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Old 26-08-2008, 12:55   #1
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pirate VIs in December

We're chartering out of Red Hook the first two weeks in December. I'm just starting to do my homework but thinking about something like this:
day 1 Red Hook to Secret Harbor
day 2 Secret Harbor to St Croix - Christianstead
day 3 explore St Croix
day 4 St Croix to St John
day 5 head into the BVI until return to St John then Red Hook

Any thoughts and/or comments on wind and currents at that time of the year for the St Thomas to St Croix to St John part of the trip?

We'll just be two on the boat, have never been to St Croix, have spent time in the BVI sailing but want to see something new on this trip.

thanks,
craig
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Old 26-08-2008, 13:04   #2
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Craig:

If you haven't been sailing in awhile and/or your crew isn't fully up to it, the 40-odd mile trip to St. Croix can be rough. You might want to save it for later in the trip or, maybe, think about other destinations. Anegada? The Spanish Virgins (Culebra, Vieques, etc.)?

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Old 26-08-2008, 13:27   #3
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Bill,

Thanks. We just finished a week in the San Juans and will most likely get 1 or 2 three day sailing trips in locally before we head to some warm water and sunshine (wow, it's going to get up to 70 this week and rain some more)! It's just my wife and I and our experience is in the BVIs (x2). We want to see something new and the thought of St Croix and actually having a good sail is of interest but we really don't want to spend 6 or 8 hours busting our butts to make the crossing.

As I mentioned, we're just starting to do our home work and will do some more reading/research. The Spanish VI's have also sparked our interest and I'll look more into them.

all the best,
c
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Old 26-08-2008, 13:31   #4
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Hi, Craig.

Everyone who's sailed the Virgins has their personal favorites, so you'll probably get lots of advice.

Winds that time of year can bring nice, easy tradewinds sailing, or you can get the so-called "Christmas Winds", re-inforced tradewinds that blow 25-30 kts, with waves to match. It's really the luck of the draw. If the winds are fierce, the good news is that you can reef down and sail short distances between the island anchorages in the BVI.

Consider Christmas Cove on St. James Island instead of Secret Harbor. We also like Virgin Gorda alot (The Baths, North Sound, Savannah Bay, Eustatia Sound)

A tip, if you don't already know...You'll need to clear in through Customs and Immigration to visit the BVI. West End in Sopers Hole or Jost Van Dyke are two locations that are convenient. You'll need to clear out and then clear in when you go back to the USVI. Cruz Bay is the way to go. Pick up a mooring in Caneel Bay and dinghy around. Everyone onboard must "present themselves for inspection" at the CBP office.
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Old 26-08-2008, 13:35   #5
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I would 2nd the opinion on St. Croix... lot of hard work with reward not being as good as you may anticipate.

Personally I would make the run to BVI including the North Sound of Virgin Gorda then pop over to Anegada. You get a taste of light water sailing">blue water sailing with far less involvement and crew experience.

You can very easily make the full two weeks in BVI and St. John USVI. One thing about December, watch out for North swells if your considering going into Cane Garden Bay or the run to Anegada. At Cane Garden Bay the mooring can be really rock and roll and even dangerous to go to the dink dock.

I'll be down starting about 10 Dec myself for a few months... if you see sv RealityCheck a 36 bennie give us a call... also btrayfors is know to prowl those same waters but is generally naked so keep eyes closed..... Just kidding (maybe)
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Old 26-08-2008, 14:46   #6
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I third that. Skip St. Croix.
If you want a long sail go to the Spanish Virgins or Anegada.
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Old 26-08-2008, 16:12   #7
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Thanks, you guys are really making me think twice about St Croix and get some more info on the Spanish VI's. We've been to Anegada and other than the lobster, don't feel a real need to go there on this trip.

Appreciate all the input and look forward to any other suggestions / thoughts.

craig

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Old 26-08-2008, 16:27   #8
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nix on st croix here also. I kind of liked leinster bay on the north end of st john.
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Old 26-08-2008, 16:38   #9
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One more vote for not making the St Croix trip and Hud's suggestion of Christmas Cove over Secret Harbor. The "Secret" is...it can be very rolly almost all of the time, not a place you'll probably want to sleep.

You probably realize that from Redhook to Christmas Cove or Secret Harbor you are talking about a 30 minute trip, right? That is unless you are on one of those Island Packet thingys like Hud has.

If you choose to head to the Spanish Virgins you might consider leaving Redhook and sailing into the westerly edge of Buck Island (45-60 minutes) grab a mooring ball and snorkel around for a while with the fish. If you want to commune with the turtles you can grab a mooring on the north side. Then another 45-60 minute sail to either Honeymoon Bay on Water Island or around the corner and drop the hook in Lindbergh Bay for the night. From there it is a nice shot over to Culebra.

One final note...you do still need to clear into the Spanish Virgins even though you are leaving St Thomas. Same thing on the way back.

Have fun wherever you go.
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Old 26-08-2008, 16:41   #10
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Hud and others,

Do you know if you have to go through customs if you stay in the US and Spanish VI's?

thanks,
c
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Old 26-08-2008, 16:43   #11
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Never mind, just got the question answered while I was typing!

What a great board --- mind readers!

c
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Old 26-08-2008, 16:51   #12
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Because St Thomas is a duty free port, you will need to clear-in in Puerto Rico. If all are US citizens, you may be able to do this by cell phone. They do work in Puerto Rico.
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Old 26-08-2008, 16:56   #13
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Another no vote on St Crox. Spanish Virgins? Yup.
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Old 26-08-2008, 17:06   #14
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Craig, have chartered or run charters there since 1972. Most Charter companies will not let you go to St Croix. You might want to find out befor planning. If you had a month or so I would say go but you simply do not have the time and St Croix is not at the top of the list. Anagada Virgin Gorda, Jost and then St John gets my vote and. The "Spanish" VI are nice but it is a slog upwind to get back. Get upwind early then relax all the way home. Have fun!

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Old 27-08-2008, 22:12   #15
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Rubikoop,
As a matter of fact we're chartering an Island Packet 38, I guess Hud has made an impression! It's a boat I'm interested in for my "retirement home" and wanted to spend some time on one before making a decision.

All,
I really appreciate the input and suggestions, talked with the boss last night and St Croix is off the list and we'll see where the winds blow. This is the first time we've gone to the warm waters by ourselves and we have the freedom not to have to have big planned itinerary as in the past when we've sailed with other couples.

peace and good wind,
craig
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