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Old 19-11-2016, 05:05   #1
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pirate Jamaica

I normally just sail Grenada and the Grenadines but am helping someone visit Jamaica for 2 weeks 4th Dec to 18th. Will be based out of a hotel near Montego Bay. I will have a lot of time to myself and want to check out the sailing scene. Any suggestions most appreciated..........df
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Old 19-11-2016, 05:10   #2
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Re: Jamaica

Lot of sailing history at Montego Bay Yacht Club. We spent some time anchored in Mo Bay and went there for meals a few times. If you ask around, you might even be able to find a crew position.
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Old 21-11-2016, 07:55   #3
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Re: Jamaica

As stated the Yacht Club will be your best bet.
Just be prepared if you are staying anywhere around Montego Bay the street hustlers will drive you crazy. You will probably be in a compound type hotel and protected while inside the perimeter. Most are not "dangerous" only extremely annoying....more so than any other place in the Caribbean.
You might want to take a ride over to Port Antonio on the northeast side of the island. I love the marina there and quite a few cruisers stop and hang for awhile. Just check out Errol Flynn Marina Port Antonio on the web.
Having said that Jamaica is a unbelievably beautiful country with very gracious friendly people but unfortunately not around the cities.
Also suggest getting someone to take you up in the mountains especially above the Port Antonio area.
Unless you are very lucky on your timing, your sailing may be at a minimum so best to see the real Jamaica.
Utilizing your time correctly will leave you with pleasant lasting memories and wanting to return someday in your own boat.
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Old 21-11-2016, 11:27   #4
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Re: Jamaica

I will be in the same area in March, so please let me know how you made out.
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Old 21-11-2016, 14:33   #5
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Re: Jamaica

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As stated the Yacht Club will be your best bet.
Just be prepared if you are staying anywhere around Montego Bay the street hustlers will drive you crazy. ...

Yeah, that was my unfortunate experience in Jamaica too...constant hassles and attempted rip offs. Really did not enjoy that aspect of if, but it is a beautiful island.

We spent about week anchored in Negril waiting for weather and only set foot ashore once as a result of the hassles.

Port Antonio is a good suggestion too I think...usually some cruisers around at least.
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Old 21-11-2016, 14:58   #6
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Re: Jamaica

If you want to do small boat sailing then either MoBayYC or RJYC in Kingston are pretty much it. But the whole island is a great place for cruising. My mom lived in Jamaica and has an amazing hotel on the south coast near Bluefields.

Once you get out of the two big cities it really is an amazing island, but MoBay or Kingston are like most large cities in poor countries. There is a decent amount of crime, a lot of husteling, and good luck trying to find boat parts. The local supplies are rediculiously expensive and the options are poor.
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Old 22-11-2016, 11:10   #7
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Re: Jamaica

Interesting....don't hear of a lot of cruisers in Jamaica. I've always thought it was because of the hassles mentioned here and so just not a cruiser's destination.

We will be in the Eastern Caribbean the next 2 winters, but if we get itchy feet we could head that way. South coast of Cuba for a season could be a possibility and Jamaica is in the neighbourhood.

Does anyone know of a cruiser's guide for Jamaica or pretty much head there and explore?

Hassles on shore aside, I haven't ever heard of Jamaica mentioned as a security concern with boardings or that sort of thing. Any concerns at anchor with this?
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Old 22-11-2016, 13:49   #8
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Re: Jamaica

Again Jamaica is a spectacular island and much to see.
Would think petty thief if at all would be the biggest deterrent to anchoring out.
Its mostly the hustlers around the tourist spots that are the problem but must keep your street smarts.
We spent considerable time dockside in Port Antonio and were never bothered other than people asking to do work on the boat. Had friends who where anchored there for months without any problems. I would think the east coast would be your best bet for exploring by boat and maybe some of the west coast by Negril would be ok.
My suggestions would be to leave the boat in Port Antonio and hire a van to see the island but to each his own. The drive over the mountains towards Kingston from Port Antonio can be breathtaking!
Jamaica would be a natural stop when heading east from Cuba (sorry but don't know what direction you will be going) since it is very close to the Jardines de la Reina.
The problem is to clear out of Cuba you have to go back to the mainland which adds a lot of miles to the trip. Although you can clear in and out in Cayo Largo which is about 100 miles to the west if I remember correctly.
If you are heading west from Jamaica then you will have to clear in the mainland prior to visiting the Archipelagos until you reach Cayo Largo.
Also hugging the coast of Cuba heading east especially in the early morning times keeps the strong headwinds that are ever present from making the passage too uncomfortable.
Lastly I do have a cruising guide to Jamaica which is currently on my boat. Will check the publication when I soon rejoin her and can send you the information if you are still interested.
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Old 22-11-2016, 14:16   #9
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Re: Jamaica

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Again Jamaica is a spectacular island and much to see.
Really good comments caradow & appreciated. Your suggestion of Port Antonio sounds good and some land travel would do the job nicely. For sure if you can PM me the info on the cruising guide when you have it that would be great.

We'd be coming from the east along the south side of Hispaniola I expect so the eastern end of Jamaica would be a logical stop, then head north and visit Cuba from there. But that's a long time to plan ahead...so time will tell.
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Old 22-11-2016, 15:59   #10
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Re: Jamaica

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...
We spent considerable time dockside in Port Antonio and were never bothered other than people asking to do work on the boat. Had friends who where anchored there for months without any problems....
Port Antonio has a big security fence that keeps the general population out, that helps. As soon as you leave the fenced area...the scence changes significantly.

We spent a week or so anchored/docked there. Never any problems. Marina would let you use the facilities for a small fee if anhcored.

The marina knows the boat boys who are allowed in, all good guys in our exprience. The guys who helped on our boat had cleaned and polished many a boat, and it showed, but had never actually been sailing. Meant to take them out for a spin, but didn't get to it.

Sort of befriended a Rasta street hustler from outside the fence when I was there. Walked by him outside the fence several times, verbally sparred with his BS...then he started sneaking under the fence and we would sit and have philosophical chats.

Hiked all over Navy Island...apparently used to be a resort development...all in ruins then...office equipmemt and furniture even left in some of the buildings...gives the impression of a hasty exit.

Racial tension is palpable in some areas of Jamaica...got called "whitey" a few times on the street.
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Old 23-11-2016, 10:55   #11
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Re: Jamaica

Thanks Stumble for jogging my memory....yes do remember the RJYC in Kingston. I used to race on a 40 footer out of there in the late seventies. What you mentioned about lack of supplies is quite true in that the spinnaker blocks were tied to the transom with polypropylene ski rope. On one race I was trimming the kite and as we were surfing on waves in winds around 25 kts the block for the guy parted and knocked me to the deck.....could not move my arm for a few hours so just laid on the deck until we were docked. Thought I had broken my arm but all was well.
Then there was the time at the RJYC after I had probably a few too many rums and borrowed a friends 17 foot sailboat to go out to welcome Fidel Castro into Kingston harbor. He came in on a large white freighter surrounded by 4 PT boats with 50 calibers mounted on the foredecks. Well they didn't really appreciate me sailing up to his boat so 2 of the PT boats circled me yelling something that I interpreted to mean I should tack away and did......
That was many years ago but Jamaica has not lost its "charm" because I stopped in Port Antonio 2 years ago when sailing up from Curacao and took my crew to "Boston" where jerk pork was invented . As we sat on the outdoor stools to eat and because of a lack of a beer opener the waiter graciously opened our Red Stripes with his teeth.
Now you may wonder what this has anything to do with the original post so please accept my apologies for running astray.
However Jamaica is a very special place so my advice to anyone thinking about going is to give it a chance and you will be rewarded with a lifetime of memories.
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