Ideas for Sailing Season’s End
- May 1st, 2014
- in Yachting
Yachtie’s Eulogy – What do you do when sailing season ends?
Photography by Brian Duff and courtesy of BVI Yacht Sales
So you’ve bought a boat. Or, on the flipside of the coin, you haven’t sold the one you’ve been trying to shift all season long. It appears buyers never appreciate how fine a yacht is when you’re trying to sell it. But what happens in the BVI when sailing season ends?
The marinas empty out, the once thriving waterfronts and crowded beach bars become restful, and most everyone you see is a resident to the BVI.
While most sailors and tourists do not spend the warmer months in the BVI, it is evident that lots of boats spend summer over here.
The BVI is the epicentre of the yacht sales market in the Caribbean, so it’s an excellent location to trade boats. Part of the grand allure is the many services available, making it an ideal place to upgrade or refit boats during the off season.
There are a few really good boatyards which offer in-water and out-of-water storage, safe from the storm activity which although infrequent, is always a possibility. Despite the BVI’s receipt of much less storm activity than the US East Coast, boats have to be ‘put away’ or pay a higher insurance premium.
Some sailors choose to flee the region altogether, taking their boats north sailing alone, enjoying the popular ARC Rallies to Florida, the Chesapeake or the New England region for good summer sailing. Others sail close to South American to also be safe from storms.
Some even pay the increased premium to keep their boat in the water here and sail the relatively secluded BVI. Quieter in the summer months, sailors are offered isolated anchorages that in the high season—December through to May—are full of humming generators and bellowing spring break party animals. Others will haul and store in BVI on Tortola at Nanny Cay, Soper’s Hole or up in Virgin Gorda at the yard there.
What a sailor chooses for his boat has much to do with how or if he will be able to use the vessel during the summer and what type of boat it is. Some boats are not really meant for sailing in the oceans deep and are confined to this area for the year round. Others can sail anywhere they decide, and taking their floating pride and joy abroad for the summer months may present the possibility of more use of the boat than leaving her down here.
Other options include getting some work done on the boat; tackling more invasive projects during the off season means maximising useable time in best of the sailing season.
For those that want to take on big projects, having the boat on BVI Tortola can be a boon as there are more contractor options, and parts are more readily available than off island. With boat owners seeking to put boats away and do regular maintenance until next season, storing on Virgin Gorda can be perfect and saves a few bucks too.
Whatever you choose, it pays to plan ahead as reserving space to haul really needs to have happened by now. Most yards are full or approaching capacity fast in the BVI and for those sailing elsewhere, lining up crew, preparing a boat for distance sailing, and picking the best weather window take time and planning.
The best plan of all? Keep your boat in the water and sail the months where the BVI is at its most secluded. Just keep a weather eye and have a hurricane plan in place. As beautiful as the climate is here, you can still expect a storm or two in the summer months, so be prepared.