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Old 27-10-2013, 21:43   #1
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Rookie bare boater looking for advice

I have chartered twice out of Tortola, and it was great. Our crew of 6 is looking for a 7 to 14 day vacation next June, and though we know some friends in the BVI, we are considering new unexplored (for us) areas in the Windward islands. St. Lucia, Domenica, whatever.

Looking for advice on where to go, including charter companies to deal with. Of course we would like to avoid the crime I have been reading about, and so far my surfing on the web has brought me very little solid info on booking, rates, etc. We are not real experienced sailors. If anyone wants to share their insight on who to book with and what islands to visit, it would be much appreciated. I searched on this forum but may have missed the info I need.

Thank you,

BS'er
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Old 27-10-2013, 21:59   #2
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

With a crew of 6 its not likely that you will have to worry about crime. Stick together when ashore, maybe leave 2 on the boat at all times, don't drink to much and keep a positive attitude.
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Old 28-10-2013, 10:51   #3
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

I would pose your question to the Moorings and see what they tell you. They seem to have the most bases in the islands and certainly a reputable charter company. They also offer one-way charters which could maximize the the number of islands that are covered, if that is a priority.

Where are the crime issues you have been reading about? I would have to agree with DeepFrz regarding potential crime.
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Old 28-10-2013, 17:23   #4
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

The crime I read about was on this forum, the machete attack at st. Vincent's. But I live in New Orleans, usually the murder capital of the U.S., so I am not too worried, just hoping to steer clear of any trouble spots.

I went to Moorings website, and they seemed a bit pricey ($5460/week for a 3900 Club, length=37'). Are they preferable to DSL? I think we want a catamaran, in case someone is sensitive to sea-sickness. DSL has a 2001 Leopard 42 for $4200 per week that looks nice. Are there are other companies that someone can recommend?

Also, BVI versus St. Lucia, is the sailing that much different? I get the sense that the BVI is better for leisurely sailing, shorter distances, more time for partying. If true I want to see if my crew would prefer that, or the more serious sailing, longer distances of the Windward Islands. But is that an accurate view? Is there a better place in the Windwards I should consider chartering from?

Again, thanks for any insight.
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Old 28-10-2013, 20:21   #5
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

We have our boat in Moorings in St. Lucia and we'ere there a year ago. Went from St. Lucia down to the Tobago Cays and back in our 8 day trip. We had a great time.

BVI and St. Lucia are very different. Which is why we've been back to the BVI on our past few trips. We dive and the BVI is great for that. Things are also very close together. In St. Lucia, you'll spend most of a day sailing from St. Lucia to St. Vincent or Bequia if you skip St. Vincent. Same on the return. I'd say the are very different areas for sailing, but the water, temps and many activities are very similar.

So much really depends on what you want to get out of your trip.

As far as a cat is concerned, I wouldn't really base that just on seasickness, certainly there are other benefits, but if someone is prone, it may not matter what boat. Anyone that is questionable, have them get the patch - it's worked wonders for anyone that has come with us that was questionable or known to have sea sickness.
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Old 28-10-2013, 21:21   #6
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

We chartered with DSL Yachting in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia in January and have another charter with them this coming January. I would recommend checking them out. They are good to work with.

We had 10 days and went to Grenada and back. This year 13 days and planning for Antigua and back.

Website below. Good luck!

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Old 28-10-2013, 21:22   #7
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

Ok thanks. Do you think it is more challenging as far as the sailing? I am game for some excitement, but I am concerned that my crew may be looking more for relaxation. I read that the winds and currents between the Windwards can be tricky and rough unless you travel further west to get away from the land's effect. Anyone care to comment on that? Sailing in the BVI sure was easy.
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Old 28-10-2013, 21:24   #8
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

Thanks Krafthaus, good to know.
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Old 28-10-2013, 21:51   #9
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

We've never been to the BVI but not crazy about crowds and kinda like the more local flavour of the West Indies. Some great sailing between islands and great places to stop along the way.

We had winds 15 to 25 knots consistently. Waves 3 to 6 feet I'd say most of the time. Max was 10 to 12 feet off the north end of St. Vincent coming back to St. Lucia. We had a Lagoon 420 and it handled all conditions well. In fact, was a pleasure to sail.

Currents were never a problem.

For any of the crew subject to seasickness, put on a scopolamine patch 24 hours before setting sail. It worked very good for those on our crew who used it.

If you go, get copies of the Chris Doyle cruising guides for the Windwards and Leewards. We found them very helpful. Provision well and you will find plenty of spots for meals out and drinks along the way as well.

Have fun!
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Old 29-10-2013, 09:09   #10
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

Very helpful. I ordered Chris Doyle's book last night!

Wow - 10-12 foot seas! I think my crew might kill me if I put them through that! Haha
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Old 29-10-2013, 10:09   #11
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

Yeah, you are doing much more open sailing so conditions can vary a lot. We probably never had anything more than 4-6' at most on our trip.

We did see a huge pod of Dolphin's though and some whales. So it was a very cool trip. Lot's of time spent sailing though, very different from the BVI.
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Old 29-10-2013, 11:05   #12
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

I've sailed in 12-14 foot seas in the BVI too, but there is more lee sailing available there. If you have any doubt about the crew I suggest sticking to the BVIs. You can take them through the Anagada passage and see how well they handle more open seas, then plan a down island trip for the next year.
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Old 29-10-2013, 11:17   #13
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

Big difference in the BVI is that you can either sail in an area where the waves are much less, such as the Sir Francis Drake channel or if you can't avoid it, its a quick sail/motor.

In St. Lucia and other areas, you may have to go through whatever the conditions may be to get back - this could be 20 miles of rough sailing (distance between St. Lucia and St. Vincent). There's still some lee sailing to be had, but you have no choice but to be in the open water as well.
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Old 29-10-2013, 19:56   #14
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Originally Posted by Bullshooter View Post
Very helpful. I ordered Chris Doyle's book last night!

Wow - 10-12 foot seas! I think my crew might kill me if I put them through that! Haha

No twelve foot seas here... This is what we had when we came around the north end of St Vincent. ... Had to motor almost all the way to St. Lucia..
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:44   #15
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Re: Rookie bare boater looking for advice

I can recommend Conch Charters in Tortola. As a disclosure, I keep my Leopard 40 with them when I am back in CA. The boats are a little older than the Moorings boats (6-10 years vs 0-5 years old), but the prices are less.

If you feel like you have done the BVI and feel like you'd like to see something new, but don't want any long passages, I would suggest the USVI and Spanish Virgins. I spent the summer exploring all of the Virgins and had a blast. St Croix was great and is an easy 35 miles out of STT.
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