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Now that most of my summer cruising is completed, my crew is asking where we are going to charter a boat next winter. We have done the BVI the past 3 years, but are in the mood to try some place new.

Has anyone cruised St. Martin/St. Barts/Anguilla or Antigua? Are we making a mistake leaving the good old BVIs for some place new? Thinking back to my bar conversations in the BVIs, I talked to a lot of people who have been to the BVI''s 6 or 7 times but St. Martin only once. Thoughts? Also, recommendations and/or evaluations of charter companies in St. Martin or Antigua would be appreciated.
 
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Last time in St Martin April 2000. Waters are more open and had a really rough sail between St Martin and St Barts. Anchorages on east side of St Martin (Orient Bay)are pretty rough with all nite rock and roll. St Bart harbor crowded. Anegada was a bore in my book flat island not much to see or do there. West and North end of St Martin ok with many good restaurants on shore. Philipsburg crowded and dirty. L''Ambience one of nices docks and area. Area over all much more crowded and built up than 10 years ago. Orient Beach (nude at southern end) was not the pristine unspoiled beach that it was years ago with buildings all over the place now. I would opt for St Lucia, Martinique over St Martin anyday.
 

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I live here in the VI. Go for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, or go to Grenada and sail up to the Grenadines & Tobago Cays. St. Maarten not a "cruising ground." Neither is Antigua if you''re looking for something along the lines of the BVI.
 

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Si ya fueron a las BVI 3 veces, pues vayan de St Vincent al sur, les encantará.
Grenadines y los Tobago Cays muy buenos, el único problema los BoatBoys, son cargosos..!!
 

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Silversailor
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While St Martin etc is certainly dfferent sailing than the VIs it is still great. Anguilla is a wonderful place. The main bay is spacious and almost empty, and the people warm and friendly with great concern for the future development of their island. It''s one of my favorite spots in the Caribbean. St Martin has some great anchorages...but, avoid the big cities. St Barts is very european and different from all other Caribbean anchorages. When I arrived there 3/00 in a 34'' sailboat I expected to be poorly treated by the port authorities. Much to my suprise, they were helpful...and had a sense of humor. Try to find a spot a deep into the harbor on a mooring ball as possible. Saba is great, but there is limited anchorages. In short, I''ve sailed about 6 winters in the Caribbean, 5 in the VIs and 1 in the Lesser Antilles. I''m glad for that one season in the St Martin area...and would do it again.
 

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HMSINDY
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My group of usual suspects did the trip and found it more of a challenge. Much more blue water sailing. The diehards loved it, the novices would have preferrred the BVI. The chefs loved the French cuisine at St Barts. But, I found the customs officials very rude. Everyone loved the Mini-mokes. We watched the Cowboys whoop the Stealers in Super Bowl (X something) and never had so much fun. An international crowd, watching the Americans watching football. It was crazy. Anyway, it''s not the party circuit like the BVI. But it''s a great experience and will round out your sailing palet and give a springboard for other sailing adventures. Since you''re considering alternatives, check into sailing in Greece. As for sailing challenge/skill required, it falls between VI and the Leewards. The people are great and you can visit cultural icons that mark the virtual beginnings of modern civilization. And you''d be hard pressed to spend $15 for dinner. I''ve been there twice now. Next November I''ve booked a trip from St Vincent to Martinique. I''ve gotten some feedback from this site that suggests I should have booked a one way from St Vincent to Grenada. It looks a little rough and I''ve been forewarned about the boat boys.
 

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Hi John,

What is the story on "boat boys". I am taking the family down there in the summer and am not looking for any trouble.

Thanks
 
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