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Old 23-02-2012, 15:51   #1
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St. Thomas to Leeward Islands

We will be leaving STT in early May. Is 2 weeks enough time to sail to St. Martin, have a few days in the Leewards and return to STT? Or do I realistically need more time? It will be our first overnight sail, with just the 2 of us. Any and all advise would be appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 23-02-2012, 16:12   #2
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Re: St. Thomas to Leeward Islands

Should be fine - first a long overnight sail to Marigot Bay, Clear in at the Port Royal marina in Simpson Lagoon - dinghy through the Bridge on the French side then turn to starboard and go into the Capitainerie................DO NOT clear in at the Ferry Dock in Marigot Bay............Sail up to Grand Case and enjoy one of the restaurants and hope there is no northerly swell next day sail up to Tintimare pick up a FREE mooring and overnight there or overnight behind Ile Pinel............then take a bus back to Marigot and clear out at the Capitanerie. Back at the boat sail over to Ile Foruche and overnight there on a Nature Reserve FREE mooring spend a day there then sail over to Colombier on St Barthelemy..........another FREE NR mooring next day clear into St Barthelemy in Gustavia enjoy St Barthelemy and either go back to St Martin OR head over to St Croix from St Barthelemy.........with a few days in hand so you can choose a nice weather window
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Old 23-02-2012, 16:51   #3
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Re: St. Thomas to Leeward Islands

Thanks for the well thought out response. I'll start to plan.
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Old 23-02-2012, 17:02   #4
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Re: St. Thomas to Leeward Islands

i did forget to ask which boat...............which will have some bearing on all of this
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Old 23-02-2012, 17:44   #5
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Re: St. Thomas to Leeward Islands

Island Packet 370
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Old 24-02-2012, 08:17   #6
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Re: St. Thomas to Leeward Islands

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Originally Posted by sailrmn View Post
Island Packet 370

well she should get you there/here ( anchored in Simpson Bay St Martin ATM) no problem - in winds of 20+ knots you will have a fast but rough passage - the Anegada Passage is NOT NICE :-( i would look for a 10/12/16 knot weather window with the wind from a useful direction OR a flat calm for a long motor across or 6/10 knots for a motor sail passage
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Old 24-02-2012, 09:20   #7
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Re: St. Thomas to Leeward Islands

Wind and current against you from VI to SXM. It is about 100 miles from St. Thomas. I usually go North of Anegada to be able to lay SXM. Winds vary from SE tp E. It is also possible to check in and out of the French side at Sunsail in Oyster Pond - don't remember the hours they are there. You can anchor or pick-up a mooring in the Pond. Tintimare is generally not a good overnight anchorage.
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Old 24-03-2012, 23:11   #8
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Read the OP and felt like I might have written it myself. We are flying into STT in the morning to pick up our boat, a Mahe 36, heading into the BVIs for a few days and then as the weather permits heading off for our first overnight passage to St. Martin. We've had many of the same questions over the last few months/weeks of planning and feel ready now to go. From up here in Canada the winds are looking pretty favorable next week but we will see how it develops once we're down there. Oh, and we're a crew of two as well.

If we get off to St. Martin by mid-week we'll have just shy of two weeks for cruising St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Bart's and if the swell is down, perhaps Saba before crossing back. We may come back via St.Croix or we may head for St. John but we'll see what time and weather dictates.

Our biggest question now is how much inter-island traffic can we expect and how well lit will it be? Of course the cruise ships are lit up like a Christmas tree, but will we be able to pick out other vessels ok? We don't have radar onboard so will be dependent on our own observation.
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Old 25-03-2012, 00:04   #9
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Re: St. Thomas to Leeward Islands

It's a small technicallity but I think St. Thomas is a part of the Leewards.

Two weeks a a whole lot of time. You will be able to explore quite a bit.

I disagree with the two previous posts about clearing in. I would choose Anse Marcel to clear in. It is very easy, never busy, and right next to where you would probably want to go next - Orient Bay.

There are a lot of threads about sailing between St. Bart's, Anguilla, and St. Martin/Maarten. Personally I'm completely burned out on St. Bart's and probably won't head over there again. We really like Anguilla.

Do you not like the BVI's? My suggestion would be to spend a week in the BVI's, head to Anguilla if you want a nice passage, the do a long passage back to STT.

Another option is head to Anguilla, then French St. Martin, then Saba, then back. Maybe add St. Croix.
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Old 25-03-2012, 03:00   #10
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Re: St. Thomas to Leeward Islands

This totally depends on the weather. We spent over 5 weeks in USVI/BVI (first of May till 2nd week June 2004). Plans were to sail to St. Martin/ St. Barths/ Nevis/ return. Weather prevented that entirely. There was no way any boats ventured east during that time period. Several attempted and turned back, including a couple of boats in the 55-ft range. The weather was too rough to cross Anegada Passage going eastbound. We were in a 46-ft boat at the time.

We finally gave up and changed plans. Sailed west to Culebra instead. Returning the charter to the BVI from Spanish Virgins was a beat but not bad.

My point is that you need to remain flexible about your itinerary. Sailing back to St. Thomas is possible in almost any weather; but sailing east to St. Martin sometimes is prevented by weather.

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Old 25-03-2012, 03:39   #11
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Re: St. Thomas to Leeward Islands

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mowzer View Post
...Our biggest question now is how much inter-island traffic can we expect and how well lit will it be? Of course the cruise ships are lit up like a Christmas tree, but will we be able to pick out other vessels ok? We don't have radar onboard so will be dependent on our own observation.
It can be quite busy. As you said, the cruise ships will be easy to spot, and any commercial vessels as well. Sailboats can be tough to see, especially if there's a sea running. You'll need to keep a sharp lookout. If you motor-sail directly to St Martin, you'll be on a reciprocal course with sailboats headed west. Keep a strong spotlight in the cockpit to shine on your sails if you want to make your presence known.
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Old 25-03-2012, 20:17   #12
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Thanks Palarran, very good suggestions and I have to agree that of the islands listed St. Bart's was probably the least likely for us to visit. We flew on a day trip to Saba a few years ago and loved it so we're really hoping the weather will cooperate for a visit. I didn't know that we could check in at Anse Marcel so that is very good information.

We have nothing against the USVIs or BVIs and they are in fact our usual cruising grounds along with the Spanish islands since we are based in St. Thomas, just with the slightly longer time aboard this time we thought we'd venture a bit further afield.
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Old 25-03-2012, 20:20   #13
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Thanks Hud3, perhaps we'd be best if the weather permits to lay off a bit and make landfall at Anguilla first, that might put us a little further off course of the sailboats coming the other way? Winds this week are looking like they'll be in the 5-10knt range so we'll most likely be motor sailing.
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Old 25-03-2012, 20:38   #14
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Re: St. Thomas to Leeward Islands

If you go to Anguilla, you should really go to Shoal Bay East. I've attached a Google Earth path you can check out. It's really the best beach we have been to in the three islands. Little Bay is also a must see. Then you can go to the other side and anchor in Rendezvous Bay. Bankie Banx has a beach bar there that is great fun.

If you anchor in Anse Marcel stay a fair way out in the bay. I have been backwinded there several times. There are several good restraurants ashore. I like the channel into the harbor. There is a scuba dive company there also if you enjoy that. Creole Rock is a short dingy ride away. Personally I'm not crazy about Grand Case. The Lo-Lo's are nice for lunch but for me not worth the trip. Orient Bay is a great place for the day but we don't like to overnight there after someone tried to break into our boat while we where having dinner ashore.

Simpson Bay is fun. You can anchor out and dingy through the bridge. Go to the Yacht Club right inside the bridge on the right side. Lots of fun when the bridge opens at 5:30pm. There are about 20 bars and restraurants right in a row there. Lock your dingy.
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Old 13-04-2012, 12:21   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailrmn
We will be leaving STT in early May. Is 2 weeks enough time to sail to St. Martin, have a few days in the Leewards and return to STT? Or do I realistically need more time? It will be our first overnight sail, with just the 2 of us. Any and all advise would be appreciated. Thank you.
Sailrmn - we've been a bit quiet due to lack of Internet, but we've completed our fabulous trip now. Left STT on March 26, had to stop over a day at Nanny Cay on some business and then departed the BVIs for Anguilla (winds were light and directly from the north). We toured Anguilla, St. Martin (French side only, our preference), Saba, St. Croix, St. John and then back to STT. We had just over two weeks and spent a couple of days at each location with overnights on the first kick BVI to Anguilla and then Saba to STX. It was completely relaxing and not too rushed and if you don't get to Saba due to weather conditions you'd have loads of time in the other spots or to add others in. We have a blog at svmowzer.blogspot.com where I've covered our trip.

To everyone else, thanks for the great advice, it really helped with knowing what we were getting into and now we have one more experience under our belts :-)
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