“Sailing in the BVI’s
So, you’re going to the BVI’s for the firs time! Congratulations! You are about to find out why the BVI’s are considered the world’s best sailing destination. Now, you want to ensure you hit the right spots, at the right time and ensure that you squeeze every cent out of your well deserved vacation
The first and best tip we can provide is plan, plan and plan again!
Follow our monthly tips on chartering and get great insight on how to get the most out of your vacation in various locations.
A typical itinerary consists of 7 days. During the summer your might be chartering for 10 days. If you lucky you get to charter for 14 days and if this is the case, you can get to see everything. Below are some useful tips we thought would interest you.
1. Visit charter blogs like http://www.catamarans.com/blogs/index.aspx or traveltalkonline.com as some of these sites give you some in depth info on how, what, when, where when it comes to charter. Inside information is share by sales agents, charter guests and general sailors in the area. You can also join fodors.com, trip advisor and visit tourist board info to get more info.
2. - Pick up a copy of Cursing Guide to the British Virgin Islands from Amazon or your local bookstore. There will likely be a copy on board your boat but it could be out of date. You should review it beforehand. Invaluable info about anchorages, approaches, facilities, etc. Plan an itinerary before you go. Of course, you can change it as you go but it would be better to have a rough idea of where you want to go and what you want to do in advance.
3. When you are arrive on charter, you might be sailing that day and your catamaran check out will also take place that day. Prepare a list of questions prior to the briefing. Consider purchasing some navigation maps prior to your departure and get familiar with them. In this way, you can ask a ton of questions and feel confident when you set sail.
4. - Watch your water usage. If you're sailing with newbie’s, impress upon them that water is expensive and limited. With four people you won't run out of water unless folks are extravagant but I've been on cruises where it happened. You can re-supply at places like North Sound but be prepared to pay diesel-like prices for a gallon of water dockside. Filling the tanks on a 40ft.+ boat ain't cheap
5. Oh, and double-check to make sure your water tanks are full you leave. Some companies might not have time to full up the boat correctly due to short turnarounds or Sometimes will "forget" to top them off. It is advised to charter with a company that does not do same day turnarounds. E-mail us and we will tell you who’s those companies are!
6. Ask the base manager if the bottom of hull has been checked? Many elite companies do this; many of the smaller companies at owner’s expense get a professional diver to dive the bottom at the end of turnaround. This ensures you don’t have any problems whilst on charter and don’t get blamed if the previous guy did run aground!
7. Get to your night's anchorage early. Although April/May won't be as crowded as some other times of the year, prime spots can go fast. Unlike the old days, at least there are mooring balls available (for a fee) but if they're all taken you'll need to set an anchor. Also, early arrivals have more room to maneuver within the anchorage, have plenty of light to see, and can pick the choice spots. Back in the day, one of the most entertaining things was to get anchored early, break out the painkillers, then relax and watch the carnival as inexperienced sailors try to set an anchor. Not so prevalent these days but even the simple task of picking up a mooring pennant can foil a large number of charterers.
8. - The most common itinerary is to pick up your boat and make a short first day's sail to Trellis Bay or Norman Island, and then proceed counter-clockwise around the BVI. If things are crowded, one trick is to do the opposite: Make your first night at Jost, then go clockwise and end up at Norman on your last night. Then you've got a short sail back to Road Town and you'll hit the intermediate spots on somewhat of an off day.
9. - Spend a lot of time at Jost Van Dyke, preferably at the Soggy Dollar Bar Visit Marina Cay and go to Trellis Bay and eat banana pancakes at de loose Mongoose! Eat at Elm’s BBQ in Cane Garden Bay, preferably on the BBQ night!
10. When you sail to the North Sound (Bitter End Yacht Club) take your dinghy around back off Bitter End so you can see Necker Island as there is some fine snorkeling there.
11. Check with your charter company about sailing to Anegada. Some companies won’t allow it unless you have done it before or restrict you to going with a flotilla. Or unless you have an extensive sailing resume. The approach can be tricky for beginning charterers. But if you can hook up with a group and make the trip, it's a great, fun sail. You're out of the protected Drake channel and won't even see the island until almost right up on it. Although Anegada is now pretty well marked and much easier to get into. Most companies do allow the trip to Anegada but is advised to talk with your boat check out manager and inform him because he can give you some inside tips.
15. DRINKS LOTS OF PAINKILLERS: What is a painkiller? “Painkillers are a drink that was invented at the Soggy Dollar Bar (but you can get them everywhere). They are made with rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, cream de coco and a pinch of nutmeg. They are delicious, but very potent.”
And most important! Shut down the engine and SAIL THE DANG THING. You'll be shocked at how many people just use the boat to motor between spots and never unfurl a sail. Might as well just rent a power boat. The BVI are glorious and easy sailing. Enjoy your trip to the fullest.