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Old 19-01-2017, 19:47   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Brooklyn, NY
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Where to Bareboat Next after the BVI?

I'm wondering what people's favorite easy bareboat destinations might be. I've done the BVI 5 times, twice as a teenage crew and three times as skipper. It's become a great tradition with friends, always a group of 8. I think I'll always go back there but for now we're ready to try something new. It doesn't need to be quite as idiot-proof as the BVI but it should still be relaxed and user friendly, especially from the crew's perspective. Beach bars are not mandatory; we're happy entertaining and feeding ourselves. My trips will generally be 9 days in February or April since I follow a teacher's schedule and take my own boat North during the summer. Cost effectiveness is important in general, and the Caribbean is an obvious choice for duration and price of flights.

Any suggestions on what to try next?
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Old 19-01-2017, 23:01   #2
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Re: Where to Bareboat Next after the BVI?

Abaco Bahamas or a one way from Nassau to Georgetown Exuma. Chartered in Abaco several times and take our own boat there every year you won't be disappointed. Get a cat it's mighty skinny. If your looking for something a little more similar to BVI try the Spanish Virgins. Super easy and cheap to get to and great cruising. We did ten days with Sail Caribe and they were fantastic. Here's a pic of what you can expect in Abaco

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Old 20-01-2017, 01:14   #3
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Re: Where to Bareboat Next after the BVI?

Hi OrangeCrush,

I had a friend ask the same question so here is what I told him.

I don't know your skill/comfort level but here is what I did as a beginner bareboater started in BVI as a dead simple easy area and worked my way up in difficulty level to get a bit more experience along the way.

My first charter was in Croatia, out of Split. Beautiful area but when I was there the winds were fickle meaning not much at all until it kicked in at 20+ kts the last night of our charter. So you might want to factor in whether there are consistent winds during the time of year you're going.

Since then:

BVI the very simplest.
Navigation Dead simple. Line of sight sailing to the next island, short distances to your next stop
Tides - No tides
Anchoring - Mooring balls everywhere if you prefer not to anchor
Protected sailing area in the Sr Francis Drake channel so not exposed to any swells coming in from the ocean
Winds moderate. almost never had to reef
Island support plenty of restaurants, shops, bars, wifi, etc. Everywhere
Entertainment / activities tons for everyone. good snorkeling, diving, beach bars, restaurants, lobster bakes on the beach, the Baths on Virgin Gorda (look it up if you dont know it). hiking if you want. Etc.

St Martin
Add in higher winds 20-25 knots when I was there

longer distance between islands, some open to ocean swell. For example 30 miles from St Barts to Statia
more anchoring but not everywhere
A big more navigation entering harbors but still primarily visual
Still restaurants and something on shore everywhere we stopped
Highlights lots of cool islands to go to, in different countries (so have to clear customs but not a big deal). St Martin (French), St Maarten (Dutch), Anguilla (UK), St Barts (French), Statia (Dutch?). Each with a cool town to stop in. Beaches at Orient bay, etc.

Even higher winds, more ocean swell. We tried going round the east side of Antigua (exposed to the atlantic). 8-10 ft swells and 25+ knots of wind
More remote on some stops. It was 20 or 30 miles over to Barbuda and it was empty. We were on our own, nothing on shore and only four or five boats there overnight, nearest one about 2 miles away
Navigation - compass and gps navigation over to Barbuda, a little bit with no land in sight either direction. Also more navigation with unmarked reefs including near where we anchored.
Highlights the historical setting of English Harbor on Antigua, both in town and the fort way up on the hill what a view. Barbuda deserted 11 mile beach Wow. no one there, only our footprints in the sand and we walked for a couple miles down the beach.

4th trip St Vincent and Grenadines
More reef navigation, definitely. Required much more route planning ahead of setting off for the day and following our route
Much more anchoring, places without mooring balls. We dragged anchor in Bequia 5am but I was already awake and in the cockpit.
Highlights Tobago keys (google for pictures), snorkeling with turtles at the turtle sanctuary, dinner restaurant in the sand at Petite St Vincent - $1000/night resort but hey, were on the yacht anchored over there so were cool . Beautiful sailing area and wed both like to go back for more. Has some crime issues check piracy pages and the Caribbean Security and Safety Network if youre curious.

5th trip Bahamas Sea of Abaco
A lot more navigation required, especially due to extensive shallow sand banks covering large areas. Beautiful to see them change the water color.
Tides first time tides mattered. There's a 3 foot range but the whole area is so shallow that it made a difference. Get a cat unless you really prefer monohulls. We had monohull with 5'1" draft and had to anchor outside Little Harbor and wait a few hours for the tide to rise enough for us to enter, and we had to depart by 6 am the next morning to not be trapped in the harbor due to low tides.

Like I said, we started easier and worked our way up with more navigation, distances, anchoring, and tides. Im sure we could have gone right into any of these areas to start with, just not sure if wed have enjoyed it as much.

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