We are in St Croix and for the 4th of July had planned on sailing over to St John and then on down to St Martin & St Barts for a few days . A period of 8 days. Any tips or pointers? We've never made the trek to StMartin and St Barts.
Pointers regarding the passage or the islands? I've been around both for the past weeks. The French side has now also started really charging, I think that you will pay about €20-€30 for the first night's anchoring in Marigot Baie, subsequent nights costing only about €1-2. I love going up to Grand Case with good holding, usually a calm anchorage and great food ashore. You could also enter the lagoon on either the French or Dutch side, but be prepared for a couple of groundings if you have a deep keel and use the French bridge.
St. Barts is quaint. I spent most of my time in Anse Columbier when I didn't want to go ashre. The two anchorage areas to the left and right of the main entrance channel are usually calm but are not really protected, so you will most likely have a bit of a roll, particularly late at night. If you can, it is worth the slight surcharge to go into the harbour itself and med-moor as there isn't much roll (but occasional surge, so stay off those walls). I was there last weekend and the place has quieted down, there was just one single Megayacht in there and it, too, looked like it was ready to depart.
The sail from St. Martin to St. Barts is a short one, but can be pretty choppy if there is a swell and you might have to tack a bit intypical wind conditions.
The trip from St. John to St. Martin is almost certain to be uncomfortable. I last did it, departing from Mahoe Bay at 3am and sailing about halfway before realizing that I was hardly making progress and then I motorsailed. With typical swells and wind you might be better of to just motor the whole way. Waiting for that miraculous weather window with a north wind and no easterly wave patterns is about as statistically likely to happen as you seeing the green flash at night in Arizona...
Ditto what Zanshin said (Hey, Zan!). Don't miss the restaurants in Grand Case.
In July, your winds will likely have a southerly component. Motor-sailing overnight from the Virgins is the usual practice for getting to St. Martin. The tropical waves will be marching from Africa to the Caribbean pretty regularly by July, so keep a good watch on the weather. They can bring heavy squalls, even if no tropical storm is expected.