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Windwards Trip Report - April 2023 - St. Lucia to Grenada #301697
05/24/2023 03:44 PM
05/24/2023 03:44 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,201
jphart Offline OP
jphart  Offline OP
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,201
Three countries, 9-nights; Moorings 4800 - 48’ four cabin, four head SailCat.

First an overview of the trip with future editions as a more detailed trip report. It won’t be as wonderful as “TomB” or BEERMAN, fewer photos, maybe more verbose.

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Most memorable -
Sunsets, Food, and Fun
OMG! The sunsets were wonderful for several nights, nothing but the boats and sunsets to the west of the windwards.
Restaurants where our table was literally less than 5-feet from the water’s edge.

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US -
We are three couples and on our sixth sail together. Always a SailCat. This was my 12th trip, all but two with the Moorings. One couple sailed with The Moorings on their BVI honeymoon more than 40-years ago! (Trip was a disaster, marriage survived!) As a group, we first sailed 2014-BVI, followed by 2016-Greece, 2019-Croatia-2019, 2021-USVI, and 2021-Italy. We’re fairly experienced sailors, very experienced in years - not as young as we once were. I’m sure we were pretty funny-looking getting into and out-of the dingy at times. I’ve had ankle fusion surgery, and one gal had a knee replacement two weeks after our trip!

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Laura did a great job of some custom shirts, but I don't have any photo’s...sorry Laura!

Instead of a day-by-day trip report, I’ll hit the highlights, destinations, experiences, insights, etc. I’m not a great photographer like TomB or BEERMAN. All photos are from iPhones of our crew shared on an iCloud album - simple way to share photos - new to a couple of our crew.

Travel -
We all flew into UVF on the same day - 2 from ATL, 4 from JAX. UVF was a little crazy as several flights all arrive in the early afternoon. I had arranged transfers in advance through Lene at the Moorings base at $25pp. That was less than the hotel concierge quoted and what some online resources listed as $35. Our driver was “Benji” who was great! Almost a two hour transfer from UVF to Rodney Bay. He then arranged to pick us up the next morning, took some to Massy’s for food, booze nearby, bank/ATM, and then back to the Moorings base.

We spent the first night at the Hilton Harbour Club in Rodney Bay right next to the Moorings base. Rooms were ready, pool bar open, and nice accommodations. (Though we all had different rates based on how the rooms when and where booked!) We ate the first night at “Sea Salt” at the Marina just a couple hundred yards from the Harbour Club.

Our SailCat was “Bare Essentials” a Moorings 4800. Very similar to our first bareboat charter almost 10-years ago with Footloose in the BVI. Unfortunately, this “Club” category boat was built in 2016, and was very sub-par to what we’ve had in the past. “Bare Essentials” does not deserve to be in the Moorings Fleet, and she detracted from our experience. I’ll try not let that impact this report and leave this, and other Moorings issues from this portion of the trip report… for now.

Itinerary -
We started in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia and ended in St. George’s Grenada. About 130 miles point to point, 150 overall. Overnights onboard were Soufriere, Bequia (2 nights), Clifton, Tobago Cays, Petit St. Vincent, Chatham Bay, Sandy Island, Carriacou, and St. George’s. All on a ball or anchor other than one night at the dock at Clifton, Union. We skipped St. Vincent based on a lot of feedback and research. Didn’t go to Mustique as we decided to spend the extra day on Bequia. We read/researched that with the three-day minimum mooring fee in Mustique, there wasn’t much more other than a trip to Basil’s.

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Sailing -
The sailing was terrific, the weather great for the best parts of the trip. We planned this trip to experience some “blue-water” sailing and we got that on the first and last couple of days of our adventure. Beam reach nearly all the way down to Bequia, heading ~216 degrees. Several times we hit 10 knots SOG on 20 knots of wind, averaged 7.5 - 8 knots with wind double that, and 4-6 feet seas with good separation.

We had one crew who got a little oozy between St. Lucia and Bequia. She went below, which of course made it worse, and tossed breakfast. After that, she and all were fine for the rest of the trip

The weather changed a little in the middle of the trip, locals remarked it was kind of like summer as the winds shifted to the SSE and the clouds increased. Good weather to move under power around the Grenadines islands short distances.

Epicurean Delights -
Well OK, maybe it wasn’t Michelin quality but we sure ate well at several restaurants right on the beach. But it wasn’t beach bar food and service you might experience in the BVI. And we found the prices reasonable and the service quite nice too. Visited with four different owners, and we were impressed with all of them.

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FOPs -
We didn't have anyplace that asked for cash, let alone refused to accept credit cards. Two of us use AMEX as a default (rewards). We did have AX declined at couple of places, but they gladly accepted Visa/MC. I’m sure you know to check with the respective card company about surcharges. We always used a card that didn't have fees. Only the Moorings attempted to add 3% to a credit card item, so we used a debit instead w/out fee.

Several of the restaurants actually billed in US dollars, some had menus with prices in USD and EC. Most had a 10% surcharge included. So don’t over-tip, servers were happy with that. A couple of places had invoice/bills listed with the total in EC and USD. We paid EC and USD in cash for taxis, some meals, etc. depending on what we had on hand and what was left by the time we reached Grenada. We only converted <$300 USD to EC which was plenty.

All the above is exclusive of C&I, moorings/anchor fees, national park (Tortuga/Mayreau) etc. That was aprox $400 USD

ATMs - we didn't find many on the islands. The one at the bank at Rodney Bay marina didn't work. I walked down the road to the local bank, and both of their ATMs were out of order. One of our crew was successful down at the Mall were Massy's is. I think one other crew member got some ECs in Bequia.

SailClear - have you signed up for SailClear? Check it out.

Windwards Sailing Guide by Chris Doyle - I bought the 2020-21 guide last year. It was very up-to-date. Moorings has it available online for free, but I like the book product. There was another book at the Nav station, I forget the author, as good, but I relied on Doyle's guide for pre-planning and while underway.

Connectivity - Two of us have T-Mobile, which works great for international. Didn't get 3g speeds, but we had connections nearly everywhere. Others connected using one of the T-Mobile phones as a hot-spot without issue. I liked in the old days when we traveled to get away from the world. At times the crew were like a bunch of teenagers - constantly on our devices. I'm no Luddite, but vacations should be time away from the world! And I hate FB.

I’ll include more in my trip report that is in the works and to follow.

Re: Windwards Trip Report - April 2023 - St. Lucia to Grenada [Re: jphart] #301780
05/26/2023 08:38 AM
05/26/2023 08:38 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 185
Eastern MA
tothedogs Offline
tothedogs  Offline
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 185
Eastern MA
Will look forward to future editions. We are going down in late June for 10 days. We have not been there for a few years and though the pace of change is slow, it will be good to have some current updates.

Moderated by  Eric_Hill, Eva 

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