Sailing in the British Virgin Islands for 10 days – day 1

Posted by Director of Education on October 3, 2016 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

This is the start to a 10-day blog series sailing on a Lagoon 450 with the yacht charter company BVI Yacht Charters based in Road Town, British Virgin Islands.

The Indians, arh the Indians – my favorite. If you miss the Indians you have missed the BVI. It is an integral part of any trip here. It is a staple of the snorkeling diet – an appetizer of what is to come for the week. We just finished an hour with the head pointed down in colorful wonderment. Wow. (Click the Arrows for a slide show)

The Indians are generally the first stop on a BVI roundabout. They are 5 miles Southwest of Road Town. So your first sail is easy. Pop the main and the jib and an hour and a bit later you’re there.

While I’m writing this we’re parked up in The Bight in Norman Island.

The Bight Norman Island

The Bight Norman Island

 

The Bight, Norman Island

The Bight, Norman Island

The day started as an awakening blur of yesterday’s travel. Not bad – 12 hours door to door from Austin, Tx to Miami to Saint Thomas,  USVI. Then a haul ass to the ferry to catch the 3:30 ferry from Charlotte Amalie, USVI to Road Town, Tortolla. The last ferry was at 4:30 which coincided with catching BVI Customs closing at 6:00. Whew –  basically seamless travel just a lot depends on things being on time which are out of your control like airlines.

At the end of it all, you sit back with a drink and say – Hey we’re on Island time, what does it matter? Stress has been banned from the Virgin Islands so you have leave your corporate training at home.

BVI Yacht Charters are located close to downtown Road Town – a really short taxi ride from the ferry terminal. Very convenient. And even more convenient, close to two Grocery stores RiteWay and OneMart. Most of the stuff you can order online through their websites and have delivered directly to your boat before you arrive. For the remaining items,  you can take a short stroll to the store with a cold beer in hand.

Road Town BVI

Road Town BVI

Tony from BVIYC gave us our boat check out briefing this morning and after signing my life away, as usual, we were ready to head out. We were exempted from the chart briefing because … well… I did write the book on it. I had to laugh with Kirstie in the office when she said “I know you wrote the book on it but have you been here before”. She was right to ask – any area you go sailing, you need a familiarity with the area for two reasons: (1) to make sure you have a good time and take advantage of all there is to offer, and more importantly,  (2) to make sure you know where all the dangerous stuff is. The NauticEd BVI Chart Briefing book and associated test is a comprehensive guide to sailing in the BVI. Those that have taken the test and passed it are able to skip the chart briefing and speed up the check-in process. In addition, it means you have all that information on hand.

I must say that the BVI check out crew were so efficient and awesome. The boat was immaculate and ready to go. They even lent us an audio jack cord for plugging in from the stereo to our iPhones (haa haa – everyone on our boat figured that each other would bring that cable – not one between all of us – don’t ever forget to bring a 3.5 mm audio jack to play your tunes.)

So, after a crew safety briefing, we released the dock lines and headed out. Yay. A short sail to Norman Island and my fav. the Indians.

For now, we are listening to a little Lyle Lovette in Pirates Bight, Norman Island. I hear some laughter on the front deck – I’m heading that way.

On shore in the Pirates Bight are two restaurants. Both are very (very) nice. Take a recently emptied credit card. But the experience and the beach is worth a visit at least.

On shore at Pirates Bight

On shore at Pirates Bight

At Willie T’s there is a universal singularity point. The laws of the universe are just different. What you think should apply, doesn’t. After drinks on the front deck of our boat, we moved to Willie T’s to observe this anomaly. But that is my point – soon observation turns into participation. If you can resist, the two things to try to avoid are: (1) the ski shots.  This consists of a water ski with 4 shot glass holes drilled into the ski. When it comes off the ceiling 4 souls are drawn seemingly by magic to put their lips to a shots glass and the ski tips back on its own volition with the smooth liquid pouring down warm throats; (2) Rafter swinging –  these do not end well. Assuming you’ve been working out at the gym, the challenge is to swing hand over hand along the steel rafters. The problem is that the rafters are rusty and all four crew members who tried and completed it (including one of our better-looking crew members) ended leaving the boat with less skin than they started with including yours truly. But at least the gym work paid off with a success grade in the swing. Skin was traded for self-esteem.

Willie T's Universal Singularity

Willie T’s. A Universal Singularity

And, in case you don’t know about Willie T’s – William T. Thornton was the architect who designed the U.S. White House. His boat was purchased and permanently anchored in Pirates Bight. It is now a floating bar with a dinghy dock. They serve some food but the main focus is the bar. It is not really a family place if you get my points from above.

Nighty Night. See you on Day 2!

NauticEd and its expert team are global brokers for the best sailing vacations. We’ve been just about everywhere and know the best spots. We can arrange the best boats and the best prices. In particular, if you want to go to the BVI, we are absolute experts.

If you’re unsure about your competence, well we are the absolute best in the world to bring you up to a proper and safe level of knowledge, skills, education, and globally accepted certifications.

Contact us about an awesome sailing vacation through this page.

Sailing in the British Virgin Islands for 10 days – day 2

Posted by Director of Education on under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

This is Day 2 of our sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands with BVI Yacht Charters on a Lagoon 450.

Needing a little hair of the dog from Willie T’s, the crew elected to sail to Jost Van Dyke island for our next stop over in White Bay where the famous Soggy Dollar bar serves the most delicious Pain Killers and other concoctions. My favorite however, is the Vanilla Killer and our bartender Sana serves them with a great smile. She has worked at the Soggy Dollar for 11 years.

Sana at the Soggy Dollar will take care of you

Sana at the Soggy Dollar will take care of you

The beach at White Bay is one of the more awesome beaches in the BVI. It is not to be missed. There are also several other restaurants and bars along the beach. Just be aware to leave the beach prior to dusk. No See’ems come out and will eat your legs off. Otherwise, during the day there are no bities.


There are two entrances to White Bay on Jost Van Dyke through the reef. The BVI is under IALA-B rules which means red right returning. Of course, me being from New Zealand, we had a heated discussion about which system is right including who drives on the correct side of the road. My point is that we have the steering wheel on the right side of the car. But … we’re in the islands who the heck cares who is right? Right? Hmmm what we we stayed on island philosophy?Just maybe that’s the answer to the world’s problems. I’ll be sure and send that to Washington.

Inside the reef next to the beach the anchoring can get little tight and it is pretty shallow. Expect 4 feet under your keel and 50 feet to your neighbor.

Shallow in White Bay. Anchor with Caution.

Shallow in White Bay. Anchor with Caution.

Swim your anchor and make sure it is dug in properly.

Check the anchor

Check the anchor

Day 2 was a little short due to the time aberration of Willie T’s which made us get up late. So pretty much all we accomplished that day was a sail from Norman Island to White Bay JVD and a Vanilla Killer and lots of laughs.

We did have one technical issue however where the Autopilot even though it said it was off was still controlling the helm. That was freaky. We rebooted the Navigation and everything was fine.

Ducks: There is a blue duck with is a sailing faux pas, then there is a black duck with is a sailing faux pas which costs money and then there is a Red duck with is the spillage of alcohol. That night a series of events lead us to riffle through them all but making a tremendous come back from a black duck to end in just blue and red. It started with Tim slipping down the stairs and spilling his red wine all over the cushion – Red Duck! So we immediately washed it off and set it up to dry. The blue duck was not ensuring it was secure. The potential black duck was that it blew away during the night. The downgrade to a blue duck was that we recovered it on the beach in the morning – now full of sea water and sand. We unzipped it, washed it all out, dried it in the sun on the front trampoline (secured this time) and zipped it back up better than new. Red –> Blue –> Black –> Blue+Red. Embarrassing all the same. Tie down the cushions durh!

See Day 1 of Our Sailing Trip to the BVI

Day 3 and Day 4

 

NauticEd and its expert team are global brokers for the best sailing vacations. We’ve been just about everywhere and know the best spots. We can arrange the best boats and the best prices. In particular, if you want to go to the BVI, we are absolute experts.

If you’re unsure about your competence, well we are the absolute best in the world to bring you up to a proper and safe level of knowledge, skills, education, and globally accepted certifications.

Contact us about an awesome sailing vacation through this page.

Drone Tour of Road Town Harbour BVI

Posted by Director of Education on May 19, 2015 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Here is something pretty cool that we found. It’s Rick Moore’s drone tour of the Road Town Harbour in the BVI

We know a lot of you go to the BVI to charter because of the enormous sales of our BVI Fast Check Out Chart Briefing Course.

If you are thinking about going to the BVI, contact us we offer no cost consulting and reservations on which company to use and when are the best times to go.

Check out out BVI Fast Check Out Chart Briefing Course which is accepted by most yacht charter companies as an alternative to the sit down time consuming chart briefing prior to leaving the dock. The advantage of this briefing is also that you have all the information with you during your trip. Available online and in PDF and iPad formats.

BVIChartBriefing

The BVI Fast Check Out Chart Briefing is accepted by most yacht charter companies.

BVI Chart Briefing

The BVI Chart Briefing is available also in iPad format

Chronicles of a Sailing Yacht Charter Week in the BVI’s: Day 5

Posted by Grant Headifen on October 15, 2009 under Bareboat Charter | 2 Comments to Read

Tuesday 29th September 2009

A classic yacht chartering blunder was made on Monday. Instead of filling the tanks with water when the conditions were calm at the east end of Cane Garden Bay we elected to do it Tuesday morning because we were having so much fun on Monday. Overnight, a swell began running out of the North which made the water surge next to the dock. This created a very uncomfortable situation for refilling the water tanks. Even with spring lines, the boat was moving around quite a lot and created potentially dangerous situation. The lesson there was – when conditions are right do what you need to do.

The swell did create some fun waves over the reef and so on Tuesday morning we took the sea kayaks into the waves to play.

After refilling with water, we needed to get away from the dock safely. Simply engaging reverse would have sent us side scrapping the boat along the dock all the way back with the swell surge slamming us in. Not good!

Using a spring line to get off the dock with a catamaran

Using a spring line to get off the dock with a catamaran

We used a classic spring line – reverse out method. We left the spring line running from the forward cleat aft to the dock and released all others.  We positioned a buoy between the dock and forward hull, turned the wheel towards the dock and engaged forward on the engine opposite the dock. When the spring line was taught, the aft end of the boat begun rotating away from the dock due to the opposing forces creating a turning moment. We helped this with a little reverse on the dock side engine all the while keeping the buoy between the hull and dock and spring line taught. When the aft of the boat had rotated sufficiently away from the dock we engaged reverse on both engines, released the spring line and back quickly away from the dock.

This and more is described in the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Clinic

Clear, we then pulled the dinghy up on the dinghy davit and set sail for White Bay on Guana Island next to Monkey point. Using the dinghy davit is usually a good idea. It reduces drap on the boat and thus increases speed, reduces wear on the dinghy and boat cleats and reduces the jerking on the painter line as the swells pass. A Catamaran is well suited for raising the dinghy on the davits because the catamaran is so wide and having a dingy of the back presents no interference.

Dinghy Davit on a catamaran

Dinghy Davit on a catamaran

The winds to Guana Island were 15 knots out of the east and just below the reefing threshold. It’s important to reef a catamaran at the designated wind speeds because since the boat does not heel over, the full area of the sail is always presented to the wind. More about this in the NauticEd Catamaran Sailing Confidence course.

We set out the two fishing rods and trolled for a yummy Tuna which I have caught on many previous trips to the BVI. Alas, we were skunked for the whole week on any fish. Not even a Baracuda!

White Bay on Guana Island

White Bay on Guana Island

The sand on White Bay, Guana Island is so soft and almost silky like. Guana Island is a private island and so you can go on to the beach but not too much further. However White Bay made for a very nice stop for a long lunch. Unfortunately due to time we missed the snorkeling at Monkey point which has been very impressive on previous trips to the BVI where two mooring balls are provided for day mooring.

We then made tracks under power to Lee Bay on Great Camanoe Island. Lee bay is a small bay with a rocky beach.

Lee Bay on Camanoe Island

Lee Bay on Camanoe Island

The rocky cliffs on each side are impressive and the swell was creating a blow hole into a cave next to our anchor point that made a very ominous whooshing sound with a shooting high blow of water. Its obvious that a swell out of the North could make this bay uncomfortable, however today it was slightly North west and laying down. We therefore elected to stay the night in Lee Bay.

We took the dinghy ashore so that we could walk across the low saddle of the island to Cam Bay on the other side. The waves on the beach made for an interesting landing onto the beach with the dinghy. We had to wait for the swell surge then ride it in slightly behind the wave. We pulled up onto the beach and tied off around a large rock. Cam Bay was relatively unimpressive with washed up seaweed and some trash on the beach so we didn’t stay to long. There were some very impressive homes overlooking Cam Bay. The night produced a heavy but short lived thunderstorm  and so there was a great scramble to close all the hatches about 3am.

Chronicles of a Sailing Yacht Charter Week in the BVI’s: Day 1

Posted by Director of Education on October 6, 2009 under Bareboat Charter | Be the First to Comment

To follow over the next week, are the chronicles of this year’s yacht charter sailing vacation trip by NauticEd staff and friends. Although we’ve sailed through out the Caribbean and Mediterranean, once again we elected the BVI. Mostly because this year we were bringing along many new comers who’d not visited the BVI’s before and this is a place not to be missed.

The beautiful beach of Savannah Bay inthe BVI

The beautiful beach of Savannah Bay in the BVI

September in the BVI’s is considered totally out of season. Most of the restaurants are closed and charter companies are down to skeleton crews. However we were looking this year for a quiet, out-of-the-way trip with few other boats to deal with and so despite being in the middle of hurricane season, this was an appealing location.

In the BVI’s there are many charter companies. This year we elected to charter with Sunsail. We have chartered 2 Catamarans. One Leopard 43 named “Bobcat” and one Lagoon 41 named “Annie K”. Our crew consists of 16 friends and family from Austin, San Antonio and South Africa. Included are our 1 year old daughter and a friend’s 2 year old daughter.

Friday September 25th 2009

Traditionally we have flown into Beef Island (Tortolla airport) via Puerto Rico which works well but if you do this you have to make sure that you have sufficient turn around time for your luggage. I’m not sure but I don’t think there has been 1 time that all bags have arrived.

This time however because of airline schedules we flew into St Thomas on the USVI, stayed the night at the Marriot Frenchmans Reef and Morning Star Resort with the ntension of taking the ferry from Charlotte Amarlie to Road Town on the British Virgin Islands main island -Tortolla.

The Marriot is about 15 minutes from the St Thomas Airport. The resort is very nice for a quick stay over. It has a lovely beach, a swimming pool and a tennis court. But we’re more excited about getting on our boats and setting sails tomorrow.

Beach at the Marriot Frenchmans Reef on USVI

Beach at the Marriot Frenchmans Reef on USVI

There are a few strange creatures on the USVI.

Iguana

Iguana

Follow our week long BVI blog series posted every day for the next week.