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Old 11-06-2019, 14:55   #1
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BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

Iím taking our newly combined family to St. Marteen, where weíll have a private wedding and spend a week on the island. At the end of the week, the kids will return to their homes and my wife and I are going to sail for a week (7 nights). After being on the island for a week and visiting St. Bartís, is there enough to still visit by sailboat and fill the week comfortably? Or would flying to Tortola or St. Lucia and sail from there more, better? We donít scuba but we do snorkel.

Your suggestions are appreciated. I want this to be a very special part of our trip!
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Old 11-06-2019, 16:21   #2
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

BVI is pretty nice - steady wind and easy navigation, lots of interesting spots. We were there (3 couples on a 41' mono) in Feb. Sailed our asses off, snorkelled just about daily.

What size boat are you considering? Are you up to just the two of you in some brisk conditions, mooring/anchoring etc? Could be an interesting stress-test so early into the marriage. ;-)
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Old 11-06-2019, 16:30   #3
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

BVI without a doubt
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Old 11-06-2019, 16:58   #4
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

Do the BViís been there a few times and loved it...tons to do and see. We are actually doing our honeymoon later this year sailing as well. We picked French Polynesia, 2 weeks should be awesome as well, never been but how can we go wrong : )
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Old 11-06-2019, 17:27   #5
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

BVI for sure
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Old 11-06-2019, 17:37   #6
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

We’re sailing a 40’ catamaran or a 45 monohull. I’ve been leaning towards the cat for comfort and getting closer to shore in shallow waters.
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Old 11-06-2019, 18:17   #7
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

From St Maarten, you can do St Barth, Anguilla and St Martin/Maarten nicely in a week. Sailing is a bit more demanding and slightly less charming than in BVI, but it will save you the dayís travel. If you donít mind the travel, than BVI is your best bet. Congrats on the wedding!
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:10   #8
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

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Weíre sailing a 40í catamaran or a 45 monohull. Iíve been leaning towards the cat for comfort and getting closer to shore in shallow waters.
Draft will not be an issue for either type of boat in the BVI. I have sailed both through the BVI. The decision for you will be one of personal preference / comfort. I am a die-hard monohull sailor and I own a monohull. I usually take the leopard 48 Cat when I charter in the British Virgin islands because it is just so comfortable and there are so many different places to relax on while at anchor. Also, I find the dinghy is much easier to deploy from the davits on the catamaran rather than towing it behind the monohull.

Also, if there are northerlies, some of the anchorages will be very rolly in a monohull. For this reason, as well, I always choose the catamaran.

The third main reason I choose a catamaran when going to the British Virgin islands, is the admiral prefers to be up and looking around when we'rere in the galley. Many times we have seen sea turtles and dolphin while at anchor that would have been missed in our monohull.

I have purposefully left cost out of the equation because this is a vacation lifestyle decision. I personally make decisions based on the experience I wish to have rather than the economics, therefore I gave the advice I follow for myself. Either way you choose, it will be an excellent trip.

Also,
I bring along my own charts. I recommend the Imray-iolaire chart A232, and the Maptech chartkit St.Thomas to Sombrero, Caribbean region 11.1. the crap planning chart you get from the charter company, in my opinion, is not sufficient for navigation. These have been indispensable to me over the years.

Enjoy!!!
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:21   #9
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

Fly to Tortolla and sail from there. Saves a long day going there and another going back.
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:29   #10
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

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Weíre sailing a 40í catamaran or a 45 monohull. Iíve been leaning towards the cat for comfort and getting closer to shore in shallow waters.

We didn't find any of the BVI harbours to be shallow, except for Anadega, and we were almost always on a mooring because of the number of boats at each spot, so draft didn't seem to be that big a consideration.


Re maps, the boats all have chartplotters, so that plus their supplied mini-charts were sufficient for us. fyi -there was plenty of room on the chartered 41' mono, even if you have a hired captain or crew, and we found it fun and lively to sail.
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:40   #11
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pirate Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

St Martin over the top, St Barts, Saba, Anguilla, St Maarten.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:14   #12
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

Tortolla definitely. Easy one week circumnavigation. You can stay or sail as you wish. Catamaran definitely.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:14   #13
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

BVI's hands down, with over 53 islands plus the US Virgins there is plenty of variety and much to see and do.
Many who go to Sint Maarten do so for boat supplies and repairs due to its duty free status. If you do go better to stay in St. Marten on the French side, mooring fees and taxes are far less and the immigration officials more friendly.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:42   #14
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

BVI's. St. Martin/St. Barts have limited number of anchorages compared to the BVI's. St. Barts can be very expensive if you need to re-provision. Also moving between islands can expose you to some interesting open ocean conditions. Noisy groups of jet skis can make some anchorage miserable and snorkeling dangerous.

The Drake Passage has a pretty innocuous sailing conditions, chop rather than swells, easy short passages between islands. Many more islands to explore, most with excellent snorkeling (The Indians are a family favorite). Moorings can be expensive, but anchorages abound if you known where to look and the charter company doesn't exclude them. Best of all, jet skis are banned in the BVI. Buy the BVI cruising guide at any of the excellent chandelries in St. Martin.
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Old 12-06-2019, 10:50   #15
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Re: BVI or St. Marteen for a couples 7 day sail

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Originally Posted by Pdvhc1 View Post
Iím taking our newly combined family to St. Marteen, where weíll have a private wedding and spend a week on the island. At the end of the week, the kids will return to their homes and my wife and I are going to sail for a week (7 nights). After being on the island for a week and visiting St. Bartís, is there enough to still visit by sailboat and fill the week comfortably? Or would flying to Tortola or St. Lucia and sail from there more, better? We donít scuba but we do snorkel.

Your suggestions are appreciated. I want this to be a very special part of our trip!
Maybe check to see which islands have recovered more or less from the last big hurricane. As pointed out the BVI are great sailing - tend to think of them as a sailing amusement park. But it's the French Islands for us, always. A little pricier maybe but less touristy and way better food! Sint Maarten is fine but for us the best reason to go there is to get over to St. Martin and have a French pastry.
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