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Old 19-10-2018, 12:27   #1
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St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

So just wanted to write a quick list of observations from my trip last week to the Grenadines. Background, 4 couples, bareboat with me as the captain, on a 2009 Leopard 46 (4 cabin), Horizon Yacht Charters, left out of SVD, and did the one way sail to Grenada and dropped off there. In case anybody else is considering doing the same type of trip I just thought I'd share my experiences and insight.

1) We did this in 7 days, I would recommend no less than 10 days. Unfortunately the other three couples still have day jobs which limited their time, still very happy we did the trip, but 2 weeks would be about perfect.
2) Wow this is area is conducive to really amazing sailing conditions! We had consistent wind at 15 knots giving us a perfect starboard tack the whole way. It got a little sassy with gusts up to 23 knots, and some decent swell that made it not for the faint of heart, but nothing that didn't have me smiling from ear to ear.
3) Loved the L46. So stable and comfortable...just seems like much more solid than the Helia we charted last time. We cruised along nicely at 7 knots most of the time, tickled 10 knots from time to time, and surfed down a few waves at 11+...at all times the boat was rock solid. No slapping of waves the entire trip. Only boat I've sailed that I like better was on Outremer 51, but that's a whole different level.
4) The Grenadines are an absolute must visit, they are truly special. We are definitely going back on day when we can have a much more leisurely itinerary.
5) The people at Horizon were awesome, I would recommend them in a heartbeat.
6) The people on the islands were a tad on the sketchy side. I understand the whole dynamic going on, but when the locals come up to you and give you a laundry list of things to watch out for, it give you caution. They didn't even seem to like each other. That portion was a bit different than other cruising experiences we've had, but still we met some super cool nice people as well, I think because the area is a tad bit poorer that you just need to exercise caution.
7) Just plan on eating lobster 3 nights a week, every anchorage we pulled up to had dudes trying to sell us 4 pound lobsters. If you go ask your charter company for a pot big enough to boil them in!
8) Checking in and out consumes a whole day...plan accordingly.
9) Tyrell Bay where we checked into Grenada at was kind of depressing. It seemed to be filled with liveaboard sailboats that were neglected and shabby for the most part. Ugh, if that is what full time cruising life would consist of count me out. Stuck there for a week or two because of weather is one thing, but to be anchored in field of crappy boats because you've checked out of life and never even move your boat anymore made me kind of think about what real liveaboard types do. I would definitely pick a better spot if that were me.
10) sailing over the edge of Kick'em Jenny the underwater volcano was fun! But...unfortunately anti-climatic : )
11) Fishing was awesome, we caught a Mahi, Yellow Tail, and Cuda. Definitely bring your fishing gear.
12) Would have loved to spend more time exploring Grenada. That seemed like a really nice island with tons to do and see.
13) Much different overall experience than the rest of the Caribbean IMO, and way different than the Bahamas. Both from a good and bad standpoint, but mostly good.

Overall as my partner and I get closer to being full time world traveling nomads it did give me more time to reflect on what that future will look like. We are fortunate because she is in the airline industry and we fly for free (or damn close to it) around the world. I'm starting to transition more towards having an awesome little spot in the tropics to use as a home base, but then travel to these awesome cruising grounds and rent a boat for a few weeks or months at a time, then be done, throw them the keys and not have the headache of passages and maintenance. I think although maybe slightly more expensive it would lower the overall stress factors and eliminate some of the boring parts. Anyway, to wrap it up, anybody thinking of doing the same trip, I'd highly recommend it!
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Old 19-10-2018, 14:23   #2
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

Hello. I will returned to my sailboat.....stored in Grenada for the hurricane season. I would like to know about the sargassum seaweeds around there. Thanks.
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Old 19-10-2018, 17:03   #3
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

We spend a air bit of time Tyrrell bay each year . I must say that your impression does not jive with mine . There is a lot more there than meets the eye , I could tell you but that would spoil the fun
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Old 19-10-2018, 20:23   #4
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

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We spend a air bit of time Tyrrell bay each year . I must say that your impression does not jive with mine . There is a lot more there than meets the eye , I could tell you but that would spoil the fun
It would be interesting to know what more you can add to this. I also see anchorages that are filled with crap boats that have been neglected beyond being able to repair. I almost always think to myself "why can't you spend two hours a day and fix that piece of crap up".

ol1970, how much was the lobster? I thought it was crazy expensive in the Bahamas but maybe I don't know who to buy it through.
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Old 19-10-2018, 21:04   #5
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

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ol1970, how much was the lobster? I thought it was crazy expensive in the Bahamas but maybe I don't know who to buy it through.
Bahamas: $3 per lobster tail. At the docks in North Bimini. I thought it was crazy cheap!

The key is being there during the local commercial lobster season (Aug 1 to March 31). Once it closes, lobster is imported and can be, yes, crazy expensive. But there is a class of tourist who still wants it!
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Old 20-10-2018, 00:16   #6
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

Thanks for the report, very useful!!
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Old 20-10-2018, 01:15   #7
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

They will let anyone charter a boat in St Vincent, even ones who don't know port tack from starboard...
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Old 20-10-2018, 05:34   #8
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Rolla.
Thanks for the report ol.
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Old 20-10-2018, 08:19   #9
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

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Overall as my partner and I get closer to being full time world traveling nomads it did give me more time to reflect on what that future will look like. We are fortunate because she is in the airline industry and we fly for free (or damn close to it) around the world. I'm starting to transition more towards having an awesome little spot in the tropics to use as a home base, but then travel to these awesome cruising grounds and rent a boat for a few weeks or months at a time, then be done, throw them the keys and not have the headache of passages and maintenance. I think although maybe slightly more expensive it would lower the overall stress factors and eliminate some of the boring parts. Anyway, to wrap it up, anybody thinking of doing the same trip, I'd highly recommend it!
Nice report and sounds like nice trip.

We will probably do your retirement plan also, except stay is the US. Besides being close enough to get to the grandkids, the spread of chartering in many of the great sailing areas of the world provides lots of options. Frankly, we don’t want to live in few-hundred square foot boat, where even doing laundry is interesting and we don’t really want to sail around the world and have weeks at sea. We’re not “real” seamen, just pretenders. We love getting out for a couple of weeks, but not a month or more at a time.
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Old 20-10-2018, 10:54   #10
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

Nice write up! We are going to St. Vincent and are booked with Tradewinds on a Cat to learn about this lifestyle as we head into the retirement window. THis will be in May 2019 and we are very excited. Both of us know nothing about sailing at this point but trying to learn fast. Last month we spent a week off Catalina island on a big Sport fisher and we learned some about living on the water. But we live in the middle of the country so with work, water time is hard to come by. Thanks again for the great write up! Very helpful!!!
Cheers!!
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Old 20-10-2018, 11:48   #11
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

Reggie liked this post thumbs up always had my eye on the grenadines but have only made it to st Lucia
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Old 21-10-2018, 03:22   #12
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

It has been a lot of years, but we sailed , bareboat with the moorings out of St. Lucia.

As the OP says, it was great sailing those waters. We had a Peterson 44, sloop, no GPS, no auto pilot, easily used paper charts and a cruising guide for coastal nav and piloting, reefed down , with a stalk of bananas tied to the back stay. Making mucho knots.

Just off the top of my rusty memory banks, we had great times in Bequia, and fun snorkeling in the Tabago Cays. Also, over night anchored at Palm Island, and got huge Lobsters from the fishermen in Petite St . Vincent. ( small island a bit north of Grenada ) .

Back then, we had to return the boat back to the base in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, there was no drop off in Grenada. Our trip was ten days to two weeks. ( Also, we were advised , back then, to pass on St. Vincent, due to whatever not good situation existed at the time. Now, the charter companies are based out of St. Vincent. Times change.

Oh yes , those lobsters were huge, not expensive at all, and we did not have a pot that they would would fit. Erica did some surgery on them with pliers and channel locks.

One caveat ,that has been mentioned, was the general poverty of the area. The kids not going to school, and hanging in the harbors to ' Watch your dinghy mon, keep it from being stolen for few EC. " Same for hauling out your anchor, etc, etc.
I think we paid the small bribe for the dink, but did not use them for anchoring .

Due to the distances and time constraints, we had some wonderful long passages, making 8 to 9 kts reefed down. Now, they have made it much easier with departing from St. Vincent and dropping off in Grenada. Also agree, 7 days is too short a time, best to extend it to two weeks if possible. Slow down a bit , enjoy more.

There was probably another island or two that we visited, including St. Lucia, Marigot Bay and the Pitons, That is the best the ancient brain cells can recall . Actually, our sailing vacation there was shortly after the U.S. Invasion of Grenada.....had a good time, with no problems.

For those thinking of taking off and cruising the Caribbean, for sailing vacations, we also had wonderful good experiences bareboating the.... Abacos, Bahamas; many BVI trips, The French West Indies, ( St. Martin, Anguilla, and St, Barts) and the Windwards / Grenadines.

Many additional islands more awaiting you all in those great cruising grounds.

Life in an Adventure !
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Old 21-10-2018, 06:23   #13
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St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

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Originally Posted by ol1970 View Post
I'm starting to transition more towards having an awesome little spot in the tropics to use as a home base, but then travel to these awesome cruising grounds and rent a boat for a few weeks or months at a time, then be done, throw them the keys and not have the headache of passages and maintenance. I think although maybe slightly more expensive it would lower the overall stress factors and eliminate some of the boring parts.

It would take a lot of chartering to make it more expensive than owning your own boat, particularly a bigger newer cat. If you get cheap airfare and are not in love with ocean passages and stretches of boring motoring then I think you have a plan.

Glad you had a great experience. It’s been a few years since I was there but it’s still one of my favorite places. I see the Frangipani is still around, in Friendship Bay on Bequia so all is right with the world.
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Old 21-10-2018, 09:14   #14
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

I have always dreamed of going to bequia maby stay in moon hole
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Old 21-10-2018, 10:05   #15
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Re: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a Leopard 46 - observations/experience

A very positive thing about sailing, and adventures in paradise.

We all can experience these fabulous cruising grounds in our own personal way and what works best for us, at most any stage in life.

Some have their own vessel and roam the seas and oceans of the world . Wow !

We have owned or been partners in sailing vessels and even an airplane, and owned homes. We also , during the times of owning the boats, we would, almost annually, board a plane and fly to Australia, Tahiti, Tonga, the Caribbean, Greece or Ireland.

Plus, out of our home port we sailed the coastal waters up from Cabo, Baha, Mexico and sailed southern california from San Diego, to Santa Barbara, and Catalina and the Channel Islands and ports of call inbetween. About 35 years.

At this time, we have no boat ownership, or partnerships, no planes, and do not sail our local waters and have stopped joining sailing clubs. We decided to save those expenses and go off on our two week plus bare boat sailing vacations. As well as land trips , eco style adventures off the mainland.

Seems we have been strongly in love with the BVI, and next trip will be # 17,

Life is continues to be ood, and sailing is still a special part of our lives, albeit , only one two week plus sailing or power boat vacation a year .

However, we do stay in touch with the sailing life thru this forum and other sailing forums. Bloody great .

Whether, giving it all away, and letting go the dock lines to cruise the planet, or continue to sail locally on our own vessel, or use a sailing club, or add in bare boating world wide, as well, it all works out that we all can enjoy these many wonderful cruising grounds in our own way.

I is a great , great life, lads and lasses.

And thanks to CF , that helps keep us involved in the sailing world, and bringing back so many wonderful experiences. It is good for the heart .
.
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