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Old 28-04-2016, 12:57   #1
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First BVI Charter

Gtreetings!
I am planning a 2 week charter in the BVIs for my family and I. Having never sailed the BVI's, I was wondering if I could get some input on my plan. We'll be bareboaring a 42' Cat with 5 adults and 3 kids (ages 11, 8 and 6).

Day 1: Depart Tortola, sail over to the Bight on Norman Island, remain overnight.
Day 2: Sail up to Trellis Bay and spend the night.
Day 3: Retrieve our remaining crew and move to Marina Cay.
Day 4: Depart early for North Virgin Gorda, remain overnight.
Day 5: Remain in North Virgin Gorda.
Day 6: Depart North Virgin Gorda for Cooper Island, remain overnight.
Day 7: Depart Cooper Island for Jost Van Dyke, spend the night in Little Harbor.
Day 8: Depart JVD and sail to Sopher’s Hole, spend the night at Sopher’s hole or back at the Bight.
Day 9: Depart Sopher’s Hole and sail to Peter Island, remain overnight.
Day 10: Depart Peter Island and sail to Trellis Bay to drop off crew by 1630. Remain at Trellis Bay.
Day 11: Depart Trellis bay and return to the Marina.

We're not big partiers, mostly looking for postcard-like beaches and not a lot of crowds. We're planning on eating most of our meals on the boat. pouring over, forums, websites and charter companies proposed itineraries is overwhelming. I'm more afraid of over-committing than I am of missing something. I'd like a sanity check to make sure my plan isn't too ambitious.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 28-04-2016, 13:02   #2
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Re: First BVI Charter

Do Day 1 & 2. The throw out the planning of the rest until you get there.

Have a great trip.

PS Gorda to Cooper to JVD is backwards to me. Do Cooper on the way out maybe, the Gorda then a nice sail north of Tortola to JVD. We've done that a few times.
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Old 28-04-2016, 13:26   #3
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Re: First BVI Charter

Thanks Stu, I agree 100%. As I look at my plan and some of the pictures of the places I've only ever read about, I'm sure there will be adjustments. There won't be a timeline and if the group wants to hang out for a few nights in any given place, perfect. I appreciate the advice, cheers.
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Old 28-04-2016, 13:27   #4
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Re: First BVI Charter

Guess I should have added that we'll be there late June to early July.
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Old 28-04-2016, 14:13   #5
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Re: First BVI Charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger06 View Post
Gtreetings!
I am planning a 2 week charter in the BVIs for my family and I. Having never sailed the BVI's, I was wondering if I could get some input on my plan. We'll be bareboaring a 42' Cat with 5 adults and 3 kids (ages 11, 8 and 6).

Day 1: Depart Tortola, sail over to the Bight on Norman Island, remain overnight.
Day 2: Sail up to Trellis Bay and spend the night.
Day 3: Retrieve our remaining crew and move to Marina Cay.
Day 4: Depart early for North Virgin Gorda, remain overnight.
Day 5: Remain in North Virgin Gorda.
Day 6: Depart North Virgin Gorda for Cooper Island, remain overnight.
Day 7: Depart Cooper Island for Jost Van Dyke, spend the night in Little Harbor.
Day 8: Depart JVD and sail to Sopher’s Hole, spend the night at Sopher’s hole or back at the Bight.
Day 9: Depart Sopher’s Hole and sail to Peter Island, remain overnight.
Day 10: Depart Peter Island and sail to Trellis Bay to drop off crew by 1630. Remain at Trellis Bay.
Day 11: Depart Trellis bay and return to the Marina.

We're not big partiers, mostly looking for postcard-like beaches and not a lot of crowds. We're planning on eating most of our meals on the boat. pouring over, forums, websites and charter companies proposed itineraries is overwhelming. I'm more afraid of over-committing than I am of missing something. I'd like a sanity check to make sure my plan isn't too ambitious.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
Only one suggestion. Instead of Sopers hole and slide across the channel to St. John at maho and Francis bays.. Beautiful beach area. Hope you have a blast..
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Old 28-04-2016, 14:34   #6
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Re: First BVI Charter

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Only one suggestion. Instead of Sopers hole and slide across the channel to St. John at maho and Francis bays.. Beautiful beach area. Hope you have a blast..
Good point, except you'd have to check in and check out. Time consuming. Avoid Sopers Hole, too. Not much there except crowds. Since you like to stay out & about, try Norman Island, The Bight, it's fun. Great snorkeling around the corner or at The Indians.

Remember, all this stuff is 2 to 4 hour daysails.
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Old 28-04-2016, 14:38   #7
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Re: First BVI Charter

Take half the clothes you plan on taking and twice the cash. That always works for me.


If you must clear in and out, it is far easier at Jost. We also take a cooler full of frozen meats, saves time shopping, you know what you have and is usually cheaper. I use the empty cooler to take back dirty clothes, etc.
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Old 28-04-2016, 17:40   #8
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First BVI Charter

Skip Sopers unless you need to replenish your provisions at Harbor Market.

Do not "slide" into St John unless you want to sail all the way down to Cruz Bay to clear in. Don't forget to clear out of the BVI first and then back in if you decide to visit St John. I'm a big proponent of the beaches on St John as compared to the BVI. Much less developed and crowded, the only exception would be the north shore of Anegada.

Instead of Sopers maybe consider Cane Garden Bay.

Enjoy your trip.


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Old 28-04-2016, 18:16   #9
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Re: First BVI Charter

Thanks for all the replies!

Would love to check out the US side in the future but not on this trip, we're sticking to the BVIs. ST Johns does sound perfect though.

I looked at cane garden bay, if I do the route in reverse, I can go JVD to Cane Garden Bay then on to North Virgin Gorda. Cane Garden Bay looks great.
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Old 29-04-2016, 04:41   #10
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Re: First BVI Charter

Here goes my take:

The first night at the Bight on Norman is what many other charterers do, so the anchorage will be busy. You will have to take a mooring ball, as the anchoring spots left tend to be deeper. Pirate's ashore has gone very upscale and is expensive, dinner at the Willie T's has less flair but certainly more atmosphere. The Willie T's can get loud at night, so don't take a mooring that is too close and don't bother going there on a Sunday.
Trellis Bay is another anchorage where you will need to use a mooring ball, as the anchoring spots are taken by permanent liveaboards. There are choices between the Last Resort and the Mad Mongoose for dinner/drinks ashore and Aragorn's Studio is not to be missed.
I've always been underwhelmed by Marina Cay, but it is a good anchorage and I gather the menu ashore has gotten better.
The North Sound (what you refer to as north Virgin Gorda) has lots of choices. With 3 kids you will absolutely have to schedule one stop at Leverick Bay and Michael Beans' "Happy 'Arrr Show", there are moorings at Leverick and good holding in 15-25 feet of water as well.
If you don't want anything ashore, then anchor off Prickly Pear Island next to the mooring field at the Sand Box.
Saba Rock has a daily Tarpon feeding at 17:00 that is fun to watch, and I believe you get a free water tank fill if you use their moorings, which are cheaper than those offered by The Bitter End Yacht Club.
Cooper isn't a great choice from the North Sound, it might be better to plan a sail past Marina Cay again, with a stop at Monkey Point for snorkeling, thence to Cane Garden Bay - a beautiful anchorage with mooring balls and also room to anchor. The only reason to skip CGB would be if there's a north swell incoming, which makes the anchorage untenable. From CGB it is a short sail to Sandy Cay and Sandy Spit and one can overnight either at Diamond Cay (one of my favorites) or Great Harbor on Jost van Dyke; both have mooring balls which should be used, as the holding isn't great in either location (30+ feet and sand-over-rock bottom).
As already mentioned, unless you need to go for provisioning or clearance, Soper's Hole (or the West End) doesn't offer much for a family bareboating, I'd recommend another anchorage for that night.
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Old 29-04-2016, 08:01   #11
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Re: First BVI Charter

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Good point, except you'd have to check in and check out. Time consuming. Avoid Sopers Hole, too. Not much there except crowds. Since you like to stay out & about, try Norman Island, The Bight, it's fun. Great snorkeling around the corner or at The Indians.

Remember, all this stuff is 2 to 4 hour daysails.
You go in after 4pm, and leave in the AM. NO CHECK IN.. People do this all of the time, and have been doing this forever!! And yes.. STILL TO THIS DAY!!
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Old 29-04-2016, 13:25   #12
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Re: First BVI Charter

Thanks again, All.


Stu, I re-looked the plan and it makes things a lot easier if I reverse the route as you said, especially if I cut Sopher's and stop at Cane Garden Bay like Zanshin recommended. Although none of it's "carved in stone", that plan seems to afford us the greatest number of options.


Being late June/early July, can I expect to see crowded anchorages and masses of people?


Thanks again everyone for the help.
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Old 30-04-2016, 05:35   #13
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Re: First BVI Charter

While your trip will be in "off season" there is still a lot of chartering going on in June/July but the anchorages will not be full.
Don't take JstaRebel's advice about hopping over to the USVI without clearing in/out; the chance of getting caught committing a felony and paying large fines (plus a chance of the BVI impounding the boat) isn't high but it still exists so it is your call. While people do it all the time, not all of them get away with it.
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Old 01-05-2016, 16:57   #14
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Re: First BVI Charter

Thanks Zan,
Ya, I have a lot riding on this trip seeing as I pitched it and have been doing the lions share of the planning. Could be the last family vacation I get to plan if we wind up in the clink. I can't leave ANYTHING to chance.

Nice to hear that the anchorages wont be packed. We'll still get underway earlier in the day and settled early in the afternoon.

As I'm packing, is there any need for a hand-held GPS or VHF radio? I have both. Was thinking that the handheld VHF would be handy for using on the dink.
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Old 01-05-2016, 17:07   #15
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Re: First BVI Charter

[QUOTE=SeaKing;2108663]Take half the clothes you plan on taking and twice the cash. That always works for me.


I have just today returned and the above is absolutely true. A backpack of clothes is all you will need. The spending adds up as staying on the boat to eat gets old. We had some swell heading over to jost if anyone gets sea sick! We did two nights outside the bitter end yacht club on e hook as a rest from sailing. That place is actually quite cheap as long as your not staying in one of the rooms. The baths was a circus when we went. Willy T (if you go tell them Steve and Luke say hi) was a blast, if you go to sopers hole the 'fish n lime' was better than the other side.

Good luck...
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