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Duckwheat 28-02-2010 19:22

Bareboat in St. Lucia ?
Anyone have experience with bareboating out of St. Lucia. A friend has told me to do a one way from St. Lucia to Grenada.

Do you guys have any experience that would be helpful?


Pacific Jewel 28-02-2010 23:50

Hi, my husband and I use to run a charter boat in the Grenadines. Going one way, particularly on limited time, is definitely the best way to go. Of course you'll be going past Tobago keys the further you get down, which is always a delight for those who haven't been. And Mustique, which is one of my favourites in that area. Bequia is a good stop too. Enjoy.

Hud3 01-03-2010 04:42

I have no charter experience in that area, but we cruised there extensively in our own boat. The Moorings has a base in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, and another in Canouan, in the center of the Grenadines. You might want to check them out for a one way charter.

When heading south from St. Lucia, we would sail from Rodney Bay down to Soufriere and the Pitons, clear out there, and spend the night on one of the moorings available in the area, then depart early the next morning for Admiralty Bay in Bequia (55 nm), arriving in the afternoon in time to clear in before the Customs office closed. We chose not to stop in St. Vincent. Some enjoy the island, some don't, so you need to make a choice. Everyone enjoys the Grenadines.

For a week or 10 day charter, I'd limit your southern range to the Grenadines, and skip Grenada. There's more than enough to keep you happily occupied there, and it burns up some of your charter time to get there if you begin in St. Lucia. If you have two weeks, reaching Grenada is possible without pushing too hard. You would clear out of SVG on Union Island and clear in to Grenada either on Carriacou (spending a night in Tyrell Bay) or at one of the Ports of Entry down at the south end of Grenada after a longish day's sail (45-50 nm). In my opinion, the southern Grenada area is a really great for long-term cruisers to hang out, but compared to the Grenadines, I don't think it's as good a destination for a charterer with limited time to spend.

p.s. Many charterers start and end their charters in Blue Lagoon on St. Vincent, heading down to the Grenadines for the bulk of their charter time. One benefit of that (or chartering with the Moorings in Canouan) is that you don't have to spend time clearing out and clearing in.

sigmasailor 01-03-2010 06:11

We'll do a one way in a couple of weeks from English Harbour (Antigua) to Blue lagoon (St. Vincent); we have two weeks to complete the trip. We've been to most of the area before but are trying to get a 'quick' passage to Bequia (skipping main island St Vincent) in a day or 10 so we have time to go back to Tobago Cays. If the whole area is new to you I would just stick with SVG; you can charter from Canouan or Blue Lagoon; Google is your friend. It will save you some time clearing customs and you avoid having to pay a one way bonus.

billyehh 01-03-2010 07:54

Most of the posts here have the right idea. As a long term crusier I have a bias of not going to far to fast. Last season I went from Grenada to St. Martin and back in almost 5 months and felt rushed. Take the time to smell the roses. From St. Lucia to Grenada takes a push in 2 weeks and sincethe prevailing winds are E to NE I would seriously consider the one way charter.

If you are only going for a weekto 10 days the Canouan option makes alot of sense. It is only a couple of hours from Tobago Cays National Park and short sails from Bequia to Carriacou. I feel that this area has the best cruising concentrated in a small area next to the Virgin Islands. The upside is it is much less crowded.

Hud3 01-03-2010 08:00

Whatever you decide, be sure to check available flights before booking the boat. The airlines have cut way back in their schedules recently.

BTW, Duckworth, what's that in your hand in your avatar. Enjoying some sushi? ;)

Duckwheat 03-03-2010 17:16

Great comments
Thanks for the good info. Trying to put something together and it really helps to hear from you guys.

I like my sushi rare. Did not reel that little guy up before a barracuda helped himself to our dinner.


sck5 04-03-2010 11:23

I am curious - For you who went direct from St Lucia to Bequia, did you go to windward or leeward of St. Vincent? On the chart it looks like to windward might work better depending on how strong the tradewinds are at the time we go.

John A 04-03-2010 11:57


Originally Posted by sck5 (Post 414161)
I am curious - For you who went direct from St Lucia to Bequia, did you go to windward or leeward of St. Vincent? On the chart it looks like to windward might work better depending on how strong the tradewinds are at the time we go.

If the wind is not out of the SE the windward side of St Vincent is a delightful sail and your approach to Bequia will have the wind aft of the beam for a great ride!

For a shortcut to the South end of Granada, sail the windward side of Granada. Remember to use your charts and stay two or three miles offshore as rock extends out from shore, and the current sets to the west. I always set a couple of extra waypoints in my route/course to monitor the effects of the current.

Hud3 04-03-2010 14:47

I've done it both ways and agree with John. If the wind is right, sailing the windward side of either St. Vincent or Grenada is a much more pleasant experience. The islands are so tall that you need to motor-sail a good part of the time if in the lee. You can get some tidal currents on the east side of Grenada that can help or hurt your SOG, depending on how you catch them.

sck5 04-03-2010 17:07

thanks! to windward it is then

sigmasailor 05-03-2010 01:14


Originally Posted by sck5 (Post 414333)
thanks! to windward it is then

That's what we have in mind also. West coast bays in SVG seem to have their problems and we've not yet seen the east of the island.

sobriyah 06-03-2010 19:33

St Lucia to Grenada is a fabulous trip, but you need two weeks to really enjoy it.
Stick to the leeward side. You may be running the engine in the lee of the islands, but if you sail to windward, in the swell, seasickness and the Guiana current pushing you back are real issues in a bareboat.

osirissail 09-03-2010 07:18

Windward side versus leeward side is more an issue of whether you like to travel on the "sports car" roads or the "bus" roads. The sailboat you choose makes all the difference. There are seriously good "sailing" boats and then there are "RV-kind of" sailboats that mostly motor-sail everywhere. Actually you will a lot of them operating strictly as motor-boats and never raising their sails.
- - If you have a "real" sailboat that likes wind and can slice waves cleanly then the windward side is the "only way to go." You are in the "fast-lane" and can expect to romp with the wind and spray in your face (depending upon how good a dodger you have).
- - There are a lot of "charter" sailboats that are wonderful and comfortable for living and traveling on but don't sail worth a damn - what I call the "RV-type." These boats are best taken down the leeward side of the islands where the winds and waves are much lower and the ride a lot easier. Also if you have "non-salty sailors" onboard prone to motion sickness, the leeward side is much better.
- - Time/speed is really a matter of how much you like to "press the pedal to the metal" with either the "real" sailboat on the windward side or keeping the "iron genny" cranked up along the leeward route. It is all very subjective based on your boat and your experience.
- - Be warned that on the leeward route there are "acceleration" areas off the north end of every island where the wind speed will increase and dramatically change direction due to the effects of the high mountains. But these areas are rarely more than a few nm long. Depending upon the shape and sizes of the mountains on the various islands you can expect winds to clock completely around the compass and vary from next to nothing to blowing stink - if you are sailing close to the lee side of the island. Many cruisers drift out 5 to 10 nm away from the lee side to get into more stable winds and wind direction.
- - In between the islands are "shelves" or shallow areas connecting the islands. Millions of years ago it was possible to walk from South America to North America along what is now the Caribbean Islands. The ocean waves/swells come across the Atlantic in rather very deep water and then collide with these "between-island" shelves and pile up into short steep and confused wave patterns. Keeping either on the eastern side off the shelves or several nm west of the shelves will give you a much steadier consistent wave pattern and a much nicer ride.

sck5 09-03-2010 08:35


thanks for that post. it is very useful info. i am definitely in the "i want to actually sail" camp - will be sailing my boat down there from the Chesapeake and while I am not opposed to motoring if I have to, it is far more fun to sail as fast as I can. Fortunately, my wife likes going fast too and the only time either of us got seasick was once in the English Channel during a really bad gale when she was stuck on a ferry full of puking tourists. She said that was one ugly stretch of water but I am not so worried about the Caribbean - it has never been THAT bad any other time I have been down there.

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