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					Sailing the BVI? Don't Be a Dingy With
Out Your Dinghy

boat charter bvi
In the British Virgin Islands, the sea and its many pleasures are never
far away. Islands of all sizes dot the crystal blue waters, creating one of
the world's most varied and beautiful sailing grounds. Dozens of
charter boats from bare boats to luxury crewed yachts cruise the waters
offering a myriad of ways for sailing the BVI. The many delights of
visiting the islands' peaceful anchorages, beach bars and waterside
restaurants are easily accessible, but unless you plan to swim ashore,
you will need to use the inflatable dinghy that comes with your charter.
By being smart how you use it, the dinghy can be a source of great fun
while sailing the BVI. Check It Out Before You Leave
If you have chartered a sailboat before, you know that an employee
from the charter company will spend considerable time during the boat
briefing going over your yacht, but perhaps make only a passing
comment like, "Dis your dinghy, mon." Although in most cases, "dis
dinghy" is fine, it can be extremely frustrating to be a few hundred
yards from an onshore paradise only to find the outboard motor will
not work or you have a leaky dinghy. Instead of ruining a perfectly
wonderful vacation, it is a good idea to check your dinghy out before
you leave the charter base.
The first thing to do is to start the outboard motor and make sure the
engine is not faulty. Ask the boat briefer if the outboard has any quirks
or idiosyncrasies you should know about before starting it up. Make
sure there is plenty of gasoline in the tank. Although there are different
kinds of dinghies in service, most charter companies in the BVI will use
the inflatable type. Make sure it is properly inflated and that you have
an air pump on the boat and know where it is.
boat charter bvi
Other equipment you must have for the dinghy includes a small dinghy
anchor, some sort of bailing bucket, and paddles/oars. Although not
necessary in the BVI, padlocks and steel cables may also be supplied if
you are in an area where dinghies can disappear. Check to make sure
the painter is in good shape and not overly frayed. The painter is a long
rope (usually plastic so it floats) that attaches to the bow of the dinghy
and is used for either towing it behind your boat or tying the dinghy to
a dock. It is also important to make sure there is some sort of safety line
between the dinghy hull and the outboard in addition to the outboard
clamps. Finally, before you cast off, make sure the outboard motor is
securely fastened to the transom of the dinghy or on the motor mount
in the aft of your sailboat. Towing Your Dinghy
Before you do anything, make sure you remove all extra gear (like
snorkel equipment, towels, sandals, etc.) from the dinghy because it will
never survive the passage! Whenever you are casting off, docking up to
a pier, preparing to pick up or drop a mooring ball or setting or raising
the anchor, make sure to shorten the painter line so it will not foul up
in the boat propeller while you are maneuvering. A good distance is to
have the dinghy close enough that it almost touches the stern of the
boat. Once you are free and clear of the dock, anchor or mooring ball,
you can let the dinghy drop back approximately 10-15 feet behind the
stern of your sailboat. The painter tends to be slippery because of the
plastic coating. Therefore, it is very important to make sure it is
properly and tightly cleated off with a cleat hitch. In addition, I usually
like to take a couple wraps around the stern cleat once the hitch is
complete. If you are underway, it is very important to never entirely
remove the painter from the cleat.

				
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Description: In the British Virgin Islands, the sea and its many pleasures are never far away. Islands of all sizes dot the crystal blue waters, creating one of the world's most varied and beautiful sailing grounds. Dozens of charter boats from bare boats to luxury crewed yachts cruise the waters offering a myriad of ways for sailing the BVI. The many delights of visiting the islands' peaceful anchorages, beach bars and waterside restaurants are easily accessible, but unless you plan to swim ashore, you will need to use the inflatable dinghy that comes with your charter. By being smart how you use it, the dinghy can be a source of great fun while sailing the BVI.