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snmhanson
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Joined: 05/10/10
Posts: 310
Loc: Pacific NW
Windward Islands Charter
      #1732410 - 05/08/17 05:05 PM (68.186.105.96)

We are considering a charter in the Windwards next Christmas. We'd be looking at a 10-14 day charter and would likely make it a one-way starting from either St. Lucia or St. Vincent and ending in Grenada. We've sailed the Virgin Islands many times (including the USVI and SVIs) and have also sailed the Leewards from Antigua to St. Martin. The Windwards seem like they would be a nice balance between the two. Just wondering what to expect in the Windwards/Grenadines during that time? Will we have issues finding space to anchor or will there be plenty of room even with holiday crowds? Do they often get the Christmas winds that the VIs get - or do they otherwise get regular big winds and swell that would make sailing uncomfortable? We are generally fine with 6-8' swells and 25 knots but above that we start getting a bit timid. However, if we do the one-way we would generally be sailing off the wind and with the swell to some degree so that could tame things a bit. As far as flights, is it typically easier to fly into St. Lucia or St. Vincent to begin the charter? We are aware that there is a higher risk of crime in St. Vincent and we would not spend any nights at anchor or on a mooring there regardless of where we start. Any other info that might help us plan a charter?

Thanks!

Matt


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tothedogs
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Joined: 01/27/09
Posts: 102
Loc: Eastern MA
Re: Windward Islands Charter [Re: snmhanson]
      #1732486 - 05/09/17 11:08 AM (129.63.123.24)

We have sailed the Grenadines many times and just booked a 10 day, one way from St. Vincent to Grenada for early January.

Happily, it is not as popular a charter destination as other places and is less crowded. As there are few moorings outside of Bequia and Mustique, we have never had an issue finding a place to anchor. One does not need to be somewhere at 11:00 AM to find a place to spend the evening as is common in some VI anchorages.

Typically, the wind and sea is a bit more brisk than in the BVI at that time of year. There will be a few open ocean passages, but off the wind these are straightforward. Upwind can be a slog. With the experience you describe I do not think you will have any problems.

We typically fly to St. Vincent via Barbados. If you do this, I recommend spending a few extra bucks and use SVG Air from Barbados as opposed to Liat. From Grenada there is jet service to the US (Miami for sure).

We have spent overnights on St. Vincent at Keartons and Blue Lagoon with no issues, and enjoyed very good dinners at both places.

Feel free to PM if you have particular questions.


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snmhanson
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Joined: 05/10/10
Posts: 310
Loc: Pacific NW
Re: Windward Islands Charter [Re: tothedogs]
      #1732520 - 05/09/17 09:16 PM (209.216.185.92)

Thanks for the reply tothedogs. I may PM you in the future if we book it. Sounds like it would be a charter right up our alley. Only real issue I'm having is finding airfare during that time of the year. Seems that tickets are either bordering on $2,000 each or you have to spend two days travel time each way - or both. We are slightly flexible but with three kids we don't want to miss too many school days. Maybe I'll just have to close my eyes and eat the $7-8K it will take to get my family down there. Haven't looked for a boat yet but there seems to be quite a few options in that regard - hopefully we'd be able to find one we like. All-in-all I think the charter sounds like a blast.

Matt


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Sunset_Sammy
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Joined: 07/21/09
Posts: 733
Re: Windward Islands Charter [Re: snmhanson]
      #1732769 - 05/12/17 02:50 PM (165.225.39.71)

Air Canada is now flying directly to St. Vincent, so if you're near BC that may be an option for you.
I've done maybe 9 Grenadines charters Dec & Jan, you will definitely encounter the Christmas winds, it's not unusual to hit 30+, but rarely 40 we did however have a gust that hit 50 once.

[IMG]http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac144/sunsetsammy/sailing%20videos/th_toweather-1.mp4[/IMG]

In this video we are sailing from Chatum Bay to Cumberland Bay on St. Vincent and have just cleared the lee of Union Island.

[IMG]http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac144/sunsetsammy/sailing%20videos/th_30knotsofwind.mp4[/IMG]

This video is beating to weather south of Bequia on our way for a lunch stop at Petit Nevis, notice how the motion improves once the skipper eases the traveler.

[IMG]http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac144/sunsetsammy/sailing%20videos/th_approachingthecays.mp4[/IMG]

And here we are entering the Tobago Cays.

As for crowds, we've never had a problem anchoring, Bequia is popular with the Scandinavian yachts for Christmas but we've always been able to get a nice mooring.

In the Cays, Mr. Fabulous (Jean Claude) does a fabulous grilled lobster dinner on the beach.

You'll be missing some of the best landside nature by skipping St. Vincent; it also has the best farmers market and fish market of the 3 islands (SVG, SLU & GND). We prefer Cumberland Bay to Wallilabou (sp), more restaurant and rum shacks, no cruise ship buses and it's much more laid back.

I didn't do a blog on last years trip, but Sharon, one of the guests from Australia did, here's a link to it.
https://sharontickle.wordpress.com/?s=skyelark&submit=Search

She has a lot of great pictures.

We'll be sailing through there next March on the final leg of the World ARC.
The Grenadines are a great place to visit, a world apart from the BVI's. You'll have a fantastic time.

--------------------
Life is short, live it!


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snmhanson
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Joined: 05/10/10
Posts: 310
Loc: Pacific NW
Re: Windward Islands Charter [Re: Sunset_Sammy]
      #1732907 - 05/15/17 02:53 PM (68.186.104.135)

Thanks for the reply Sammy - lots of good info there. We are also considering maybe doing the trip in February instead of Christmas time. Hopefully cheaper to get down there and a better chance of settled weather too. I've read a few reviews including Sharon's link and it sounds like it would be a perfect charter spot for us.

Matt


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jphart
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Joined: 05/23/11
Posts: 703
Loc: JAX
Re: Windward Islands Charter [Re: snmhanson]
      #1733413 - 05/21/17 01:37 PM (76.18.232.162)

Im considering this for 2018 as well. I think a 10 day ow from st Lucia is a better idea. Downhill all the way, a little open water from ST Lucia on 2nd or 3rd day. Better air service into ST Lucia. Non stops from US major carrier gateways.

I did this on my second trip with a Moorings owner as crew 10 years ago from Canaoun to Grenada back when AA had service. Got me excited about bareboat sailing, and got me doing it as captain and group planner.

I recall reading the sailing guide, but dont know who's. Doyle? Recommendations for planning?

--------------------
JPH
I spent my money on booze, broads, and boats...the rest I wasted.


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