The Moorings has a long-standing relationship with the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) – an organization that supports the interest of recreational boaters. In 2014, we partnered for the first time to create the annual BoatU.S. Flotilla, which invites members to come together in a beautiful destination, mingle and of course get out on the water!
Here’s the latest recap:
Our 6th annual BoatU.S. Flotilla in the enchanting British Virgin Islands – this year spearheaded by Captain Dunbar, Tina Huewe (The Moorings Marketing), and Terese Kerrigan (Social Media Manager) – presented once again a superb week on the water. We love that our flotillas bring people from all walks of life together with at least one common interest – their boats! Over the week we discovered that we had more than one thing in common and shared many interesting stories about jobs, travels, children, parties, and boating!
Our fun-filled Welcome Cocktail night at the Tortola base showed us early on that we had an excellent group of people to discover “Nature’s Little Secrets” together in the week to come.
Participants used the next morning for final preparations and received a more detailed briefing from Captain Dunbar before we all headed out to our first stop — Cooper Island. Here many of our participants had the opportunity to grab the first mooring ball in their lives. And many succeeded on their first try. Well done!
This year we also tested a new mooring ball reservation service, called “Boaty Ball”, for the first time and found out that reserving a mooring in paradise has its advantages and disadvantages.
However, at each stop of our itinerary, Captain Dunbar made sure that all participants had a safe mooring ball or anchorage for the night; hopping into his dinghy and lending a helping hand where necessary.
At Cooper Island Beach Club we enjoyed the variety of refreshment options its own on-site brewery, rum bar, restaurant, boutique, and coffee shop provide and some of our participants took their dinghy and equipment to close-by Cistern Point for their first snorkeling adventure of the week.
Next came a breathtaking stop at The Baths. It’s always advisable to get there early. As usual, the dinghy line separating the cruising area from the swimming/snorkeling area was well-made use of that day. All participants climbed through the huge boulders and ventured up and down the marked path and wooden ladders, through the natural pools to Devil’s Bay to be rewarded with a beautiful little beach setting. Many opted for lunch at “Top of the Baths”, where the views are amazing.
In the early afternoon, we continued onwards to Leverick Bay in the North Sound. At the fully functional marina guests stocked up on ice and water and we ended the day with an evening group dinner at the upstairs restaurant. While no one was brave enough to hit the stage for dancing at this stop we sure enjoyed the excellent food and drinks in the company of our favorite cruising companions.
The next morning, we set out to the BVI’s most northern island – Anegada, which was certainly one of the highlights of our week. Our Flotilla members had the whole day to explore the island on their own. Taxis, scooters, bikes, and jeeps are readily available. The long, deserted beaches at Cow Wreck Beach and Loblolly Beach provided some first-class photo and beach walk opportunities besides their popular bars/restaurants. The famous Anegada lobster ensured an unforgettable dining experience in the shine of a big bonfire at Potters By The Sea. As the evening progressed we also discovered that we had some talented limbo dancers in our group …
On the way from Anegada to Cane Garden Bay, some participants opted for a quick snorkeling stop at The Dogs, another one of the BVI’s many famous unique underwater sites. Quiet waters in our overnight destination invited many to make use of their rented SUPs and kayaks that evening. The next morning there was an opportunity for some last-minute provisioning or a visit to the Callwood Distillery. Dating back to the sixteen hundreds, the Callwood Distillery is the oldest still-functioning distillery in the Caribbean producing a variety of rum from the locally grown sugar cane.
A quick ride west the next day and we were infamous Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke, home of “Foxy’s Tamarind Bar”. We made sure to get there early and catch a mooring ball, only to then take our dinghies and cruise around the bend to neighboring White Bay for a visit to the Soggy Dollar Bar, Hendo’s Hideout, Seddy’s One Love, Gertrudes, and the many other beach bars that line this beautiful stretch of sand. One member even opted to visit White Bay’s swimming spa and says it was the best massage he’s ever had in his life. Which sounds like something I should add to my bucket too.
“Foxy’s” in Great Harbour was busy that evening but many of our Flotilla participants were happy to just relax on their boats that night, to make use of their provisioning, and to mentally prepare for yet another BVI highlight ahead of them.
The last leg of our journey took us to Peter Island, where a world-famous swimming bar was moored back then.* – Yes, you guessed it, some brave souls set out to conquer “The Willy T” and enjoyed some good bar food, memory-making, and of course jumping along the way! Thus, satisfied to have seen and enjoyed this iconic landmark we headed over to Norman Island with snorkeling stops at the well-known Indians (still my personal favorite) or the Caves before finding a quiet little spot in The Bight for our last evening in the BVI.
The pleasant interior design of the Pirate’s Bight Restaurant and its upscale but relaxed atmosphere was a wonderful finish for the 2019 Flotilla.
None of our almost 40 participants owned a boat the size of their charter vessels, but all of them got used to their new vacation platforms quickly and the presence of our experienced lead flotilla skipper Captain Dunbar gave everyone enough confidence to throw themselves into this new adventure. Cruising in the Caribbean is different from the lakes and rivers most of our BoatU.S. Members call home, but the British Virgin Islands with their short sailing distances and line-of-sight navigation is an excellent cruising ground for first-timers.
We hope to see everyone on the water again soon and look forward to welcoming some new BoatU.S. Members next year around too! Come with us, it’s fun!
Here’s what some past BoatU.S. Flotilla guests had to say about their experience:
“Beautiful weather, beautiful beaches, beautiful sunrises, and sunsets! A wonderful time with great friends and the peace of mind of having a lead boat to lend a hand and show the way. Such a wonderful vacation!”
– Sue M., BoatU.S. Flotilla 2019
“We enjoyed meeting everyone, and appreciate your excellent service and attention. We will be back!”
– Mike V., BoatU.S. Flotilla 2018
“Our flotilla leader Dunbar was a long time Moorings captain (21 years) and was terrific. …You couldn’t ask for a nicer or more capable leader. And at the beginning, I had many things to ask, and was not too adept at the helm. The itinerary included 6 separate overnight mooring locations at different islands and although there were only 5 boats in the flotilla, we all had a terrific time.”
– Edward M., BoatU.S. Flotilla 2017
“This trip was the trip of a lifetime that we were fortunate enough to share with 6 very special friends of ours. The beauty of the islands and water, the people we met along the way, the food and drinks, as well as all the laughter shared and time spent together on our beautiful boat, No Worries cannot be expressed enough in this note. The boat accommodations and the itinerary that you put together was top notch; everything certainly surpassed all our expectations!”
– Don C., BoatU.S. Flotilla 2015
“This flotilla has been such a fantastic adventure! Better than we ever hoped for. Hate that it’s winding down, knowing the reality check is coming soon; but all good things must end. You did a wonderful job putting this flotilla together! It was such a great idea, as we never would have attempted this trip on our own. You took good care of us! Thank you for patience — and for making it all possible!”
– Rick and Suzi D., BoatU.S. Flotilla 2014
*Note: At time of writing the Willy T’s has now returned to its usual location at Norman Island.
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