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Old 26-02-2013, 16:32   #1
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Virgin Islands to St Martin

Will be leaving the Virgin islands in a few weeks. I was wondering where do most cruisers stage and wait for weather window? Where and when do you clear out of customs? I hear most leave from Gorda sound but how do you clear customs from there?
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Old 26-02-2013, 16:49   #2
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Clear out at Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda. Just beat across into the trades, it is not far.
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Old 26-02-2013, 17:24   #3
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Re: Virgin Islands to St Martin

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Clear out at Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda. Just beat across into the trades, it is not far.
This is how we did it when I helped deliver a charter boat. We did it overnight.
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Old 27-02-2013, 06:01   #4
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Re: Virgin Islands to St Martin

Clear out at Spanish Town: Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour allow you free 30 minutes (but are flexible!) to do it. Just walk over the field towards the customs house.

The trip itself is straight forward. If you are a purist sailor, depending on the wind, you can go North of Anegada until you can free off to aim for SXM passing Sombrero and Anguilla. Or you can aim at Saba and tack when you're about 30 miles off. Otherwise, do what most of us do: motor sail with main straight for it. Leaving in mid afternoon should get you to Dutch side in time for the 9.30am bridge opening, if you are going to the Lagoon. Once in, you clear customs at the Police station at the bridge.

Apart from a Tropical Wave or abnormally strong weather pattern, its hardly worth waiting for a weather window. Tony
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Old 27-02-2013, 07:06   #5
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Why not clear out of Gun Creek in North Sound?
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Old 27-02-2013, 15:37   #6
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Re: Virgin Islands to St Martin

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Why not clear out of Gun Creek in North Sound?
That sounds great, I didn't know there was a customs office there. To me it looks like a better spot than Spanish Town and if you go out through the channel by Saba Rock I think it gives you a better angle to St Martin.
Thanks for the info
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Old 27-02-2013, 16:28   #7
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Glad to help.
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Old 27-02-2013, 17:05   #8
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Re: Virgin Islands to St Martin

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Originally Posted by captden View Post
That sounds great, I didn't know there was a customs office there. To me it looks like a better spot than Spanish Town and if you go out through the channel by Saba Rock I think it gives you a better angle to St Martin.
Thanks for the info
Captden

I guess it depends on: a) whether you want to motorsail or sail; if the latter then the choice between leaving at the N o S end of Virgin Gorda hinges on wind direction (Street has a good discussion on that)... b) whether you have the guts to go straight from Saba Rock to the East (most people I spoke to would not dare go through that reef opening into the ocean - if the answer is no then you have to go by Necker Island and that makes for a longer trip.....)..

I have always gone South of Virgin Gorda, sometimes clearing out at Spanish Town and other times at Road Town with their OK to stage for a nap at someplace E of Tortola before setting off at 6pm

Call me a wimp, but every time I do this passage I wait for a window with seas of 3-4 feet in the amz722 NOAA report..

Enjoy!

Charlie
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Old 28-02-2013, 07:22   #9
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Re: Virgin Islands to St Martin

"Call me a wimp, but every time I do this passage I wait for a window with seas of 3-4 feet in the amz722 NOAA report "

I must be a wimp too, cuz I agree 100%. This is for fun not a job LOL
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:41   #10
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Re: Virgin Islands to St Martin

I've cleared out through Gun Creek the past two times - they are more efficient, friendlier and quicker than going through Spanish Town. Just anchor close to the building in 20 feet or less with good holding (don't anchor right in front of the dock since there is significant small boat/ferry traffic, but to your starboard as you look at the dock). They close from 12:30 - 13:30 and don't have a credit card machine (although exiting only costs a couple of dollars and entry can be a bit more) so bring cash.

I like doing night passages, so I'll depart around midnight and hope for a mere 14-18 hour passage. Waiting for the right weather can take ages, so one must reconcile oneself to motorsailing and just dealing with the uncomfortable passage.

I came across last week, and the first half of the trip was perfect; after passing between Neckar and Prickly Pear/VG I set course for St. Martin and was pleasantly surprised to see that I could head straight for it; the wind gods were on my side. But then the wind veered and the waves picked up and I ended up bashing uphill for about 35 miles and had to turn on the engine in order to sail closer to the wind and reduce time and distance.

This motorsailing is typical for the passage, I can't recall how many times I've done that trip now and it has never been a comfortable one from the USVI/BVI to St. Martin. Coming back is a different story.
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