in the BVIs in a few weeks, and we're having a discussion about how the crowds move through the islands. Do charters basically start on weekends, and everyone pretty much comes out of Road Harbour and heads over to Norman, Peter, Salt Islands and then clockwise around the BVIs? Is there any wisdom in trying to avoid a herd mentality?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 13-01-2013, 10:19   #2
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

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Hi -

Do charters basically start on weekends, and everyone pretty much comes out of Road Harbour and heads over to Norman, Peter, Salt Islands and then clockwise around the BVIs? Is there any wisdom in trying to avoid a herd mentality?

Thanks in advance!
I believe that most people follow a *counter*clockwise around Tortola.. C
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Old 13-01-2013, 10:30   #3
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

What are your plans when visiting the BVI? "My preferences are": SCUBA diving, snorkeling, photography and sailing; not necessarily in that order. No more than one or two activities per day. Daily sailing time should be from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM, at the latest. There is a lot to see and do, so get yourself a travel guide for itinerary suggestions; Frommer's Caribbean is a good guide to purchase. Some areas you will not be able to escape the crowd, because they are picturesque; such as Virgin Gorda's "The Bath", which includes a great beach, gigantic boulders to roam about, snorkeling and photogenic scenery. Plan ahead, with a sensible schedule that includes light fare meals during the day. There are deserted places and coves to explore, as well. Take plenty of pictures! Mauritz
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Old 13-01-2013, 11:36   #4
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

I've never seen a group of sail boats there. I think most choose to go their own way. As regards clockwise or the other way there are pros and cons to both. Try to figure out where you want to go. If you go to Anagada don't do it the last night of the charter, you won't make it back on time. Speaking of which, a very interesting place to visit. Get there early in the day, moor or anchor, then dingy around the North side of Anagada, snorkel and go ashore. About as near to a desert island as you will find in the BVI.
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Old 13-01-2013, 12:14   #5
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

Your title is alittle misleading, cruisiers never,ever move in clumps. Most "cruisers" avoid the BVI's, its way to overpriced and we long term budget cruisers only travel thru the BVI's because its between St Marten and the USVI's. Stop at Virgin Gorda to pick up supplies and legitimize the passport and move on.
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Old 13-01-2013, 17:16   #6
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

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Your title is alittle misleading, cruisiers never,ever move in clumps. Most "cruisers" avoid the BVI's, its way to overpriced and we long term budget cruisers only travel thru the BVI's because its between St Marten and the USVI's. Stop at Virgin Gorda to pick up supplies and legitimize the passport and move on.
You're right, I should have used thterm "bareboat charterers". Where do true cruisers like to spend time in the Caribbean? And do cruisers try to avoid places where charters congregate?
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Old 13-01-2013, 17:57   #7
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

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You're right, I should have used thterm "bareboat charterers". Where do true cruisers like to spend time in the Caribbean? And do cruisers try to avoid places where charters congregate?
Places that cater to the charter crowd tend to charge more as the people on charter are on "vacation" and happy to pay more. I can eat local stuff for under $10 a plate. Some resorts and St Barts charge $11 for a bottle of beer while local bars are $1.50 a bottle. Fulltime cruisiers seldom pay attention to the news. While charter folk are still caught up in what is happening back home. I missed the entire Bush administration for example, so we have less in comon to talk about.

A "true cruisier" is a nomad during the sailing season seldom staying in one anchorage for longer than a week, sometimes a month, maybe. Go north until its time to go south for the upcoming hurricane season. If things become routine then you stop doing them.

What, you ask will I do tomorrow? It depends.
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Old 13-01-2013, 18:06   #8
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

I remember the $7 ice cream cone my wife got on St. Barts. it was smaller than a golf ball . A bareboat charter was actually a cheap way to be at St. Barts.
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Old 13-01-2013, 18:22   #9
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Thumbs up Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

Typing this at anchor, Magen's bay St. Thomas.

Other then the fact that Cooper will be crowded on Saturdays (with. Charters beginning and ending) there seems to me to be very little predictable.

I was here in May captaining a charter, and have been here for a month captaining a private cruising boat... Will be here at least 6 more weeks, but have not yet seen any real predictable patterns....

OTHER then, bad north swells will dictate anchorage and Norman & Cooper seem to be more crowded on Saturday when charters often start and end.

Plan your trip around wake-> move to new place -> do cool stuff, repeat.

Best get a mooring early, or get your hook set early in the day to lower your stress level.

US / BVI are great places to be... Come and enjoy!
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Old 14-01-2013, 05:10   #10
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Typing this at anchor, Magen's bay St. Thomas.

Other then the fact that Cooper will be crowded on Saturdays (with. Charters beginning and ending) there seems to me to be very little predictable.

I was here in May captaining a charter, and have been here for a month captaining a private cruising boat... Will be here at least 6 more weeks, but have not yet seen any real predictable patterns....

OTHER then, bad north swells will dictate anchorage and Norman & Cooper seem to be more crowded on Saturday when charters often start and end.

Plan your trip around wake-> move to new place -> do cool stuff, repeat.

Best get a mooring early, or get your hook set early in the day to lower your stress level.

US / BVI are great places to be... Come and enjoy!
I didn't know we let forum moderators in here. :-) Is there any swell getting into Magen's? We were at Hull Bay last night for dinner and the breaking waves were impressive.
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Old 14-01-2013, 05:26   #11
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

To add to the above - the usual route is counterclockwise, as svlamorocha has stated ; this is to allow all the upwind passages/trips to be done in the relatively calm waters of the Sir Francis Drake Passage between the islands and one only needs to make one extended passage in open Atlantic waters that will be mostly downwind from the North Sound of Virgin Gorda or from Anegada heading to Jost van Dyke/Sopers or Cane Garden Bay.

The standard charters do tend to "herd" together. Departing on Saturday, the first hop is often across the channel to The Bight on Norman or to Cooper Island and those anchorages get busy. After that, the weekly cyclical busy days vary by location. I believe the anchorages and establishments in the North Sound get busier on Monday and Tuesday and a day later would be Anegada, then Jost, then Soper's Hole. That account for the typical 1-week charterers; for longer charters the guests usual don't adhere to that much of a schedule.

If the winds and waves are light then going around clockwise can let you see emptier anchorages and restaurants, but it isn't worth fighting a big swell unless everyone aboard has their sea legs already.
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Old 14-01-2013, 06:01   #12
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

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To add to the above - the usual route is counterclockwise, as svlamorocha has stated ; this is to allow all the upwind passages/trips to be done in the relatively calm waters of the Sir Francis Drake Passage between the islands and one only needs to make one extended passage in open Atlantic waters that will be mostly downwind from the North Sound of Virgin Gorda or from Anegada heading to Jost van Dyke/Sopers or Cane Garden Bay.

The standard charters do tend to "herd" together. Departing on Saturday, the first hop is often across the channel to The Bight on Norman or to Cooper Island and those anchorages get busy. After that, the weekly cyclical busy days vary by location. I believe the anchorages and establishments in the North Sound get busier on Monday and Tuesday and a day later would be Anegada, then Jost, then Soper's Hole. That account for the typical 1-week charterers; for longer charters the guests usual don't adhere to that much of a schedule.

If the winds and waves are light then going around clockwise can let you see emptier anchorages and restaurants, but it isn't worth fighting a big swell unless everyone aboard has their sea legs already.
Thanks, that's very helpful advice. It sounds like heading to Virgin Gorda on Saturday and doubling back might not be a terrible idea.

We are three sailboat owners who have cruised for decades in New England, so our passages don't need to be ultra short for the crew to be happy. In fact, we are chartering a catamaran specifically so we can acquaint ourselves with how they handle, particularly upwind.
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Old 14-01-2013, 06:07   #13
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

You'll love the run up to Anegada from the North Sound if you decide (and are allowed) to go there - that is where the cats blast by the monohulls. I don't see too many cats beating upwind in the BVI with sails up and no water coming from the engine cooling systems and there are anecdotal stories of cats being returned after a week-long charter and Sunsail discovering that the main halyard was missing and that nobody noticed

Have fun - I'll be there in 7 days and can't wait.
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Old 14-01-2013, 06:09   #14
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

FWIW: A herd of boats is often referred to as a fleet, or a flotilla.
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Old 14-01-2013, 06:40   #15
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Re: Do cruisers move around the BVIs in clumps?

Oh how I love to listen in to the bear boat radio scheds, they can be funnier than a Billy Connolly skit.
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