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Old 11-02-2019, 01:35   #1
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Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

We’ll be heading down to the Caribbean this Fall/Winter of 2019/2020 and would like some advice on which cruising guide books might be the most helpful. I noticed two on Amazon both by author Stephen Paulidis, one titled “Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands,” and the other “Cruising Guide to the Windward Islands.” Do these guides offer a good overview, or do the folks currently cruising these areas prefer others?

In some ways, we use the guide books to help avoid crowded anchorages; we sort of look to find the popular spots... then anchor someplace uncrowded nearby.

Many thanks in advance.

Ken
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:24   #2
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

Most anchorages are crowded .
I don't know about the guides but active captain on a navionics tablet will solve tmtour questions about busy anchorages .

Guides are good to have but I don't think are needed for this part of the world .
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:41   #3
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

Anchorages are crowded everywhere. Seems to be the same story in the Med and anywhere else worth going. Normally guides are useful for information about the substrate, protection, facilities etc.. Mostly when you don't have a decent internet connection and can't use something like cruiserwiki.

I find Navionics community data mostly useless, as in the Med (can't speak to the Caribbean) it has mostly been filled out by tiny day boats.
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:49   #4
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

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Anchorages are crowded everywhere. Seems to be the same story in the Med and anywhere else worth going. Normally guides are useful for information about the substrate, protection, facilities etc.. Mostly when you don't have a decent internet connection and can't use something like cruiserwiki.

I find Navionics community data mostly useless, as in the Med (can't speak to the Caribbean) it has mostly been filled out by tiny day boats.
It's useless but up to date and works offline .

About the med Greece has uncrowded anchorages.
The trick to be remote is to go away of the flock and following a guide won't lead you there.
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:54   #5
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

Ken, while I cannot offer any experience or input on those books, I can tell you this is Capta's cruising and charter grounds. He might be very willing if asked to give you some very good input on the Leeward's and Windward's. You just have to catch him while he has cell and internet reception.
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:33   #6
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

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Ken, while I cannot offer any experience or input on those books, I can tell you this is Capta's cruising and charter grounds. He might be very willing if asked to give you some very good input on the Leeward's and Windward's. You just have to catch him while he has cell and internet reception.
Thanks much for the offer, I’ll definitely be in contact and hope to meet up with you.
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:37   #7
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

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It's useless but up to date and works offline .

About the med Greece has uncrowded anchorages.
The trick to be remote is to go away of the flock and following a guide won't lead you there.
We’ve developed our own method for having the guide book and Navionics work to our advantage. It tells us where the majority of the people are, then we go to where they aren’t.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:17   #8
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

I have been up and down the Windward and Leeward Islands a couple times these past three years. Love the guide books for the general layout, customs & immigration times/locations and a peek into some very interesting history that lends to a greater appreciation of where you are. Doyle is the author of one of the ones I have. I carry paper charts as well for the whole area (though I don't know how I ended up with and extra set... anybody interested? -S
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:26   #9
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

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We’ve developed our own method for having the guide book and Navionics work to our advantage. It tells us where the majority of the people are, then we go to where they aren’t.

===


It's true that using the cruising guides to find an anchorage will lead you to crowded harbors. The guides are useful for locating resources however, things like fuel, dinghy docks, groceries, boat supplies, repair facilities, etc. We usually like to have two different guides for every area. For the Carib that is typically Chris Doyle and Steve Pavlidis. That way you can get different view points and compare notes. In addition we also use Noonsite and Active Captain. Noonsite is particularly useful for quickly researching Ports of Entry and customs procedures. Active Captain is useful for its (hopefully) up to date user notes.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:39   #10
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

If you want to find the best restaurants, Chris Doyle is your man. (That’s a bit harsh, also very useful for services : engineering, canvas etc.)
For how to miss the hard stuff, try Imray.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:39   #11
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

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I carry paper charts as well for the whole area (though I don't know how I ended up with and extra set... anybody interested? -S
Yup, PM sent. Check your CF Mail..!
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:43   #12
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

If you are working your way to windward from the east coast of the USA across the Caribbean, the one book you should have is Passages South by Bruce Van Sant.

The most recent edition is getting a bit dated as far as cruising guides goes, but it is invaluable for the weather and routing strategies. Of course if your idea of fun is to just sheet in and bash into the weather for days at a time then don't bother. If you, like us, would wait a week to avoid 100 miles of beating then this book should be studied closely.

The author is a bit of a grump, and the editing sucks, but the information is worth the effort to extract it.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:51   #13
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

I've always found that the more sources of info you have, the better. For a whole season or more, I'd have all the guides - Doyle, Pavlidis, Street, Virgintino (they're free online) - we do. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, different perspectives and unique bits of useful info.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:52   #14
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

I’m at Martinique right now and for th last two years I’ve been using Bloc Marine cruising guide for Petites Antilles/Lesser Antilles
It’s in both French and English (the same guild book). Covers from St Thomas to Trinidad. Lots of charts with photos. Very up to date with infor on ports of entry, customs, anchorages and things to do in each port along with phone numbers.
I recommend this guide, very informative and pleasant to read.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:52   #15
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Re: Caribbean Cruising Guide for Leeward and Windward Islands

Most of us who have spent significant time in the Caribbean view the guides by Chris Doyle to be our cruising bibles. Chris spends lots of time out mingling with cruisers, he's a really nice guy in addition to providing invaluable information. Look for his small catamaran Ti Kanot when you come.
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