Team Yacht Sauce just hosted the world premiere of SavvySalt’s latest video. To put the “world” in “world premiere” I’d better share it before I partake fully in the festivities… without further ado:
Our research told us that we were in for a lot of tradewinds sailing that would be impacted by the mountainous islands. We had heard that the anchorages and moorings fields were rolly. We weren’t sure how difficult the customs and immigration procedures would be going between St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and St. Lucia.
Switching to Marigot on the way back was a definite winner: less repeating ourselves and closer to The Moorings base. It’s red because we should have been able to figure that move out ahead of time. Heading north again to Bequia a day early, for dinghy repairs and checking out of SVG gave us a leisurely day 6. We had this as an option but circumstances made the decision easy.
On the Moorings 43.3 Beli Dolce II seven knots still proved to be an optimistic estimate of passage speed. But 6kts would have been too low so just a little optimistic. On Beli Dolce II we sailed slower than we could when we had the dinghy on deck on days 5 and 6; knowing we weren’t pressed for time. In the future an estimate of 6 or 7 knots will suffice.
One bit of knowledge that made things a lot easier was finding out that you had 24 hours to leave after checking out during which the whole crew is still allowed ashore. This made customs and immigration much easier to deal with given the early starts we needed; it hardly got in the way of our having fun.
The anchorages were rolly and all the sails were lumpy. Several of our group struggled with sea sickness in spite of wearing a patch, then when they got home felt even worse due to withdrawal. All said they would likely never wear the patch again.
Anchorage Sleep Ratings
We had good information about the sea state and protection of anchorages. If you are prone to seasickness this trip really tested your mettle. Several people in our group had a very difficult time sleeping most nights which made it hard for them to enjoy the trip.
- Rodney Bay, St. Lucia: The inner harbor and docks were very protected. Outside was definitely susceptible to north swell.
- Pitons Bay, St. Lucia: a very mooring; I had to wedge myself into place using pillows. Because of the shape of the surrounding cliffs the chop was slapping directly against the stern and I suspect that is the rule
- Admiralty Bay, Bequia: Very protected from the seas. The further back you are the gustier it gets and the more you swing.
- Tobago Cays: Behind Horseshoe Reef it’s rather choppy, the reef isn’t shallow enough to knock the waves all the way down. The reef also causes the waves to wrap around and come from many directions. Behind Petit Rameau looked much flatter but the view wasn’t as good.
- Clifton Harbor, Union Island: Started out good but by the time evening arrived the swell was wrapping in on the beam for us at the docks (it was on the beam for the anchored boats too).
- Keartons Bay, St. Vincent: there was a north swell rolling in but it was very gradual. I had a restful night but if the north swell was bigger it would not have been.
- Marigot Bay, St. Lucia: This was a very protected mooring field from both wind and seas
In spite of the rollyness I’d recommend each and every stop. The only thing I would not recommend was staying at the dock in Clifton Harbor; that got really unpleasant after a while. I had the most fun at Keartons Bay and Marigot Bay but that was mainly because the crew of both boats came together. Don’t miss Bequia or Tobago Cays.
All told this was my favorite bareboat charter thus far; if you’re considering a bareboat charter in St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines you should definitely go for it!