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Old 15-05-2016, 15:32   #1
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Where to charter next

Last July I asked this forum for advice on where to go for my first bareboat charter. The resounding reply was the BVI's. Well, last December I and four buddies chartered a 50' monohull from Conch Charters and spent nine fantastic days sailing around the Virgin Islands.
We all want to do another charter this winter (somewhere within November through February - leaning on before the new year). But none of us are terribly excited to return to the Virgin Islands. The BVI sailing grounds are exceptional for first timers and I am very glad that is where we went. Steady weather, plenty of boaters in case of trouble, and great support from the charter company.
We are looking at where to go next. None of us are greatly experienced salt water sailors. I've taken US Sailing and ASA through Bare boat and Advanced Coastal Cruising. I'm not completely confident in my navigation skills without GPS. And I would be the skipper. I want to stay out of trouble and stay within my experience level.

Any suggestions? We've been looking at the Sea of Cortez out of LaPaz Mexico. We all live in Colorado and would like to avoid a long air passage to get to a good sailing spot where we can charter a boat.

As always - thanks for any advice.


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Old 15-05-2016, 15:40   #2
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Re: Where to charter next

BVI again. You couldn't have done it all in nine days. This time go to the anchorages without mooring balls.

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Old 15-05-2016, 16:19   #3
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Re: Where to charter next

How about St. Martin or Antigua for some nice Caribbean sailing, but with a bit more challenging conditions?
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Old 15-05-2016, 22:02   #4
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Re: Where to charter next

We did the Sea of Cortez on a Moorings charter from La Paz in 2012. They are closed now and I haven't heard of any good charter companies operating there. Which is sad because it is such an awesome area.

Try DSL Yachting in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. We chartered with them in the past and now own a boat that they charter (disclaimer) when we aren't there.

St. Lucia is a great place to head north or south. We've never found navigation to be much of a problem between islands.

Good luck.

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Old 16-05-2016, 05:28   #5
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Re: Where to charter next

Lots of options. Sea of Cortez is one. The San Juan islands is another. Bahamas, Windwards, Mediterranean are all possibilities.

You got your feet wet in the BVI. That's good. Now it is pretty much up to you where to go next. There aren't any places with a significant number of charter operations where the sailing conditions are really so challenging that they would overwhelm you.

Good luck!
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Old 16-05-2016, 07:27   #6
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Re: Where to charter next

We love the San Juan Islands. Especially going to Victoria. We've been there 3 times and still haven't seen it all. We sail out of Bellingham, WA. Planning to liveaboard soon in Tacoma so we can go more often.
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Old 16-05-2016, 07:28   #7
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Re: Where to charter next

We did the Grenadines after a couple of trips in the BVI. It was more "rustic". The sailing was actually easier but we went in May and didn't have to deal with northerlies.

I also agree with the previous responder that 9 days doesn't cover the BVI. If you didn't go to Anegada, go back to the BVI.
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Old 16-05-2016, 07:45   #8
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Re: Where to charter next

Vava'u Tonga.

I have never chartered there, (or anywhere actually), but I have sailed there three or four times and always enjoyed it.

Sailing is easy, full of pristine islands some inhabited most not. Natives are very friendly and will put on a pig roast for you with dancing, kava drinking etc for about $100. Weather is wonderful, snorkeling and diving is superb. I have noticed a couple of charter companies there, and spoken with charters in the anchorages and all seem happy.

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Old 16-05-2016, 08:15   #9
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Re: Where to charter next

San Juans and Canadian Gulf Islands are great but not during the months you want. Croatia, but that is a long trip. Worth it though. Stay away from the Fall winds.
Down Island is a different kind of sailing. Ever been seasick? Great fun.
Farther down the Mexican coast. Maybe a captain only charter. Great way to learn the area and especially helpful in Mexico. We used to run a boat there in the winter.
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Old 16-05-2016, 08:59   #10
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Re: Where to charter next

Puerto Rico and Spanish Virgin islands are good! Little bit more challenging than B V I. and not too much burger and chips. You'll meet some interesting people!! Best wishes!!
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Old 16-05-2016, 09:00   #11
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Re: Where to charter next

I highly recommend the Dalmatian Coast -- we chartered with Moorings out of Split, Croatia and loved the area. Fantastic places to stop, eat, shop. Lots of choices. You do need to practice Med mooring and how to pick up a slime line. But worth the effort and the distance to go.
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Old 16-05-2016, 10:45   #12
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Re: Where to charter next

St. Lucia to Grenada is a great area to charter. If I was going to start and end in one spot - I would choose Grenada. Let me know if you have questions about chartering in the Grenadines. It is usually more advanced sailing than you will find in the BVI, but it is much less developed and there are a lot fewer boats cruising in an area at least four times larger than the BVI. Navigation is all line of sight.
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Old 16-05-2016, 16:10   #13
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Re: Where to charter next

Belize is glorious. Sail out of Placentia and bumble around all those deserted islands and reefs. Visit the Restaurant Island. Some of the best snorkeling I've ever seen. Watch out for the coral reefs -- go carefully with a watch in the bow. Great fishing.
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Old 17-05-2016, 14:26   #14
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Re: Where to charter next

French Polynesia / Leeward Islands... can do Sunsail or Moorings out of Raiatea... great inside the reef flat water sailing, bigger crossings, but still not big tidal waters (like you would find in San Juans, which are great but out of season for your time frame)... in general a step up in challenge from the BVI but not a huge step... less party time and more island time compared to BVI, more anchoring (but usually not super deep) but still plenty of moorings around as some spots are much too deep to anchor.

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Old 17-05-2016, 20:12   #15
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Re: Where to charter next

The Sea of Cortez can get some nasty northers within your time frame.

Look to the Caribbean.

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