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Old 03-08-2015, 05:12   #16
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Originally Posted by ol1970 View Post
5. Charter rental with Captain in BVI's Essentially he/she sits back and critiques, makes me do all the work, & doesn't let me get into too much trouble.
Not necessary to have a captain, in my opinion. The BVI is such an easy area for sailing that you will do just fine without a captain.

Good luck.

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Old 11-11-2015, 09:35   #17
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Hello all, just thought I would give an update so I don't just go down as one of those people who post grandiose dreams that never get followed through on.

Okay, got back from the BVI's a couple of weeks ago where I completed my 104 (bareboat) & 114 (catamaran) ASA certification. Big props to Matt H. at Sunsail...he was an awesome instructor. Extremely knowledgeable and loved what he does which translates into a great experience. If you are considering it, do it! Best part (other than the obvious 7 days popping around the islands) was him letting me back (with guidance) the 38' Cat kitty corner into a 38'6" spot right on the dock with everybody watching as they enjoyed their I honestly thought there was no way it would fit!

Anyway fast forward to today, from my original plan I've now completed the ASA courses. I went to Annapolis and toured all the different boats, then spent an extra 10 days in the Islands touring around and talking to current and former cruisers. Here are my findings.
  • Wow, what an amazing lifestyle, I'm hooked.
  • Everybody motor sails...its not just cats. For that matter who really cares, these diesel engines are so efficient that the cost is negligible.
  • Why don't people mention all of the "extra" stuff in their budgets when they post the true cost of cruising? For have to get a cruising permit to be in the BVI's...then it is $2/day per person on the boat while you are there. Oh, and there is a $25 per person departure tax. I realize this cost is pretty low, but still if this is the case everywhere it adds up...especially if you go back and forth between islands/countries. Is this the same up and down the island chain in the Caribbean?
  • Sailing a Cat is a little bit like sailing a truck compared to a mono...but it is really nice when you are at anchor...which is a majority of the time. Granted the wind was not the greatest, looking forward to the next trip already to get some nicer wind.
  • Everybody is happy...I'm thoroughly convinced that living in tropical climates is where its at. Best part is in my limited experience is that it is just such an active and social lifestyle compared to living where coats are required once Oct/Nov rolls around.
So here I am now going through the process of shedding stuff and planning on which boat to actually get. I'm fortunate that years of saving and sacrificing allow me to have a very comfortable budget to get the right boat and to go on some extended cruising. Currently I really like the idea of the new Lagoon 42 and having it custom built to my specs and taking delivery in the Med next summer. The other finalist are new/used FP Helia, and or Lagoon 450. I really like that the FP 44 has the protected helm and a little bit of a seating area up top as well. Being 6'2" I didn't care for the boat's 40' & under and the endless opportunities to hit my head. Anybody that has made a similar decision on boats or is going through it right now as well I'd love to hear your take on the process & what you've decided.

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Old 11-11-2015, 10:30   #18
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Congrats and thanks for returning to post! Many never do.

Re entry/exit fees. Yep, most everywhere has them...some are much higher than what you experienced. Look up for the Bahamas.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:52   #19
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Glad you had a great experience in the BVI!

I beg to differ that "everybody motorsails." In our 6 seasons all up and down the Caribbean, we have seen many more boats sailing than motoring. We all do use our engines when there's no wind and we're trying to make an anchorage before dark, but many of us simply prefer the peace and quiet of sailing whenever we can manage it.

The BVI is fun, but isn't really a good model for the rest of the Caribbean. It has a reputation for being an easy place to sail, and less-experienced sailors tend to hang out there.

Regarding fees, they vary by a huge amount from island to island. BVI is on the more expensive end of the spectrum -- but then they provide a lot of infrastructure for cruisers.

On the French islands (Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barths, etc.) its basically free to anchor, though sometimes the check-in is in a local shop or internet cafe, and they want a euro or two to provide the service.

I think the most we ever paid for a two-week stay was about US$100, in the windwards.

s/v Callisto
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Old 11-11-2015, 12:46   #20
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Hi David, I should clarify on the "everyone" motor sails...I agree with and and I actually meant what you said in your post. Everybody fires up the engines in certain situations.. There just seems to be a stigma against it out there in that I don't quite get...maybe I'll be hardcore like that one day as well.

Also you are spot on about the BVI's being an easy place to sail. I'll probably take some heat for this, but my friend and I commented that sailing the BVI's is sort of like a grown up version of house boating. Its great because you can see where you are going (except Anegada which was cool), and its very protected. I'm very interested to go explore the other places & hone my sailing skills!

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