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Old 03-05-2015, 21:17   #46
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

When driving from Dutch to French side and vice versa there are no customs checks.

As for qty of rum allowed, I've been to St Martin about 6 times and cleared in/out of French and Dutch sides and Anguilla and St Barts and no one has ever asked how much rum we had nor have they ever inspected the boat. They want to know where the boat came from (boat documents) and who is on board (usually just passport numbers, rarely do they look at the passports). I imagine there is a limit and if you showed up hammered at customs they might ask a few more questions. If you want to speed to the process, you should print a single page with all crew members names, DOB, nationality and passport numbers.
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Old 03-05-2015, 21:57   #47
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

Thanks for that information on what to expect dealing with customs. Much appreciated since we are new to this.

Gotcha don't show up hammered at customs.

Sounds like you have a bit of sailing experience here. Any itineraries you can recommend for 13 days. We definitely want to see St Kitts
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:09   #48
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

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Also how much Shipwreck rum can we provision on the boat when leaving St Marten. Its not really for export...
If it stays aboard then it counts as "ship's stores" and most countries don't want to know about it. Antigua & Barbuda, on the other hand, wants to know but as long as you are clearing in a sailboat and not a cargo ship, they aren't interested, either.

All of the French islands use a similar computer program for clearing in and out; it isn't too tough to use except for the darned AZERTY keyboard (rather than the English QWERTY most of us are used to). St. Barths has a cool program which remembers the ship and crew details including passport numbers, which makes clearing in a breeze.

St. Kitts - clear in at the cruise ship dock at Basseterre but then leave that very rolly and uncomfortable anchorage; I like White Bay but there's nothing ashore there. Nevis has Pinney's Beach, which looks like an uncomfortable open anchorage but is usually very calm and protected.

Statia is worth a visit, as is Saba. Both are more comfortable in settled weather conditions.

St. Barths is nice, but Gustavia is also a bit rolly and Anse Colombier or Ile Fourchue are much nicer.

I'm in Antigua now - recuperating off Green Island after a week at the Antigua Sailing Week regatta.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:36   #49
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

I'm chartering in November this year, everything on this thread is great information. If I'm headed from St. Martin to St. Kitts, what is your recommended route? I think we'll head to St. Barts first, then down to St. Kitts; how long is the average sail to there? Should I stay windard or lee of St. Kitts?

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Old 07-05-2015, 15:01   #50
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

I've done that sail a couple of times. I clear out of St. Barths in Gustavia, then spend a calm night in Anse Colombier and depart for St. Kitts in the early morning. The distance is about 50nm and normal winds and waves will let you do that quickly on one tack, at least until you reach Brimstone Fort, then the winds will die or you might even get backwinded until Basseterre. So depending upon your speed and departure time you can get to the cruise ship dock in time to clear in. In any case I highly recommend continuing to White Bay for the night, it is only about 4 miles away.
The straights aren't as bad as they are made out to be - but the first time through one should do it in calm weather and with good visibility; going via the windward side one would need to go through them to get to any anchorage that is protected.
Another word of caution - St. Kitts and Nevis are festooned/covered/thick with/infested/liberally sprinkled with fish traps. Few of these use traditional floats, some are even clear 1l plastic drink bottles... Thus motoring or motorsailing in bad visibility such as at night or against the setting sun is to be done with extreme caution.
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Old 08-05-2015, 08:48   #51
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

Thanks. If we're interested in hitting up Saba or Statia, would it be better to do that on the way to St. Kitts or back from? What's the anchorage like at those places?

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Old 08-05-2015, 14:54   #52
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

The anchorage at Statia is somewhat protected, the one at Saba isn't. I think that your routing would depend upon the prevailing winds during the trip to minimize beating too close to weather on any of the legs.
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Old 08-05-2015, 17:50   #53
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

Stop for the night at Isle Forchue between Oyster Pond and St Barts. Lovely.

I prefer the anchorage at Gustavia in St Barts than Columbuer as I prefer french women that deserted beaches....
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Old 09-05-2015, 02:31   #54
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

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The anchorage at Statia is somewhat protected...
Not always of course. I misjudged that anchorage recently. I got beaten up there badly a few days ago by a south west swell in what was my rolliest night ever. The wind was unusually south east and the swell came from that direction, but it curved right round the island and got me from the south west, whilst the wind held me in the worst position.
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Old 09-05-2015, 05:05   #55
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

poiu - I was in Antigua when those southerlies hit and even normally acceptable anchorages such as Falmouth Harbour were getting a bit rolly, and the anchorage at Statia is open to the sea and only calm in "normal" conditions. I had a similar experience in Basseterre, St. Kitts where I couldn't even crawl along the floor without being swept back a forth and ended up weighing anchor in the middle of the night to head out to sea for some respite.


It does show that choosing an appropriate anchorage for the conditions is important. A big north swell in the BVI means you head to Norman Island or the North Sound, but there's only one really protected place I can think of in the islands we are discussing and that's on the inside of the Simpson Bay Lagoon in St. Martin.
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Old 11-05-2015, 21:06   #56
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

Hi all, thanks for the great info! We're headed to SXM Saturday. Flying into Phillipsburg, taking a taxi to Marigot, and picking up our 36 Jeanneau for a quick 5 night sail. Dream Yacht told us we'll get briefed in the morning and can plan to be out by 11am. Doesn't make sense based on the bridge openings, but I guess they would know. We want to try to get to Gustavia for our 1st night, anyone foresee any issues with that if we can't clear out until 11?
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:04   #57
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

kylesresq,

The Sandy Ground bridge (French side) opens at 0900, 1430, and 1730, so you could make the 1430 opening. No need to clear out of St Martin, but you will need to clear into St Barths. It's about 25 nm from Marigot to Gustavia, so you'd likely be getting in around 8 pm or later. The charter companies generally insist that you be anchored or moored before sundown, which comes surprisingly early in the Tropics. If it were my decision, I'd just go up to Grand Case, anchor there for the first night, and enjoy one of the really good restaurants on shore, then head over to St Barth's the next day, stopping for lunch and snorkeling at Ile Forchue.

It's been a while since I cleared into St Barth's so others can advise you on the process, or look online.
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:16   #58
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

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... so you'd likely be getting in around 8 pm or later. The charter companies generally insist that you be anchored or moored before sundown, which comes surprisingly early in the Tropics...
Sunrise and sunset Gustavia ➥ Sunrise and sunset times Gustavia, current month
16 May 2015, Saturday
Sunrise 05:38
Sunset 18:37 (6:37 pm)
= 12:59 Hours of daylight
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:55   #59
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

So here was our proposed itinerary. Night 1 and 2 in Gustavia, then grand case, then road bay, then back to base by 11am in Marigot on day 5. We can definitely change the order but I didn't know if we could do the almost 30nm from Gustavia to road bay by sundown in one day. What do you think? We are going to call dream yacht today and see if they can possibly check us Saturday before the sleep aboard so we can get out Sunday but I guess we need a plan b (always a good idea on a sailboat! )
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Old 12-05-2015, 14:39   #60
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Re: Sailing in St Maarten/Anguilla

I would stay just one night off Gustavia and the other night either in Anse Colombier or Ile Fourchue. If the conditions are settled then spend the first night on a mooring ball or anchored in Ile Fourchue for that uninhabited-island-adventure; or if there's more than about a meter of swell then go to Anse Colombier, which is sheltered in all conditions but for a big north swell or a west swell (which will only happen after a hurricane eye has gone by you...) for a great first night, then go to Gustavia the next day and clear in/out.

BTW, I had a talk with the gent at the Capitainerie at Anse Marcel and he stated that for a trip to St. Barths and back one doesn't need to clear out of or back into St. Martin; but one does need to clear in and out at St. Barths. This is because both islands are Departements of France but St. Barths wants to track (and charge, if only slightly) all boats entering their island. I recommend asking the folks at Sunsail what the recommended procedure is.

Gustavia to Road Bay is going to be a fast run in typical wind conditions, wind on the beam or slightly forward of it and waves from the same direction; the other direction is usually tougher and often cannot be done in one tack.

Grand Case is great, just keep in mind that the dinghy dock is a dinghy killer, I've seen lots of dinghies go underneath the dock and the line that used to be there to tie the dinghies onto is no longer there. I don't know if your charter dinghy has a small anchor, but if it does have one then use it here. Snorkeling off Creole Rock is great, and that is just a short dinghy ride from the anchorage in Grand Case.

I've never crossed over to Road Bay, I end up staying in Grand Case longer than planned each trip.
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