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Old 30-09-2014, 09:23   #16
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Re: A newbie question about sailing in the Caribbean...

yes - we are bareboating and we are chartering in grenada, not st vincent. so SVG is a must, and sadly - that means customs...

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Old 30-09-2014, 09:48   #17
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Re: A newbie question about sailing in the Caribbean...

Originally Posted by ilya t View Post
When you mention crime - is it theft, or are you talking violent crime?
Serious death type dying violent crime.
I was involved, about this time last year, in the aftermath of an incident where a lady nearly had her whole face chopped off in a machete attack at Union Island.

I really dont think someone who doesn't know the area should go withing miles of Union Island or any place the people here consider it unsafe.

Hurt and pain when it comes to some people is not a small punch in the head...

yes - we are bareboating and we are chartering in grenada, not st vincent. so SVG is a must,
I dont understand this statement.
St Vincent IS SVG.
You do not have to go to St Vincent at all. Theres many beautiful places in Grenada and Carriacou for a week charter or a month. Some people have been there for years.

There is just no reason to say "must". The only "must" is you MUST keep for friends and crew safe. they are going for a holiday.


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Old 30-09-2014, 10:30   #18
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Re: A newbie question about sailing in the Caribbean...

It's been I few years since I sailed down there; here's what I remember:

1) If you haven't sailed the Caribbean, it's all good. After you've been around you can decide for yourself what you like better.

2) BVI is not the ultimate sailing destination; it is a fantastic place for beginning bareboaters. And partiers.

3) St. Martin and St. Bart's can be considered European resorts. Which is not necessarily bad, but no local flavor. Great food and nightlife. St Bart's is snooty and ridiculously expensive. They clearly don't want riff-raff like me there.

4) Bahamas is not the Caribbean and is a totally different experience. If you are favoring Grenada, scratch the Abacos off your list, for now.

5) St Lucia is pretty and I enjoyed the Petit Piton hike, but other than that the locals had an attitude that made me glad to leave. We enjoyed the passage between SV and SL, both directions.

6) You really aren't going to experience much local culture anywhere. You will be seen as a rich tourist, not a fellow citizen. BUT: you might want to hire a local guide to take you around inland on one of the larger islands, like Grenada. You'll still be a tourist, but you'll see things that people who stay close to the anchorages don't see.

7) The diving is good just about everywhere, if you love diving. If you are jaded enough to need only the most spectacular reefs, then you already know where to go. When I chartered from Grenada, we brought our own gear, except tanks. We rented tanks in Grenada and got them filled as we worked our way north. We dove a lot, but only once with a guide. If there was a law requiring hiring a dive guide back then, we didn't know about it. I imagine the dive shops would have told us. The guided dive was the least enjoyable on that vacation, but my all time favorite dives were with guides, so I'm not against guides per se, and we may have missed the best dives in the area. Take into account all the vacation time you'll spend getting your tanks to a dive shop, hoping the shop is open, waiting for the tanks to be filled (on island time), lugging the tanks back to your dinghy, getting back to your boat, sailing to your dive spot, anchoring, yada, yada. Then consider that a dive service will come to your boat with full tanks, wisk you to a great spot, and deliver you back to your boat, albeit expensively.

8) For a seven-day trip don't plan on going very far or have a packed itinerary. Grenada to St. Lucia and back is too far. If you had three weeks, I'd give you different advice. We took a week to get to St. Lucia (too hurried) and almost three weeks to get back to Grenada (about right, but could've been much longer). We sailed everywhere because the engine in our boat was a POS. For me and my friends, at least one layover day per week is very welcomed.
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Old 30-09-2014, 12:42   #19
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Re: A newbie question about sailing in the Caribbean...


I know that St Vincent is a part of SVG.

We are renting and returning the boat in Grenada, not in St Vincent or any part of SVG.

We would like to spend a large portion of our time cruising SVG area, so - because we pick up the boat in Grenada, we will have to cross the border twice... hope this makes more sense...

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Old 30-09-2014, 12:49   #20
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Re: A newbie question about sailing in the Caribbean...

Jwing - thank you! Very helpful.

We did pick Grenada and are set on it now as we already chartered the boats... BVI did strike us as something a little different...

We are not planning to go all the way to St Lucia.
I was thinking going from Grenada up to Bequia and back down.
Probably not even hitting St Vincent.

What were your favorite spots to anchor and your favorite spots to dive?

Did you encounter any issues with safety / crime?

Thanks again.
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Old 30-09-2014, 13:07   #21
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Re: A newbie question about sailing in the Caribbean...

Given the choice between the BVIs and the Windwards, I prefer the Windwards...for the sailing, the people, the whole shebang. Don't get me wrong, I love the BVIs as well, but the Windwards just have a different feel to them and I prefer it.

Crime is an issue everywhere, and the fact that one person got their face slashed with a machete on one island does not make it necessarily any less safe than other places if you exercise some common sense and prudence. Perhaps years of living in NYC, South Philadelphia, and DC influence my perspective. People say you're crazy to go to Gros Islet on a Friday night for jump up but I've been a few times and have never felt uncomfortable. Would I send my parents there? Probably not.

All that said, I would stick to the smaller islands between Grenada and St. Vincent. Bequia is an absolute delight and Tobago Cays is a wonderful place to explore. The smaller islands with better developed tourism businesses are safer, while the larger islands that have large inland areas of no interest to tourists, and precious few natural resources, tend to be where the crime is focused. And they are less interesting places, too.

Motoring upwind from Grenada is not going to be pleasant. You could well be steaming into 15-20 knots and uncomfortable seas, and you're looking at burning 24 hours of your time, at least. How much more would it have been to pick up in St. Vincents and drop off in Grenada?
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Old 30-09-2014, 13:19   #22
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Re: A newbie question about sailing in the Caribbean...

Thank you Suijin

In the end it was a choice between Grenada/SVG and BVI and we picked Grenada/SVG. Done deal at this point.

We have a fair amount of experience cruising, as well as traveling the world - including some underdeveloped countries... So we are not novice travelers or sailors. I figured if Moorings/Sunsail have a base there, and lots of people go, it has to be safe enough...
I do want to avoid problem areas of course and I'm not looking for trouble.

Both - Bequia and Tobago Cays are on our list for sure.
What other places would you suggest?
What places would you suggest to avoid? Of the big islands betwen Grenada and StVincent, there are only Bequia (which you liked), Union island, and Carriacou (both of which we have to visit to clear customs)...
How bad is the customs procedure? Or is it pretty quick and simple?

I know that beating into the wind will not be fun... How else would you do this? We have 7 days/7 nights and must start and finish in Grenada.

We did not have an option to charter in St Vincent. We did have an option to charter in St Lucia, but the charter rate was $1000 extra per boat (we have 2 boats), and our airfare was getting much more complicated and expensive...

Thanks again!

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