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Discussion Starter #1
Finally pulling the trigger this week on the 1st of potentially 2 charters next year.

St. Lucia - Grenada via the Grenadines 9 days last week of March/1 st week of April.

any info on the following would be most appreciated:

1. expected wind and swell conditions
2. "can't miss" stops/anchorages to definitely see
3. "don't bother" - places to give a miss
4. Jeanneau 39i monohull vs. Sunsail (Leopard, I understand) 384 small cat

many thanks in advance!
 

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Sounds like a great trip plan...

First night - mooring under the Pitons

Not sure there's any real good St Vincent stops anymore.. We enjoyed Wallilabou, mostly for Pirates movie set, but you'll be somewhat inundated by the boat boys.

Bequia is a must-do.. The walk to the turtle sanctuary and back is interesting.

Haven't done Canuaon or Moustique.. Stayed on Mayreau, and of course the Tobago Cays is another must. There is a park fee nowadays, but it's reasonable.

Highly recommend Carriacou for its "off the beaten track" character.. Pristine beaches virtually deserted.. Very laid back. Had a blast riding the local bus system!

Found Granada (St. George's) stifling, too still and too hot.. Interesting markets though..

Enjoy!
 
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We're on our way this year as well, and have done this trip a few times.

Fasters advice agrees with what we've done.

I'd expect the wind/waves between St Lucia and St Vincent with long period ocean swell and perhaps winds into the low 20's. We like to do this trip one way because the wind usually has a bit of a northerly component, and life is to short to go to weather (when you don't have to).

There are some long term cruisers on this site that may chime in and have given us excellent advice.

We like monohulls for this trip. Better for the swells IMHO and well big cruising cats to us is well…. like sailing your dock. I'm sure someone else will give you the completely opposite view. YMMV.
 

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We've always done early February, so can't comment directly on later on, but under the impression that things generally ease off some towards spring... But as CC mentioned, big winds and waves when crossing the top of St Vincent, the island seems to accelerate the breeze for several miles, lots of nice double digit surfs there, and Bequia channel is known for big swells if the wind is up.

FWIW our friends were long time multi sailors.. when they chose a boat for island hopping in the Caribbean they went to a mono...
 

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I am a full time liveaboard in that area and it should be a great sail. St Lucia to St Vincent is the longest and the roughest patch will be just before the top end of St Vincent.

I usually stop at Wallilabou and walk up to the falls for a dip. Never had any trouble even though I tie up in the North corner to the broken metal dock. just pay the guy in the small boat 10EC to take your line ashore. DO NOT accept a tow line from a boat boy offshore wait till you are inside the bay. . Say you are not sure your stopping. The Pirates of the Caribbean stuff is decaying fast but still interesting. If you plan on going all the way to Bequia leave St Lucia EARLY. The south side of the bay should be safer from minor pilfering as you are off the bar restaurant.

Bequia Walk up to the old battery on the North side for the sunset. Marvel at the Moonhole when you leave. NB you can get close in as you go.

Have your camera ready for Divine Love just past the Moonhole.

Tobago Cays ++++

Have a sundowner at Janti's happy island in Clifton Union Island

Customs and Immigration check in for Carriacou is now in Tyrell Bay at the boatyard NOT Hillsborough.

Take pictures - leave footprints - kill nothing but time.
 

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Did the trip in 1994. Unless things have changed, have a "yellow bird" on Palm Island. Got to see the OJ white Ford Bronco chase as we arrived in Grenada on the bar TV. Have a great trip. OBTW, in 94 the St. Vincent BBs were a pain in the butt then too.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks all for the great info. very helpful.

i was starting to get worried about reports of crime, but after hearing more experiences seems like its maybe a bit overblown and i'm guessing likely not an issue with the usual precautions, though i may do St Lucia straight to Bequia in one day and give St Vincent a miss.

leaning toward the monohull. booking it tomorrow.

cheers!
 

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.... though i may do St Lucia straight to Bequia in one day and give St Vincent a miss.
Doable.. but perhaps a bit of a shame.. As TQA indicated, Wallilabou may well be a reasonable stop, IMO if you utilize the boat boys you generate a bit of goodwill and perhaps some unspoken 'protection';) - and if you reject them outright, I'd suspect maybe the opposite?? Don't know for sure. Their 'fees' are little enough.

The anchorage is pretty deep for the area, and one of the few places where everyone uses a line ashore.

A taste:



One thing that impressed us is that they find work for each other - there was one poor fellow clearly somewhat handicapped, he was appointed our 'dinghy watcher' for about $5EC.. I don't think he strayed 5 feet from the dinghy the whole time we were in the pub..

We walked up to the falls too.. that was a bit of a letdown, but still a walk is always good - as is a fresh water dip.

Anyhoo... it'll be a great trip, and most times that's the 'easy way' down the chain.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again.

Ended up going with a Bavaria 45 from Horizon (though they dont have a St. Lucia base, you can pick it up there at either Marigot or Rodney and do the one-way to Grenada, which is what we'll be doing).

Had a nice chat with the base manager who also suggested St. Vincent was worth the stop and the bad press was overblown.

should be good.

I'll try to post my experiences with the boat, islands and the charter company afterwards.
 

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Trade winds (Alizée) steady from N to NE.
Places to call at St. Lucia: Rodney bay, Marigot bay and the Two Pitons in order to visit the volcano. I agree with the comments about no suitable anchorages at St. Vincent: I have visited Wallilabou bay but that was back in 2003, just after the shooting of the first Pirates of the Caribbean film and the setting was still standing.
The Grenadines are very attractive, each island in its own way: shopping at the colourful Bequia market, dinner and dancing at Basil's bar on Mustique, the sandy beaches of Mayreau, exploring the edges of the coral reef and staying at anchor overnight at Tobago Cays, swimming at Palm island and having dinner with a dress code at the 5-star hotel on Petit Saint Vincent, all these are fabulous memories ...
 

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On the west coast of Grenada I would highly recommend FISH FRIDAY (Friday evenings obviously) in the town of GOUYAVE.

Vendors set up boothes and sell fish and assorted other foods.
Was just there a few weeks ago; fantastic food, relatively cheap and you get a sense of local flavor. Not sure what it would be like at the height of tourist season though.
 

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It's been several years since my visit there, but off the top of my head, these are some highlights I would return to:

St. Lucia: in Soufriere: obnoxious boat boys and the money-grubbing attitude extended in town as well. Skip that anchorage. Pitons Bay is classic; don't miss it. While you are there, find a guide to lead you up to the top of one of the Pitons. Gosh, I don't even remember which one we climbed, but it is one of the best hikes I've ever done (that's saying a lot!). On the way down, our guide led us to a warm waterfall for a much-needed shower.

St. Lucia to St.Vincent: The nicest day of sailing I've ever had; waves big and glassy enough to surf our big slug of a sailboat many times. OTH, St. Vincent to St. Lucia was quite sporty.

Salt Whistle Bay (Mayreau) is super-popular and we loved it, too.

Diving the Tobago Cays was great. If you are a diver, bring your gear and see if you can rent tanks at your departure town and take them with you. The diving in the Windwards was generally great when I was there. We found plenty of shops that would fill our tanks.

Mopian (near Petit St. Vincent) is also a classic. We were the only boat to spend the night there and the next morning was an superbly memorable experience (use your imagination). I recall a good dive there, too.

The National Park at the top of Grenada was interesting. The day we went was hot and sunny at the boat; cool, misty, and windy in the park. Bring a jacket.
 

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I am sure your chart briefing will cover this but the rules for anchoring/mooring between Marigot Bay and Vieux Fort on the coast of St Lucia are always changing. Expect to be required to use mooring balls and to pay a fee for anchoring in that region as well as fee for the ball.

Local entrepreneurs will offer to 'help' you on to a mooring and expect to be paid for doing so. This is separate from the fee.

You must also use the moorings provided if you go to Mustique and there is a 3 day minimum. Not many monos stay that long as it really rolls there.
 
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