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Old 17-09-2013, 08:34   #1
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Nantucket to Bimini or BVIs

Ok first off i hope everyone had a terrific summer! We have had a great time sailing our boat around the beautiful waters of Lake Champlain before embarking on a journey that took us down the Lake Champlain Canal system into the Hudson River, through New York City, the east river and hells gate, before reaching Long Island Sound. From there after a couple stops in CT we hit Fishers Island, Block Island, Marthas Vineyard and nantucket where we are happily spending our days in the most beautiful spot i can imagine for the fall.

Now with that said we are weighing the option of taking our boat A'yuni south for the winter. We have an experienced crew that has made the journey several times in the past. And a schedule that should allow us to get down there at least once a month for 10-14 days a visit.

Questions:

We have been told that for sailing, Bimini is too shallow for exploring and though a decent stop over we should continue to Tortola in the BVIs. we have done some preliminary investigations around moorings/slips (preference is a mooring) but any suggestions on marinas would be much appreciated.

Other concerns are around the safety of the boat while we are not on island. I'm told there are other captains that might be able to lend a hand to oversee the boat safety and if necessary arrange for the boat to be either serviced, or help haul the boat out if the weather is looking to take a turn for the worse.

How is the flight situations in and out of Tortola? We are in Boston so americana airlines I would think should be easy enough to connect to.

That should be enough to start the discussion! With each answer I'm sure we will have other questions.

Fair winds to all and thank you for your input! Blowing 28-30 knts today with some crazy gusts so we are in the library doing some research!

-Jonathan and Lily
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Old 17-09-2013, 08:56   #2
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Re: Nantucket to Bimini or BVIs

Did you mean Bermuda? Bimini is not a good stopover en-route to the BVI's...
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Old 17-09-2013, 08:59   #3
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Re: Nantucket to Bimini or BVIs

I keep my boat in the BVI when not there, but I keep her out of the water. I've used the yards at Nanny Cay on Tortola and Spanishtown on Virgin Gorda. Both have programs that let you take the boat out of the water a number of times per season for a fixed price. There are several mooring (and anchoring) areas available for long-term stays and one can also get guardiennage. I would prefer to keep my boat in the sheltered Simpson Baie Lagoon on St. Martin, on the French side, if going away for a while - or at a mooring managed and checked by the French side marina.
There are always very active discussions on the BVI forum at Traveltalkonline regarding flights into and out of the BVI. The basic choice is to pay more for a flight to Beef Island airport (EIS) or pay less and fly into St. Thomas (STT) but then deal with the 1-hour ferry ride and the sometimes unreliable ferry schedules between the BVI and USVI. I come from europe most of the time and fly into either St. Martin or Antigua and then have to deal with the vagaries of LIAT airlines ("L"uggage "I"n "A"nother "T"erminal is one of the nicer acroynms that they deserve).
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Old 17-09-2013, 09:04   #4
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Re: Nantucket to Bimini or BVIs

Bimini can get severe cold fronts during the winter, the BVI gets a diminished effect, and by the time you get down to St Martin, the winter weather is pretty consistent.
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Old 17-09-2013, 09:31   #5
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Re: Nantucket to Bimini or BVIs

Zanshin, thank you for the info! we have a note into Nanny Cay already. Pretty much hoping for that exact scenario you describe. Do you recall what the fixed rate was for numerous haul in/out for the season?

Capt. Alex - in regards to Bimini it was more of a stream of consciousness around that vs BVI. based on the last couple of hours talking with other captains here on nantucket we are most likely scratching that from the itinerary and going along the eastern coast to Bermuda then to BVIs.
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Old 17-09-2013, 10:53   #6
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Re: Nantucket to Bimini or BVIs

I don't recall the rates, since I only go in once a year and out once a year, but several people I know use that system. Nanny Cay has always treated me well. While Spanish Town might be less expensive for the multi-in-multi-out, it is tougher to get to as one needs to take a ferry from Tortola. If ferry access were better and they could accomodate my new deeper draft I might go back there.
It is only about 80 miles uphill to St. Martin and the Lagoon, which I would do if I were set on keeping the boat in the water as I can't think of a perfectly protected anchorage with space available for longer-term mooring in the BVI. While Trellis has a big liveaboard community there isn't much space unless you have less draft than a light catamaran, Parramatta is pretty much the domain of the commercial companies for storm storage. Hodge's Creek probably has dock space and with my first boat, when Sunsail was still there, I stayed at the back docks that had no water or electricity and I have heard that their monthly rates are quite acceptable these days.
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Old 17-09-2013, 15:04   #7
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Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
I don't recall the rates, since I only go in once a year and out once a year, but several people I know use that system. Nanny Cay has always treated me well. While Spanish Town might be less expensive for the multi-in-multi-out, it is tougher to get to as one needs to take a ferry from Tortola. If ferry access were better and they could accomodate my new deeper draft I might go back there.
It is only about 80 miles uphill to St. Martin and the Lagoon, which I would do if I were set on keeping the boat in the water as I can't think of a perfectly protected anchorage with space available for longer-term mooring in the BVI. While Trellis has a big liveaboard community there isn't much space unless you have less draft than a light catamaran, Parramatta is pretty much the domain of the commercial companies for storm storage. Hodge's Creek probably has dock space and with my first boat, when Sunsail was still there, I stayed at the back docks that had no water or electricity and I have heard that their monthly rates are quite acceptable these days.
Amazing input. Works done for the day. Time to get back on the computer and send emails to the marinas. Hodges creek was one I saw earlier and noticed the no services slips which will suit us just fine!
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Old 19-09-2013, 11:31   #8
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Re: Nantucket to Bimini or BVIs

I would add in the flights - the flight leaving northeast US is a big revenue flight. It will leave. It will arrive to either STT or SJU.

Then the fun starts. If you are in STT you are done with air travel system. Grab a drink, board your ferry and enjoy the sun while you check out sea conditions. STT is a nonstop and my highly recommended approach for BVI's.

If you are in SJU you now dependent on a commuter flight & a tropical baggage transfer. They each have an individual probability of success. Multiply them together and you'll know your odds.

Also only buy a one-way ferry ticket on St Thomas. Ferries alternate their departures. On your trip back from West End you'll want the next ferry - without any waiting for the ferry that brought you over. This can make a difference of hours.

Direct to STT and one-way ferries have added almost a full day to my recent trips.
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