You know what they say, once you go Cat, you never go back! But is that true in our case? Hmmm…In this episode, we abandon Satori in the British Virgin Islands for a state of the art Catamaran.
In this video:
- Meet Jeff and Adrienne, Mooring’s Catamaran owners
- What is it like to own a charter boat
- See us Sailing in the British Virgin Islands
- A sneak peek at a 2017 Leopard 45 Catamaran
The Full Story of the British Virgin Islands
United by YouTube
After launching our YouTube channel, we were still in St. Petersburg Florida preparing for the big goodbye. Jeff and Adrienne live in St. Petersburg and were surprised that in one of our first videos we drove past their condo. They were sure to let us know about it, and we decided to meet for dinner and drinks one night. We became fast friends and have remained in contact. They are also loyal supports on our Patreon account. We appreciate their support, but more importantly, their friendship.
Never Sail on a Schedule
As we were making our way down across the south coast of Florida, Jeff and Adrienne invited us to spend a few days aboard their boat in the British Virgin Islands. Well, not exactly their boat, but another similar catamaran in the Moorings fleet.
It was a bit of a rush for us to get there the way the weather played out, but we arrived in Jost Van Dyke just in time to secure Satori and hop aboard the Cat for 5 days.
Owning a Charter Boat in the British Virgin Islands
We all take different paths to get to the coveted full time cruising lifestyle. Our way was to buy an old boat, fix the most important stuff and sail off in a child-like irresponsible way. Abandoning our jobs, friends, and family. Ok, we made sure we had most of our ducks in a row for at least a couple years of being “pretend retired”, but there is always a chance we end up back in the real world with real jobs.
Jeff and Adrienne are taking a different approach. Jeff and Adrienne are in a financial position to buy a nice boat, but they don’t have the time required to cruise full time. They decided to buy a Catamaran through the Moorings charter company in the British Virgin Islands. In the video, they explain this well, but in a nutshell, they buy the boat by making a down payment and securing the loan.
The Moorings adopts their boat into their fleet of charter boats and ultimately rents it out in the British Virgin Islands. In exchange, the Moorings takes care of all related expenses and insurance, and also gives them a guaranteed monthly check. The amount is roughly enough to make their loan payment plus a little extra. They also get 12 weeks of charter time each year they can use anywhere, not just the British Virgin Islands, as long as they pay the cleaning/turnaround fee.
The BVI Loop
Jeff and Adriane have been sailing in the British Virgin Islands for a number of years and know the islands by heart. Since this was our first time, we were more than happy to simply ride along and follow their lead. Being a captain of your own boat is certainly rewarding, but it comes with a lot of responsibility.
Responsibility comes with a never-ending series of decisions that need to be made. Where to go, when to go there, what to provision, what needs to be fixed before leaving, what does the weather look like, what path to take, where to stop along the way, what to do and when we get there… wash, rinse, repeat.
It was so nice to show up in this beautiful cruising grounds with people that knew all the good spots. Being on an almost brand new Cat was great, but sitting back and letting them make all the decisions was the real vacation!
The video is slightly out of order, but here is the route and stopping points of our trip in the British Virgin Islands:
Jost Van Dyke to Trellis Bay (British Virgin Islands):
We left Satori in Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke while we jumped aboard the 2017 Leopard 45 for five days. Trellis Bay on Tortola took a major hit by Hurricane Irma. This is one of Jeff and Adriann’s favorite spots to stop, so we decided to do a drive by and see the condition of the bay. This trip was in May of 2018 (yes, I know we are a year behind), so much of the wreckage was still there.
Trellis bay to Scrub Island: We Grabbed a mooring for the night and made our way over to the fancy Marriott resort restaurant. It was a little more high end than what we were looking for, but it’s all that was open. We even snuck Arthur in with his super sneaky backpack. In his bag, he rarely makes a sound, so we can usually get him in anywhere.
Scrub Island to The Baths (British Virgin Islands):
We were up at the crack of dawn to get a mooring close enough to The Baths that we could swim up. Most people come late morning, so we basically had it to ourselves.
The Baths to Leverick Bay:
From The Baths on Virgin Gorda, it’s a short sail up the coast to the north side of the island. Leverick Bay is a large protected bay with space to anchor, plenty of moorings, a marina, and a few places in town to grab dinner and drinks.
Leverick Bay to Anegada (British Virgin Islands):
It takes half a day to sail up to Anegada, a low lying island well north of the rest of the BVI. It’s more reminiscent of the Bahamas than the Virgins. We had lunch and hung by the pool at the Anegada Beach Club, walked the north shore down to Cow Wreck Beach where we had a few drinks, then took a taxi (pick-up truck) back down to the mooring field. There are a number of restaurants by the mooring fields that all claim to have the best lobster. Lobster it is!
Anegada to Cane Garden Bay (British Virgin Islands):
After a pleasant sail south back to Cane Garden Bay on Tortola, we took a walk through town to the Callwood Rum Distillery. We had to get a taste and buy a bottle of the famous “Panty Dropper” rum. To be honest, the rum isn’t that good, but it’s a fun place to visit.
Cane Garden Bay to Jost Van Dyke (British Virgin Islands):
It was a nice leisurely ride back to Jost to pick up Satori. As we approached Great Harbour, our 44-foot monohull was dwarfed by a sea of giant catamarans.
Jost Van Dyke to Normans Island (British Virgin Islands):
We hopped back aboard Satori and sailed alongside Jeff and Adrian down to Normans Island, the previous home of the famous Willy-T. The Willy-T didn’t make it through Irma and was washed ashore. The new Willy-T relocated to Peters Island after our time in the BVI, damn!
Catamaran vs Monohull
Before sailing on the Cat, I had this idea that I would not like it, the sailing part that is. I was pretty sure I’d love the accommodations, and both Kelly and I loved it! But I had heard all the horror stories about the uncomfortable motion, inability to sail to weather, and the wave “slapping” under the bridge. I understand that we were in a very “easy” sailing environment, but I now don’t understand the Cat vs. Monohull heated debates.
For us, it was a very pleasant experience all around. I love Satori, but I had a great time aboard the Leopard. Perhaps that is a testimony to the Leopard brand, or maybe just a bunch of grumpy salts ragging on the new way of doing things. Kind of like the old Ski vs Snowboard rivalry. (that’s a reference for my northern peeps). If I had the money and opportunity to buy a catamaran, I would give it some serious thought. Sorry Satori, I still love you.
This was such a great experience. Getting to know our friends, sailing on a beautiful catamaran, and exploring the British Virgin Islands. For some, this is the vacation of a lifetime. For us, this was one of many stops on the tour. Its moments like this that make us feel so blessed to have these kinds of friends and opportunities.
Previous Episode – It’s not easy! Sailing from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands
Suggested Post – Crossing the Mona Passage: The Scary Truth
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Intro Song – Carribean Cuisine 4 – Magnus Ringblom
Ending Song – Figure It Out – Daniel Gunnarsson
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Full Audio Transcript of the included video.
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