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Old 28-05-2016, 07:46   #1
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St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

Quick summary of our 2-week bareboat charter Starting at St Martin on May 6, 2016.

Sun Odyssey 509 (50 foot monohull) from Dream Yacht Charter at Marina Port la Royale on West end on French side of St Martin.

Crew was 3 couples that have bareboated 3 times previously in BVIs together.

Itinerary
  • Grand Case Anchor nice dingy dock. When we anchored, which is most of the time, I ALWAYS snorkeled out to check the anchor for anchor drag. We did not have any anchor drag issues since we always put out lots of chain.
  • Ile Tintamarre mooring ball beached dingy. Great beach. A little rolly for sleeping but not too bad.
  • Back track to Anse Marcel to get fix for generator flow sensor. Girls like to have Air conditioning. Dream Yacht Charter sent out two technician by taxi. They fixed it.
  • After generator fix sailed to Baie Oriental (Orient Beach) south anchorage. No dingy dock and beach landings are extremely difficult.
  • Windless stopped working and could not raise anchor. Wait for technician to taxi over to fix windless by noon and start sailing to St Barts. No problem 14nm in a few hours with this fast boat.
  • St Marts Gustavia anchorage north end Anse Corossol which is long dingy ride to customs and dingy docks. No room to anchor closer of Fort Oscar and mooring balls their are all private.
  • Long sail to St Kitts with 20+ knot winds. Boat speed 8 to 9 knots. Before hitting north end of St Kitts
  • Wind died after rounding the north corner of St Kitts and sailing west side of St Kitts. Mistake on our part. Should have sailed the east side of St Kitts to the Narrows and then gone north to Port Zante
  • With lots of tacking eventually made it to Port Zante.
  • Port Zante is big ugly commercial port with no Dingy docks. Tried to anchor on west end of Port Zante but too rolly for a good sleep. We called Port Zante marina where we docked for $47 a night for two nights. Port Zante marina is mostly used for fishing boats. We also got fuel and water here at the dock. To complete customs at Port Zante we had 10 min taxi to airport.
  • Visited rain forest where they also made sugar from sugar cane and Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park fort. This is one big fort. Wow.
  • Sailed to Nevis anchored outside Oualie Beach Resort. Nice dingy dock, beach, and great restaurant just like BVIs. This is the best place to anchor on Nevis because the Oualie Beach Resort caters to yachters. Took Taxi to customs Charles Town which were closed early due to Holiday and then visited the baths. Warning hot hot water. Had diner with St Kitts medical students who gave one of our crew members a free counsel.
  • Next morning taxi to customs in Charles Town again and got out of their by 9:30am, quick back to the Oualie Beach for 45nm sail back to St Barts Gustavia.
  • Went through narrows between St Kitts and Nevis to east side of St Kitts. Once on east side of St Kitts the boat was fast and got up to 10 knots with 24 knot winds out of the east. Averaged around 8.5 knots with no tacking required.
  • Arrived Gustavia, St Barts and tried to anchor closer near Fort Oscar. Just no room. Anchored again over at Anse Corossol west end of Gustavia for long dingy ride to Customs.
  • Next day sailed to North end of St Bart and picked up the many mooring balls at Anse du Colombier. This place is AWESOME Great beach, calm water, and lots of turtles. I strongly suggest taking the 30 minute hike from the Combier beach into town during daylight hours. The views along the way are incredible. Trail has rough steep rocks so don't try this with flip flops.
  • Sailed backed to St Martin Grand Case
  • Next morning motored from Grand Case back to Port la Royale to return boat.
  • After returning boat we rented a Condo on Dutch side of St Martin at Simpson Bay Resorts for 2 days. We went horse back riding in ocean, did a spa, taxied over to Orient Beach. We went to Captain Olivers restaurant for our last meal on our trip but decided to try something a little more formal and went to the Big Fish restaurant not too far from Captain Olivers where we had a great meal.
Summary of experience:
  • this is not the BVIs that cater to bareboat sailers. Compared to BVIs very few dingy docks and beach landings can be challenging or not possible.
  • YES we used the autopilot to sail the boat. This thing is awesome for long sails if you never used one. Worked great in big waves and 20+ knot winds.
  • compared to BVIs higher winds big waves obviously, which is a good thing when trying to travel 45nm in one day.
  • BVIs we never took the motor off the dingy and we never cabled the dingy to our boat at night. Here in St Martin we always took to motor off and cabled locked the dingy to our boat.
  • our boat had a few issues which cost us at least one day.
  • the 50 foot monohull with AC was very comfortable for 3 couples, good sails, reliable well maintained motor, and was fast
  • Dingy was too small for 6 of us. If we had a bigger crew it would mean multiple trips.
  • other boat issues the map plotter would turn off when we tacked, we had to fix the clogged sea water intake for the generator that caused no AC about 4:00am, and a few other very minor things.
  • I would rent from Dream Yacht Charter again. The price was reasonable and they did fix the problems that needed to be fixed.
  • Sailing into Orient Beach you may think you want try to anchor on north end by Ilet Pinel. There is no damn way you want to go near this anchorage with a monhull no mater what the Cruising guide says. For our Monohull with a 5.5 draft it is just too shallow, too many other boats and not a lot of room to anchor. When the depth got near 6 feet with waves we left. Best to anchor south end in front of Orient Beach. We did not try to Anchor in St Martin's Oyster Pond.
  • As you may have noticed we did not anchor on the Dutch side of St Martin. Since we were staying in a condo on the Dutch side after sailing, we wanted to avoid having to deal with customs one more time.
  • I would have like to sail to Anguilla
  • With a fast boat and good wind like we had we may consider going to Antiqua next time. Although the customs I understand are even more challenging their.
PM me if you have questions.
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Old 31-05-2016, 11:53   #2
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

Thanks for the great report. We are chartering for two weeks from Antigua to St. Martin later in June so I will print this out as a reference once we get beyond Antigua/Barbuda. This will be our first real non-Virgin Islands charter so it is a bit intimidating - though I think we're up for the challenge. Just need to dial in the best anchoring spots, C&I requirements, dealing with the bridges for Oyster Bay and of course sailing in potentially bigger wind and swell. At least we will be (or at least will likely be) riding the swell the entire way with no significant upwind legs. We'll be on a 40' cat from Dream Yacht Charters. I purchased both the Northern and Southern guides from Cruising Guide Publications and I have the Navionics App on my iPad. Any other guides or references you might recommend?

Thanks!

Matt
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Old 31-05-2016, 13:52   #3
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

You should be good with those books. I love the Navionics app on my iPhone. Always good to have a backup. Give your boat a sea trial run not too far from base to work out any issues that need fixing before getting too far away from base. Let us know how you like Antiqua. I would like to know what we missed.

Make sure you hit St Barts and pick up the many mooring balls at Anse du Colombier. Then hike over the hill into town. Bring camera for hike.

Shell beach on St Barts is worth visiting but probably rolly for anchoring over night. You can day anchor at Shell beach walk to customs and have lunch at Shell Beach restaurant before going to Anse du Colombier for the night.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:54   #4
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

Thanks for the advice on St. Barts. We are planning on going there but I figured we'd just anchor at Gustavia. Your approach sounds like a great alternative. I'll try to do a trip report once we get back which of course will include our impression of Antigua. Sounds like a fun island, and Barbuda looks nice too.

How did you find the sailing compared to the Virgin Islands? I know bigger and windier is the norm, but was it significantly more challenging? We have sailed in what would be considered pretty big conditions for the BVIs and in some big swell and wind on a downwind leg to the SVIs but we just don't know how the Leewards will compare. Also, was it generally easy to find somewhere to anchor? I know how to anchor, but being BVI sailors we just don't do it often so a little extra space is always nice. I figure this trip will force me to face my irrational fear of anchoring.

Thanks!

Matt
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Old 01-06-2016, 20:45   #5
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

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Originally Posted by capnmatt View Post
How did you find the sailing compared to the Virgin Islands? I know bigger and windier is the norm, but was it significantly more challenging? We have sailed in what would be considered pretty big conditions for the BVIs and in some big swell and wind on a downwind leg to the SVIs but we just don't know how the Leewards will compare. Also, was it generally easy to find somewhere to anchor? I know how to anchor, but being BVI sailors we just don't do it often so a little extra space is always nice. I figure this trip will force me to face my irrational fear of anchoring.

Thanks!

Matt
From what you say I am sure you will do fine. Bigger wind but consistent. Not that hard to manage. You will do fine. Lots of room and good sand to anchor in. Set your anchor and put out lots of chain. Snorkel out to look at your anchor and the amount of chain laying on the bottom. You should feel comfortable with what you see.
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Old 02-06-2016, 12:00   #6
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

St Kitts White House Bay was another excellent location we anchored for the night. We had lunch at Salt Plage 1714'59.52"N 6239'24.29"W. As you can see it has a dingy dock and a very small beach. They had pig roast buffet that night but we decided to consume the food on board.

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Old 02-06-2016, 12:11   #7
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

I verified Oualie Beach Resort and Restaurant is the only location with a dingy dock on Nevis. If sailing to Nevis you definitely want to anchor here. The owner gives out free ice to Yachters, free garbage disposal, has free WiFi and free computer to use.
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Old 02-06-2016, 12:42   #8
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

There's a free public dinghy dock in Charlestown, Nevis, just south of the ferry dock. The local produce market is open on Tuesdays. You can walk to Customs & Immigration, a couple of grocery stores. ATMs, and the local produce market (lots of vendors on Tuesdays).
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Old 02-06-2016, 15:33   #9
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

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There's a free public dinghy dock in Charlestown, Nevis, just south of the ferry dock. The local produce market is open on Tuesdays. You can walk to Customs & Immigration, a couple of grocery stores. ATMs, and the local produce market (lots of vendors on Tuesdays).
Thanks HUD3 for the correction. I should have qualified my post to address the long beach north of Charlestown.
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Old 13-06-2016, 14:06   #10
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

@UpstateNY - thanks for the thorough report. We just came back from a 7-night charter from Dream Yacht Charters in Marigot/Marina Royal. Got a Bali 4.5 flybridge cat. Given it is a new model, I was surprised at few design oversights but overall was good. There was no AC/generator but it had a water-maker and ice-maker (which went off half way) which proved invaluable piece of equipment given the 9 people on board and being out of civilization most of the trip.

Unlike your experience, we felt it is quite empty even in Gustavia to anchor as close as possible to the main marina and Port office.

Itinerary (nights)
Marigot / Marina Royal
Anguilla, Sandy island, Road bay (noisy bar on the beach), anchored
Anguilla, Prickly Pear Island, Crocus Bay at anchor (we were the single charter boat overnight)
Sailed via eastern tip of Anguilla to Ile Tintamarre (3 boats overnight), mooring ball
Anse de Colombier (as you well described), only 5 boats overnight, mooring ball
Gustavia and Ile Fourchue (only 3 boats overnight) (anchor and mooring ball)
Grand Case (last night), then 30 min motoring to Marigot for 9am bridge opening. (anchor).

We did partial advance provisioning through DYC which worked ok, and ordered separately from Le Grand Marche, which we got only after 10 phonecalls to 10 different persons. They seemed a bit disorganized so if you order in advance, stay on top of it. Otherwise lots of good and well stocked supermarkets but it is time consuming.

We had great weather except for some 20-30 kts gusts when rounding the eastern tip of Angulla. Other than rounding Anguilla, all other legs were on a single or few tacks.

Overall, prefer it over the BVI exactly because there are longer stretches for sailing, stronger winds and open seas. Also, uninhabited islands to feel really disconnected.

Grand Case/Marigot/Gustavia - great restaurants.

Very convenient in/out if flying from NYC. We had two French speakers on board which made it easier. Well stocked supermarkets.

Highly recommended - will do it again.

Cheers!
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Old 13-06-2016, 14:29   #11
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

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@UpstateNY - thanks for the thorough report. We just came back from a 7-night charter from Dream Yacht Charters in Marigot/Marina Royal. .........

Highly recommended - will do it again.

Cheers!
Sounds like you had a good time.

Question what was the cost of sailing around Anguilla Prickly Pear Island, Crocus Bay . From what we read there was a $150 per day Anguilla sailing permit required. Is that true?
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Old 13-06-2016, 15:06   #12
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

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Sounds like you had a good time.

Question what was the cost of sailing around Anguilla Prickly Pear Island, Crocus Bay . From what we read there was a $150 per day Anguilla sailing permit required. Is that true?

The cost is $150 or about but these are East Caribbean Dollars (EC$) (their official currency) which comes around US$55 which divided by 9 person is bearable and is worth every penny. Nobody ever checked on us though but I heard that during busy seasons checks can be more frequent.

We had the whole Prickly Pear island for ourselves the whole day

Cheers!
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Old 26-06-2016, 10:00   #13
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

I charted an Catamaran Lagoon 450 from Yachtoo.net in St Martin last year. Saint Martin is an extremely peculiar island, mostly due to the fact that it is divided into two parts: French and Dutch, and the influences of both countries are vivid at every corner. Yachtoo offers you a boat charter from Marigot, the capital of the French side of Saint Martins. Marigot brims over with tourist attractions: it has beautiful architecture, natural landscapes and numerous tax-free shopping sites. Highly recommend it!!
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Old 09-02-2017, 12:41   #14
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

Any suggestions regarding where to anchor or dock in Gustavia? Can reservations be made in advance??
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Old 09-02-2017, 13:03   #15
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Re: St Martin 2-Week Bareboat Charter May 6, 2016

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Any suggestions regarding where to anchor or dock in Gustavia? Can reservations be made in advance??
You can anchor just outside the harbor, but it us rolly and i recall being charged an achoring fee. I suggest anchoring either off Shell Beach, shown on some charts as Anse de Pettite Galet , directly west of Gustavia, or off Anse Columbier - which is beautiful. Just be careful dinghying from there past il pettite jean to gustavia.

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