I strongly concur with the advice to read through the information in the forums
For dinner your first night I recommend Spaghetti Junction. The people at the Moorings can tell you how to get there.
Water - you can get water at the docks in Roadtown, Soper's Hole, Spanishtown (I wouldn't plan to stay over there - hot and sticky), Marina Cay, Saba
Rock (note free water offer above), Leverick Bay (I think they have the same water offer as Saba Rock), and the new dock
in Cane Garden Bay.
- From Jost Van Dyke and western Tortola (and sometimes Cooper) you can pick up the cell signal from the USVI. Otherwise, if you have a GSM phone
(AT&T and T-Mobile) you can roam onto the BVI system. That isn't cheap
, but not terrible as long as you don't spend too much time on the phone
Provisions - RiteWay and Bobby's have the best reputation among repeat charterers. Both have on-line order forms and will deliver; some people prefer doing their own shopping
- losing a dinghy
(or mistaking someone else's for yours) and dragging anchor are the ones that lead to the best stories.
Moorings - I chartered regularly with the Moorings between 1983 (I think) and 2006 when I bought Auspicious. They have been a first-rate operation. There are still some growing pains associated with the semi-merger with Sunsail (both Moorings and Sunsail are owned by the same parent company) and the consolidation of facilities in Roadtown. You have to take responsibility for making sure everything works before you leave the dock and tracking down someone to get it fixed; you'll spend a lot of time trying to get out if you just wait politely, so hunt someone down politely. Double-check that your water tanks
are full before you leave regardless of what you are told by the dock staff. Be sure you really understand how the refrigerator
works (many are engine-driven with a separate timer switch) and where any water tank cut-over valves are.
Itinerary - Evening starts are great, but I have still found it difficult to get off the dock before about 11. My choice is to sail around a bit to shake down boat and crew and spend the first night at Cooper
Island (get a ball as far to the North in the field as you can - better breeze wrapping around the point and the water is cleanest); Cooper
has what I think are the best sunsets in the islands. When you stop at the Baths, pick up an NPT ball as far South as you can and dinghy
into the dinghy line in Devil's Bay -- there is less traffic and you are at the other end of the Baths rock formation -- you won't miss anything, it's all connected. I have come to like the Leverick Bay side of North Sound better than the Saba Rock/BEYC side but can't put my finger on why. I'm not a big fan of Anegada
but I love the sail there and back -- others love the place so you'll have to decide for yourself. If you go to Anegada
, plan a long hop back to Jost Van Dyke -- a great sail. Stop at Sandy Spit for lunch/snorkeling - it is the classic deserted island. Jost Van Dyke / White Bay is lovely and I think nicer than Great Harbor, although if you are partiers you won't want to miss Foxy's (some people anchor in White Bay and take a taxi to Foxy's). Soper's is a nice mid-trip provisioning
stop but can be hot at night. The Jolly Roger next to the custom's dock is great for lunch or dinner. There is a formation between Norman Island / The Bight and The Indians called Ring of Rocks - it is off the regular routes and I think the snorkeling there is better.
There is a cultural imperative to greet people before getting to business. If you say hello to folk in stores and behind shop counters before you ask for something you will be treated better.
sail fast, dave