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Old 16-03-2010, 19:33   #1
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What to Do in One Month ?

Hi ,
Ill be most likely having a 1 month sailing trip around july 2010 .
The boat is located in St Maarten and Il have to bring it back there .
It will be my first time sailing in the Caribbean (I have experience).
What Itinerary would you advise me to follow?
What are the best books to buy?
Any tips ?

Thanks.
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Old 17-03-2010, 02:01   #2
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The Doyle guides are good reading.

From St. Martin with 1 month you have several choices. First on your list would be to see if your boat has SSB or just a VHF, since you will need to check the weather often as you will be there during the hurricane season. You will need a clear plan of what to do if a storm approaches - if you can run for it or find a safe harbour. But that should be a topic for another thread.

If you like easy sailing and enjoy going ashore for dinner and drinks then the British Virgin Islands should be at the top of your list. I've spent months there and still would go back so you could, theoretically, spend your whole time there if you wish.

If all aboard are U.S. legal residents or have a visa then you can sail to the USVI as well.

The sail from St. Martin to the BVI/USVI is an easy one, but getting back to St. Martin is dead upwind and against the waves for a bit over 70nm so it makes sense to choose that passage according to weather.

From St. Martin southwards you have a number of very easy daysails and lots of options, going to St. Barts, Saba, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Barbuda, Guadeloupe - all of those less than a day sail from each other.

What type of vacation are you looking for - sitting comfortably at anchor or going longer distances? What sort of a boat and crew?
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Old 20-03-2010, 15:33   #3
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Thanks for the tips .
For this summer , it would probably be in the Bvi's since maybe we are going to come back during christmas and New Years and from what I can hear , St Bart's is a must .
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Old 21-03-2010, 00:11   #4
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pirate Suggestion

I have sailed St. Martin five times total over the years. The area, in my opinion, is good for about seven days at most. I have done the St. Martin to BVI passage twice and found it can be done in daylight hours if you happen to be on a relatively fast catamaran. On a slow boat, you may need to plan an overnight cruise to arrive to make safe landfall in daylight.

My advice is, if weather permits, head to the BVI as soon as you get the boat ready for departure. Then, go to the BVI and clear in at Spanish town. Sail the BVI for about 2 1/2 weeks, then plan on returning to St. Martin. If the weather is bad on the day you plan on returning, stay in the BVI, and don't leave until you have a good window. If you give yourself a week and a half to get back, you should be able to get decent passage conditions for at least one day and night.

If you haven't been sailing in the BVI, you will find the area has plenty of anchorages with things to do, restaurants, and bars. The navigation is easy and involves only line of sight and coastal piloting skills. The hazards and reefs and clearly charted. You should have fun.

Summer sailing in that part of the world though can be hot, at times with light winds, and of course, at times possible storms. Just keep an eye on weather. Weather information in the BVI can usually be picked up on NOAA Channel six, on commercial radio, and if you have a laptop, via wireless at several locations with hotspots.
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Old 21-03-2010, 10:12   #5
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I have sailed St. Martin five times total over the years. The area, in my opinion, is good for about seven days at most. I have done the St. Martin to BVI passage twice and found it can be done in daylight hours if you happen to be on a relatively fast catamaran. On a slow boat, you may need to plan an overnight cruise to arrive to make safe landfall in daylight.

My advice is, if weather permits, head to the BVI as soon as you get the boat ready for departure. Then, go to the BVI and clear in at Spanish town. Sail the BVI for about 2 1/2 weeks, then plan on returning to St. Martin. If the weather is bad on the day you plan on returning, stay in the BVI, and don't leave until you have a good window. If you give yourself a week and a half to get back, you should be able to get decent passage conditions for at least one day and night.

If you haven't been sailing in the BVI, you will find the area has plenty of anchorages with things to do, restaurants, and bars. The navigation is easy and involves only line of sight and coastal piloting skills. The hazards and reefs and clearly charted. You should have fun.

Summer sailing in that part of the world though can be hot, at times with light winds, and of course, at times possible storms. Just keep an eye on weather. Weather information in the BVI can usually be picked up on NOAA Channel six, on commercial radio, and if you have a laptop, via wireless at several locations with hotspots.
It would be on a 37 foot racer/cruiser sailboat (monohull).So I guess id have to do the passage overnight?
Would the 6'9" keel be a potential problem ?
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Old 21-03-2010, 15:57   #6
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Draft of Boat in BVI

The draft you described would not be an issue in the BVI, unless you try to go to a few off the beat places that you should not try without local knowledge. There are a lot of 50+ foot boats that ply those waters with no problem and have drafts equal to or greater than your boat. Most of the harbors that are popular in the BVI have depths exceeding 9 feet, and some have as much as 30+ feet of water.

On the monohull, you probably need to time your passage to arrive in daylight hours.
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Old 21-03-2010, 16:05   #7
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The draft you described would not be an issue in the BVI, unless you try to go to a few off the beat places that you should not try without local knowledge. There are a lot of 50+ foot boats that ply those waters with no problem and have drafts equal to or greater than your boat. Most of the harbors that are popular in the BVI have depths exceeding 9 feet, and some have as much as 30+ feet of water.

On the monohull, you probably need to time your passage to arrive in daylight hours.
Great , thanks .
How much time do you think I could spend around st barts ?
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Old 22-03-2010, 01:49   #8
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I have 7"1' draft and have been most places in the BVI, including Anegada; so draft isn't an issue. I average 6-7 knots going from St. Martin to the BVI and like to sail at night, so I leave 2-4am and arrive in the BVI in time to clear in (they close at 3:30 or 4:00pm) - the downwind run is an easy one but it might make sense to sail for a day or two in St. Martin in order to get your sea legs before doing the passage. The food in Grand Case is excellent, as is the anchorage itself.

I would spend my time in the BVI as well. St. Barts might be a renowned destination, but with just one town (Gustavia) and a couple of anchorages its reputation is a bit overblown. Nevis, on the other hand, is beautiful and Antigua is worth seeing as well.

The BVI is also close enough to St. Martin so that you can run there if your charter company requires it (e.g. an incoming tropical depression) and there are also a couple of relatively safe anchorages (I hesitate to use the term 'hurricane hole' as that would be an exaggeration) from storms.

I put up some pages of pictures and descriptions on my boat's homepages.
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