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Old 22-05-2017, 22:03   #1
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7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

Hello Seamen,

I'm looking for help putting together a rough itinerary for an upcoming trip in the Grenadines.
My big question is about sailing times between islands, I have googled away but have not found anything too definitive regarding travel times.
Please help me out and scroll down to "the plan" to kindly verify/help me out especially if I'm not even close to target.
I want to create an itinerary that makes sense, and won't kill the crew leaving time to explore and have fun.

*firstly*
I apologize if I'm in the wrong thread, or am missing some posting etiquettes as this is my first ever go on this forum. I openly appreciate any and all help and input here as I try and plan out this family trip.

This will be my second charter, but first with my family and friends that will all be flying down with me from Toronto. We fly in to Grenada and I hope to have a nice new Bali 4.0 waiting for me on the dock, June 3-11th.
(Chartered with Dream Yachts)

In my mind I have put together a rough itinerary and have an idea of what i want to do. I used to go to school on St. Vincent so It would be nice to revisit that island, and show my family where i went to school. I'm just concerned about travel time and keeping my crew happy. I bought the Windward Doyle's guide to also give some pointers.

So here's the plan...
Day1- St Georges to Union and clear customs.
I'm hoping to leave early at 7am for a north sail to Union, and roughly estimate the trip to be 6 hours. - is this a pipe-dream?
Hoping to arrive around between 1 & 2pm to clear Customs and Immigration.
After that some much needed crew rest and drinks in Clifton harbour.

Day2 - Union to Bequia
This is another 6 hour day, but hopefully after that its just a short sail north and the roughest sails will be behind us.
Hoping to have a nice meal ashore, and again relax.

Day3
Spend the morning in Bequia then sail to Blue Lagoon, St. Vincent.
My sisters want to learn to Scuba, and I have read that there is a great beginner intro resort course offered in Bequia.
After lunch, sail to St.Vincent (2.5 hours) and tuck into Blue Lagoon for the night.

Day4
In the morning, I was planning on getting some provisions from the market. I am undecided about taking everyone on a day trip to the waterfall as I'm not exactly sure where it is, and I've heard its really only accessible from dinghy. Does anyone have any input on this?
If we bail on a day trip, I was going to sail to Mistique (4 hours) and go to Basil's Bar.

Day 5&6
Tobago Cays

Day 7
Sail to Carriacou - do the whole customs and immigration thing again

Day 8
Early morning sail back to St. Georges and check out for noon.
This part I struggle with... is it possible to sail back to St. Georges in from Carriacou for a noon checkout? Can i make it back in 5 hours?
Are charter companies in Grenada strict on checkout times?

Overall how does this itinerary sound? Is it too aggressive and is this pushing it?
I will have a big crew of 10 on this boat, I'm just worried too much sailing time will push the patience of the crew but I don't want it to be a dull trip either. This is a vacation trip for us, and I want to keep it a vacation and not make it work. Most of the crew have never seen the Grenadines before, and have never been on a sailing adventure like this.
I'm also worried that the early morning days to get north will piss everyone off since the north passages will all be beats upwind. No one will be able to sleep on a 40ft cat trying to beat upwind.

Input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 23-05-2017, 04:28   #2
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Bud.
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Old 23-05-2017, 05:04   #3
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

I may be completely wrong here but I believe you will have to clear out at the last island in the Grenadian group before entry into Union Island on the St Vincent leg. I have not been sailing down there since 2005 and procedures may have changed. Someone will jump in and either confirm or corrrect my thinking.
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Old 23-05-2017, 05:08   #4
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

That is absolutely doable! It wouldn't be a trip I would want to be on as us cruisers move much slower. However each to thier own and I understand charter boats want to see and do as much as they can.

As to beating upwind.. Not sure you will have much beating. The winds seem to have already changed and are almost always blowing east or south east these days. We waited 2 weeks for some north to blow us from St. Martin to Antigua. It only lasted about 6 hours before going back east, the south east.

Personally, if it was me, I would spend the bulk of the trip around Tobago Cays, Petit St. Vincent and Petit Martinique, Salt Whistle bay and maybe Mistique at the farthest. You are outside the main season and those places would be pretty relaxed.
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Old 23-05-2017, 08:43   #5
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

I have sailed charters with friends and family between Grenada and the southern Grenadines several times. A few thoughts:

1) 10 people on a 40 ft cat is a LOT. They will be itching to get ashore and away from each other after a single cramped day aboard.
2) I chartered a Bali 4.3 this spring. It had terrible upwind performance. You will likely do a lot of motoring if you want to get anywhere.
3) Add 50% to your estimated leg times. The Bali is slow.
4) You didn't budget time for clearing out of customs.
5) By the time you anchor, drop the dinghy, go to shore, find customs, wait in line, do the paperwork, then get back to the boat, etc. customs becomes a multi-hour process both clearing in and clearing out.
6) The seas north of Grenada are essentially open Atlantic. You should factor in the chance that some of your inexperienced passengers won't like that at all.
7) Try to remember that you will probably be the only person aboard that is there for the pure joy of sailing. You will enjoy it less than you think you will because the Bali sails like a pig. The passengers will not enjoy it as much as you do, and they will be longing to get ashore and do things like drink. Lots of drinking is not consistent with a lickety-split pace. Most mornings the passengers will be somewhat hung over. Some days no one will want to sail at all.

So yes, you're trying to do WAY too much. For the time you have just go to Tobago Cays and back. That will be plenty. Slow down, de-stress, chill out, a super-tight schedule is a total buzz kill.

Cheers,
Fort

Final thought: 10 people, plus all their gear, plus a week of provisions, plus full fuel plus full water, etc. etc is a LOT of weight on a 40 ft cat. You may well be over the Cat A (open ocean) weight limit. This doesn't mean that the boat will immediately sink, but it's step in the wrong direction safety-wise. Also, she'll be REALLY slow with that much weight!
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Old 23-05-2017, 09:04   #6
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

Welcome on board! Yes, very doable but inadvisable! I have sailed that route in both directions. However.......you will find it very difficult to leave Carriacou and even more so Bequia, for me arguable my two favourite islands in the Caribbean. Take life slowly. Speed its the curse of having to work. Use it as a dream for early retirement when you can sail at leisure but most of all whatever you do enjoy your cruise.........they are amazing people there with spectacular views and idyllic scenery.
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Old 23-05-2017, 09:06   #7
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

I'd say, "slow down." Your itinerary is very busy
You can clear customs at St Georges and make it to Union Island in a day, but it would be a real push. Easier is to go St Georges to Carriacou in one day, generally hard on the wind. Remember that Kick em Jenny is active right now, so mind the exclusion zone. Clear Grenada customs at Carriacou.
Stop at Union Island to clear SVG customs. Spend several days in the Grenadines. If you get as far as Bequia you will find it lovely. Mayreau and the Tobago Cays are spectacular. Then the reverse trip is generally easier, a broad reach back to Grenada.
Your crew may not want to do more than that. Adding a trip to St Vincent makes for a lot of sailing and not much time snorkeling, sunning, and eating out.
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Old 23-05-2017, 09:47   #8
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

Rick Moore does it every other day it seems.
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Old 23-05-2017, 10:03   #9
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

I chartered a Moorings Morgan 46 for 10 days (two couples) in Marigot Harbor in St Lucia in November of 2000 (I think). Our itinerary consisted of a comfortable broad reach south to St Vincent, Bequia, Mustique ( Basil's Bar is still there ! ), Canouan, and the Tobago Keys (A MUST SEE STOP). The we turned around and had a very rough close reach back to ST Lucia.
When I turned the boat back in, I complained about the rough return sail north. The Moorings Rep suggest a one way sail from Marigot to Grenada was available at no extra charge...
All of the ports of call that you mentioned are worth seeing, and can be accomplished easily with a one way sail.


I agree that the cat that you picked is too small. I chartered a Moorings 46 cat in the ABACOS 4 years ago, with a group of 9 (4 couples and my 25 year old daughter). There are 4 queen staterooms and 2 single bunks in the front of each hull. The main reason for choosing this cat is that it was the smallest cat available with a generator big enough to run all 3 a/c units continuously while underway. It was very nice and very roomy. It made the non - sailing wives very happy. Docking was very easy because of the separation between the engines. It is very much like driving a tennis court !
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Old 23-05-2017, 10:44   #10
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DudeBud View Post
Hello Seamen,

I'm looking for help putting together a rough itinerary for an upcoming trip in the Grenadines.
My big question is about sailing times between islands, I have googled away but have not found anything too definitive regarding travel times.
Please help me out and scroll down to "the plan" to kindly verify/help me out especially if I'm not even close to target.
I want to create an itinerary that makes sense, and won't kill the crew leaving time to explore and have fun.

*firstly*
I apologize if I'm in the wrong thread, or am missing some posting etiquettes as this is my first ever go on this forum. I openly appreciate any and all help and input here as I try and plan out this family trip.

This will be my second charter, but first with my family and friends that will all be flying down with me from Toronto. We fly in to Grenada and I hope to have a nice new Bali 4.0 waiting for me on the dock, June 3-11th.
(Chartered with Dream Yachts)

In my mind I have put together a rough itinerary and have an idea of what i want to do. I used to go to school on St. Vincent so It would be nice to revisit that island, and show my family where i went to school. I'm just concerned about travel time and keeping my crew happy. I bought the Windward Doyle's guide to also give some pointers.

So here's the plan...
Day1- St Georges to Union and clear customs.
I'm hoping to leave early at 7am for a north sail to Union, and roughly estimate the trip to be 6 hours. - is this a pipe-dream?
Hoping to arrive around between 1 & 2pm to clear Customs and Immigration.
After that some much needed crew rest and drinks in Clifton harbour.

Day2 - Union to Bequia
This is another 6 hour day, but hopefully after that its just a short sail north and the roughest sails will be behind us.
Hoping to have a nice meal ashore, and again relax.

Day3
Spend the morning in Bequia then sail to Blue Lagoon, St. Vincent.
My sisters want to learn to Scuba, and I have read that there is a great beginner intro resort course offered in Bequia.
After lunch, sail to St.Vincent (2.5 hours) and tuck into Blue Lagoon for the night.

Day4
In the morning, I was planning on getting some provisions from the market. I am undecided about taking everyone on a day trip to the waterfall as I'm not exactly sure where it is, and I've heard its really only accessible from dinghy. Does anyone have any input on this?
If we bail on a day trip, I was going to sail to Mistique (4 hours) and go to Basil's Bar.

Day 5&6
Tobago Cays

Day 7
Sail to Carriacou - do the whole customs and immigration thing again

Day 8
Early morning sail back to St. Georges and check out for noon.
This part I struggle with... is it possible to sail back to St. Georges in from Carriacou for a noon checkout? Can i make it back in 5 hours?
Are charter companies in Grenada strict on checkout times?

Overall how does this itinerary sound? Is it too aggressive and is this pushing it?
I will have a big crew of 10 on this boat, I'm just worried too much sailing time will push the patience of the crew but I don't want it to be a dull trip either. This is a vacation trip for us, and I want to keep it a vacation and not make it work. Most of the crew have never seen the Grenadines before, and have never been on a sailing adventure like this.
I'm also worried that the early morning days to get north will piss everyone off since the north passages will all be beats upwind. No one will be able to sleep on a 40ft cat trying to beat upwind.

Input is greatly appreciated.



Firstly you wil have to do customs before leaving Grenada so need to do this the day before, if you have boat papers or in Grenada or Carriacou. Need to take account of when they are open and that it can take an hour if there are a few people in front of you. You wont be able to do Port Louis to Union in 6 hours even if you motored the whole way with full revs. If the wind is south of east, you may be able to get to Carriacou in 6 hours and then another 1.5hrs to Clifton.
Not sure what the point of your visit to St Vincent is. If its for the market then you are wasting island time to save a few EC$. Get your food from Grenada before leaving. Mustique is also over rated and Basil's is demolished - a tent is a temporary replacement - maybe its done by the time you get there. The moorings at Mustique is a ridiculous $70US.
Its a 3+ hr sail from Mustique to Tobago Cays. You will have to check out of SVG before departing and then check back into Grenada/Carriacou.
If all you want to do is sail you can do this. If you want to chill, don't go north of Mayreau, which have neglected and is one of the good spots. You will pass loads that you will want to see next time at a slower pace.

Shawn
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Old 23-05-2017, 10:46   #11
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

Get the charter company to photocopy all of the forms you will need for customs. Sunsail did this for us and it saved gobs of time. Get at least 10 complete copies of crew list with passport numbers etc. Be sure to smile and be polite. None of the customs offices were air conditioned and some involved moving from room to room.
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Old 23-05-2017, 12:08   #12
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

We have cruised this area for 10 seasons and feel that Grenada to Bequia offers the most pleasing time. I would recommend trying to trim your itinerary somewhat although I know it is tempting to try to see all. We often felt sorry for charterers who arrived at a beautiful anchorage at 5PM and we're gone when we got up in the morning. I absolutely agree with the previously posted thoughts about Mystique. Stay away. Overpriced. So much depends on the wind strength and direction. It is a long go from South Grenada to Union with motoring along the leeward coast and then into waves the remainder of the way. Much better to charter out of Blue Lagoon but maybe too late for you. If you cannot charter out of Blue then skip St Vincent and turn back from Bequia. One morning is too short for beautiful Bequia. Go to Mayreau. Slow down a bit...
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Old 23-05-2017, 13:56   #13
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

Can it be done comfortably...................... NO !
Unless EACH member of your crew are dedicated sailors/racers I would say you will be pushing them too hard.
If its a vacation you want, slow down, enjoy the scenery and anchorages and shorter pleasurable sails between islands.
Your itinerary reminds me of tourists who see 15 countries in 12 days and then say "they have seen Europe" !
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Old 23-05-2017, 14:37   #14
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

bequia has the most stuff on shore for the rest of your crew to do (by far). It also has water taxis which will eliminate the need to coordinate rides in your dinghy. Do you want to be a dinghy taxi driver for 10 people? Also, LOCK YOUR DINGHY and your boat! Yes. Do it.

Having sailed in that area on a fairly weatherly monhull lots of times I would say you are planning way too many islands. Entirely agree that Mustique is overrated. Tobago Cays will be good for snorkelling and Bequia for local color. I didnt like St. Vincent all that much. There are stores on Bequia if you need provisions. Best to just get it all in Grenada.
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Old 23-05-2017, 16:33   #15
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Re: 7 Day Charter - Grenada to St. Vincent & back... - Can it be done comfortably?

Wow!
That is an adventurous itinerary. First, the market in Grenada should not be missed - great spices. The sea north of Grenada can be rough. We had sick crew.
Sand Cay west of Caricou is an excellent short stop for some beach and snorkel time.
I agree with posts about the Tobago Cays, but we had a great night at Happy Island - made out of conch shells and a one room bar serving "Very Strong Rum."
We did not make it to Bequia because one week is too short. If I did it over, we would pay the extra flight and sail from St Lucia south on a one way.
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