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Old 10-01-2014, 12:01   #16
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

In a 32 ft monohull with only 8 days you will be doing a lot of sailing as opposed to relaxing and enjoying the beauty from St. Lucia to Grenada.
All will not be in the lee of the islands.
The channels between are open ocean with the Christmas Trades blowing.
The distance between the Grenadines and Grenada can also get rough. The sailing down there is not like the BVI's!
Sounds like you are obviously new to the area therefore you might want to consider rethinking your plans.
I would suggest not trying to cover such a large area in a short time frame. You will end up regretting it for no other reason than as soon as you get to a nice spot you will have to think about leaving missing the very thing that you came for! Even in the sunny Caribbean there are rain squalls that can last a day or two that you might have to sail in to meet your deadline. If you are comfortable with that it's ok but visibility can be greatly compromised even in the Caribbean.
I have sailed that area since the late 70's and love it but I would suggest plan an itinerary where you can enjoy the beauty.
Wishing you a safe passage on whatever route you choose.
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Old 11-01-2014, 13:00   #17
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

Excellent thread with good insights. I am still gathering info and want to investigate further the comment about going north to Martinique. Hmmmmm......might be fun.
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Old 11-01-2014, 13:35   #18
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

Yes that is a good idea about Martinique BUT also explore St. Lucia.
You will have a much better time when you don't have to worry about having to be sail a lot of miles in such a short period of time.
Save Grenada for your next trip!
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Old 12-01-2014, 18:05   #19
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

@CARADOW - - in your opinion, is there plenty to do exploring St. Lucia for a week? I need to order the cruising guide to get details, but for someone who has never been would it be a good time? I have to admit that we really like the BVI just because our group are more casual sailors. We enjoy the run to Anegada, but 40-50 nm in a day is more than we care for.
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Old 12-01-2014, 18:45   #20
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

Iím not CARADOW but hereís my take,
The BVIís are like stateside sailing. Destinations are 3-7 miles away Ė instead of rocks you have coral and turtle grass to deal with when anchoring-weather is fairly warm in the winter.

The Windwards, Destinations 3-40+ miles away Ė same anchoring concerns as the BVIís Ė youíre defiantly in the trades so the winds are normally 20 +/- on a normal day, you are no longer playing on Drake Lake so you really need to get serious about currents and tidal flows.

The big plus if youíre inclined, is you can go easily to different countries and different ethnic groups in a day.
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Old 12-01-2014, 20:11   #21
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

Lock your dinghy AND the motor. There is an active market in used outboards on St. Vincent. Buy a trinket from the boat guys and befriend them. You will have a great time.
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Old 12-01-2014, 21:21   #22
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

knotnow is correct.
Are you sailing out of Rodney Bay or Marigot Bay?
A few days on a mooring (you are not allowed to anchor) between the Piton's would be absolutely enchanting and could be enough before you take off to Martinique.
The Piton's are a world Heritage Site and the hotel there is a great place to hang out and enjoy the scenery. Also if your desire is to see the countryside then there are day trips into the Jungle and you can climb the Pitons if you desire. There is a nice reef to dive on "around the corner" by a hotel called Anse Chastanet.
Would not go any further south past the Pitons but would head for Martinique making sure you stop by Marigot if you are not already sailing out of there.
If time runs out and you cannot make it to Martinique then spend a few days in Rodney Bay where you can anchor, play on the beach and take a dingy into the Marina if you want that scene. It is an IGY marina with lots of shops restaurants, megayachts etc.
This will be a completely different experience than the BVI's not only in the sailing but also the topography.
It really depends on what you are looking for. Kept my boat in Rodney Bay for two years and always loved the stop at the Pitons before heading south to St. Vincient and the Grenadines.
Remember you have to clear out of St Lucia to leave either going south or north. Both Rodney Bay and Marigot have customs/immigration offices. You will have to clear in and out of Martinique or St. Vincent/Grenadines prior to returning back to St. Lucia. No big deal on those particular islands but you HAVE to do it.
Enjoy your trip!
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Old 15-01-2014, 13:44   #23
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

Having sailed the Windwards for the past 18 years I would certainly not attempt Castries to Grenada in 8 days on a 32 footer.

Martinique has more nice anchorages than St Lucia and is more relaxed. Low crime and easy Customs. You will not be hassled by boat boys like at Souffriere and the Pitons.

If you sail north to Le Marin (Martinique) you will need a heading of 028 minimum. Even if it looks like you will sail to the windward of Martinique do not point lower. Current becomes quite strong later in the crossing and the wind usually heads you at the same time. Tacking back towards Le Marin is long and painful.

You can anchor in Ste Anne on sand and go for a swim upon arrival. You clear customs in Le Marin way inside the bay but this can wait for the next morning.

So weather permitting yes I would sail north to Martinique first then back to Rodney Bay, Marigot Bay and Soufriere. Mooring between the Pitons can often be extremely rolly, I mean the no sleep possible type of rolling. The sight is pretty and worth a visit but you may want to spend the night elsewhere.

Michel
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Old 15-01-2014, 14:28   #24
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

Yes what SaltyTanned is true.
The boat boys can be a little painful none-the-less worth the experience to see the Pitons.
If the weather is unsettled then Marigot may be the only place that you will have a calm anchorage if you go up into the harbor past the beach to port. Of course you can always go up into Rodney Bay also.
Another thing about the boat boys are that you do not need them to help you find a mooring....they are in plain site. Also you do not need them to hand you the mooring on arrival so early on just tell them that you are not in need of their services. They usually meet you on entering the area in there canoes. They will eventually leave you alone, if not and they are getting on your nerves a little money always helps however I have never paid because as soon as they come up to the boat I am insistent I do not need them. However when anchored in St. Vincent in places like Cumberland Bay I do use their services to run a line from my stern to a tree. I will happily pay them for that help keeping me from jumping overboard and swimming to shore with a stern line.
One more item about the Pitons ......since it is a park you need to pay a fee when you leave your charter base that allows you to go there. cheap but necessary.....sometimes a harbor patrol will come by and check while you are there!
A day or two will be all you need for the Pitons and I do think Martinique is a better venue for your limited time. also great food cheap wine. Many years ago I bought 12 cases of wine aboard when I was headed out to Barbados from Martinique......guess you might say I was a bit of a smuggler. Anyway do see the Pitons
Have fun
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Old 15-01-2014, 14:34   #25
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

SaltyTan NAILED it.

If you do choose to go to Martinique make all the east you can. As you get close any north swell will wrap around and combine with the current and trades to set you west.

I would go to Le Marin first and get C&I out of the way. As said go deep in the harbor to the fancy marina. You will go upstairs and clear by computer. Cheap.

There are 2 main marinas in Le Marin but the one further out is a more relaxed atmosphere. Neat shops and bar.

Catch St Anne on the way out.

While I usually try to avoid big towns the capital city of Fort de France is actually pretty cool if you get away from the waterfront.

Head up the west coast to San Pierre. Lots of history and a really friendly town. Watch for the fish farm on the way as it kinda hides in any kind of chop.
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Old 18-01-2014, 06:34   #26
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We have just returned from an 11 day one way trip Saint Lucia to Grenada. Winds were generally 25 to 30 knots from the east, north east with frequent squalls until January 15th when they were averaging 20 knots from Carriacou to Grenada. Favourite anchorages were Petite Saint Vincent with dinghy trip to Mopion and Saltwhistle Bay Mayreau. All anchorages visited except Tyrell Bay Carriacou were gusty and rolly. Be prepared to close hatches at night given frequent downpours. January is still rainy season and things should dry out by next month.

You could do a one way from Saint Lucia to Grenada easily in 8 days indeed much less if your primary goal was an exhilarating sail mostly on a broad reach to a run. Going back to Saint Lucia would be a close haul all the way and a challenge in these winds. Remember you need time to clear in and out. But if you want to see anything en route at least 10 days would be a better fit. We were a bit disappointed with the snorkeling and saw a lot of dead coral. Very sad. Perhaps we were not snorkeling in the best spots. We were in the Tobago Cays for a couple of nights in difficult snorkeling conditions with a strong 2 knot current just out from the boat so did not get to do much more than dinghy out to swim with the sea turtles. By the way we wished we had more time to sail around Grenada which is a beautiful island. We are already planning a return visit.

Hope you have a good trip whatever you decide.
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Old 28-03-2014, 09:49   #27
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

We just finished our trip, one-way from St Lucia to Grenada and it was a fantastic trip. We did Rodney Bay to the Pitons for our first afternoon, then sailed past St Vincent to Bequia the second full day. We stayed overnight in St Lucia, Tabago Cays, Union Island, Carriacou, and Grenada. It was an 8-day trip; next time I'd take at least ten better yet 14 days.

We found friendly welcoming people every place we went and never felt in any sort of danger. The boat boys we encountered were all polite and helpful; in the end we sought them out for their help.

We took advantage of beach barbecues in Tabago Cays and Chatham Bay on Union Island; both were delicious. Went out to Patrick's on Grenada for a fabulous meal.

We saw one day with 8-10 knot winds, otherwise very consistent winds in the 15-25 knot range. Very nice sailing.

Next time I think we'll skip the 10-hour St Lucia to Bequia crossing; try to find a charter in the Grenadines or sail up from Grenada.

We chartered a Sunsail 384 catamaran.

Thanks to everyone for your help advice and information!

Happy sailing!
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:47   #28
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

If going to Martinique have some EUROs with you. There is no exchange office in La Marine or anywhere close, you actually need to go to exchange office on airport. Long taxi ride.
The ATM machine did not like our USA debit or credit cards and nobody wanted Dollars or ECdollars. Great food!
We done Marigot to Union Island on our 47ft sailboat and it was leisurely 10 days. We went Marigot Pitons , early morning start due to very rolly anchorage. We did an amazing dive with Chester from Aquatic Adventures in Suffriere. He pick us from our boat and took great care of us.
We used boat boys $10ecd and a soda, buy you some help, not to much to ask.
We skipped St Vincent and went Pitons (6am) to Bequea (4:30pm), skipped check in that evening. If it is charter boat be prepared to pay extra to enter grenadines. For 2 of us and boat almost $250 EC . We were super disappointed with Tobago keys. Corals are dead , fish is gone. But we might be spoiled as we live in St Thomas and sail BVI as well.
Other grenadines islands were not to impressive either , we loved Bequea but were there in low season all was closed.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:53   #29
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

Just a word of warning: Under no circumstances go to Vieux Fort on St. Lucia!!! There was a recent murder of a sailor there so avoid it at all costs!
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:58   #30
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Re: Saint Lucia & Saint Vincent

Wouldn't recommend St. Vincent or St. Lucia. Nasty places in my opinion. I stayed a day in each place, and then only to stock up on water. Bequia and Dominica get my vote. Tobago Cays is lovely too if you like snorkelling and stuff, but you probably wouldn't want to spend much more than a couple of days there as there's not much else.
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