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Old 10-10-2006, 05:57 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Default BVI and St. Martin - Looking for Suggestions


I am organizing a two week charter with a group of boats in January 2007. The plan is to start in the BVI's spend a week there, then sail over to St. Martin / Anguilla / St.Barts and spend a week there. We will be sticking to the UK parts of the BVI's. As there are pleanty of places to visit, unless its some exciting location that not on the "normal" routes, any places to avoid? Thanks!!!

Kind Regards,


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Old 10-10-2006, 08:34 PM   #2
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Hi: First of course, there's no need to stick to the "British" part of the BVI,s.....they're all British!! (That's what the B is for).

Then: if you are chartering, make sure your charter company allows trips out of area: not all do. Dont forget to factor in customs clearance at both ends: easy in BVI, a little more difficult to find the guys on the French side of SXM: they are in Marigot, by the Anguilla Ferry terminal. If you are going to the Dutch side, Customs is waaay down past the cruise ship dock. Having found either French or Dutch, they are good people to deal with. Dont forget to clear back in to BVI on your return!

You'll get a very comprehensive briefing on BVI cruising from your charter company so I wont go into that here. You'll find that you will iwsh you had more than a week. "Must sees" will include "The Baths" on Virgin Gorda, Foxy's at Jost Van Dyke and "Willie T" in the bight at Norman Island.

The trip across to SXM is normally done as an overnight (its 80-odd miles) and its dead upwind against what can be sometimes a quite lumpy sea. Purists would set a course as close to the rhumb line as poss and probably end up near to Saba, before tacking back up. People on a mission usually motorsail straight through! French side is great for eating out, particularly in the little town of Grand Case. Dutch side is more for shopping...dunno why as it is strict island policy that the both sides maintain exactly the same price in their duty free shops.

St Barts, another 15-odd miles is again a beat but is heaven on earth when you get there (expensive though!)

Your trip back to BVI will be a glorious down-wind swoosh - take some fishing gear!!

Just for interest, I live in BVI and do charter skippering and deliveries all over the place, so if you need any more details, let me know.

Have fun, Tony

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Old 10-10-2006, 10:17 PM   #3
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I'm certainly no expert, Doctor, but...

To the best of my knowledge - ALL of the British Virgin Islands are part of the United Kingdom. They are all great in their own, subtle way and the only places to avoid, in my opinion, are the rocks, hospital and jail.

Some of the more popular places in the BVI are the Baths, North Sound & Bitter End at Virgin Gorda, Foxy's & Soggy Dollar at Jost van Dyke, Diving the wreck of the Rhone, Marina Cay, Soper's Hole, the Caves at Norman Island, Anegada, Cane Garden Bay, Trellis Bay, Sandy Cay, Brewer's Bay, Peter Island, The Indians, Salt and Cooper Islands, The Dogs and one should never miss a chance to see what's going on (and coming off) at the good ol' Willie T.

And contrary to popular belief, one may still find solitude in deserted anchorages and empty bays all around the Virgin Islands if one is willing to simply look around the corner from the popular mooring fields and learn how to safely anchor their boat. It's crowded only when you join the crowd.

If you are really hell bent on including St Martin in your adventure, be sure to mention it to the charter company well in advance because few (if any) allow their boats to be taken out of the territory without prior arrangements.

St Martin is about a hundred miles east of the Virgins and the Anegada Passage can kick your butt when sailing in that direction. St Martin & Barts are certainly nice, but I don't think I'd want to be responsible for pushing a group of greenhorn charter boats to follow me across a hundred miles of open sea in tradewind conditions. It's an uphill bash and some of your friends are gonna loose their lunch... and hold you to blame for wrecking what had been up until then a very fun and relaxing holiday in the sheltered waters of the Virgin Islands.

The Anegada Passage is not for the meek.

But it's your vacation.

To Life!

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Old 10-11-2006, 02:22 PM   #4
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There is so much to do in the BVIs that you are liable to find that you won't have time to sail to St. Martin. As Kirk has said, it's not a fun passage. When we were based in St. Martin we used to make the trip once a year. It was a lovely reach over to the VIs; we'd leave St. Martin in the afternoon, arrive in the VIs sometime the next day; sail around, visit with friends, relax. Then sail back to St. Martin. I would sit in the cockpit ducking the waves that would slap the hull and douse me in the cockpit and wonder (a) why the Anegada Passage was such a miserable piece of water, and ( why did we keep DOING THIS?! We did it because we wanted to visit with friends. For a vacation? Take another one the next year with St. Martin as the base. More comfortable and you'll keep your friends.
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