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Old 08-04-2010, 22:14   #1
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Tortola to St. Croix Passage

Next May, I plan to sail from Tortola to St Croix and tour this island for a week. Departing from the Bight, the passage to Christiansted seems like a straight run down that should take between 4 to 7 hours, depending upon the wind of course. Any suggestions, past experiences on this passage will be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:38   #2
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It's a nice, easy beam reach. As long as you enter Christiansted harbor before dark, you'll be fine.
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Old 09-04-2010, 07:31   #3
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Why St. Croix? Have you been to the Spanish Virgins? More to see and do in Culebra and Viequez and no further away.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:03   #4
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Hold on there Speciald!
Go to St Croix first, one of the most underated islands in the Caribbean.
Hud is correct, make sure you get to C'sted in the daylight hours. There is not a more beautiful town in the Caribbean than Christiansted.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:31   #5
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Just curious (I may head over there one day), why is it so critical to make the harbor during daylight hours? Is it not well marked? pete
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:16   #6
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There is a round reef (Round Reef) at the entrance to Christiansted Harbor and if you are not familiar with the entrance it can be confusing because the channel goes around it. Many boats have ended up on Round Reef especially at night.
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Old 09-04-2010, 19:54   #7
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I was there in spring 2009 and the only place to anchor is shown as the red-lined area on the map below. It is just north of the St Croix Marina.
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Old 10-04-2010, 16:58   #8
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Why St. Croix? Have you been to the Spanish Virgins? More to see and do in Culebra and Viequez and no further away.
Last February, I sailed to Culebra and Culebrita. Very nice. Although I find that most of the mooring balls at the entrance of Honda (by the reef) are taken by non-moving/vacant boats. Not much of a problem, as there are many good spots to anchor deeper in the bay. Have not been to Vieques; on a next trip.
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Old 10-04-2010, 17:03   #9
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I was there in spring 2009 and the only place to anchor is shown as the red-lined area on the map below. It is just north of the St Croix Marina.
Thanks for the info. However, I read that another spot to anchor, is in the lee ( SW) of Protestant Cay. I draw 6-7 and the chart shows an average depth of 8' to 10'.
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Old 10-04-2010, 21:58   #10
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Thanks for the info. However, I read that another spot to anchor, is in the lee ( SW) of Protestant Cay. I draw 6-7 and the chart shows an average depth of 8' to 10'.
That is in the guide books along with Gallows Bay - but both are not available for anchoring. Gallows Bay is very small and is the "commercial" harbor for the ferry and freight boats.
- - The area SW of Protestant Cay is the "permanent boats" anchorage and is so full of boats that are anchored/moored almost bow to stern that I had difficulty in maneuvering between them trying to get back out to the channel. So was not a viable anchorage in spring 2009 unless your boat was less than 30ft. Also the bottom there is littered with sunken wrecks from the Hurricane a couple of years ago.
- - The eastern side of Protestant Cay is also shown in some guide boats as an anchorage and I have seen one or two boats there but the swinging room is extremely tight if you intend to stay out of the channel used by the commercial boats.
- - I used to tie up at St. Croix Marine, nice folks, but the rates were astronomical for short stays. So I anchored where I saw all the other transient boats which is the area I outlined in red on the little chart. I tied my dinghy to the dinghy dock in St. Croix Marine - no hassles, nice place and an easy walk to the shopping areas. There is a shopping complex just down the street from St. Croix Marine before you get to the official downtown area by Kings Wharf. Lots of shops, good restaurants and shopping downtown.
- - We drove to Fredericksted and looked around by the cruise ship pier and had a great lunch there. Another day we drove to Salt River and looked at it as it is listed as the only "hurricane hole". But it is over-populated with permanent boats and finding space at the marina is quite difficult.
- - The northern coastline west of the Salt River has major scuba diving opportunities and is reputed to be very good for wall diving.
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Old 11-04-2010, 19:01   #11
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OSIRIS... Many thanks for the additional detailed info. I downloaded your chart detail and made a laminate that will be with me when I sail there. Came out really nice.
Any reason that your entry is through the north channel rather than the Schooner Channel; ie going N of Round Reef.
Reading your chart, it would seem to me that anchoring in the area between G11 and G9 may be OK, ie extending your red line northerly to G9.
Were you on 2 anchors in this (red) area?
Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2010, 22:14   #12
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When entering someplace I am not familiar with I always opt for the safest route with the deepest water. The direct route looks okay on the chart but charts are quite old and many hurricanes, etc. over the years may have resulted in new underwater obstructions that are not on the chart. Better safe than sorry. After I have transited the area a few times and checked out the shortcuts then I revise my routes.
- - Also what you see when you actually get there is quite often considerably different from what you see on the chart. Depending upon who else is anchored in the general area and where the bouys and winds, swells, etc. are you might not be able to get into some areas that look good on the chart. The area I outlined was the most open and obstacle free area that I found when I was there last year.
- - Flexible is the by-word and taking the "easy" way in the first time makes things more enjoyable, for me at least.
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:35   #13
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Agreed.
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Old 17-05-2010, 10:19   #14
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I live in Christiansted and to enter whether day or night just follow the green markers right through the Schooner channel. Almost every boat that has hit Round Reef are the ones that make a right turn towards the Ship Channel. Bi problem at night is the channel that continues west towards the power plant and at night there have to be 12 lights visible from offshore.
Arrive at G-1 and stay close to the greens until you pass the point of land. After that you can actually go inside the greens. BTW there are now permanent moorings in the area marked by the red lines. DPNR istalled them butr no one is collecting.
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Old 18-05-2010, 07:52   #15
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It's not hard to get into the harbor, the problem is very limited anchoring. It's a neat place to see but I could not explore there a week. As a full time cruiser in the Virgins there are other areas much better for exploring by boat. It can be a very rough passage over, we experienced 10' waves once we were a distance off the USVI. We would recomment St John, Virgin Gorda or the Spanish Virgins to explore by boat before St Croix.
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