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WHERE TO GO? WHAT TO DO?


The British Virgin Islands are one of our favourite destinations in the Caribbean and when describing them, we often suggest they are to sailing, what the virgin ski slopes are to down hill racing. Great anchorages, wonderful beach bars and stunning diving, they are hugely popular with charter guests and crew when the charter work is complete.


They can at times be crowded and the extensive bare boats chartered by enthusiastic, wannabe sailors can, at times, pose their own hazards. Antigua and St Martin are islands where, if you need it fixed now, you go to get it done! Crew like these two distinctly different islands during downtimes and charter guests find their well-connected airports convenient for embarkation. St Barts is where you drop anchor to impress the guests and sail away from shortly afterwards. While Dominica is where


you and the guests go to chill and commune with nature. Here you will find some of nature’s most intriguing exhibits, chief amongst which is the luscious rainforests that cling to steep sided hills and mountains.


Guadeloupe and Martinique give the island chain its French flair and we think of them as shabby-chic versions of down at the heel riviera ports found when going off-piste in the Mediterranean. Still French and resolutely part of the EU, they are great places to shop in. Should the chef, for example, crave freshly imported French foods to restock the storeroom, this is where to find them.


Further south St Lucia and St Vincent still retain shades of their colonial past and yet are becoming sophisticated holiday resort islands in their own right. The Marigot Bay resort on St Lucia, even has its own very well-equipped superyacht marina. The Tobago Cays are a destination


unto themselves and, together with the neighbouring Bequia and Mustique, are all a ‘must-visit’.


From there, and further still south all the way until Tobago, lie islands belonging to Grenada. Each of them special and worthy of a visit in their own right. St Georges, the capital, boasts a very well-equipped superyacht marina run by Camper & Nicholson and it is a handy stopover and changeover point given its proximity to a well connected international airport.


But the Caribbean does not stop there. It goes all the way down to Venezuela where, brave it and you will find the cheapest bunkers known to man. On the way there, you should visit the island paradises of Tobago, Trinidad, Margarita and then drop the hook off the Isles d’Aves. Yachts heading for the Panama Canal often take this route calling at the Dutch islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Cacao.


RETURNING


Having cruised the islands and hosted many, many charters there, we are often asked which is our favourite island. The answer is always the same. We have favourites for food, islands where provisioning is easy and islands where the beaches are; to die for. We have favourite diving islands and favourite hiking spots and they are all different. We have favoured shopping spots and wonderful watering holes. Who would dare miss Basil’s Bar on Mustique when the chances are you could bump into Mick Jagger, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Moss or Tom Cruise?


WHICH ISLAND?


Each island has its pros and cons. Each has its own style and cruising opportunities. Some islands feature large hotel resorts off which, yachts tend to anchor in clusters, others have marinas. Some have dayworkers whose skill at varnishing put the efforts made by seasoned deck hands, look like amateurs. In the Caribbean, it is easy to find local labour cheaply but remember, cheapness does not always go hand in hand with reliability. The engineering skills of some of the locally based contractors are amazing and, despite the look of their tool kit or the shabbiness of the transport they arrive in, should never be underestimated and are dismissively undersold.


And then there is the Rum Cave in Marigot Bay! Catching Lobsters in Tobago or having boat boys bring them to the boat in the Tobago Cays are just fabulous experiences and when cooked on the BBQ and washed down with Red Stripe or Carib beers make that a meal to remember for ever. They are all, each and everyone of them, jolly good reasons to cross the Atlantic onboard a superyacht.


Who would dare miss


Basil’s Bar on Mustique when the chances are you could bump into Mick Jagger?


ONBOARD | AUTUMN 2021 | 81


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