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Our Top 5 Skipper’s Tips


Skipper’s Tips: Our Top 5!

Words by Stephen L France – adapted from Captain Louise Reardon and Captain David Blacklock

Photo by Antilles Helicopters

With September being a quiet month in the BVI – a time of peace and reflection – we decided to review the best of Skipper’s Tips from our contributor’s articles, spanning the last year.

Skipper’s Tips is a column in VIPY that has been running for several years and offers hints and skills to captains as well as anyone sailing BVI waters. In preparation for the 2014/ 2015 high season, here are VIPY’s top five favourites:

No. 5 – The All Important Annual Haul Out

“Indeed, every boat needs to come out of the water at least once a year so that you can inspect your through-hulls, cutlass bearings, shaft seals, and general watertight integrity. Take advantage of the summer haul out to get this work done. Annual boat maintenance like replacing zincs, bottom paint or exercising sea-cocks, can be conveniently done and would save later expense on an emergency haul out if anything below the waterline fails when cruising.”

No. 4 – The Catamaran Soars in Popularity!

“Even the people who prefer monohulls have moved to using catamarans on vacation and once visitors have chartered a cat, it’s unlikely they will return to a mono.

“Certainly this is the perfect vessel for family vacations as she sails flat and safe. The kids have room to play on the trampolines, imbibing while underway is smooth, the boat is incredibly easy to manoeuvre in close quarters, and all are equipped with generators to power the air conditioning. The lure is tremendous and this remains a lifestyle choice with attractive aesthetics, arguably superior to monohulls.”

No. 3 – Rendezvous Diving is the Way to Go for Sailors!


“It is the ultimate convenience when you can sail to pretty much any anchorage and the dive centre brings the boat, the equipment, and the staff to you. Escorted to the dive site, they ensure you see all the key features, correctly identify coral and fish types, navigate you safely back to the boat, and return you to your yacht after a hassle free two-tank dive. Most fortunately, dive centres run this service at no extra cost…For those non-regulars to the BVI—those who plan only a couple dives or those with less experience—Rendezvous makes sense. It also fits if you have a mixed group of certified and non-certified divers like a parents and children scenario, because the first-timers can go with an instructor if they are curious to share the event.”

No. 2 – The Most Attractive Element of the BVI

“Speaking of the abundance of islands, this is what makes the BVI special amongst its Caribbean siblings; sailors have 60 islands and cays to navigate and enjoy the intriguing libations and fresh fare afforded.”

No. 1 – The Phenomenal Efforts of Charter Yacht Crews

“The comedy arrives when trying to solve these errors while still entertaining your guests in tight quarters. You have to fix the problem, but you have to appear as if you’re not working and at the same time pulling the boat apart. Imagine that captain, awash in the bilge, hissing at crew, “go up and entertain them”, whilst just a few feet upstairs the guests sip on yet more expensive bubbly, hopefully oblivious of the work below…It is the stuff of nightmares for captains and crew of smart yachts, but if you offer an expensive charter, the boat must provide.”

Louise Reardon, Captain and RYA Yachtmaster Instructor

Louise Reardon, Captain and RYA Yachtmaster Instructor

Louise Reardon has been sailing around the globe on private yachts since 1992 and taught sailing with Offshore Sailing School on Tortola since 2006. She holds an MCA 3000 ton Masters, is a RYA Yachtmaster Instructor, US Sailing Instructor, and has a BA hons in Asian & African Geography.
Louise Reardon, Captain and RYA Yachtmaster Instructor

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