FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
QUESTION: Captain Mark and Suzanne, What makes the Virgin Islands such a popular sailing destination and is it a safe place to sail?
ANSWER: There are many reasons the US and BVI are so desirable as a sailing destination. First, the entire group of major islands can easily fit into a 25 to 30 square mile area. The whole cruising area can pretty much fit into the distance between Rock Hall and Annapolis. Sailing the Virgins is very safe because you are always just a mile or two from land. There are hundreds of anchorages, moorings, landfalls, restaurants and safe havens to choose from and you can do and see A LOT in a short period of time. Second, the waters are pristine and plenty deep, the breezes are steady and warm, the beaches are clean and inviting and there are many amenities designed for the sailing adventurer. Yacht vacationing is the number one tourism attraction in the US and BVI. There are literally thousands of pleasure boats cruising the islands during the season so there are no worries about being stranded at sea out of reach of assistance if needed. Sailing in the Virgin Islands is not to be confused with offshore passagemaking, which is a whole other story. In fact, Sailing the VI is much easier than sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. This is because the water is always deep and the harbors are usually easy to navigate using basic charts and line of sight. Each island has an abundance of moorings for visiting yachts and the people are very friendly. All sailing takes place during the daytime. There is no night sailing. Also, remember, the US Virgin Islands are part of the USA and that you are always home sweet home.
QUESTION: When is the best time to visit the Virgin Islands and are your prices the same for all months??
ANSWER: The months of November through March are the peak season for travel to the Virgin Islands. Although, hotel and resort prices skyrocket during these months, our cruises are priced way below anyone else's that you might find. We keep our prices low because we offer our winter cruises exclusively to our existing customers who sail with us in Rock Hall. We do not advertise through agencies or term charter management companies. We also limit our number of cruises so we can get back to the Chesapeake Bay in time for the summer season aboard Crab Royale.
QUESTION: $3,500 per couple seems very inexpensive for a five day sailing vacation for two. What is NOT included with this price?
ANSWER: The price does not include lunch, dinner, airfare, cab fare, marina fees (Approx $150.00), and customs and immigration fees (Approx $75.00). It is also customary to tip the mate at the end of the cruise. The price DOES include five days of day sailing from island to island, fuel, overnight accommodations, the use of all the boat's equipment, including 11' inflatable Achilles dinghy, snorkel gear and much more. A full list of equipment will be discussed in just a bit.
QUESTION: Will we need to bring a passport?
ANSWER: Yes, you will definitely need a passport.
QUESTION: What is the currency and are there ATM machines in the islands?
ANSWER: The US dollar is the currency and there are plenty of ATM's. Most credit cards are accepted at most places, but is always good to keep a decent amount of cash on hand.
QUESTION: What about meals? How does that work?
ANSWER: We provide breakfast, ice, all beverages and complimentary rum drinks. You will have plenty of opportunity to provision for lunches, snacks and whatever you might like to bring. There is a well stocked marina market in Red Hook and also at most of our destinations. We will also offer provisioning services for an extra charge. You can make a list of what you want, and we will have it stowed and iced down when you arrive. Island Girl is equipped with an amazing barbecue grill and galley. She has a refrigerator and freezer and lots of storage for provisions. We will prepare whatever you like for you. Most guests like to have dinner ashore at the unique restaurants available at each destination, but it is also nice to dine aboard. It is YOUR adventure. Let us know what your preferences are.
QUESTION: OK, what about sleeping arrangements?
ANSWER: Island Girl is designed for privacy with TWO spacious individual staterooms. Each is designed for double occupancy, one forward and one aft. There are also accomodations for two in the main salon. Island Girl has an abundance of drawer and closet space, but you will not need too many clothes. We'll get to that in a minute.
QUESTION: How about the bathroom and shower situation?
ANSWER: Island Girl has TWO spacious and well-ventilated heads, each with private entrances from the cabins. The forward head has two entries, one from the salon and one from the forward stateroom. Each head contains a shower with plenty of hot water and water pressure. There are also excellent bathroom/shower facilities ashore at the marinas and resorts that we visit.
QUESTION: Capt. Mark and Suzanne, this is sounding better all the time. What kinds of problems might arrise and how do you handle them?
ANSWER: Well, in all situations, we put safety first. Because these are adventure vacations, there are no guarantees that weather or other unplanned complications might arise. However, we work very hard to be prepared, anticipate and work around any conditions that might be a problem.
QUESTION: You mentioned weather. What is the weather usually like during the winter in the VI?
ANSWER: If there was one word to describe the weather conditions, it would be, "idyllic". The cruises take place well after hurricane and tropical storm season. The daytime temperatures are usually in the upper 70's and low 80's with lots of sunshine and warm breeze. The Virgin Islands are far enough south and east that the weather is not much affected by the cold fronts that often bring chilly weather to Florida and the Bahamas. Because the Virgin Islands are mountains, any rainfall usually consists of brief intermittent showers with the sun popping right back out after it passes.
QUESTION: What kinds of clothes should we bring?
ANSWER: Bathing attire, shorts, tee-shirts, tank tops, and other light clothing is most appropriate for day sailing. A couple nice button down shirts for the guys and sundresses for the ladies looks real nice ashore for dining. Dress is always casual in the islands.
QUESTION: How should we pack?
ANSWER: Island Girl has a hanging locker and several drawers in each of her cabins, but space on a boat is always at a premium. Pack light. People rarely need as many clothes as they bring. You will want to pack only soft luggage that can be folded and stowed after placing you clothing in the drawers and closets. You do not want to sleep with loaded bags of luggage.
QUESTION:Do you allow the guests to do any of the sailing and navigation?
ANSWER: Absolutely! This can be as much a "hands on" "learn to sail" or "practice sailing" vacation as you would like it to be. Or else, you can just relax and enjoy the experience. We're sure you will want to do it all! Remember, this is YOUR adventure and we want YOU to participate and enjoy every minute of it.
QUESTION: When will you be confirming reservations for these vacations and how will that work?
ANSWER: We will be limiting the number of cruise vacations to between eight and ten. We will begin confirming reservations in January of 2017. If you think you might be interested in joining us for a cruise, then let us know. We will place you on a priority emailing list and will keep you updated with information. When we begin confirming your dates, we will ask for a small deposit to hold your reservation. Since the availability is so limited, we will make a list in the order that the deposits are received. The deposits will be refunded if for any reason we cannot deliver, or, if you wish to cancel your reservation at any time before we get the boat down to the islands. As we get closer to cruise time, we will ask for a second payment. Then, a final payment when we sail.
PLEASE EMAIL US WITH ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE. AND LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ONE OF THESE SAILING VACATIONS.
Captain Mark and First and Only Mate Suzanne