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Old 21-06-2015, 10:52   #1
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BVI Charter advise needed

I am trying to plan a charter in the BVIs and due to group schedules we are thinking this September or October. My first concern is this is in the peak of Hurricane season.
Some of the charter companies don't book at all in September which is actually our preference. SO What are the chances in that area of a Tropical storm or worse during September? October?
We do plan to purchase trip insurance.
Also found several different cruising guides available and want opinions on which one is preferred.
Any other advise would be appreciated.
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Old 21-06-2015, 11:22   #2
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

Cdreamin, What with the weather reporting and forecasting available today, I would say that the worst that you are looking at is a ruined vacation, which the trip insurance would help mitigate somewhat, provided that your trip insurance is with a reputable firm. I can assure you that the charter company doesn't want you out there in a tropical storm any more than you want to be so.
That said, the hurricane seasons over the last decade have been pretty tame and I believe that this one is forecast to be even more so due to the "El nino" effect. In your shoes, I would plan the trip, buy good insurance, seek the advise of my charter company and stay in touch with the weather forecasts.
My "bona fides!" I have been sailing in the Caribbean for the last 40 years and have a Beneteau 41' in Tortola, BVI. Don't hesitate to PM me for a phone number if you wish to discuss further. We Western sailors have got to stick together! Cheers, George
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Old 22-06-2015, 06:47   #3
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

Thanks George. Your advice is kind of what I was feeling but it is very helpful to have someone share their first hand knowledge and experience. I sincerely appreciate the help. BTW any recommendations for the cruising guide. I'm sure the boat has one but I like to study in advance.

Thanks again, Greg
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Old 22-06-2015, 07:17   #4
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

Some online guides:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/moorings/gu...isorBVI_sm.pdf

The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands

Lesser Antilles Cruising Guide
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Old 22-06-2015, 08:10   #5
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

Cdreamin, the cruising guide by the Scotts is the one that we have onboard, but, candidly, we have been sailing down there for so long (BVI) that I can't remember the last time that I had it out. Since our boat is owned by 10 owners at a month each and there is some turnover, we primarily have it and the charts aboard for the newer folks. Navigation is basically the old Mark 1 eyeball aided by our Gamin chart plotter! PM me if you would like to chat about our arrangement. George
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Old 22-06-2015, 09:03   #6
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

Sailed the BVI last year over the whole of September (just short of 4 weeks) great weather all the time with rain once although we watched the weather reports everyday just in case. Very quiet over that period with most places closed but that suited us. Not much to charter tho' as most boats up on the hard.
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Old 22-06-2015, 09:31   #7
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

Ran boats for several years in the BVI 12 months a year and hardly ever had a problem. Hurricane warning has become very sophisticated. Main problems were no wind in summer and more squalls. Better to go during the regular season but you will probably be fine.
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Old 22-06-2015, 09:34   #8
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

Most places are closed for hurricane season/summer, not sure if that affects your decision making process or not.
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Old 22-06-2015, 10:08   #9
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

Agree with above statements. Chance of hurricane is very low, and lots of warning available. Most charter companies will contact you and have you return to home base if there is a storm threat.
Never have been able to fully understand the BVI's insistence of essentially closing for 3 months in the late summer. No where else in the Carib does that and many places open 365 days a year have much more storm frequency. It's just an excuse to close shop and the cruisers allow it to occur (if there were demand, the businesses would want to make money and stay open yes?)
We've chartered a couple of time in Sept/Oct. You have to plan on eating on board more (as most restaurants are closed). Also need to plot out where water/ice/provisions will be available on your chosen itinerary.
That said, the cruising grounds are wide open...no need to hurry to the next mooring field to get a spot, you'll have your pick. No cruise ship crowds at the "must see" sights. Water is warm and diving is great (but finding a shop to fill your tanks might require more itinerary tweaking).
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Old 22-06-2015, 10:31   #10
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
Most places are closed for hurricane season/summer, not sure if that affects your decision making process or not.
See page 14 http://mymoorings.com/info/broguide/ssdestgde/bvis.pdf
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Old 22-06-2015, 11:22   #11
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

I have had several cruises in the BVI in August/September and have good experiences. Only twice (out of about 7 trips) did the weather cause any problem. One required 2 days in the marina and move into a hotel. The second was a tropical storm that didn't stop me sailing, but it did stop me getting home - so I had to spend a week in a beach resort in Puerto Rico and wait for my flight (tough life!). These costs of these events were covered by the insurance.
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Old 22-06-2015, 11:35   #12
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

We're sitting here in the inner harbour of Road Town Tortola BVI on our Beneteau 440.
Having lived here part time for over 20 years we have seen several hurricanes. Not a great thing. However rest your mind. Tropical storms are fairly rare and should this be the case you will have atl east three days notice. Your charter company will tell you exactly where to go and what to do.
The down side to September and October can be that there is little wind and it gets very hot especially in land. That being said you may also have excellent sailing weather. The water is much warmer and the anchorages are less crowded and your days are longer........Charters are MUCH less expensive!
We do have some large sailing groups like the Interline regatta which has many boats and sails every year in early October....
Should you decide to do the trip think about getting an air conditioned boat.
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Old 22-06-2015, 11:35   #13
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

I live in Tortola, year around, with my Leopard 45 catamaran in the water, and spend some time every day keeping up with the tropical weather developments. About once a year we have to do some rudimentary preparations for an impending storm; you have to start early, because it can quickly become "too late" if the storm materializes. Every few years we have to do a full-on prep. And, about every five - eight years, we actually get hit. And, mid-August to mid- October are the most likely times.

What happens is that you are unlikely to get hit by a storm, but the chances of having to cut your vacation short because the boat needs to be prepped (just in case) are a bit higher. If your vacation is not thus impeded, you will have lots of good weather, but most likely one tropical wave will pass through and you may get some rainy and squally weather at some point. Also some wind, and some calm. It's pretty enjoyable, actually, particularly if you don't depend upon lots of land and bar activity, because many will be closed. And you definitely need to buy decent trip insurance.

What I do in the BVI is run captain only and fully crewed (with chef) charters on my boat. And I and many others, for instance, will not do a charter during that time of the year unless the guests have bought the insurance. And, yes, on one occasion it had to be invoked, due to cutting a trip short for storm prep. The guests got paid in about three weeks, no problem.

But, if you understand all of that, it's still a good time to come. And, if you have any interest in a captain only catamaran (definitely NOT a bareboat) that is very well equipped and in great condition (much better than a bareboat), and that goes out for a very reasonable rate, PM me, or go to a reputable broker and ask for Jet Stream.

Best of luck,
Tim
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Old 22-06-2015, 11:37   #14
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

We're sitting here in the inner harbour of Road Town Tortola BVI on our Beneteau 440.
Having lived here part time for over 20 years we have seen several hurricanes. Not a great thing. However rest your mind. Tropical storms are fairly rare and should this be the case you will have atl east three days notice. Your charter company will tell you exactly where to go and what to do.
The down side to September and October can be that there is little wind and it gets very hot especially in land. That being said you may also have excellent sailing weather. The water is much warmer and the anchorages are less crowded and your days are longer........Charters are MUCH less expensive!
We do have some large sailing groups like the Interline regatta which has many boats and sails every year in early October....
Should you decide to do the trip think about getting an air conditioned boat.
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Old 22-06-2015, 12:01   #15
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Re: BVI Charter advise needed

Wow. Thank you all sooo much for the insight. I am going to have to discuss this with our friends and figure out what to do.
The no crowds sounds very appealing but no wind kind of a fun killer, and with things being closed may actually be a deal breaker.

So if we decide to wait till the end of October or the first week in November, when does it start to get crowded to the point of rushing to get a mooring? When do the business start to reopen?

BTW 3 of us are divers so any recommendations for a dive operator would also help. We just like do dive once per trip (2 tank) as we are not the hard core diver type. No offense intended to those who are.
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