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Old 30-01-2007, 10:58   #1
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Three weeks in the Windwards

My husband and I are chartering a 35’ Jeanneau out of Saint Vincent for three weeks this May. We’ve been through the Grenadines several times on Windjammer cruises, but this is our first bareboat charter in this area. I’m starting to think of possible itineraries (you can tell I’m hard at work ). I know that the Grenadines offer lots to do but I’m starting to think that after a couple of weeks we might want to explore a little farther a field so I am considering either going up the Saint Lucia or down to Grenada.

1) Will there be any restrictions from Sunsail on a charterer going out of SVG? There’s nothing in the charter contract and the guy from Ed Hamilton didn’t think there would be a problem, though he admitted that no one had ever asked him that before. I know that there is such a restriction in the BVI’s, and the contract is very clear on that so I would think if there was one for SVG that it would be in the contract.

2) What is the sailing like in the Saint Vincent passage? Several websites described it as “lively”, how would this compare to the slot in SF bay?

3) How much of a hassle is it to clear customs in and out of the countries and are there preferred ports or times?

4) Good places to go for either destination? We prefer low key/deserted anchorages to “party spots”, though a local beach bar is nice.

Any other words of wisdom?


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Old 30-01-2007, 11:36   #2
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Three weeks in the Windwards....lucky you!

All passages between the islands can be rough, more so than the SF Bay "slot" (I used to teach sailing in Sausalito, so am very familiar with SF Bay conditions). Not necessarily dangerous, just rough. Those waves roll all the way in from Africa :-)

If I were planning a 3-week trip I think I'd spend a lot of time in Bequi. I've sailed in my own boat and in chartered boats to most of the islands in the Windwards and Leewards, and there are only a few places I'd really care to revisit. Bequi is one of them. Certainly not the "quiet anchorage" you mentioned, but still delightful.

When I was in Carriacou last, it was a far cry from what it apparently is now. There was one French restaurant on the beach, and damned little else. The lagoon was an interesting spot to explore. Anchorage was OK, not great.

Grenada offers some interesting places both afloat and ashore. Certainly worth a visit.

Some folks like Union Island. I don't. Anchorage is crowded and holding is lousy. We actually spent an overnight at nearby Palm Island when John Caldwell was still alive. Great bar, nice beach. Overnite only in settled conditions.

Re: sailing beyond SVG, why not ask SunSail? They're the largest charter company in the world, I believe, and certainly should be able to answer your question.

Have fun!


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Old 30-01-2007, 11:42   #3
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Usually these charters are nor restricted to SVG, most people sail down to Grenada. It's a short hop, about six or seven miles, from St. Vincent to Bequia and it's normally downwind. This'll be the worst stretch and can get a bit rolly if the swells have built up. Going up to St. Lucia is hard work, a beat most of the way, as you'll find out on your way back if you're going to Grenada. The trip south from St. Vincent is much nicer than the trip north to St. Lucia. Better anchorages, nicer water. The anchorages on the west side of St. Vincent aren't the best and should be avoided. Some are outright unsafe. St. Lucia anchorages aren't that hot either, except for Marigot Bay and Rodney Bay. Some bad publicity lately from attacks on boaters in Rodney Bay. I would definitely head south. SVG now charges $10 EC per person per day to do the park (Tobago Cays). Best way to do this trip is to sail to Grenada and drop the boat off. I do not know whether clearing in and out has improved, been a few years since I was there. They'll tell you all the latest when you get checked out on the boat. Enjoy your sail.
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Old 22-03-2007, 14:24   #4
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Bequia really is a charming area. Good hiking, great food, interesting people, and nice beaches. We love Mayreau, all parts of it - a great place to walk and to have a good lunch. Union Island is so-so, but Chatham Bay is a nice lonely large bay, with good hiking and exploring. You may not see another person there. Hiking from there to Bloody Bay is an amazing excursion. You should do the Tobabo Cays while they are managed so loosely. This is likely to change, and who knows whether it will be better or worse?

Getting legal entry into the Grenadan Grenadines is a little tricky, but everything's an adventure, right? I think there is a website called Noonsite that explains all Customs requirements for all islands. Sandy Cay is good for an overnight anchorage.

If you decide to go to St. Lucia, you'll find the Souffriere kids to be a damned nuisance, and will fear leaving your boat alone at night. I recommend Harmony Restaurant. For no extra charge (ok - beer and tips, but that's all) the proprietor will put a young man on your boat to keep an eye on it. The food at the Harmony is great. Ask him about no hassle guided land tours. Very worthwhile, with a drive-in volcano, beautiful gardens, flora and fauna, and volcanic falls.
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Old 23-03-2007, 09:13   #5
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Customs and immigration in all the windward islands (even the FRENCH ones!) tends to be quite easy and reasonably cheap and should take no more than a 1/2 hour or so.

In St. Lucia...which I found to be an EASY sail contrary to Vascos experience I would suggest taking a slip in Rodney Bay Marina since it is safe and protected and has good availability to everything you might need. They will arrange island tours...we got a full day cab for $120 bucks for four and 8 hours of wonderful sightseeing on this most beautiful island.

Frankly....I don't think Grenada has much to recommend it as a stop given your time limitations...but you might want to slide over to Cariacou since that is close and you can check into Grenada from there if you decide to head further south.

With 3 are even able to go to Martinique for a very different cruising experience with nice beaches and good french food. It took us 18 hours to get there from Bequia...not a whole lot more than getting to St. Lucia. Le Marin marina/town is where you want to check in there...good town!!
Have fun!!
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Old 08-05-2007, 16:17   #6
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Thanks everyone for the ideas. SunSail confirmed we can go essentially anywhere we want, just be secured by dark. We’ll decide where to go once we get there and checkout the conditions (and our desire for long sails). 29 hours ‘til wheels up!
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Old 09-05-2007, 00:57   #7
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Originally Posted by SanSailer
Thanks everyone for the ideas. SunSail confirmed we can go essentially anywhere we want, just be secured by dark. We’ll decide where to go once we get there and checkout the conditions (and our desire for long sails). 29 hours ‘til wheels up!
Customs/Immigration between the islands is not much of a headache. If going south, you can clear out in Union and in to Grenada at Hillsborough, Carriacou. On the way back north just reverse that procedure. I prefer Bequia for clearing in on the way down from St. Lucia, but if heading south from Mayreau or the Tobago Cays, there's no point in going back north just to clear out.

Mustique is well worth a visit. Dine in Firefly and in The Cotton house. Do the walk along the beaches, to the right as you face Basil's from where you are moored. It is fabulous along the uninhabited side of the island.

Don't miss Saltwhistle Bay on Mayreau. Walk up to the top of the island and down to Salines on the other side. The walk will work off all the lovely seafood you will have been nibbling! The views are lovely and the people are very welcoming.

The Tobago Cays are simply magnificent and the wardens are fine. Paying for the use of the facility is not a problem: we saw a lot of turtles there in April. We did not see them in previous years. Griping about a reasonable charge is sad: think of what you get in return. The waters are a lot cleaner given that less long-stays are hanging about etc. If getting fish etc. ask Walter to send Mandy Man over to you.

Don't miss the anchorage at PSV, between PSV and Petite Martinique. Going over to Petite Martinique without clearing out of SVG and into Grenada is not a problem. No one gets excited over it.

Have a great holiday.
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Old 15-06-2007, 19:32   #8
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Hope you had a great trip. Give us a brief overview if you check back here. would love to hear what you tjought of "my" Islands!
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Old 16-06-2007, 09:19   #9
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3 weeks

Hi, Funny you should mention it, i've just got back from 3 weeks in the Windwards.

We stayed entirely in the Grenadines/Grenada area without going to St. Lucia. As to whether you go St Vincent - St. Lucia I think it just depends on your appetite for sailing and the weather conditions when you get there. It's a long day between St. Lucia and St. Vincent - watch the acceleration zones around the end of the islands and keep heading east to beat any current.

Also, don't be tempted to anchor north in St. Vincent to get a head start - get down to (or start from) Cumberland Bay/Petit Byehaut/etc..

Another factor to influence could be diving - well worth going to St. Lucia for that.

Re navigation areas - that should be written into the contract and it relates to the insurance on the boat. I'd be suprised if you have a problem there though.

To start with I would recommend heading south, after a first night stop off in St Vincent at Petit Byehaut (a lovely little bay, brilliant snorkelling - sneak right in to the corner, use a stern anchor) or Cumberland or nearby, head over to Bequia and south.

Then, if towards the end of the 3 weeks you have a few days in hand and you're back at Bequia and keen for some hard sailing then haul sail and head for St. Lucia.
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Old 01-08-2007, 14:01   #10
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I'd recommend getting a copy of Chris Doyle's Sailors Guide to the Windward Islands and a Lonely Planet Guide for the Eastern Caribbean. They are very useful and will answer most sailing questions as well as your needs on land. We are presently on Dominica, our last Leeward Island, and moving down the chain so have no experience with the Windwards. However we used Chris Doyle's Guide for the Leewards every step of the way. Excellent resource.

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