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Old 14-06-2015, 05:29   #1
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1st time in the Caribbean

We are sailing from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean with Jimmy Cornells rally which arrives in Martinique mid December. we need to our leave our boat somewhere until March 1st. Can someone recommend a safe place to leave her? a marina within a range of 200-300 miles would be fine. Cheers Colin
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Old 14-06-2015, 07:32   #2
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

Enjoy the odyssey, we loved it! Le Marin marina in Martinique is as good as anywhere. In the water is very protected and there's a haulout yard nearby if you prefer leave it out of the water. There's not a lot of options north of Martinique, but south st lucia also has protected in the water and haul out facilities. Le Marin is pretty cheap in the water and decent security.
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Old 14-06-2015, 08:26   #3
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

...arrives in Martinique mid December. we need to our leave our boat somewhere until March 1st...a marina within a range of 200-300 miles would be fine...

300 miles N or S of Martinique pretty much covers the whole eastern Caribbean chain so for 'out of hurricane-season' berths the Caribbean's your lobster and with the exception of St Lucia around Christmas - when the ARC arrives - you should find berths available in any of them, so pre-booking is not a necessity and there's not even a substantial difference in costs throughout most of the islands.

What are you plans after March 1st? In the great scheme of things, look at where best suits your preferred air-flights and where you actually want to sail, then choose a marina berth (or mooring buoy?) location to suit. From north to south there are what I consider secure berths to be had in St Martin(both sides), Antigua, Guadeloupe, Isle de Saintes, Martinique, St Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad - there are buoys/berths on several other islands too, but I'd not be comfortable leaving my boat unattended on any of them for an extended period
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Old 14-06-2015, 08:49   #4
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

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Originally Posted by bobnlesley View Post
...arrives in Martinique mid December. we need to our leave our boat somewhere until March 1st...a marina within a range of 200-300 miles would be fine...

300 miles N or S of Martinique pretty much covers the whole eastern Caribbean chain so for 'out of hurricane-season' berths the Caribbean's your lobster and with the exception of St Lucia around Christmas - when the ARC arrives - you should find berths available in any of them, so pre-booking is not a necessity and there's not even a substantial difference in costs throughout most of the islands.

What are you plans after March 1st? In the great scheme of things, look at where best suits your preferred air-flights and where you actually want to sail, then choose a marina berth (or mooring buoy?) location to suit. From north to south there are what I consider secure berths to be had in St Martin(both sides), Antigua, Guadeloupe, Isle de Saintes, Martinique, St Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad - there are buoys/berths on several other islands too, but I'd not be comfortable leaving my boat unattended on any of them for an extended period
At the Saintes? Where? On a mooring?

St. Lucia is ok, but lots and lots of petty crime including theft from yachts. One of my least favorite of the islands for this and other reasons. Le marin, as Monte says, is not a bad option. Another very good one is Jolly Harbour, Antigua. Also St. Martin, of course. Though the latter has become a bit of a pit of late.
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Old 14-06-2015, 09:09   #5
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

It might be worth checking flights to and from the island if you're planning on leaving. I know the French Islands have pretty good deals between Paris. Dutch and English islands probably have different options. Some islands will require additional stops each way.
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Old 14-06-2015, 14:51   #6
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

Thanks for the comments to date.
Our Beneteau 423 is currently in Turkey. We leave there early July heading out of the Mediterranean. We join the Jimmy Cornelle Odyssey mid November arriving the Caribbean around mid December. We are from New Zealand so once we leave the boat in the caribbean we will fly to Miami then back to Auckland. We would like to leave the boat in a marina, somewhere safe and preferably easy to fly to miami. we have spent the last 6 years in the Mediterranean during NZs winters.
As yet we have not visited the Caribbean and have no charts, pilots etc. and
No idea where we should be going so input welcome. We will have Christmas back in nz then return to the boat March 1st to spend time sailing before putting the boat up on the hard prior to the hurricane season. Had thought might put her on the hard at Coral Cove Marina - thoughts?
cheers Colin
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Old 15-06-2015, 03:54   #7
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

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Originally Posted by kiwinz1 View Post
Thanks for the comments to date.
Our Beneteau 423 is currently in Turkey. We leave there early July heading out of the Mediterranean. We join the Jimmy Cornelle Odyssey mid November arriving the Caribbean around mid December. We are from New Zealand so once we leave the boat in the caribbean we will fly to Miami then back to Auckland. We would like to leave the boat in a marina, somewhere safe and preferably easy to fly to miami. we have spent the last 6 years in the Mediterranean during NZs winters.
As yet we have not visited the Caribbean and have no charts, pilots etc. and
No idea where we should be going so input welcome. We will have Christmas back in nz then return to the boat March 1st to spend time sailing before putting the boat up on the hard prior to the hurricane season. Had thought might put her on the hard at Coral Cove Marina - thoughts?
cheers Colin
If you are leaving the boat in the water I would recommend Jolly Harbour. Zero wake, zero swell, well managed in general. Many boats get left there in the water fairly long term. Also a good place or hurricane season, as they have good hardstanding with full steel cradles available. However of course it remains within the hurricane zone, so if you want that particular risk pretty much zeroed, then yes Trinidad makes sense.

I would personally advise strongly against any idea of cruising Venezuelan waters at present. There remains a high risk of piracy/armed robbery in that area and deaths have occurred among sailors on a regular basis in recent years. There have been attacks at sea as far North as the waters just off the South side of Grenada (Triton a few years back, with a pirogue full of 7 men armed with automatic weapons, to name at least one). Just so you are aware of this. Other higher risk areas for burglary/boarding and violence are: the Grenadines, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and certain areas of Dominica. There are others of course and all should be treated with some suspicion and care until otherwise proven. In the latter case the main problem area is off the main town at Portsmouth, though the yacht mooring field to the North of the bay there is the best place to go for that superb island, which is my favourite of all the Eastern Antilles and is a must see if in that area. Lush, full of freshwater pools and waterfalls often with hot and cold running water side by side, repleat with fruit and spice trees, it is truly a "paradise" island. Don't miss the Carib settlement (last in the Antilles), Trafalgar and Victoria falls (the former go only after 3:30 pm to avoid the crowds), and the many hot springs and waterfalls. Ignore the "emerald pool", which is crowded and not worth it. But at the end of the day, and only at night, DO NOT MISS "Screw". It is a bar and spa up the valley from Roseau towards Trafalgar and slightly South… you will not forget it, or "Screw" himself for that matter! The mooring field in the North is maintained and run by the local "boat boys" (Alexis, Cobra, James Bond etc., one of whose services you will be 'obliged' to use, but this is fine, just choose one and let the others know that is your choice: they will come to you and the system is generally to 'choose' whoever gets to you first) and while I recommend diving ANY mooring you pick up anywhere, has good equipment (as of a couple of years ago), being sand screws with good thimbled warps and seized shackles, and is protected by a 24 hour boat guard. There is constant vigilance by the boat boys in the daylight hours, and at night a patrolman in a dinghy with a powerful torch. Do not however anchor off the town to the South of this, where the check in is. I personally know two people who have been beaten and in one case stabbed there. The same applies to the main towns in the Caribbean generally, though in Barbados and some others you have no choice and indeed there is no problem in many, but a good rule of thumb. Particularly avoid anchoring alone near populated areas.

This is not to scare you, I have spent a good number of years in the Eastern Antilles with no incidents whatsoever, and indeed became quite lazy about security. But this is partly because I knew the areas where I was were safe.

I also highly recommend Barbuda. It is less visited and has the feel of a still remote island, with what I consider to be the best beaches and finest, softest sand anywhere in the world, and the best and most accessible Frigate Bird colony anywhere. Be aware, however, that there as in most areas of the Eastern Antilles the charts are poor, out of date, and innaccurate. Whatever chart set you acquire, Admiralty, CMap, Navionics or whatever you will be running with inadequate hydrographic data. In particular do not trust charted positions of reefs or even channels. For example "Spithead channel" to the North of the popular anchorage of Green Island off the East of Antigua is at least 50m off its charted position, and an attempt to navigate it at night using chartplotter will end up in the loss of your vessel or a very expensive call out of the local pirate, the Sea Pony! Assume in any general area of reef that the whole area is full of random bommies and coral heads and navigate during the main hours of daylight ONLY, with a watch kept forward at all times. Eyeball navigation is the key and time your arrivals for daylight. I regularly would come into VERY FAMILIAR anchorages at night, but this is only through long experience. It is a fools errand to try this in the EC without extreme familiarity with the local hydrographic situation borne from long experience. Neither the depths, positions of reefs or rocks, nor positions and characteristics of lights (a joke that last one!) may be trusted in any way.

I could write a book about it, but also on the recommended list are the Grenadines, Nevis, St. Eustatius, Saba, and the unmissable St. Barthelemy, for that uber elegant sartorial/dining/lifestyle experience. At the latter you will be anchoring among a mess of uberyachts. The anchorage is poor there and tricky as very very crowded, expensive (it is charged) but so worth it for a few days.

Enjoy!
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Old 15-06-2015, 04:02   #8
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwinz1 View Post
Thanks for the comments to date.
Our Beneteau 423 is currently in Turkey. We leave there early July heading out of the Mediterranean. We join the Jimmy Cornelle Odyssey mid November arriving the Caribbean around mid December. We are from New Zealand so once we leave the boat in the caribbean we will fly to Miami then back to Auckland. We would like to leave the boat in a marina, somewhere safe and preferably easy to fly to miami. we have spent the last 6 years in the Mediterranean during NZs winters.
As yet we have not visited the Caribbean and have no charts, pilots etc. and
No idea where we should be going so input welcome. We will have Christmas back in nz then return to the boat March 1st to spend time sailing before putting the boat up on the hard prior to the hurricane season. Had thought might put her on the hard at Coral Cove Marina - thoughts?
cheers Colin
One more thing: many first timers in the Caribbean make the mistake (honest enough maybe and not intentionally racist, but due perhaps to comfort zone and familiarity) of, if work is needed, drifting towards the "white faces" in the crowd of potential service providers. This is really very often a mistake. Unfortunately there is a local optimum which has allowed the situation to arise wherein the number of newcomers (particularly from the various rallies) from Europe and the US who are themselves of lighter skin and who may feel nervous (subliminally or otherwise) of using "local" skilled labour, tend to select the white face from the crowd of potential tradesmen. This fact has allowed a good number of total losers, drunks, has beens and never weres of the light skinned variety to populate the marine industry in various locations. Some of the white folk trading in marine services in the Caribbean are excellent, skilled, and honest, but many are not. In my experience the best tradesmen are usually local, and even more usually Guyanese in origin. A Guyanese of either African or Indian descent is more likely than anyone in the Caribbean to be honest, reliable, and well skilled. And on a case for case basis, it is my long term and considered experience that a white face among that crowd is overall less likely to provide the best service, and may often provide the worst. Of course there are scammers and charlatans of all stripes and races, but do not be tempted by the ex first world character solely because they are ex first world. Always ask around for reputation. Caveat Emptor.
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Old 15-06-2015, 09:59   #9
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

I did the same trip in a swan 48 in 2010. I missed the trip from Turkey across the Med, and joined the boat in Spain, just east of Gibralter. You will have a great trip. However, the ARC goes a bit early for the tradewinds...you may find yourself going much farther south, and running low on fuel, before finding some east winds to get you across the pond.

Jolly Harbour is nice. Good food supply at the Epicure Grocery store located there. Surrounded by condos. Good access to the airport...with lots of flights to miami.

If you are a yacht club member, you might also try the Antigua Yacht club located in Falmouth Harbour. Excellent club with good security.
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Old 15-06-2015, 15:18   #10
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

Thanks everyone for your replies and in particular Muckle Flugga whose response is so detailed and helpful that we may just have to track you down and follow you around!
Another useful bit of information would be to know if there is a pilot book that you could recommend. i am on my way today to Turkey from New Zealand so will be off the air for a couple of days until i reach the boat. Excitement and apprehension abounds! cheers Colin
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Old 15-06-2015, 15:33   #11
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

üA plus with matinique is that it os in the EU (French territory) which simplifies thing as you don't have to do temporary import. nice place to with good supplies. Check with the marina to see if the do a management plan where the check line, bilges batteries etc.
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Old 15-06-2015, 17:17   #12
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

I've had experience with a number of marinas/boatyards from Grenada to St Thomas, and my preference by far is Jolly Harbour on Antigua.

Look into the rates for keeping your boat in a slip versus having it hauled. For the length of time you're talking about, storage on the hard will likely be cheaper and you won't have to worry about the things that can happen when you leave a boat un-attended in the water.
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Old 15-06-2015, 17:19   #13
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

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I've had experience with a number of marinas/boatyards from Grenada to St Thomas, and my preference by far is Jolly Harbour on Antigua.

Look into the rates for keeping your boat in a slip versus having it hauled. For the length of time you're talking about, storage on the hard will likely be cheaper and you won't have to worry about the things that can happen when you leave a boat un-attended in the water.
As stated above, my thoughts exactly.
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Old 15-06-2015, 21:04   #14
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

Flight to MIA is usually easier from Tortola, St Thomas, or Grenada than from any of the French Islands or even St Martin or Antigua.

Penns Landing at Fat Hogs Bay in Tortola is a super place to leave a yacht on a mooring with easy access to Beef Island airport in Tortola or by ferry to a cheaper flight out of St Thomas.

Jolly Harbour is a good choice for a mooring or a slip

Rodney Bay marina St Lucia. Many people leave their yachts there safely.

Doublewide.
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Old 15-06-2015, 21:08   #15
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Re: 1st time in the Caribbean

Another thing to consider is where you are likely to want to be for hurricane season. If the US east coast it might be good to get some miles under he keel toward the BVIs. If Grenada or Panama then probably anywhere with decent flights as you will have time to sail south after March. If You're planning on hauling out or staying afloat in the hurricane box then check your insurance requirements for suitable locations.
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