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Old 05-03-2016, 07:05   #1
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Question Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

I'm looking to get my boat (46' cat) ready to cross the Pacific next year and do some extended cruising. Wondering if anyone has advice on a good place to settle down for a bit and get some work done? The big jobs are: bottom paint / thru-hull work, re-rigging, power/battery/charging system rebuild. I can do a lot of the electrical work myself, but definitely need a good yard / experts for the others. Is there anywhere recommended for this sort of stuff? Somewhere with no/minimal duties on imported parts (I'll want to get top quality stuff from good manufacturers, not scrounge through dusty marine store shelves) My current plan is to sail to Grenada and hang out there doing the work during hurricane season. What do you think?
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Old 05-03-2016, 07:14   #2
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

Pretty hard to beat St. Maarten
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Old 05-03-2016, 07:32   #3
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

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Pretty hard to beat St. Maarten
Sorry if this is a dumb question, but what makes St. Maarten so good? I'm fairly new to this so I don't really have the background knowledge of what the reputation of different places is.
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Old 05-03-2016, 07:41   #4
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

I believe St. Maarten is one of the few duty free islands in the Caribbean.


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Old 05-03-2016, 08:09   #5
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

St. Maarten is duty free and while other islands say that they are (Trinidad) they really are not. St. Maarten has a very skilled workforce of people and you can get almost anything done there. They also have some of the lowest prices in the Caribbean. Very hard to beat this place for what you want to do. Trinidad would likely come in second. We have used both and prefer St. Maarten.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:17   #6
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

There good stainless fabricators there?

I'm going to need a bimini/solar panel mount made to fit.

Thanks for the insights by the way.

PS. Should I get the stainless and take it with me or buy it there, may be important too.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:27   #7
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

Our friends who lost their stick on their way towards Caribbean did a full refit in Grenada and they were happy with their choice.

There is a big and serious boatyard in Antigua (in the north sound) I have seen some very serious boats hauled out there and under repair. It looked posh and well run.

Martinique le Marin has a decent boatyard too but I think there you want to do your own work. Some say it takes too long to get things done by their staff. Still, with sailmaker and rigger and good chandleries at hand, I would not hesitate to haul out there.

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Old 05-03-2016, 08:39   #8
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Pretty hard to beat St. Maarten
Second that
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:11   #9
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

I think I am notvthe only one to say St. Maarten... Lots of service providers, easy to get parts, English speaking.
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:18   #10
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

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Second that
Third that.

You can anchor in the lagoon (don't swim in it) on the French side, safe anchorage on the Dutch side is limited. Lagoonies marina on the Dutch side has limited dockage but we got a slip when we needed one. They have a very nice bar/restaurant with live music. At Lagoonies you will find other companies with office space that do air conditioning, refrigeration, Raymarine dealer (Gui), carpenter (Paul), fabrication engineer (Peter), a North Sails dealer that does great fabric work for sun shades and biminies, etc. (Ernst).

And right next door is FKG Rigging (Kevin). FKG is very good and charge like it. But, we will use them again when necessary. They have a large dock you can make arrangement to use while they are working on your boat.

Bobby's Mega Yard for the haul out. Try to get a reservation over the lunch hour. We were able to get through hulls done and the bottom painted with minimal charge for hang time.

Budget Marine and Island Water World are within walking distance as are grocery and the biggest ACE Hardware store we've ever seen! Any kind of restaurant or service is within a dinghy ride. Best of all, no tax, no duty. We spent major $€ŁĄ on duty in Grenada.

St Maarten is a great place to get things done but get south as fast as you can. Too many cruise ships.
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:20   #11
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

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Old 05-03-2016, 09:40   #12
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by cainiao View Post
I'm looking to get my boat (46' cat) ready to cross the Pacific next year and do some extended cruising. Wondering if anyone has advice on a good place to settle down for a bit and get some work done? The big jobs are: bottom paint / thru-hull work, re-rigging, power/battery/charging system rebuild. I can do a lot of the electrical work myself, but definitely need a good yard / experts for the others. Is there anywhere recommended for this sort of stuff? Somewhere with no/minimal duties on imported parts (I'll want to get top quality stuff from good manufacturers, not scrounge through dusty marine store shelves) My current plan is to sail to Grenada and hang out there doing the work during hurricane season. What do you think?
I personally was very happy with Granada marine in Grenada. There is all the possible repair shop you will need such as sail maker, electronics, and stainless steel. In addition it is located in a very well protected area which eliminates totally the risk of hurricane damages.
I had my boat in St Marteen for one summer season, and the work done there was well under standard .
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:41   #13
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

Would those of you who suggest St. Maarten, say I would or would not do better having 30' painted and other work done on her cheaper than having it done in the USA? Thanks for input.
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:44   #14
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

Wow, thanks for the great information. Looks like I'll have to give St. Maarten a look.
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:28   #15
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Re: Best Place for Refit/Upgrades in Caribbean?

Mayahana - I was at Bobby's Megga Boatyard this week. Great location. I noticed that security was nearly non-existent and theft is a major problem on the island. What is your experience. I didn't see any guards, fences or security gates and folks were pretty much able to go and come as they see fit.

I spoke with Amy who is the office manager at Bobby's and she quoted 4-5 days for bottom paint job for a 40' cat. She emphasized the need to let the anti-fouling paint to cure between coats. We are thinking about 2.5 coats, with the 1/2 coat applied at the waterline. We too pulled out during the lunch break which runs from 12-1:30. Do you feel the paint cured sufficiently so as not to wash off once the boat is splashed. Staff is friendly and seemed eager to please. Haulout ran $532 for 39' during lunch hour.

I agree about the comments regarding all sorts of support vendors being located in the area (Yanamr, Vovle and diesel services, sailmakers, canvas, fabricators, parts, etc... as well as Lagonees. They have a dinghy dock which makes the place even more convenient. Food is good with reasonable prices. This location is also convenient to the international airport - five minutes away.

I would not recommend staying at Simpson Bay Resort & Marina (no marina). Overcrowded, overpriced, unfriendly staff, extremely inefficient even for the Carib. Been there done that. Much better resorts and hotels and short taxi ride away. If you want to acquire a bad mood and disappointment this is the place for you.

Zengirl - depends on where the boat is located at time of needing work. If you have to relocate the boat back to the States, then St. Martin is probably is best bet. I find rates about 20% higher than State side (Florida) Nanny Cay is another alternative, Nanny Cay Marina, is located on Tortola, friendly staff, very reasonable hotel rates $70 p/night if you have to be off boat, and knowledgeable staff. A great survey company is located there in case you need expert advice.
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