Thank you to TTOL advice, esp @hotdogman
Exec Summary: Outstanding bareboat catamaran charter in USVI through VIYC that exceeded high expectations. Did not get to everything we wanted to do in 1 week in USVI and saw even more things we would do next time. Looking forward to return to BVI in June 2021, but will happily do another USVI trip if necessary.
Highlight Video:USVI 2020 Charter Highlights Video
Charter and Boat: We chartered “Twin Fins” a 2019 42” Astrea offered by Virgin Island Yacht Charters. The yacht was in brand new condition and performed superbly throughout the week. Despite some start timing miscues, VIYC was great to deal with. Onboard ice maker and water maker were unexpected luxury accessories.
Provisioning: Primary provisioning was done with Food Center near Compass Point with planned and follow ups at Love City Market in Coral Bay and Dolphin Market in Cruz Bay that worked out well.
Timing: We chartered Sunday to Sunday. Based on this and previous charters, I will go out of my way in the future to start and end the charter on a weekday.
Logistics: As many others have pointed out, chartering from St Thomas does make travel to and from the charter easier, faster and less expensive. We arrived shortly afternoon on the 24th, stayed overnight at Marriott Frenchman’s Cove before starting charter Sunday morning. Frenchman’s Cove was excellent. We used Paradise Rental Car on day of arrival and day of departure. Absolutely will use them again next time we visit. We flew out on Nov 1 after spending several hours touring St Thomas including Magen’s Bay, which we did not get to by boat.
Weather: The wind was forecasted to and did blow 15-25 kts, usually closer to 25 every day. Fortunately, it never rained as much as it was forecast but there was considerable cloud cover which obscured sunrises and sunsets and the 31 October Full Blue Moon rising and setting.
Itinerary: Plan A was a Bowtie - clockwise around St John followed by CCW around St Thomas. Based on weather and good advice of Walter at VIYC, we abandoned that plan for an extra day on St John.
25 Oct: Christmas cove for late lunch stop and then on to mooring at Hawksnest Bay. Three beautiful beaches but only one that allows you to walk inland. Northern swell made this the least comfortable Anchorage of the entire trip.
26 Oct: Trunk Bay for lunch and snorkeling…excellent. Maho Bay for overnight. Too late for Maho crossroads closing at 4 PM due to COVID but very comfortable anchorage; many more boats than Hawksnest but still plenty of open moorings.
27 Oct: Before departing Maho, we did a sunrise hike to Annaberg ruins via Annaberg School. Fascinating ruins and beautiful views north to the BVI. Snorkeling upon return with numerous turtles, sting rays and fish and coral also spectacular. Then motoring east directly into wind and hugging St John coast before heading south under sail toward Coral Bay. The view into Drake Chanel was a bit surreal as we were the only vessel underway as far as we could see north and east. The sail south around the eastern shore of St John was highlighted by a short escort by a pod of dolphins. Plenty of room to anchor in Coral Bay. Lunch at Lime Out was great fun, great food and drinks to accompany the novelty. Picking up some extra provisions at Love City Market was easy and dinner at Skinny Legs delicious.
28 Oct: Short and fast sail to Salt Pond Bay. Only one other boat there, perfectly protected beautiful little mooring field. Best snorkeling yet and epic sunset and moonrise hike to Ram Head Point.
29 Oct: Short and fast sail for quick lunch stop at Little Lameshur Bay. Beautiful beach and snorkeling once again and nice hike on Yawzi Trail. Then on to Honeymoon Beach. Fun sailing with following wind and following seas and despite late afternoon arrival, plenty of mornings available. Another minor provisioning trip, this time to Dolphin Market and also a catering run from Christies of St John. So many great meals, but this one was another highlight. Will definitely buy from Christie again in future and hopefully next time after COVID it will be dinner on the beach.
30 Oct: Crew so loved Honeymoon beach we stayed another night. Great hikes on Lind Point trails and to top of Caneel Hill. Just a great day on one of the most beautiful beaches.
31 Oct: Off early on great broad reach to Buck Island for lunch and snorkeling. Once again, only one other boat there and spectacular snorkeling. Then on broad reach on starboard tack to Honeymoon Beach on Water Island. Anchored at mouth of bay and enjoyed Halloween including a trick or treating visit by dinghy from some local children. Dinner at Dinghys.
1 Nov: Up early for rough motor back directly into wind and swell to get to Compass Point. Turn in of yacht easy and professional with VIYC. Paradise rental car waiting in marina parking lot.
Currently booked in June 2021 for BVI trip but looking forward to returning to USVI as well when time allows.