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Cruise Report 1-21 to 1-28 2023- Boaty Balls and Saba Rock #294865
01/30/2023 06:27 PM
01/30/2023 06:27 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 22
B
Bvicatter Offline OP
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Bvicatter  Offline OP
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Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 22
Good Day TTOL BVI Friends:

Just learned of the passing of Jason Helmbrecht. May he rest in peace, may his family find peace.

I want to post a report of recent charter with myself and crew of three just wrapped up this past Saturday. In summary, the BVIs are back, and booming!

Our total crew was two married couples mid fifties to mid sixties. We have chartered together three times. We are all experienced boaters from Annapolis, MD.

We prefer to have a little space, so we usually find a three or four cabin cat. Due to my extremely disconcerting experience with DYC on my October 2022 charter, I cancelled our reservation with them. Instead we booked a Sunsail 404 out of Road Town base.

That was a wise choice.

The cost for our 2017 Leopard 404 was about $7400, including internet router, and fuel option. The cost at DYC was about the same- but did not include router or having to refuel yacht. The Sunsail base as we all know is top notch. The boat we got was simply faultless.

Usually we go upwind first, spending time at Gorda Sound, and working our way down to White Bay on JVD. That leaves the upwind slog for the last day or so. This cruise we did the opposite.

Day 1: After the obligatory Willie T opening cocktails, we had a booming downwind sail directly to Great Harbor JVD. Arriving around 2:00pm, we found that every single ball was occupied. I day anchored so we could go ashore. I should note that virtually 90% of the mooring balls were Boaty Balls. To avoid the anchoring stress in the absolutely packed harbor, we motored up to Little Harbor JVD and spent the night on a first come ball in front of Harris's/Syndey's. Arriving at about 5:30pm, there were about 5 white balls and three Boaty Balls still open.

Day 2: National Parks ball off Sandy Cay for a walk around the island and a swim. After lunch, executive decision to take a nap and check out Great Harbor. Again, by 3:00pm, it was completely full, no open balls. Back to Little Harbor, no problem finding a first come/ first serve ball. Ashore, staggered to see that Sydney's did away with the self-serve bar. Strawberry and crew were wonderful. Had a few drinks and a restful evening on board.

Day 3: Cooper Island. Arrived about 3:00pm after close reach and a few long tacks. Two or three white balls, two Boaty Balls available.

Day 4: The Upwind Slog. Surprisingly not a slog at all. Who knew a Leopard 404 can actually sail (sort of) upwind? Stopped at Trellis Bay for Aaragorn's. (The new sushi restaurant in Trellis is really good!). Out of Trellis north around Marina Cay and out to SFD Channel. We were headed up about 300 degrees starboard tack keeping the Dogs to out starboard up the Channel. I felt we could have made Anegeda in about three hours. 7.5Kts over bottom with the boat as close hauled as I like them. With West Dog off starboard stern, we tacked- through about 120 degrees. So she sailed well upwind but the new course had us well south of east, so on engines and motor at 6.5Kts into Gorda Sound. I watched a charter cat take the cut between Mosquito Island and Gorda- not for me. Mooring ball off Leverick Bay, ashore to the well provisioned grocery store. Later, re-moored at Bitter End. About four guest rooms are available, two bars, water sports, ice, provisions. About 3/4 full in the mooring field, no Boaty Balls all first come first serve.

Day 5: Hike, swim, schnorkel. Boat over to Leverick for massive, empty fuel dock (230pm) for water, 15 cents/gallon. Anchor off the secret schnorkel spot on Prickly Pear. Re-moor at Saba Rock, ashore for Happy Hour ($5 rum punches and the Feeding of the Fishes (big tarpon). Saba Rock is absolutely gorgeous! It was always nice, the re-build is simply stunning!

Day 6: leave mooring about 8:00am. Sails up in Gorda Sounds, low humidity, crisp wind about 18-23kts. One reef in the main. Starboard tack past Mosquito and an amazing downwind sail to Marina Cay. Our boat was regularly clocking 9.5kts. Close hauled (for a cat) until turning south and then wing on wing to Scrub Island. Day mooring off Great Camenoe for schnorkeling. Ashore by dingy to Scrub island. I wanted to visit DYC to discuss the $740 deposit they had kept on my last charter. To my surprise- they have already moved to Hodges Creek. Back to boat, sails up for the downwind piece to The Indians- more schnorkeling. Take mooring near Willie T for farewell painkillers, back to base by 5:00pm.

Key Takeaways:

1) BVIs are as lovely as you remember. Everyone we met was happy, from tourists to locals.

2) Sunsail was great. Clogged head service call at Little Harbor JVD day 2: no charge. The base is awesome, the boat was literally faultless. Cost competitive.

3) Great Harbor JVD hard to get a mooring after 2:00pm. Go to Little Harbor if you need a mooring.

4) Restaurants did not seems as expensive relatively speaking. Prices in US mainland are not that far off.

5) Mooring balls are now $40/night. Boaty Balls $55/night.

6) Saba Rock was amazing. If you have not seen it since the re-build- go. Get there in time for 5:00pm Happy Hour.

7) Leopard 404 sails better than any other charter cat I have been on. I was amazed at the speed and close winded sailing on port tack. The tradeoff is the 110 degrees between up wind tacks.

8) January weather was perfect. Not too hot, low humidity, steady breeze 18-25kts the whole time.

9) Took Dolphin Water Taxi from STT to Road Town. What a pleasure! for the extra $90/head over ferry- saved a lot of time and waiting in lines at the end of a long travel day. Picked us up at airport, taxi to Red Hook, zip over to West End- stay on the boat while the Dolphin folks clear us through Customs, than drop right at Moorings Docks. Awesome!

Can't wait for our next trip!

Fair winds and following seas to all!

JAM
Annapolis, Md
1-30-2023





Last edited by Bvicatter; 01/30/2023 06:31 PM.
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Re: Cruise Report 1-21 to 1-28 2023- Boaty Balls and Saba Rock [Re: Bvicatter] #294869
01/30/2023 07:45 PM
01/30/2023 07:45 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 706
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Online content
Traveler
MrEZgoin  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 706
Redmond, WA
Great trip report! Nice to hear that you had such a good experience with Sunsail and the 404, although your comment about sailing close to the wind on a port tack makes me wonder if the wind vane was misaligned :-)


M4000 "Lio Kai"
Re: Cruise Report 1-21 to 1-28 2023- Boaty Balls and Saba Rock [Re: MrEZgoin] #294870
01/30/2023 08:07 PM
01/30/2023 08:07 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 637
Vail, CO/St. Thomas, USVI
caribbeangirl13 Offline
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caribbeangirl13  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 637
Vail, CO/St. Thomas, USVI
Great report and as a owner of a Leopard 40, I agree that they sail great!


Sue
s/v Ripple
Leopard 40

[Linked Image]
Re: Cruise Report 1-21 to 1-28 2023- Boaty Balls and Saba Rock [Re: Bvicatter] #294968
02/01/2023 12:46 PM
02/01/2023 12:46 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 285
Orlando, FL
mmchaplin Offline
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mmchaplin  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 285
Orlando, FL
Sounds amazing! Looking forward to our trip this month!


Cheers,

Marcia


Re: Cruise Report 1-21 to 1-28 2023- Boaty Balls and Saba Rock [Re: Bvicatter] #294970
02/01/2023 12:48 PM
02/01/2023 12:48 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 706
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Online content
Traveler
MrEZgoin  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 706
Redmond, WA
We are heading down for a short notice trip in a few days. Could not get on our own boat so will be on one of the other 40s. Hope to see some of you!


M4000 "Lio Kai"

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