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Boaty Ball frustration! #314020
02/21/2024 07:10 PM
02/21/2024 07:10 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 47
Mill Spring, NC
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hathead Offline OP
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We spent a glorious week island hopping BVI last week, only had one issue: Boaty Ball. Specifically, I would set an alarm at 6:55 am and sign on to BB. At 0700 in Cooper, Anegada, and Great Harbor all the balls were reserved already. Or in the case of GH, one or two were open and by the time I clicked on it, gone. Even the ball we were on, the following morning it was already reserved by someone else at 0700. Am I missing something or doing something wrong? In the case of Cooper or Anegada, there are no other options. At Anegada, we anchored. Anyone have any thoughts or similar experiences?

Related note: at Cooper, although all the BB balls were reserved, there were at least 5 left vacant that night.

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Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314021
02/21/2024 07:19 PM
02/21/2024 07:19 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,027
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Online content
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You hit on the main boatyball issues. It’s a lottery. You have a much better chance of winning if you are on a high speed internet. Boat based cellular internet is not going to cut it on busy days. They also for a mere 5-600 dollars will give you the opportunity to reserve a ball before everyone else. Such a shame all this money going off island.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314022
02/21/2024 07:27 PM
02/21/2024 07:27 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
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Washington DC
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bailau Offline
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A solution in search of a problem...we try to avoid by avoiding Cooper and going to places off cycle

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: bailau] #314024
02/21/2024 08:29 PM
02/21/2024 08:29 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 363
S/V Event Horizon
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No reason to panic if you don't get BB. Half the mooring balls at Cooper are FCFS. Just get there early!

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: bailau] #314026
02/21/2024 08:39 PM
02/21/2024 08:39 PM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 288
Massachusetts USA
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Quote
A solution in search of a problem...we try to avoid by avoiding Cooper and going to places off cycle


Not to be argumentative but how is this a solution in search of a problem? Are you saying there is not a problem of having more users than balls available (in ball-only areas such as Cooper)? This may not be the optimal solution but certainly there's a problem to solve isn't there?

And yes, one could solve the problem for yourself by going somewhere else but assuming people want to go to a place like Cooper or Anegada and don't want to (or can't) anchor, there's a problem right?

The alternative is FCFS right? Doesn't THAT have its own set of problems?

As someone who hasn't had to deal with this yet - going in June - I'd be interested in hearing strategies, options for when you lose the lottery but want to stay somewhere in the area, etc.

If you (anyone) could design a system to replace Boatyball, how would it work? How should this problem be tackled?

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314028
02/21/2024 09:59 PM
02/21/2024 09:59 PM
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bailau Offline
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The problem of larger demand then supply has been there before BB....the OP hoped BB would solve that but it really didn't, did it? Even worse is getting a BB and coming to an anchorage late and then finding someone squatting on it. The owners used be on this blog and were at best disingenuous about what they were doing which did them no favors.

To be fair to BB we avoid Cooper because of poor service as well. Anegada usually isn't an issue as anchoring is easy...

The best solution we have found is to go off cycle...i.e. Anegada over a weekend by example. I use BB as proxy to see how full a harbor is at any point. By example if there are open Boaty Balls at CGB we can reasonably assume there will be FCFS open.

Hopefully as pay systems get easier the belongers will take it back...

In June it shouldn't be an issue as it is off season...

All IMHO but not a BB fan

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314029
02/21/2024 10:03 PM
02/21/2024 10:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 810
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Online content
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Keep in mind that some supposedly limited number of balls are already reserved the day before by people willing to pay an extra $570 or so to get the jump on everyone else. They are not marked as reserved as they should be, so if you pick one of those you will lose out no matter how fast you or your connection are.

Last edited by MrEZgoin; 02/21/2024 10:03 PM.

M4000 "Lio Kai"
Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314034
02/22/2024 08:53 AM
02/22/2024 08:53 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
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Washington DC
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bailau Offline
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At one point they said they only do 6 advanced reservations per week but given their lack of credibility it wouldn't surprise me if more were blocked out causing the 700 am issues...

If I used Boaty Ball would probably lock out the week as well.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314037
02/22/2024 09:47 AM
02/22/2024 09:47 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,027
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Online content
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What I don’t understand is if a ball is removed from service or locked out due to the extortion payment why does it not show on the app?

Last edited by GeorgeC1; 02/22/2024 09:48 AM.
Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314038
02/22/2024 09:57 AM
02/22/2024 09:57 AM
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And then they recently booked a ball for two (yes you read that right TWO) nights for someone in Great Harbor that had phone issues and didn’t take the ball off line so the person who reserved it via normal process arrived to find someone on their ball. We are trying to keep our itineraries anchoring friendly nowadays.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314040
02/22/2024 11:17 AM
02/22/2024 11:17 AM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 168
Chicago, IL, USA
vytis104 Offline
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The best solution for this IMHO is to be off cycle. We just finished a week and did Tuesday to Tuesday for this exact reason (oh and flights were way cheaper too). It was fantastic. Never once had a problem with BB.

Its a love hate thing. I love being able to take our time and stop for lunch or a second snorkel. I hate that some online app has invaded our time in the BVI.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: vytis104] #314046
02/22/2024 02:27 PM
02/22/2024 02:27 PM
Joined: May 2022
Posts: 18
Earth. Occasionally above.
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Skytrucker Offline
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Originally Posted by vytis104
It’s a love hate thing. I love being able to take our time and stop for lunch or a second snorkel. I hate that some online app has invaded our time in the BVI.


Agreed.
I was there in June of ‘22, my first Boaty Ball experience, I liked knowing I had a spot before heading to busy anchorages, but the 7am frenzy was a bit of a…frenzy. Though plenty of times I needn’t have reserved a ball, in June, there were often FCFS balls available late in the day. Off cycle’s a good idea, anchoring, or off season….the OP’s frustration about reserved balls going unused is valid! I’ve seen it in crowded campgrounds around the US too…I can’t find a walk-up spot, but there’s more than a few with “reserved” tags that stay empty…could BB instill some kind of “no-show” penalty? “If not occupied by Xo’clock…” But how could that be enforced? And it would negate the “slow day, we’ve got a spot” positive side if you had to race to a check-in deadline….

Everyone wants their vacation spot to be the unknown, uncrowded paradise it used to be, but the word’s out - sailing the BVI is awesome, we’re all to blame for the influx of people, and we’re all reaping the relative benefits…..

Strikes and gutters I guess….gotta take some bad with the good…


-

There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314048
02/22/2024 06:09 PM
02/22/2024 06:09 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 583
Oak Park, IL
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TomGarvey Offline
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I’ve been sailing the BVI since 2002, so the majority of my time on the water has been BB-free. There is no perfect solution, but I’d rather take my chances with all FCFS balls or anchoring than play the 7:00 am lottery and then, if I win, wonder whether I’ll have to chase a squatter off my ball. I’ve only used it three times, and once I had a squatter. Those are not good odds.


Tom Garvey
Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: TomGarvey] #314049
02/22/2024 07:47 PM
02/22/2024 07:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2019
Posts: 161
18°44'42"N 64°24'09"W
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duckfat Offline
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Originally Posted by TomGarvey
I’ve been sailing the BVI since 2002, so the majority of my time on the water has been BB-free. There is no perfect solution, but I’d rather take my chances with all FCFS balls or anchoring than play the 7:00 am lottery and then, if I win, wonder whether I’ll have to chase a squatter off my ball. I’ve only used it three times, and once I had a squatter. Those are not good odds.

I agree 100%.

BB is a money-grabbing attempt to solve a problem that simply creates more problems.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: vytis104] #314050
02/22/2024 09:18 PM
02/22/2024 09:18 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 184
Lake Tara, GA
Standrea Offline
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It hasn't invaded your time. You can choose not to use it.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: Standrea] #314051
02/22/2024 10:12 PM
02/22/2024 10:12 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,027
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Online content
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Originally Posted by Standrea
It hasn't invaded your time. You can choose not to use it.


That would be an excellent option had they not converted FCFS balls to reservation only. I never had an issue getting a ball at Cooper until boaty ball took half the balls out of circulation.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314063
02/23/2024 10:14 AM
02/23/2024 10:14 AM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 938
Georgia & South Carolina
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Deepcut Offline
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Originally Posted by hathead
set an alarm at 6:55 am and sign on to BB. At 0700 .


So in 5 minutes, you got up, signed into computer, pulled up BoatyBall , Logged in and navigated to the page, and selected desired ball....
I would suspect you got to this point sometime after 07:00:00 and thus you learned that Boaty Ball popular anchorages are usually reserved by 07:01.


I am usually up by 0630 while in BVI as I go to bed early. Have had a cup or too of Coffee and generally get the ball of my choice.If not, I arrive earlier in the day to hopefully get a FCFS ball, just as in the pre BB days.


Wes
s/v Sea Tiger (2022 Lagoon 46)
www.BareBoatBVI.com

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314081
02/23/2024 01:08 PM
02/23/2024 01:08 PM
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GeorgeC1 Online content
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I set my alarm for 6:55 for boatyball without an issue. It’s literally roll over in bed and grab my IPad. Type in boatyball, click on website, iPad auto fills sign in. Then wait 4 minutes reading the news until 7.
I will probably regret posting this but boatyball uses Coordinated Universal Time not the Atomic clock. They are about 20 seconds different. Make sure you are using the Coordinated time. That 20 seconds is a boatyball deal killer!

Last edited by GeorgeC1; 02/23/2024 01:14 PM.
Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: GeorgeC1] #314087
02/23/2024 03:06 PM
02/23/2024 03:06 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 1,358
Washington DC
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bailau Offline
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Originally Posted by GeorgeC1
I set my alarm for 6:55 for boatyball without an issue. It’s literally roll over in bed and grab my IPad. Type in boatyball, click on website, iPad auto fills sign in. Then wait 4 minutes reading the news until 7.
I will probably regret posting this but boatyball uses Coordinated Universal Time not the Atomic clock. They are about 20 seconds different. Make sure you are using the Coordinated time. That 20 seconds is a boatyball deal killer!


LOL...when it gets down to 20 seconds that is a deal killer for me...

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: Standrea] #314090
02/23/2024 03:58 PM
02/23/2024 03:58 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 583
Oak Park, IL
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TomGarvey Offline
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That’s like saying that if a freeway is turned into a tollway, it has no effect on drivers who don’t want to pay the toll, even if they now have to take a longer detour. That’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s close enough in that users and non-users are both affected.


Tom Garvey
Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314102
02/23/2024 07:15 PM
02/23/2024 07:15 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 99
Hillsborough, NC
OceanSong Offline
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I have not been a fan of BB. My wife and I live aboard and have been in the BVI and USVI since January 14th. Prior to this visit we had intentionally not used BB, preferring the old FCFS method of mooring procurement when cruising in the Virgins. In the past 100 days afloat we have anchored 85 days, moored 12 days, and spent 3 days at TMM Yacht Charters. We came to the Virgin Islands after island hopping from Grenada. All our mooring since leaving Grenada has been in either the BVI or USVI.

We decided to give BB a try after a couple of boating friends, including Deepcut, provided positive reviews. Although anchoring remains our #1 option, we have come to appreciate the convenience of BB. I have dived on numerous moorings over the years and I must acknowledge that the BB moorings are consistently well maintained. Of course, like any mooring a BB can fail. The FCFS BB option, where available, has been very convenient. BB makes the payment very easy. We are by no means “well to do” cruisers and we have to watch our money. At the same time, we can afford to stay on moorings from time-to-time. When rendezvousing with friends on the water, especially friends who are chartering, the BB option is attractive.

We have played the 7:00 am lottery 3 or 4 times and we’ve always gotten a ball (we haven’t tried at Cooper). For those on a one or two week charter, BB seems like a good option to have. The price hike for mooring balls, certainly influenced by the introduction of BB, is a negative. Still, it seems BB is here to stay and we will use it from time-to-time when it makes things easier for us or our friends.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314103
02/23/2024 07:22 PM
02/23/2024 07:22 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
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GeorgeC1 Online content
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Just to be clear with the exception of the BEYC balls all the overnight balls in the BVI are maintained by Moorsecure on the same schedule. There should be no difference in the reliability of any of the balls. The BEYC balls are maintained by the local dive shop at BEYC.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314106
02/23/2024 07:56 PM
02/23/2024 07:56 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,657
Memphis, BVI, CT
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RatmansWife Offline
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George, maybe that could be phrased a bit differently. Moor Seacure is the only company maintaining moorings in the BVI. However, there may be mooring owners who don't hire them, and therefore whose moorings aren't maintained. I wouldn't want a newbie to think that every mooring is sure to be good.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314107
02/23/2024 08:17 PM
02/23/2024 08:17 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 735
Panama City Beach, Florida
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We have been going twice a year the last few years, typically in November and March-April. We have only needed to reserve a BB in GH JVD so far. Otherwise we anchor or use the FCFS. 100% on getting a ball so far. Thankfully we haven't encountered any squatters... yet. I prefer the FCFS system.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: RatmansWife] #314109
02/23/2024 10:33 PM
02/23/2024 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by RatmansWife
George, maybe that could be phrased a bit differently. Moor Seacure is the only company maintaining moorings in the BVI. However, there may be mooring owners who don't hire them, and therefore whose moorings aren't maintained. I wouldn't want a newbie to think that every mooring is sure to be good.

With the BEYC balls as an exception all the other public overnight balls that I am aware of are moor secure. There certainly may be private balls that are not maintained. No one should be on a private ball as you have no idea what it might be anchored with or what sized boats it was designed for.

Last edited by GeorgeC1; 02/23/2024 10:33 PM.
Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: Standrea] #314680
03/02/2024 09:10 PM
03/02/2024 09:10 PM
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Posts: 2,152
Ontario, Canada
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Sure it invaded my time. before bb, they were enough mooring balls at cooper such that if I arrived early afternoon, I rarely had a problem getting a ball. Initially, all of the balls were converted to bb.


Warren S/V Scuba Doo
Lagoon 50 (winner of best crewed yacht under 55 feet at the St. Thomas crewed yacht boat show).

https://www.cyabrochure.com/ebn/2307/pdyrX/6642/4///
Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314698
03/03/2024 08:59 AM
03/03/2024 08:59 AM
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The other issue is day use. We often did a dive in the morning, went to Cooper and swapped tanks, shopped, ate and left about two. That’s no longer possible with Boaty ball. Half their reserved balls sit empty and unused until late in the day. Some go empty all night.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: GeorgeC1] #314773
03/04/2024 11:34 AM
03/04/2024 11:34 AM
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Folsom Lake, CA
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Latadjust Offline
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It must be hurting Cooper's business. For the same reasons, we go there less than 50% of the stops we used to make there, that correlates to the reduction in the number of meals and drinks ashore....oh, wait! Are we saving money?!😄

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314823
03/04/2024 06:27 PM
03/04/2024 06:27 PM
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Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Online content
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I wish they would make the ball available at 2pm instead of noon. We often pick up a BB before noon (like provisioning in Soper's).
The balls could (would) be FCFS between the time they are vacated and 2pm, which would make them more useful for a lunch stop.

Most of the time you could probably get away with staying on the BB longer since few reservation holders show up right at noon, but I never want to take the chance and be that guy.

Last edited by MrEZgoin; 03/04/2024 06:29 PM.

M4000 "Lio Kai"
Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314881
03/05/2024 05:07 PM
03/05/2024 05:07 PM
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Cap’n Rog Offline
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If no one is policing people squatting on balls they did not reserve, then the reservation process is useless - so keep the online payment and eliminate the reservation process.
First Come First Served with online payment.

I've been chartering in BVI since the 90's.
If you wanted to make sure you got a ball, you got there early.

Now, you get there and someone is squatting on your ball - and the rest are all reserved.
This is a solution causing a problem.

Hey, Boaty Ball: Eliminate reservations and keep online payment.

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: MrEZgoin] #314966
03/06/2024 07:55 PM
03/06/2024 07:55 PM
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Vail, CO/St. Thomas, USVI
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I've actually recommended to Boaty Ball that they do this. They were thinking about it but not sure why they haven't yet.


Sue
s/v Ripple
Leopard 40

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Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: MrEZgoin] #314968
03/06/2024 11:02 PM
03/06/2024 11:02 PM
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Georgia & South Carolina
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Deepcut Offline
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Originally Posted by MrEZgoin
I wish they would make the ball available at 2pm instead of noon. We often pick up a BB before noon (like provisioning in Soper's).
The balls could (would) be FCFS between the time they are vacated and 2pm, which would make them more useful for a lunch stop.

Most of the time you could probably get away with staying on the BB longer since few reservation holders show up right at noon, but I never want to take the chance and be that guy.

I think this would be a great idea.... Copper could have it's own time (2pm check in ). If you arrive 12;00 and someone is on ball you have reserved for the night, then pick up any ball and eat lunch. Could question occupant before 2pm so that he/she is not rushed to be off, but also knows they are expected to be off at 2:00pm


Wes
s/v Sea Tiger (2022 Lagoon 46)
www.BareBoatBVI.com

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314971
03/07/2024 06:43 AM
03/07/2024 06:43 AM
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Shifty Offline
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I'm curious about the enforcement mechanism. It has been my understanding that BB has people in place at each mooring field who would assist with squatters. But in truth, I really have no idea whether that's actually the case. I've only ever encountered one squatter, and when I politely
approached the folks, they graciously moved. Is it true, however, that there are actually people on site who are prepared to enforce a reservation if necessary?

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314979
03/07/2024 09:31 AM
03/07/2024 09:31 AM
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Redmond, WA
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I believe the lease holding establishment, while freed from having to collect for their ball, retain the obligation to mediate such disputes.
Only happened to us once at Cooper... an Italian monohull claiming "engine problems". We called CIBC and they let us stay on one of their private balls.

Call the establishment.


M4000 "Lio Kai"
Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: hathead] #314981
03/07/2024 09:47 AM
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GeorgeC1  Online Content
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Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,027
GA/NC
Did the engine fix itself overnight?

Re: Boaty Ball frustration! [Re: GeorgeC1] #314999
03/07/2024 01:07 PM
03/07/2024 01:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 810
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Online content
Traveler
MrEZgoin  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 810
Redmond, WA

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M4000 "Lio Kai"

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