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Old 01-04-2024, 14:53   #1
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First time cruising USVI

Hey all1 I am ASA 101,103,104,114 qualified and have Bareboat chartered out of San Diego multiple times sailing open water to Catalina Island and have also bareboat chartered in Sea Of Cortez. I am in the process of gathering info for a trip to the USVI. Our crew is flexible and prefers self guided hikes/meals aboard/not alot of people vs beach bar/clubs/touristy/restaurant type of things) Here is a rough outline of my trip (any and all advice is appreciated)

Mid January trip.
Fly into St. Thomas and looking to charter with Waypoints getting a FP Tanna 47 for 10 of us.

Day 1 arrive St Thomas and get briefing, have crew provision boat(appreciate any local knowledge to make most of budget). Hopefully get all stuff onboard and we can motor to salt pond bay and grab a ball. Dinner aboard

Day 2 Sail to St. Croix (Looking for best anchorages)

Day 3 explore St croix, maybe hike ashore, snorkel Buck island?

Day 4 sail to Spanish Virgin Islands plan to anchor in Ensenada Honda, Culebra or maybe mosquito bay.

Day 5 sail/motor to punta Tamarindo hike to flamenco beach

Day 6 Sail/ motor to Bahia, Tortuga Isla Culebrita hike to light house

Day 7 sail back to St Thomas near base


Thoughts?
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Old 01-04-2024, 15:51   #2
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re: First time cruising USVI

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbergman View Post
Hey all1 I am ASA 101,103,104,114 qualified and have Bareboat chartered out of San Diego multiple times sailing open water to Catalina Island and have also bareboat chartered in Sea Of Cortez. I am in the process of gathering info for a trip to the USVI. Our crew is flexible and prefers self guided hikes/meals aboard/not alot of people vs beach bar/clubs/touristy/restaurant type of things) Here is a rough outline of my trip (any and all advice is appreciated)

Mid January trip.
Fly into St. Thomas and looking to charter with Waypoints getting a FP Tanna 47 for 10 of us.

Day 1 arrive St Thomas and get briefing, have crew provision boat(appreciate any local knowledge to make most of budget). Hopefully get all stuff onboard and we can motor to salt pond bay and grab a ball. Dinner aboard

Day 2 Sail to St. Croix (Looking for best anchorages)

Day 3 explore St croix, maybe hike ashore, snorkel Buck island?

Day 4 sail to Spanish Virgin Islands plan to anchor in Ensenada Honda, Culebra or maybe mosquito bay.

Day 5 sail/motor to punta Tamarindo hike to flamenco beach

Day 6 Sail/ motor to Bahia, Tortuga Isla Culebrita hike to light house

Day 7 sail back to St Thomas near base


Thoughts?
Back in the day when I sailed the VIs the charter companies didnít allow sailing to St. Croix due to the tricky channel.
Perhaps that has changed with GPS and waypoints, but better ask.
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Old 01-04-2024, 19:42   #3
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re: First time cruising USVI

I am no expert but sailing back to St. Thomas from the Spanish Virgins will be right into the wind. I have been wanting to do this trip and my tentative plan was St. Thomas to the Spanish Virgin Islands usually downwind. Spanish Virgins to St. Croix on a close reach. St. Croix to St. John on a close reach. Of course your route will work but your St. Thomas to St. John leg will be dead into the wind as will your Spanish Virgins to St. Thomas leg. You might post on the Facebook USVI page and see what they say.

My wife hates motoring from Frenchtown to St. John as the seas are rolley in a decent wind. Trip sounds awesome to me. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 02-04-2024, 08:31   #4
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Re: First time cruising USVI

I don't see St. John on your itinerary - I'd put in at least 2 days there, it is worth the visit!
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Old 02-04-2024, 09:52   #5
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Re: First time cruising USVI

When he said Salt Pond Bay, I think he meant the one on St. John. Its the best mooring spot in the whole VI in my opinion. The beach is 10 feet away and the hike to Ram Head is fun with an amazing view.
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Old 02-04-2024, 10:34   #6
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Re: First time cruising USVI

Honestly for your first time to the USVI, I'd skip both St. Croix and the Spanish Virgins unless you really want a sailing trip. Thar itinerary will have you spending three of your days completely on the water. Captain Jay of CYOA and Waypoints gives the following overview for planning a good USVI itinerary starting from Charlotte Amalie and then clockwise around St. John and counter clockwise around St. Thomas. Here is his overview he published on traveltalkonline.com:

Buck Island, St Thomas as a day stop. Turtle Cove and Shipwreck Cove.

Christmas Cove, Great St James A great place to spend the night, snorkel the cay in the middle of the harbor, and share a Pizza from Pizza Pi with your crew.

Cruz Bay, St John Moor your boat at Lind Point or off of Caneel Bay on a national park mooring. Dinghy into town to see the attractions. Dining and Limin for every budget. Shopping from trinkets to T-shirts, Jewelry, and provisions. Everything in one funky little town.

St John National Park The interactive Marine Resources guide. (Google this map) This has it all the mooring fields, snorkeling spots, pretty much anything you want to know about the Park.

Hawksnest Beach, St John Named for the Hawks nest Turtles that call this home. A white sandy slice of heaven. We could tell you about Mermaidís Seat but it is a secret.

Trunk Bay, St John One of the most photographed beaches on the planet. It is that pretty. Check out the snorkel trail around Trunk Bay Cay.

Trunk Bay with the Underwater Trail is a great place for beginners and anyone who wants to learn about marine life by reading the plaques along the trail. The trail follows the west side of Trunk Bay Cay for about 300 feet before making a U-turn back to the beach. The coral and fish are well represented here. The reef continues beyond to the cay's northern tip, however, do not venture past where you are given the lifeguards. The farther out you go, the rougher the water is.

Cinnamon Bay, St John Hang out with the rich and famous as well as the turtles and Conch. Spectacular water views, snorkeling, and views of some of the most incredible Vacation Villas in the Caribbean.

Francis Bay Beach and Maho Bay Beach This is a two for one deal. Two great beaches in one great anchorage. This spot pretty much comes with a turtle viewing guarantee.

Maho Crossroads In their own words. ďA minimum footprint pop-up village at Maho Beach in St. John, USVI. Enjoy the Paddle-In Tiki Bar, Love Maho Beach Boutique, and Terrapin Beach Club.Ē

Leinster Bay and Waterlemon Cay Did we mention snorkeling? This spot can keep your whole crew in the water for hours. You can snorkel around Waterlemon Cay, Snorkle the reef along the shore, or dinghy into the shallows in the mangrove area and look for juvenile fish. There are more starfish here than any other place we have ever been.

Coral Bay, St John The little village time forgot. Donít come here looking for commercialized attractions it is not that kind of town. You can find art, food, and drinks. A dive shop and a floating Taco Bar. It is that kind of town.

Lime Out, Coral Bay Speaking of floating Taco Bars, because who doesnít want to go to a swim-up Taco Bar with Rum Drinks? This one speaks for itself.

Hurricane Hole, Coral Bay St John Made up of several day mooring areas in the National Park, this is a great place to spend the afternoon. Swim and snorkel along the mangroves on shore to see countless juvenile fish and sea life.

Salt Pond, St John This one is a secret so do not tell anyone. There are a limited number of moorings surrounded by unlimited beauty.

Rams Head Trail, Salt Pond, St John This hiking trail runs from the beach at Salt Pond to the top of Rams Head. Pack some water and comfortable shoes. The views are spectacular.

Great and Little Lameshur Bays Quiet coves, snorkeling oh and did we mention stargazing? With almost no light noise from shore due to the remote location in the park, this is like taking a walk around the milky way. Make sure to put a stargazing app on your phone or tablet. It is good for hours of fun.

Reef Bay, St John Limited to two day moorings this is an advanced hike.

Red Hook, St Thomas Does your crew want to spend a little time in town? In Red Hook, you can either anchor out or get a slip in the Marina for the night. Either way, there are a dozen or so Bars and Restaurants. Some diverse shopping opportunities and even a Grocery Store.

Magens Bay, St Thomas Take a nice downwind sail around the north shore of St Thomas. You will get to view lots of small cays like Hans Lolick on the north side on your way to Magenís. This is a truly magical spot with a large crescent beach located between two peninsulas. Anchor in the middle or closer to shore. The pelicans are sure to put on a show.

Way Out West, St Thomas As you leave Magens you can continue on your downwind sail around the west end of St Thomas. Once you have cleared the west end it is back up towards the anchorages west of Charlotte Amalia.

Brewers Bay, St Thomas The first of the western anchorages. This anchorage is tucked in by the University of the Virgin Islands. It features a large sand beach and a very protected area for swimming.

Lindbergh Bay, St Thomas Next up is another large sand beach. The hotel located onshore has a small beach bar and restaurant. This bay is home to lots of turtles and conchs.

Druif Bay, Water Island Home of Honeymoon Beach, a great spot to waste a day snorkeling and swimming with the turtles and rays. Lime away the afternoon at a beach bar. Then have sundowners watching, wait for it the spectacular sunset to the west.
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Old 03-04-2024, 11:29   #7
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Re: First time cruising USVI

I agree with JMC42 that your itinerary involves too much sailing, especially the leg from St. Croix to the Spanish Virgins. Also agree that many charter companies don't allow St. Croix, perhaps because it is distant and they don't have assistance based there. If it is allowed, I would skip the Spanish Virgins or add a few days to your charter. Personally, I think the sail to St. Croix from St. Thomas and back to St. John is a great e ticket reach, figure about 6 hours.
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Old 03-04-2024, 14:29   #8
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Re: First time cruising USVI

Agree with above, you donít have enough time ! Travelling all that way, better make it a 14 day charter otherwise youíll get home stressed!
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