I suppose there is more awareness of "uncertainly" and that is a deterrent. My experiences down in the Eastern Caribe in the 90s seems different from what I have been reading on SN. Trades were reliable and I don't recall weather events which threatened sailing. Making the trip north and south from New England has not a piece of cake... but it was something that a well found yacht with a competent crew could handle. I did this trip 15 or 20 times with only one challenging sail... in the Marion Bermuda 1990.... with a full gale in the Gulf Stream YUCK. Checking in and out was not a PITA nor expensive.... I don't recall time limited permits. For sure there was less "development" but there were charter fleets in Antigua, St Martin, Guadaloupe and so on... but I avoided the VIs because of the development I imagined. I met some fabulous sailors from allover... CA, SA, UK, US, Holland and so on. I have very fond memories... Maybe because everything was so carefree and the weather was wonderful. Oh well...Now following Weather along the planned path of sea steamer which is my transport ship. It just left Guyana. This season was predicted to be more active than usual. That’s turning out to be the case. The waves, invests and TS keep rolling along. Last winter made for some brisk sailing at times and delayed getting together for gams with friends but nothing extraordinary. Still, the recent trend hasn’t been favorable.
over the last week networking find a increasing number of folks are not going back to the Caribbean even after covid issues are resolved. Covid has been a wake up call on just how vulnerable you are when cruising to things out of your control. Kind of sad as these people were active international cruisers. Plans extend beyond the Caribbean and include aborted plans to do the North Atlantic loop and the med. People seem more risk aversive is general. Just hope this dissipates with time. Still, in my very small circle hear about covid “it can happen again with a different bug” and on weather “not like it used to be” whether talking about Sahara dust or shoulder seasons or heavy weather.
Local boat sales are flaming hot. be interesting to to see how many do the world ARC, SDR or Caribbean 1500 this fall. Be interesting to see if caribbean yacht services of all sorts can keep their heads above water if the fall season collapses.