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Cruising locations - Info, cautions and "can't miss" anchorages.

We are bare-boating a 45' cat in January. We are looking for suggestions for great anchorages, great food, caution spots, etc. We love to party, but we also enjoy basking in the sun at beautiful locales. SUGGESTIONS PLEASE!!! Thanks, Mike

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Where are you picking up the boat?

Joe Murray
Hey Joe......Nice last name! We are sailing out of St. Thomas Harbor and were trying to decide whether to go clockwise around the north side of the island and then south, or just head south from St. Thomas and start hitting the hot spots. Are you familiar with the area? What do you sail? Any great night spots with secure moorings that we shouldn't miss? Thanks for the response.
Mike
If you go clockwise around st thomas you will have a nice downwind trip to the west and then beat yourself silly trying to get to Magens Bay if you are lucky and then roll around there as it is a North side anchorage. Your charter company will have good ideas for you, for places to avoid because they are bad anchorages. All along the north side of st john are good, secure and inexpensive (USD 15 per night) moorings, you cannot anchor because it is National park. spend the money on a Cruising Guide, it is well worth it.
Are you chartering from CYOA by any chance?
BVI Yacht charters.
Coming out of St. Thomas is sort of a shame. Other than excellent provisionin g opportunities, everything is upwind.

As you exit the harbor, head upwind to Great St. James Island. Most likely you must motor - but it gets the worst of the head winds behind you. It is about a 2.5 hour trip East of Charlotte Amalie - so it should be your first stop. Good snorkeling, good anchorage, and little noise - a good first stop.

From that point, I'd skip the circle route - it is for tourists - maximize your sailing and go a little to windward each day. Save Cruz Bay for the last night, reach North out of Pillsbury Sound and keep Thatch cay on your port hand - an easy reach at good speed during prevaling winds. Take the Middle Passage unless you are very experienced.

Continue North to the lee size of Great Tobago - watch King Rock about 1/4 mile South, but there are no other problems. Anchor on the lee (West) side of Great Tobago and enjoy a great lunch/swim.

After lunch, you have a choice - you can beat East thru Thatch Island Cut for a night in Soaper's Hole or hid into Foxy's on Yost Van Dyke.

The next day is faced with more choices - if you want to sail and were at Foxy's, reach back past Tortola's West End and over to the wreck of the Rhone for some more diving. If you are divers, have one of the local dive operators meet you.

Later in the day,

Then it gets harder - you are 1/2 way "up" Drakes channel - informal food on Cooper or fine Dining on Peter.

At this point, you have the spirit of the thing.

But, there is one more choice you may have made at the beginning. the Spanish Virgins are less crowded and have some wonderful places to visit. down wind first and beat later . . .

Dom't mis the lobster - it is the best I've tasted and a great sail to get there. Enjoy your trip. /Stu

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