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Old 02-09-2007, 11:48   #1
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Grenadines in December for Someone New to Chartering ?

I'm close to booking a Bareboat with my wife out of SVG for a week in the middle of Dec. We sail on the SF Bay but haven't bareboated but for overnight stays at anchor in the bay. I'm hearing conflicting stories on whether we will have enough experience to enjoy our vacation. We are adventureous, but don't want to be naive.

I'm curious if you all have an opinion. We've experienced 20-25 kts with gusts to 30, but haven't experienced untenable anchorages and/or large swells (sailing or a rolly night at anchor).

Any and all responses are very much appreciated.....
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Old 02-09-2007, 23:29   #2
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A few Differences

JSF - The wind experience will be good because that will be one issue You will not have to worry about ..........you will see some compression (increased gusts) at island edges.....other than that no worries.

The charter company will help with anchorages & routing when You arrive but would suggest You do some homework with Doyle's Cruising Guide (there are others too) which will help you become familiar with the various conditions, hazards & anchorages
Cruising Guide to Trinidad and Tobago

Anchoring coordination with your wife will be important since You will be in a different environment (ie; bottom) & maybe more crowded than You are used to.
Bumpy seas - you will experience swells + waves especially between islands....the degree of course will be related to the weather systems in the area

Navigation - chance to put that knowledge to use on every leg depending on your route. Also sharpening your eyes & positioning to avoid reefs & coral heads.

Sure the gang here will add lots more. What boat are You chartering? Did You consider the BVI?

P.S. You may also want to do searches here and other sailing / travel forums for add'l experiences
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Old 03-09-2007, 05:07   #3
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If you're happy sailing in 25-odd kts of wind then you've got enough experience to enjoy the Grenadines. Anchorages can be a bit rolly (unless you're chartering a cat) and they'll be crowded in December. Use a Doyles guide, make sure the anchor is properly set (I reverse gently to take up the slack then full power for 15/20 seconds), use an anchor snubber and enjoy!
(pour the rum over the ice, add the juice of half a lime, top up with water and relax.....repeat as often as is necessary)
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Old 03-09-2007, 13:51   #4
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You are picking a good time to go. With any luck the winds will be 15 to 20 knots out of the ESE. In January the Christmas winds come to the Eastern Carribean and you can be looking up to 35 knots. Usually the winds slowly die down over the next few months.

My favorite anchorages include Princess Margaret Beach in Bequia. It is bit of a tender ride to town, but the beach is fabulous. Make sure you get to Mac's for lobster pizza. The other side of Bequia is Friendship Bay. It is a little more secluded

Canouan and Union Island are OK, but the real gem is Salt Whistle Bay. It has a fabulous beach and is really protected. It is the closest good anchorage for going to the Tobago Cays for those who do not want to anchor out overnght in the middle of a reef.

Petite St. Vincent is exposed but has a good reef protecting it. The island is a private resort but if you stay on the beach and clean up after yourself there is no problem. The beach goes on forever and seems like there is no one there.

Just a few ideas, check out Doyles Guide, it is very good.
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Old 03-09-2007, 18:33   #5
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JSF: Just noticed that Doyle Guide link shows the right book once you click but has wrong text title........???
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Old 03-09-2007, 20:36   #6
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Doyle's guide

Thank you for that...I did pick it up a few days ago and have read it from cover to cover. He talks about the Christmas winds that can start in the beginning of December, is that the case? He also mentions Northern Swells that can make some of the anchorages (SP?) untenable...

I'm curious if any of you think that this might be over my head for a first time bareboater......Like I said, we are adventurous, but dont want to be stupid about it either.....

Thanks for all the posts/information....

John
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Old 03-09-2007, 20:52   #7
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Your Call

JSF:
Reading Guide - good for You...........will pay dividends
Christmas Winds - In general yes...timing affected by weather systems
Swells - Could be..........Doyle's Guide will offer some guidance & charter company will complete the picture on which anchorages are more susceptible.
Choice - Only You can really make that call......but a few questions. What boat are You chartering (what boat(s) do you anchor in SF Bay?) How experienced is your wife? Seasick easy? Did You consider other locations ie; BVI to get your 1st charter under your belt?

Sunsail has it listed as a level 2 with 1 being easiest & 3 being toughest.
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Old 06-09-2007, 20:35   #8
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We booked it

thanks for your posts....we booked our boat for dec out of st vincent....we've chartered an Odyssey 423 for a week....It should be an amazing Sailing Vacation....

I will post photo's and highlights.....thanks again
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:47   #9
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Fair Winds

JSF: I've been away........great news......congrats.
Good boat choice = length / weight will be welcomed.......right size for you two.
Since You are in the bay area.....you may want to stop by Waypoint in Alameda to pick up the charts ahead of time. (charter co will provide too but I always like to get up to speed before I go)
Welcome to Waypoint--Nautical Books, Software, Charts, and More

The folks there are very helpful & have sailed the area too.

Think pre-cruise boat check,Voyage Planning, sunscreen & Rum.
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