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Old 03-03-2010, 17:50   #16
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Well, I heading down the the USVI with Fairwinds in April we'll see how that goes.
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Old 03-03-2010, 18:00   #17
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To the OP: Glad you had a great course. I'm sure it will pay off.

Regarding crowding: I own a boat in the BVIs. My first time there it seemed so crowded and seemed like there was often no option but picking up a mooring ball at a crowded anchorage. My last two trips were 3 weeks each and I anchored every night on both. It takes a bit of work, but there are less crowded options...
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Old 03-03-2010, 19:18   #18
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We're just back from our first charter in the BVI and had a blast. Not the cheapest vacation but the best one we've ever had so...

We flew from Buffalo to St. Thomas and ferried over to Tortola. The details are on this website that my buddy Steve keeps.

The Adventures of Snow White II

Here are a few more pics.

You can hide a lot of beer in the bilge and, oh yes, use sunscreen liberally.
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Old 06-01-2012, 20:12   #19
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Re: Just Got Back from BVI Course

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Originally Posted by NotJustDreaming View Post
BVI – Learn to Cruise

My husband and I just returned from the BVIs on Sunday afternoon. We were on a Learn to Cruise course on a Beneteau 39. Although the boat was chartered through Sunsail, the course was arranged through the Ottawa Sailing School which is in our part of the world. We priced other courses and after US to Cdn $ conversion and the advantage of meeting another couple at our home marina, we opted for this course. The instructor is also from around here and affiliated to the school.

Although I don’t like to call it a vacation because that would preclude me from another trip south this year, it was the single most expensive out of country trip we have ever taken (on a per person basis) – after you add everything up. This is in Canadian dollars of course. The boat course was one week long, we went down two days early for a bit of relaxation and stayed overnight in San Juan, Puerto Rico on the way home.

$ 4570.00 for the course ($2285.00 pp)
$ 1746.12 airfare
$ 500.00 cash for spending money – all gone
$ 391.77 two nights Icis Villas in Tortola (breakfast included)
$ 135.62 San Juan hotel
$ 150ish for extra meals on our credit card (I haven’t added up the receipts)

Grand total of $7500 for 10 days in paradise. Paradise was beautiful.

The course costs included some meals. The instructor spent somewhere around $600 USD to provision the boat for five adults over seven days. (That is almost our entire monthly grocery bill at home for three adults and three children). We ate four dinners ashore which were not part of the provisioning and this ate up most of our spending money, along with cab fares. The instructor picked the restaurants as well as the islands we visited so we didn’t have much say in that. He was certainly not a budget cruiser, a cruiser on a budget, saving for his cruising kitty or travelling on his own coin. We visited Anegada where the lobster dinner was $50.00. How could we not have the lobster? Fortunately my husband was a little seasick that day so we shared a plate, most of which I had to finish. Wifely duty.

Three planes to get from Ottawa to Beef Island. Took us all day to get there (0330 hours left house, 2100 hours arrived at hotel). Some people we met said to fly to St Martin then to BVI. Next time.

We did not buy any souvenirs but $60 went to boat booze. I thought we would dinghy to most places but the instructor thought a 5 buck ride in a cab was the way to go. There was only one $5 ride and that was one way per person. Other rides ranged from $10 up per person per way. So the minimum we spent was $20 bucks as a couple each time we went ashore. Frustrating thing was we could see our destination from the mooring. Aside from the Baths and the beach on the North side of Anegada, we could have dinghied and docked.

The experience was great! We’ll have to sit down soon and discuss our next step. Originally, we were planning to charter in the BVI again, on a small boat, just the two of us. Semi-familiar waters. Make all our mistakes without the children. Though given the expense and inconvenience of getting to BVI from Canada, I think we should charter in the Bahamas which is a direct flight. It is rated a Level 1 (easiest) sailing area through Sunsail. And I think we should take the kids. Maybe get a skipper for the first day.

The first few days of the course were a bit surreal. We didn’t know the Instructor or the other couple prior to arriving and although the other couple was great, being on someone else’s itinerary and budget was a bit frustrating for us. I want to experience what cruising is like with my family, at our pace, with our goals. So I say let’s jump in with both feet. Are we ready? The only way we’ll learn is by doing. We’re not reckless, maybe even boringly cautious. And there is a Sailshare program at our marina and we will sign up for this spring and gain some experience over the summer. Atlhough the boats are 22 and 26 foot keelboats with tillers.

On a side note:
We were all shocked at how crammed in the boats were at Wickham’s Cay 2. Cats and monos squeezed into tiny spaces, fenders screeching every time the staff docked another boat and made space where we thought there was none. Through the amazingly clear water at our moorings we could see the slimy green and barnacled underside of our boat clearly. I felt frustrated for the owner when I saw the scrape marks in the veneer on the walls of our cabin and the staining on the cockpit table. It also never crossed my mind that an adult would think that the trampoline on the catamaran was for jumping on, until I saw a man jumping up and down on one, vigorously testing it out. I now see clearly why there is such caution against purchasing boats out of a charter fleet. And although my husband and I treated the boat as we would if it were our own, we were aware that it was kind of a pointless respect.

Anyway, I didn't mean for this to be a long post but I thought I'd share my experience.
So you have to go to school to learn how to sail?
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Old 06-01-2012, 21:29   #20
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Re: Just Got Back from BVI Course

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Originally Posted by gpshephe View Post
So you have to go to school to learn how to sail?
You revive a thread that is almost two years old just to ask this? I mean, DUH! Yes, some people need lessons to learn how to sail. If you want to learn quickly, going to school is probably the best way. If you want to spend 10 years learning how to sail well, moving from dinghies to daysailers to beach catamarans and finally to larger cruisers (which is the way I did it), then maybe you don't need to go to school. At least, not to learn the sailing part. (I went to school to learn things like how the head, the galley, the windlass, etc. on larger boats work).
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:15   #21
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Re: Just Got Back from BVI Course

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
You revive a thread that is almost two years old just to ask this? I mean, DUH! Yes, some people need lessons to learn how to sail. If you want to learn quickly, going to school is probably the best way. If you want to spend 10 years learning how to sail well, moving from dinghies to daysailers to beach catamarans and finally to larger cruisers (which is the way I did it), then maybe you don't need to go to school. At least, not to learn the sailing part. (I went to school to learn things like how the head, the galley, the windlass, etc. on larger boats work).
Sorry , but I was being a little sarcastic. and I didn't notice the date until I hit enter. So relax
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