Caribbean Up-Island Sailing Adventure Course
Embarking October. Detailed Trip Plan
Week 1 – Saturday October 1 – Grenada to Martinique, 190 miles
This week is best suited to those who are after some medium-length sail durations (up to six hours) but not too long, with plenty of time to swim and explore.
St George’s to Bequia, 75 miles: Saturday 1 October
The first three days are spent exploring the Grenadines, starting with Union Island where we will check into Customs and Immigration. We will spend time in Tobago Cays to swim amongst the turtles. If we get the opportunity we will take part in Willy’s bespoke barbeque, where locally caught fresh fish is cooked on a beach at sunset, usually empty but for us. Other islands we can visit on the way to Bequia include Mayreau, Canouan and the private island of Mustique – aka Billionaire’s Island, to the north east. The sailing here tends to be a lot of reaching (ie. awesome) with occasional beating when the wind becomes a bit more northeasterly.
Bequia to Rodney Bay, 75 miles: Tuesday 4 October
Mid-week we will explore the island of St Vincent then hop across to St Lucia which will be about six hours of sailing, more if the wind veers in an anticlockwise direction and heads us. These island hops are basically “degustation ocean” conditions: a relatively short spell of proper ocean swells and wind conditions. Once in St Lucia we can sail past incredible kilometer-high peaks that rise directly from the ocean, stopping in quirky local bays such as Soufriere on the west coast. We will end up in Rodney Bay, a well-serviced hub for sailors.
Rodney Bay to Fort de France, 40 miles: Thursday 6 October
This final leg for the week is another six hour island-hop, crossing to Martinique. Martinique is a charming island, like most of the French islands in the Caribbean, featuring excellent patisseries and restaurants. It is always worth spending time there. Fort de France is the major town in Martinique and it is here (or in a bay near here) where we will do drop-offs and new arrivals.
Week 2 – Sunday October 8 – Martinique to Guadeloupe, 160 miles
For those who like to mix land adventure with sea adventure.
This second week of the adventure features Dominica which for many travellers is the gem of the Caribbean. Forested and still very volcanic, Dominica is the only island in the Caribbean with a reserve domiciled by the tribes indigenous at the time of Columbus.
Martinique to Dominica, 50 miles: Saturday 8 October, two days
Enjoying our last time in Martinique, it is around a six hour sail to Roseau where we will check into Dominica. Time permitting the south side of the island offers half-day and day-long walks into the jungles to check out the natural volcanic springs – some world-class adventure here. In the northern part of the island, from Plymouth, we will be able to take a “no-engine” tour up the Indian River to explore the exquisite natural beauty of these parts. Check out the blog post from the most recent trip for images of Indian River.
Dominica to The Saints Islands (or Marie Galante), 50 miles: Monday 10 October, 3 days
Depending on conditions we will either sail to The Saints or Marie Galante. Regardless we intend to visit both islands as they are favourites of ours for their simple charm and comfortable, quiet bays. The Saints are also known for their lovely little French restaurants and boulangeries.
The Saints Islands to Marie Galante (or vice versa), 20 miles: Thursday 13 October, 1 day
It is a brief sail between Marie Galante and The Saints, allowing us to work on Man Overboard Drills and mooring techniques. The shorter-sail days are good for this: working on skills that students find they need more time practicing.
Marie Galante (or The Saints) to Basseterre, Guadeloupe, 30 miles, Friday 14 October, 1 day
The sail to Guadeloupe is typically downwind and therefore quite straightforward, save for the winds that can bend around the island and accelerate things from time to time! Basseterre in the southwest, or more specifically the small marina of Riviere Sens (south of Basseterre), is where we head to manage the crew changeover.
Week 3 – Sunday October 15 – Guadeloupe to the British Virgin Islands, 300 miles
For big-trip and mileage builders.
This final week in the adventure suits the sailors with experience and more specifically people who tend to try to fit too much into their day. It is intense. Don’t expect a huge amount of sleep. If you are up for it, you won’t be disappointed. With the wind behind the beam for much of the journey we expect to be reaching on more than half the legs. Nevertheless they are long legs; up to 20 hours in length (between St Martin and the British Virgin Islands). And if weather permits we will get to visit one of nature’s trippier creations, Barbuda, with its pink sand and massive native swimming pigs. We plan to do at least one leg during the night, and if conditions & crew are good for it we will do more. Night sails are cooler and allow us time during the day to explore the places we would otherwise sail past.
Guadeloupe to Antigua, 60 miles: Saturday 15 October, 1 day
Starting with a 60 mile sail straight of the gate, we will hug the Guadeloupean west coast then sail most likely on a reach to the beautifully restored English Harbour in Antigua. The approaches of islands, in particular Antigua, can be zones of huge wind as the oceanic trade winds are affected by the islands. This can be a surprisingly full-on leg.
Antigua to Barbuda, 40 miles: Monday 17 October, 1 day
With any luck the conditions will permit our sailing north to the quirky island of Barbuda, where we will spend the day working on reef-sailing techniques, then exploring what the island has to offer such as the aforementioned pigs and pink sand. This may be a night sail.
Barbuda to St Barths, 65 miles: Tuesday 18 October, 1 day
St Barths, just to the east of St Martin, was the only Swedish colony in the Caribbean. It has managed to maintain the beautifully Scandinavian/French feel. As such it is a billionaires’ playground and well worth a visit. The further north in the Caribbean one sails the more expensive things tend to get, and St Barths is no exception! Nevertheless it (and the goaty island of Ille Fourche to its west) are worth a visit.
St Barths to St Martin, 15 miles: Wednesday 19 October, 1 day
The penultimate leg should be downwind sailing, yet can be quite “woolly”, defying expectations of a leisurely downwind sail. However at under 20 miles this is small-fry for the hardened sailors who will be manning the helm during this week!
St Martin to Tortola, BVI, 100 miles: Thursday 20 October, 2 days
The final leg of the journey normally offers classic downwind trade sailing. We have allowed two days as this can be a long journey and may require us to wait for a favourable weather window (or not).
Arrive Tortola Saturday 22 October 2016
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