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LeahMeryl 10-16-2006 09:39 PM

St Martin to Antigua to St Martin in 6 days?

I'm wondering if anyone has any input on our cruise plan... Our goal is to spend A LOT more time sailing than on land checking out the islands. We're chartering from Moorings out of St. Martin. This trip is in late November.

Day one - quick jaunt to Tintamarre to make sure everything on the boat is working. Tintamarre to Gustavia; spend the night.

Day two - Gustavia to Charlestown, Nevis (though someone mentioned that Nevis is offlimits for Moorings???). If not to Nevis then to Basaterre, St. Kitts. spend the night.

Day three - long haul to Antigua. From Nevis it's 52 miles, from St. Kitts it's 62. spend the night.

Day four - wake up at the absolute crack of dawn, Antigua to Statia (St. Eustatious) - 77 miles.

Day five - Statia to SXM.

Day six - cruise around SXM (or make up if we've fallen behind).

Any thoughts?


Chuteman 10-16-2006 10:12 PM

Why Not
Certainly ambitious...............You did not mention the boat You are chartering or your crew. Both could influence your performance potential.
Of course, the weather & wind direction would have to cooperate too.

Have you thought about doing a one-way charter which would allow you to cover same (or even more) distance but slow down enough to smell the flowers or taste the rum?

Also factor in the waves / open water between islands which depending on your course & wind direction could add speed or create a bashing day

P.S. Definitely check out Grand Case (NW corner of SXM) for atmosphere & you zip by

Faster 10-16-2006 11:18 PM

Definitely an ambitious plan - shame to be missing all the attractions along the way. Especially Charleston, Nevis - a very charming spot (anchor off Pinney's Beach). Pretty much your whole trek from St Martin to Antigua will likely be upwind.

Your day three will no doubt be the toughest, how tough depends on whether the trades are in their NE phase or SE phase - We lucked out and had a dead spinnaker run from Jolly Harbour to Charleston a couple of years back, and then had the trades swing SE for a reach from Saba to Simpsons Lagoon St Maarten.

The beat from Nevis to Antigua might be punishing, especially that "early" in the season.

LeahMeryl 10-18-2006 12:59 PM

Boat is a Beneteau 363, chartered from Moorings. Crew is just two of us - we normally race our Lightning in rivers, so open water is new to me; not new to my skipper, but it's been a while.

My parents retired to St Maarten years ago so I've taken so many trips to the area that the islands are a little... boring isn't the right word, but they certainly aren't exciting anymore.

One way should have been a consideration but since we already have our plane tickets...

Does ambitious mean doable? Or is that a polite way to say we are out of our minds? The hull speed of our boat is 8knots, we figured to be conservative we'd make plans based on 7knots. The "historical wind" for late November is out of the east.

We also factored a day in at the end where we could make up time if needed. I guess our big concern is if we are in the middle of big water at night. We don't have any experience at night.

camaraderie 10-18-2006 01:15 PM

Leah... I'll say it. You might make it but I think your plan is too ambitious for the time allotted. You have to take into account big wind and seas at that time of year as a distinct possibility that can hang you up for more than one day easily.A lightly built and relatively small Bene is not going to be any fun in those distinctly possible conditions. I would make your plans but also have fall back positions that will still let you enjoy without becoming a slave to an itinerary. May I also suggest that you listen to Chris Parker on SSB receiver each morning or visit his website before you set out so that you know what to expect: which also has the frequencies to listen to.

Chuteman 10-18-2006 01:37 PM

Odds just went higher
LM - Agree with Big C............that would not be the boat I would want for that jaunt = Small & light. But let's not dwell on that.
You will definitely have to check the weather especially wind/wave forecasts.
Caribwx & NOAA will be avail on the web (internet cafes or bars along the way).........a SSB receiver would be great but won't be on the charter boat (portable?). VHF weather will be mixed depending on your language capability.

If you have clear legs & a decision tree for go vs no go (rather than locked to a schedule) at every stop, it will be safer & avoid late nights + missed flight home.

Out of your mind = No......not for salty sailors...........but it would not take much of a stretch to make this a bouncy/wet adventure.
Don't bet the ranch that the wind will be steady out of the east or that your boat will avg 8 kts ie; if you are close hauled reefed in 20kts+ in 6' seas that boat will not do 8kts.
A good handheld GPS for the cockpit would also be a good tool

Then again, the stars could align & you would have a long smooth voyage> will look forward to trip report.:cool:

LeahMeryl 10-22-2006 08:35 PM

As we sit with our charts and notepad in front of us, I think we've been coming to the same conclusions you have. Antingua is probably out of the question. The problem then is, what do we do? We want to spend at least 6 hours a day sailing (say 8am to 2pm) at least. But most of islands are too close to each other to do that. I guess we can always lap the islands before setting in. Or kick back with a few PainKillers on the beaches.

Thanks for the posts. We appreciate the feedback.

chrondi 10-23-2006 07:10 AM

Once you exclude the long double leg to Antigua and back, in order to provide for contingency plans, you still have plenty of sailing area to enjoy: St. Maarten, St. Barth, St. Kitts and Nevis.
Get ideas in the following webpages, albeit in French:

There is much useful information to be found in the Guadeloupe to the Leeward Islands cruise.

Chuteman 10-23-2006 04:46 PM

Maybe These
You may want to consider adding Anquilla & Barbuda.

Also check out Doyles Guide for planning help & island info:

Faster 10-23-2006 05:57 PM

Anguilla makes sense, but if you can't get to Antigua, you sure won't make it to Barbuda! And Barbuda is quite weather-(or sea state)-dependant as a destination

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