Sailors have long been known to frequent St. Martin for the endless beaches and combination of French and Dutch culture. Charter boat clients love the options for anchorages around the island. It’s proximity to St. Barth and Anguilla make St. Martin the perfect starting and stopping point for charter boat captains who want a different experience than what can be found in the British Virgin Islands. The Caribbean culture is more subdued and the French influence plays a role in your provisioning.
You might be daydreaming about a sailing vacation so we have put together a resource to help you plan your next great sailing adventure.
Whether you have just begun to sail and have recently earned your ASA 101 certification or if you have already mastered ASA 114 and are a veteran of bareboat charters this resource should help you. There is something for everyone here with information on flotillas, sailing education courses, and bareboat charters.
Dinghies are an integral part of sailing for the charter customer or for the cruiser who hopes to step onto shore once they reach their desired destination. However, do you know the rules and the etiquette that are the best practices with regards to dinghy use?
Those sailors who have earned ASA 103 and ASA 104 certifications have learned about best practices when utilizing dinghies but it is always a good idea to brush up on what you should and should not do when operating a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RIB) or a dinghy.
Before Your Charter Begins:
Inspect your dinghy. You are ultimately responsible for the safe operation of the dinghy and the safety of your passengers is the captain’s responsibility.
Low inflation or excessive water inside may indicate a potential problem.
Make sure the painter, the line for securing and towing the dinghy, is properly tied to the boat.
Check the drain plug and make sure that it is securely in place.
Check the outboard motor and make sure it is firmly attached to the transom. Is there a lock? Do you have the key?
Check the fuel line and make sure it starts with ease. Does the outboard shift into gear, both forward and reverse?
Check for lights. A powered dinghy is required to have lights. If lights are not present ask the charter company to supply them.
Is there a type 4 Throwable PFD on board?
Are there two oars?
Operating the Dinghy:
You should always be familiar with the operation of the dinghy before you embark on your charter. Practice before you have passengers and take some time to get used to its feel.
Clip the outboard motor emergency stop to your wrist or clothing.
Use extra caution if the dinghy has a powerful motor. Too much applied at the wrong time can flip a lightweight inflatable.
Take care in waves. Find an angle to the waves and speed at which the boat and crew are comfortable.
When returning to the sailboat make the approach into the current or wind, so they help stop you, not whisk you away.
When operating a dinghy after sunset you MUST have lights. A forward-facing light is important for oncoming traffic and a rear-facing light allows approaching vessels to spot you.
A Few Important Things to Remember:
No wake zone within mooring fields
No wake zone in designated anchorages
Stay within marked channels (when they are marked)
Nav lights at night are required (dingy included)
More Dinghy Tips
When towing the dinghy and stopping to anchor or pick up a mooring, be sure to bring the dinghy alongside the boat in order to prevent fouling a prop with the painter.
When towing a dinghy experiment to find its best position. Generally, the longer the towline the smoother the tow – about five to six dinghy lengths seems to work well.
Never attempt a beach landing in surf of any size. Even if you don’t flip the dinghy going in to shore you might not make it back out again.
Secure your dinghy. Utilize a locking mechanism wherever possible. A stolen dinghy is an easy way to ruin a vacation.
Considering a sailing vacation is often just a far off fantasy for plenty but once you obtain the confidence through your sailing education it feels like a charter boat is that much closer to becoming a reality.
Have you obtained ASA 101, ASA 103, and ASA 104? Are you confident in your ability to head out and bareboat charter?
The British Virgin Islands are a famously popular spot for bareboat charters in the Caribbean. In fact, more ASA students choose the BVI as their destination of choice than any other charter destination.
After you have obtained your ASA 104 certification and you want to head to the British Virgin Islands for a bareboat charter, how are you going to fill your itinerary? We have a few ideas of things to do in the British Virgin Islands on your sailing vacation.
Getting aboard your bareboat charter is the goal when you get your ASA sailing certifications. Where do you begin? For many, it is a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands so we decided to share a couple of itineraries with you to help in your planning process. If you are ready to charter a bareboat excursion, this is a good way to start. If you are thinking about expanding your sailing knowledge and need a carrot dangled out in front of you, this is it.
Typical sailors who have taken ASA 101, ASA 103, and ASA 104 begin thinking about a sailing vacation, and we just want to help you get underway.
Sail the British Virgin Islands on a Bareboat Charter.
As if you need another reason to drop anchor in St. Barth we suggest these five reasons to sail your bareboat charter boat to this gem of an island that is the South of France in the heart of the Caribbean. Close your eyes and you’ll hear France all around you, lift a fork and you’ll taste the cuisine and walk through the luxury shopping boutiques and you’ll swear you are on the Champs Elysee. Caribbean vibe meets French culture all with a hint of island style and you get luxurious St. Barth.
You don’t need a megayacht to have a good time in St. Barth, but it doesn’t hurt.
So you are ready for the big bareboat sailing vacation. All of your certifications are in order and you cannot wait to toss the lines, raise the sails and embark on a sailing vacation where you are the captain.
That is the ultimate goal of the American Sailing Association, to get sailors out on the water sailing safely and confidently in all conditions. A great charter experience is truly the reward of a superior sailing education.
So before you go, take a look at a few of our last minute tips to keep in mind as you set off for your dream trip.