Christian and Lucy at Performance Yacht Charter are a pretty impressive (and really nice) couple. They sail the world with their two charter yachts, Northern Child, a swan 51, and Smile and Wave, a Beneteau First 40, entering into world renown Yacht Regattas. They’re good friends of us at NauticEd. We first met them in St. Thomas in the USVI in 2011 at the International Rolex Regatta where they raced their sailboat, Northern Child with a combined group of NauticEd students and Safe Passage Sailing Clients.
Provided you’re got a little bit of sailing experience you can VERY affordably join Christian and Lucy on one of their Regatta Charters. And at NauticEd we TOTALLY endorse this idea. You see at some point, as much as you enjoy our sailing courses you’ve got to get off the computer and get the wind in your face. Being in a charter race regatta is going to be an such an exhilaration that you’ll never forget it plus you’ll get a huge step jump in sailing knowledge from the emersion situation. CAUTION HOOKING UP WITH THESE GUYS WILL BE A LIFE CHANGER.
Christian and Lucy’s talents are proven by the many 1st line honors they taken at various regattas, so when you join them, you’re learning from some of the best.
Posted by Director of Education on February 27, 2013 under Bareboat Charter, Skipper | Comments are off for this article
NauticEd staff just completed a 10 day yacht charter on a 40 ft Leopard Catamaran with the Moorings, New Zealand in the famous Bay of Islands. AND … I have to say that comparing all the places all over the world that we have chartered in, the Bay of Islands is definitely world class. We sailed out of Opua which is the yachting hub. We first ventured 12 nautical miles north out of the Bay to the Cavalli Islands where we stayed the first 2 days. Then further North to Whangaroa harbour, back to Opua, south to Whangamumu, back to the bay for a few nights then returned to the base. As with all bareboat charters the time flew by and 10 days was not enough.
Our Moorings 40 Charter Catamaran in Paradise Bay, Urupukapuka Island
If you like what you see below and are interested in Chartering in New Zealand contact us, we’ll help you book and design a perfect itinerary. In addition, in March next year (2014) we’ll be holding a Bareboat Charter Master Graduation Celebration Charter for graduates of our Bareboat Rank. If you’ve ever wanted to come to New Zealand and charter, then join our flotilla. I’ll be leading the armada around this world class haven for yachties. Spaces will be limited to keep the fleet manageable so contact us now. Cheers – Grant
Here’s a quick summary of each location we visited and some of the activities
North Island New Zealand
Zoomed in – here’s a iPad Navionics chart of the area.
Sailing ground for a Moorings Charter - Whangaroa to Whangamumu.
First off, the Bay of Islands is unquestionably spectacular. There are over 100 islands but about 6 main large ones with dozens of protected anchorages and amazing lonely beaches in the islands and arms off from the mainland.
I love this place
The main larger islands all have local Maori names. From west to east they are: Motuarohia Island, Moturua Island, Motukiekie Island, Okahu Island, Waewaetorea Island and the largest Urupukapuka Island.
Bay of Islands New Zealand
Twelve miles to the north west of the 10 mile wide Bay of Islands lie the Cavalli Island group. The Cavallis is the final resting ground of the famous Rainbow Warrior green peace boat bombed in the Auckland Harbour in 1985 by the French government. I’ve dived on the Rainbow Warrior on previous trips to the Cavallis and it is a great wreck dive where there are easy entrances and exits at about 60 feet deep.
Matauri Bay-Rainbow Warrior
The Cavallis, as with the entire north of New Zealand are abundant with Snapper and many other kinds of eatable local fish, crayfish (a local spiny lobster) and scallops. Thus we took along with us with us 3 fishing rods and eight scuba tanks and were able to feed the entire boat each night from our catch as we sailed around between the different islands and bays. Contrary to the Caribbean and parts of equatorial Pacific, the reef fish are completely safe to eat. It’s the absolute most seafood we’ve ever prepared on a sailing trip anywhere in the world – purely because of the abundance of fish. We were able to refill the scuba tanks back at Opua when we stopped back mid week to re-provision, however there is also a scuba refill station at Matauri Bay campground opposite the Cavallis.
Cavalli Islands New Zealand
And the islands are pretty spectacular. Which is one thing that you’ll notice about New Zealand is the ruggedness of the coastline followed by extremely beautiful untouched and uninhabited beaches.
View of the Cavalli Islands
A walk up to the monumnet commemorating the Rainbow Warrior is really with the walk from Matauri Bay and gives a commanding view of the Cavallis.
Rainbow Warrior Monument at Matauri Bay
Scuba diving in and around the New Zealand coast line is pretty incredible. The water is too cold for coral but the reefs are still abundant with fish and colour. Scallops are found in sandy areas at about 30 feet deep and beyond. Crayfish are found in the rocks 20 ft down and below. Noting the cold – you’ll need about a 3-5 mil wetsuit to cope with the extended underwater times.
Colourful reefs in New Zealand
On one of the dives for our search for Scallops, I came across one of the weirdest looking things I’ve seen under the water. In the sand lay a perfectly tubular hole about 8 inches in diameter and 4 ft deep. Lining the hole was perfectly placed scallop shells from top to bottom and outside the hole lay a heap of scallop shells. Needless to say, there was something intelligent living in there. Ohhhh – I got the underwater heebie geebies. About 50 meters further on was a large Octopus contently sitting there with his tentacles wrapped around more scallops ahh – mystery solved – pretty cool.
Our scuba adventure also involved catching crayfish which are certainly a delicacy. In the shops this one would sell for about $150.
On from the Cavallis, we sailed further north to Whangaroa Harbor.
Whangaroa Harbour New Zealand
This is a very large harbour with a narrow entrance and impressive cliffs and ancient volcanic cones. It is thus very sheltered and well worth the vist and sail north from the Cavallis.
A unique chartering aid feature we discovered in Whangaroa harbour was a floating water refill station which operates on the honor system – pay $5 and refill your tanks. Thus through out the entire charter, we did not need to skimp on water -what luxury.
Water Buoy in Whangaroa Harbour
After Whangaroa, we headed south back to the Bay of Islands stopping over again in the Cavallis and just enough time to snag the anchor on the bottom at 25 meters. Fortunately the scuba gear was readily available and we were able to dive down to retrieve This also creates a great future blog topic on how to retrieve a stuck anchor – with out scuba diving. The topic is covered in our skipper course also. In this instance, I believe the method would have worked well considering what we found the anchor to be doing on the bottom – see blog to come on this.
The sail back to the Bay of Islands was in a fairly large swell of about 2m with about 15 kots of wind which made it pretty interesting although the Cat handled the conditions well. Back in Opua we reprovisioned and headed out to Assassination Bay, an extremely tranquil and quiet protected bay – one of dozens of stunning anchorages through out the Bay. Assassination bay was so named after a group of french were killed in the early development years of New Zealand.
The Beautiful Shoreline in Assassination Bay
Over the next few days we explored many of the islands through out the Bay. Of course exploring meant scuba diving for scallops and snapper fishing. At the south end of Urapukapuka island is a very sheltered and beautiful bay with a white sandy beach.
The island supports a fantastic worthwhile 1-2 hr walk through native New Zealand forest and leading upto a stunning and commanding view of the entire bay of islands in all directions. Next person up – take your iPad and get a 360 Panorama.
Top of Urupukapuka Island
Heading south out of the Bay of Islands is the famous and large hole in the rock. Thousands of tourists every season travel on laden ferry boats to visit the rock and motor through the hole. Of course we zoomed through in our little dinghy.
Hole in the Rock at Cape Brett
Further south lies Whangamumu habour which is another extremely sheltered harbour and almost quite round inside.
The harbour has remanats of an old whaling station now rotting from the 1800s. A very sad place in on sense because of the slaughtered whales of old times – but on the lighter side – the dolphins seemed to be enjoying the harbour. It’s almost a guarantee that you see dolphins on a charter in the Bay of Islands area.
Dolphin playing in Whangamumu Harbour
On almost any blue sky day, Whangamumu is a sight not to be missed, with several walking tracks around to take advantage of.
And of course I couldn’t help but do a few donuts in the dinghy LOL.
Donuts in the Whangamumu Harbour
We fished and scuba dived amongst the rocks just outside the harbour for Crayfish, scoring an incredible sized packhorse cray (featured in the video) and some decent sized snapper all for dinner – although you’ll see in the video below, I almost lost the Cray overboard.
The sail from the hole in the rock down to whangamumu harbor is amazing display of the rocky New Zealand coastline including the Cape Brett Lighthouse marking the southern end of the Bay of Islands.
Cape Brett Lighthouse
Our final two nights were spent back in the Bay of islands in Paradise Bay and Urupukapuka Bay on Urapukapuka Island. Paradise Bay has the most beautiful white sandy beach with deep water almost right up to the beach. Great for close in anchoring.
Overall, we can’t recommend the Bay of Islands more as a world class yacht charter location. The staff at the Moorings Base were friendly and helpful and the boat ran with out any hitches.
The best time to charter a yacht in New Zealand is anytime from December through March.
If you want to learn more about chartering in The Bay of Islands, New Zealand or make a booking, contact us at NauticEd we’ll help you design a perfect itinaray.
Now, please enjoy watching our video on our experience in New Zealand and why you should consider the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master bundle of courses. PS Watch the second half for the fun stuff.
Captaining a bareboat yacht on a sailing vacation is an acquired skill.
All of a sudden you’re transformed from friend, co-worker, family and sometimes complete stranger into the authoritative figure with ultimate power. That’s not an easy formula so I’ve put together the top ten tips on how to be a great captain.
When people are led by good captains they do not even remember that they were lead. That means they just remember that the vacation went off with out a hitch and the boat seemed to work itself, yet somehow, every one contributed and a great time was had by all.
Good leaders make people feel comfortable in any environment. Your confidence and promotion of a good time for everyone will help people feel comfortable through out the trip.
Obviously as every one will tell you, your job #1 is to ensure the safety of the ship and crew, however following closely behind that comes the job to ensure that every one onboard is feeling comfortable with you and the vessel. So let me shout this out load and clear. NO SHOUTING OR YELLING. The bareboat charter sailing vacation is not time to prove how much you know or to be Captain Blye. It’s time to prove your quiet confidence and steady character amonst your friends and family. After all I’m sure you’ll want them to come back with you and one wrong snarl and you’re off the christmas card list.
Give up the helm time to others when practical and safe.
Don’t be the supreme commander, you can do that with a rubber ducky in the bathtub at home by your self.
Involve everyone in the sailing process (if they want)
Don’t always be teaching and preaching but offer to show, help, teach.
You’re not their to impress everyone that you can sail, instead impress people with these leadership skills instead. You’ll be liked better.
Make the dinners and do the dishes more than every one else.
Let others participate in the navigating.
There is no need to stay on schedule. If the others are having fun shopping in a cute little port or laying on the beach let them stay. It’s their vacation.
Read up on the local area with a travel book like Frommers and discuss the area and highlights of things to do with everyone.
Plan the trip so there is only 3-4 hours of sailing everyday. And plan to stay in a port or two for a full day.
Keep the boat tidy and clean. Every morning do a wash down of the boat, start the process yourself and I bet others will just join in. After a few days they will self start the wash down.
Every day, give yourself a reality check and ask yourself this: “Am I doing all these things above?”
Ok that was 12 but the extra two were worth it :). I didn’t make this stuff up though. The theory of it came mostly from a book I read called Lincoln on Leadership. His phylosophy was to always roll up the sleeves and get into the trenches. People follow more what you do rather than say especially when you’re in a new leadership role.
I’ve applied this phylosophy on the dozens or charter trips I’ve lead all over the world and I can assure you that if you pour the drinks, cook breakfasts and dinners, swab the decks, speak calmly and confidently, tell the jokes, go ashore to buy supplies before everyone gets up, give up the helm, be knowledgeable about the area and make good suggestions and just relax on the schedule, then everyone will remember you as being the BEST CAPTAIN EVER.
The top ten (12) tips on great captaining was extracted from the NauticEd Bareboat Yacht Charter Sailing Clinic which is packed full of real practical bareboat chartering tips guaranteed to enrich your charter sailing vacation and make you look like a star and it’s a requirement for your Bareboat Charter Master Sailing Certification. Take the Bareboat Charter Sailing Class online. And now available in a downloadable PDF. Did we mention our money back guarantee?
You see this – what do you do? What should you have done?
Last week, Editor and Chief of Sail Magazine, Peter Nielsen, and I chartered a 38 foot catamaran from the local Moorings Base in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, on a bareboat yacht charter. Peter was writing a story about sailing in the south pacific which will come out later this year (keep and eye out for it). We snapped some great shots, did some great sailing, caught lots of snapper and ate like kings in some of the most beautiful bays. The Kiwi weather really turned it on for us and the New Zealand Tourism board will be happy as Peter had a great time and surely will be writing up the Bay of Islands as a must see sail area.
So we sailed up into the Kerikeri inlet to the north of Moturoa island and past the stunning Black Rocks – where in the old days whales were so abundant here that whalers used to harpoon the whales from these rocks. The wind was 20 knots out of the north so it made for a nice beam reach into the inlet. On the way back we decided to do a run through the Kent Passage. About 100 meters back I noticed power wires crossing from the mainland to Moturoa Island.
Kerikeri Inlet - Bay of Islands New Zealand
“Hmmmm”, I said to Peter “what do you think about those”.
“Hmmmm” replied Peter.
We both looked at the GPS which noted nothing on the electronic chart.
A quick consult of the paper chart showed the following image with a very hard to see thin line.
Not much information and no height datum.
“Hmmmm” we both said
We could now see a sign on the shore warning of the DANGER. But we could not read the specifics.
“Hmmmm” one more time. 30 meters to go!!!!!
With out any more hesitation and with prudence taking over, we brought the boat up into wind, turned on the engines and motored the boat away from the lines.
We got out the binoculars and were able to see the sign marking which indicated 23 above MHHW.
From the manual in the chart table, the mast height above the water line on a Leopard 38 is 19.1 m. That made it safe to proceed.
MHHW is the mean higher high water. This is the average height of the high tide during spring tides. Bridges and power wires are marked as such to indicate safe passage at these times. This is opposed to chart datum depths which are marked as MLLW.
So the lessons learned here:
If you’re unsure of situations like this bail out. We did the right thing. Not that we were under any time constraint, but there is no time constraint that is worth really messing up like what could have happened.
Know your mast height. When pilots get rated for an aircaft they spend hours and hours studying the characteristics of an aircraft. Yet when we go charter a boat – at best the Yacht Charter Base will spend maybe an hour with you.
Off the top of my head, here’s a list of boat characteristic specifications that you should know about when chartering a Sailboat on a Bareboat Yacht Charter sailing holiday.
Offset of the depth meter (some charter companies add in a 5 ft offset below the keel, some do it at the keel, some do it at the water line and some don’t even know)
Beam Width (for unfamiliar marinas)
Number of water tanks
Max cruising revs for engines
Boat speed at max cruising revs
Length of anchor rode
Reefing wind speeds
Typically, you’re not going to be too concerned about fuel capacity with a week to 10 day long yacht charter, but it’s prudent to watch fuel usage.
There is a lot of other things to learn about a charter boat like locations of safety gear etc. But this is more about the boat dimensional characteristics. Please feel free to add to this blog about any other dimensional specifics you believe are important.
Here is a question posted by one of our students today with our response following.
On 6/4/10 1:54 PM, “Ted” wrote:
I have recently started through your courses in the hope of chartering next winter. My own boat is a 25′ Catalina. From your information it appears that I will not receive credit for my days on water due to my boat being under 28′. Is that correct and therefore will I not be able to progress beyond crew level 0? Thank you for your time Ted
Some of your small sailboat experience is counted. However, the sailing certification and experience that the yacht charter companies are requiring is that their customers have some experience on larger sailboats before they responsibly release a sailboat to anyone on a chartered sailing vacation. As you can imagine, sailing experience is a major factor for them in lending out their charter sailboats. When we consulted with the major yacht charter companies in the world to put this program together they were adamant and rightly so that a proper and valuable sailing certification would include some big boat time.
My advice would be to buddy up with some one the local yacht club who has a larger boat to gain the experience you’ll need.
You will be able to advance to Skipper as soon as you log 5 days more on a sailboat 28ft or longer whilst you are acting as master of the vessel.
Here is a question posted by Nancy KnudsenEditor Sail-World Cruising. Sail-world is one of the largest and respected online sailing news companies (http://www.sailing-world.com) to NauticEd this week. Followed by our answer.
I have a question about the sailing certification video you have sent me. The practical experience that is mentioned in the video. For a sailor not within practical distance of your facilities, how does this happen. Do you take the word of the sailor that they have completed this? – or what happens. As my readership is international, this is a very important point for me. (I understand that if it is an honour system then the ‘verification’ process at the end would make up for this) Cheers
TetraMedia established in 2000, operates the largest online marine news network in the world. It now has regional sites around the world, with Sail-World UK-Europe, Sail-World Asia, Sail-World NZ, Sail-World USA, Sail-World Australia, Sail-World Cruising International, Sail-World Cruising USA, Sail-World Cruising Canada, Sail-World Australian Cruising, Powerboat-World and Marine Business News. Each week, more than 165,000 newsletters are sent to subscribers, by its seven editors. More than a million individual boaters have visited Sail-World and Powerboat-World in 2009.
This is NauticEd’s response
Yes – as with all charter company resumes – it is the honor system. It is completely impossible to verify time. Additionally the United States Coast Guard accepts the honor system for the USCG Commercial Captains license as do most other country licenses.
What I’ve been able to do is to also back this up with a Proficiency Verification by a NauticEd affiliated sailing school. Right now we are encouraging schools to be affiliated with us because there are a ton of “students” (we are all students) out there who don’t see the value in taking a basic course if they are already past that point. Thus the entire sailing school network is missing out on touching many students. With the verification check out, schools now can actually add this to their income stream thus it’s a big incentive for them to align. Students benefit by solidifying their resume to charter companies and by picking up a few professional tips along the way.
The technology is simple but clever. When an instructor is finished verifying a student’s proficiency, he or she simple logs into the site and clicks the verification button against the student. Before the student can get home, their certificate is updated with the Verification stamp.
We’re making it pretty simple for a school to sign up with us. They must be an established school with a website and have commercially legal instructors and follow our standard when performing a verification. A new system that we will implement shortly is a way for students to publicly rate the experience with the school on-line on our site. This ensures the school is providing an excellent learning experience for the students else they may get a bad rating. This I think is essential for the growth of the industry – no one in the sailing industry wants a single student to have a bad/boring/unprofessional initiation experience to sailing.
So to answer you question specifically – we plan on expanding our verification-training schools. However even with out a verification the honor system for building a resume is fine. Whats’ exciting to us is our sailing iPhone app which makes it easy for a student to update their resume on the dock in 2 clicks.
If you have any more questions please let me know.
Grant Headifen Ph 512-696-1070 Go Completely Nautical Take the FREE online Rules of Right of way clinic for Sailboats at NauticEd.org
Challenge our sailing knowledge facebook app at http://apps.facebook.com/sailingrules The World’s Most Advanced Online Boating Education
Early to rise in Savannah Bay – and a swim to shore. Again, this morning we spent a few hours on the beach at Savannah bay snorkeling, playing beach bats, and strolling along the 750m long beach.
We then set sail for Spanish town again were we picked up more ice. We discovered a free wifi service in Spanish town and so a few or us down loaded emails for the weeks work to come.
Inside Spanish Town harbor, I spent about 10 minutes teaching catamaran maneuvering under power techniques to one of the crew who is going to charter a catamaran on a sailing vacation in Corsica in May next year. Under normal circumstances in Spanish Town Harbor this would be impossible but due to extremely light traffic in the summer months we were able to do this. The biggest difference that he learned was that when maneuvering a Catamaran, you don’t need water flowing over the rudder to gain maneuverability like a monohull. With a catamaran, the slower you go the better. And so the lesson was more about puling the throttles back and using the correct setting of the forward and reverse on the engines and to watch the relative movement of the boat and adjust the throttles to match what you want – always electing to reduce power (if possible) rather than to increase power on the opposing side. For more information on maneuvering a Catamaran under power see the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Clinic.
Additionally – early in November 2009 we’ll be releasing the NauticEd Catamaran Maneuvering Under Power Game. If you’re wanting to learn to sail a catamaran then this is the game for you – it’s fun.
Catamaran Maneuvering Under Power Game
We then exited the marina and set sails for Salt Island, the agreed upon rendezvous point with the other Catamaran Annie K. We had decided to go ashore there and collect some table salt from te salt ponds and enjoy the beach. The wind was cranking perfect at about 15 knots out of the east and so we enjoyed a really nice and fast broad reach to Salt Island.
Unfortunately, upon arrival, Annie K waved us off reporting that the island had been inhabited by absolute pigs with broken glass all over the beach, fire pits everywhere, trash and polluted salt ponds. Almost like people living there did not want others to share in any island beauty and elected instead to spoil it for everyone inclusive of them selves. So – I guess they achieved success in that we did not drop anchor and instead moved over to the easterly neighboring island, Cooper Island.
Cooper Island BVI's
Manchioneel Bay Cooper Island is fantastic. Although in low season the restaurant is only open for lunch. However there are lots of mooring buoys there and a really nice little beach. The wind was out of the east and so the conditions were calm and protected.
Some of the guys (self inclusive) found a coconut and broke out into a game of modified touch rugby. After about an hour, with a few injuries sustained we all retired back to the boats.
We elected to spend the night in Manchioneel Bay because of the short 6 nautical mile sail in the morning back to Road Town.
Bath time on a catamaran is pretty easy and fun for the little one. The catamaran galley is so big that there is plenty of room and the sinks are big. Consequently, Alexandra loved this time of day.
Alexandra Loves Her Catamaran Bathtub
The crew set out in the dinghy to explore the rocky coastline and came back quite impressed. Lee Bay is certainly a nice stop for overnight or an exploring lunch, not with a Northerly or Westerly Swell however.
We then motored through the Cut between Little Camanoe and Great Camanoe through to Marina Cay to meet up with the other Catamaran in our fleet. They had spent the night in the lee of Marina Cay and reported a very flat sea due to it’s protection from Scrub, Camanoe and Beef Islands.
Marina Cay in the BVI's provides a very sheltered mooring
We sent the dinghy ashore to grab a few bags of Ice at Marina Cay and then we moved 4 miles North East over to Great Dog Island were we had lunch and a swim.While waiting for the Ice, Kay tried her hand at maneuvering the Catamaran in amongst the buoys. She did well and got the hang of the dual engines and how maneuverable the catamaran is. NauticEd is currently building a flash interactive Catamaran maneuvering game which should be released by Oct 25th 2009. It will be embedded into the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Course.
Great Dog Island - British Virgin Islands
We then moved over to George Dog island where the snorkeling is reported to be great and we were not let down. The BVI parks provide two mooring buoys on the south west of George Dog.
Excellent snorkeling at George Dog in the BVI's
We then snorkeled around the point to the North West of Kitchen point. We’d highly recommend the snorkeling here. There was lots of coral and colored fish. Other boats reported that the snorkeling off Kitchen point was also impressive. Some of the crew also found some impressive rock cliffs to jump off into the sea. If you’re chartering a yacht on a sailing vacation in the BVI’s do not miss The Dogs.
Excellent Snorkelling at George Dog inthe BVI's
Jumping from a cliff on George Dog BVI's
West Dog - The Dogs BVI's
After a very fun day at the Dogs we set sail for Savanna Bay on Virgin Gorda 2 miles South East of The Dogs. Savanna Bay entrance is not too tricky but you must follow the directions in the Cruising Guide as there are several reefs to miss.
Savannah Bay British Virgin Islands is truly awesome
However, once inside, wow, it’s a spectacular bay with three long beaches and clear water. Again with a swell from the north or North West this would be not advisable because it is completely open to those directions. If the weather conditions are right, Savanna Bay should not be missed. Several thatched shades are set up on the middle beach which is about 500 yards long. You can anchor about 200 yards off shore in about 15 feet of water.
At the end of the day we were rewarded with a stunning sunset. This picture was taken through the lens of sunglasses. Savannah Bay was one of the high lights of our sailing vacation.
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
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
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
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
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.
Catching the ferry from Charlotte Amarlie was easy the next morning. The ferry terminal is about 15 minutes away from the Marriot. We took the “Fast Ferry” which motored us at about 15 -20 knots to Road Town. The trip was about 1.5 hours. We cleared BVI Customs in Road Town with very friendly customs agents then another taxi ride of about 5 minutes to the Sunsail Base.
ferry ride to Road Town
Upon arrival, we sent some of the crew to the two grocery stores to provision. Cash and Carry is a bulk shopping place which is quite inexpensive but you have to buy a lot of each item. Shop Rite is next door and is more of a traditional grocery store. Between the two stores you can get everything you need for the week including precooked chicken which serves as a great idea for cold dinner and lunch the next day. Take a Van Taxi to the stores so that you can lug everything back to the base.
Boats on the dock at Sunsail
We were disappointed to learn that Fishing Licenses are only issued on weekdays in the BVI’s and from only one place through the entire island chain – Road Town. And since today is Saturday and we’re not returning here until the end of the trip – our spirits of eating Tuna Sashimi are waning. Also we are warned by the locals that the fines for fishing with out a license are very heavy.
Come on BVI Authorities. Make it easier for your tourists – allow local sporting shops to sell fishing licenses.
We learn however that if you call Last Stop Sports on (284) 494-0564 a few weeks ahead of time, theywill arrange to get a fishing license for you. Take note.
A few other things not to forget or check before you leave the dock.
Adequate sheets and towels
Mask and Snorkel supplied free by the base if you need
Swim Ear for after swimming
Cooler with properly operating plug
And lastly unplug the yellow dock line (power cord) before you pull out.
A more extensive list is given in our NauticEd Bareboat Charter Clinic
Also in our Bareboat Charter Clinic is an excellent Crew Brief list prior to leaving the dock.
With charter yachts, you can never tell what kind of music system you’ll get on the boat. Some come with just CD players some have mp3 connections. So I recommend that you bring some favorite CDs as well as your iPhone/mp3 player and don’t forget the cable plus you can also bring your FM transmitter. Between all those you should be covered music wise.
Anthony Wighting is the Sunsail Base Manager and was very helpful in getting us underway early enough for us to get 5 miles to the south to The Bight on Norman Island.
We pulled out of the dock at 4:30 which is about the latest we should have in order to get to Norman island before sun down at 6:30 this time of the year. Norman Island lies on about compass heading 212deg Mag once you clear Road Harbor and is about 5 miles away. We chose Norman Island for our first night because it was a Saturday night and we didn’t want to miss the Famous Willy Tee’s floating bar.
Willy Tee’s lies in “The Bight”, which is a large bay on Norman Island. A famous rock out cropping called The Indian’s is just outside The Bight. The Indians is an excelent place for snorkelling and has a few underwater swim through caves and lots of colorful fish. Given the time – we elected to leave the Indians until tomorrow but we did get this stunning photo of The Indians with the setting sun light.
The Indians - famous for its snorkelling. Just outside The Bight on Normal Island
Folowing our entrance into The Bight, we moored to one of the Mooring Balls far enough away from Willy Tee’s so that those that wanted to sleep would not be awoken by the party noise that would surely come later.
A stunning sunset from The Bight.
Our advice for Willy Tee’s is take a maximum of $20 ( the entire BVI’s run on US dollars). When you have spent that – go back to your boat. The place is entirely encourageble and it seems like the energy field surrounding the vessel removes all your common sense and knowledge about alcohol consumption.
Swinging from the rafters at Willy Tees floating Bar. The Bight - Norman Island
Remember what your dinghy number is.
The Infamous Ski Shot on Wille Tees
Don’t take your wallet and camera’s WILL end up full of sea water. Otherwise we had a fun evening at Willy Tee’s. Seriously however, the real problem with Willy Tee’s is that it usually is your first night out and your excitement level is at it’s height.