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aerie 09-21-2009 04:31 PM

Singlehanded cruising in the Caribbean
I'll be cruising the Caribbean aboard Gaiamar this winter and wonder if there are any other singlehanded cruisers out there. I'm afraid I made the mistake of asking a friend to join me in November/December and now he is inviting all his girlfriends for a week at a time. I'm very capable of singlehanding so had been planning to cruise alone but made the invitation at a time when my friend really needed something to look forward to. Any advice?

Zanshin 09-21-2009 05:36 PM

What kind of advice are you looking for? I've cruised the Caribbean singlehanded quite a bit and am returning for some more bumming about after the hurricane season, thence through the canal for points west.

RealityCheck 09-21-2009 05:45 PM

No idea what Gaiamar is but many parts of the Caribbean are ideal for singlehanding with very little problem. Between guest crews I often sail single handed for several weeks or more. What are you sailing and where do you intend to sail and from where... you didn't give much info nor have you posted it in your profile.

We is sailors mon not mind readers!!!

krozet 09-21-2009 05:47 PM


Originally Posted by Zanshin (Post 524840)
What kind of advice are you looking for? I've cruised the Caribbean singlehanded quite a bit and am returning for some more bumming about after the hurricane season, thence through the canal for points west.

not to thread jack, what does it cost to go through the Panama Canal?

Zanshin 09-22-2009 03:10 AM

Krozet - I am budgeting $1500 to $2500 including all associated costs, odds might be towards the lower end of the range.

aerie - while cruising up and down the islands I met several singlehanders, some who just happened to be alone for a while and others who took their hermit-like lifestyle more seriously. Since one can almost sail line-of-sight between islands/countries and the weather is predicatable, the Caribbean is ideal stomping grounds for single-handers.

aerie 09-22-2009 09:59 AM

My idea of cruising is not to have an itinerary, and it seems to me that if you have to plan ahead to meet someone at an airport you can't be spontaneous. In Nov/Dec I plan to be in the Leeward Islands. What islands are easiest to make crew changes? The visitors want to get plane tickets now, and I have no idea where we'll be when they want to visit. I thought Antigua might be a good option. Any thoughts?

Zanshin 09-22-2009 10:27 AM

What nationality are those crewmembers, that can make a difference? Antigua and St. Martin both make crew changes easy (i.e. in by boat, out by plane or vice-versa) if you do it correctly. Some places might be more of an issue than others for crew changes (the BVI comes to mind) and clearing in/out of the USA with non-Americans has become complex and requires preparation - particularly for non-Americans coming into the country via private boat; the normal visa-waiver program does not apply to them and visas are mandatory.
Once in the Caribbean, island-hopper one-way flights can be purchased, but there won't be any great deals, one-way tickets will usually go for about $100 or more but LIAT covers most of the islands.

aerie 09-22-2009 11:28 AM

Thanks, Zanshin. I believe they are all US citizens. So far I have told them to get RT tickets to SJU and we'll let them know where to go from there. I know LIAT uses Antigua as a base, so that's why I thought that might be a good option. I have never cruised Antigua and Barbuda before, so I wonder if spending a week to 10 days there is warranted, then I don't have to add them to my crew list (or do I?)

Zanshin 09-22-2009 11:43 AM

I would say that, unless your guests have been there before, the USVI and BVI are more condusive to a relaxing vacation than Antigua and nearby islands. The crew list really is only when checking in and out and as captain you are responsible for your crewmembers so it can be a bit of a hassle. One more reason why singlehanding can be nice.

aerie 09-22-2009 12:35 PM


Originally Posted by RealityCheck (Post 524846)
No idea what Gaiamar is

Gaiamar is the name of my boat. She is based in the BVI with TMM but her charter career is nearing an end so I'm taking the opportunity to explore further in the Caribbean. I was hoping to be able to cruise full-time by now but will be returning to the US for a couple of weeks at a time to go to work.

I have singlehanded in the BVI and USVI but I had a friend with me when I cruised down-island last season. Most of the boats I saw were crewed by a couple and they tend to keep to themselves. I was wondering what is proper protocol? Do you dinghy over to say hello, or do you meet people ashore? For example, when I was visited Culebra earlier this year the place to meet people was the Dinghy Dock in Dewey. I have met some cruisers in the BVI once when I was waxing the hull while anchored in Little Harbor on Peter Island. They couldn't understand why I would be cleaning a "charter boat." I don't think there are too many charter companies that will let you have a boat without crew, but when you're the owner you can do whatever you want. Maybe I should remove the TMM decal from the boat. Since I have crewed in the Caribbean 1500 every year since 2005 I fly my rally flag so sometimes that's good for an introduction.

Bottom line, if you see Gaiamar in the Caribbean stop by to say hello. I'm not a hermit.


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