The British West Indies offer a wide range of cruising grounds in the Eastern Caribbean, but none is more enjoyable for chartering than the island stepping stones from St. Vincent to Grenada. A ten day, one-way sailing charter from the southern tip of St. Vincent, through the Grenadines, to the picturesque harbor of St. George’s, is a little bit of sailing heaven.
Day 1: Young Island Cut to Bequia
The first morning of a charter is always a dizzying array of events: chart briefing, boat orientation, stowing provisions and organizing personal gear in the cabin. The goal is to get off the dock as early as possible, find that perfect lunch stop to relax and review the charter itinerary. Anchoring in the lee of Young Island and the sugarloaf of Fort Duvernette serves that purpose admirably.
Following lunch, Admiralty Bay, Bequia is an easy reach perfect for getting those sea legs back. Anchor or pick up a mooring off Port Elizabeth for the night followed by a Dark ‘n Stormy at sunset. Dinner along the waterfront path at the Whaleboner or Mac’s Pizzeria caps the end of a satisfying day.
Day 2: Bequia to Mustique
In the morning, dinghy ashore to the fruit and vegetable market just north of the ferry dock, and haggle for passion fruit, mango, papaya, christophene, and pumpkin to supplement the boat’s provisions.
Give Bequia’s West Cay a wide berth when rounding the point while heading to Mustique. The ten plus nautical mile beat builds crew teamwork and shakes out those cobwebs since the last charter.
In the 1960s, Lord Glenconner developed Mustique as a hideaway for the ‘jet set’. Since then, Princess Margaret, Mick Jagger, Tommy Hilfiger and Shania Twain have all lived there. Britannia Bay is the only anchorage on Mustique, and yachts under 60 feet LOA must pay for use of a mooring in the bay. Dinner ashore at the legendary Basil’s Bar is a must.
Day 3: Mustique to Canouan
A 12-mile broad reach makes for an enjoyable sail to Canouan. Sail past Charlestown Bay as the anchorage there can be quite rolly. Glossy Hill stands proud to the south, and just behind that hill is the entrance to Glossy Bay Marina. The brand new marina is well protected and well appointed with amenities. Taxis are available to all the restaurants and resorts in town.
Day 4: Canouan to Mayreau
It is only a five-mile sail to Mayreau, but an early start is key in order to get a prime spot at anchor in Salt Whistle Bay. This small, picturesque horseshoe bay is the ideal jumping off point for exploring the island. Go ashore and hike up the trail to The Village at the top of the hill. Don’t miss eating lunch at Robert’s Righteous & de Youths, it’s a Rastafari gem. After lunch, visit the historic Catholic Church and take in the commanding panoramic view of Tobago Cays.
Day 5: Mayreau to Tobago Cays
For most charterers, Tobago Cays is the raison d’être for cruising the Grenadines. It is down islands’ answer to paradise. Horseshoe Reef protects a handful of uninhabited islands, and offers gin clear waters that are home to inquisitive sea turtles. Secure a mooring behind the reef between Baradel and Jamesby Islands for an unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean.
A cadre of ‘boat boys’ working on small powerboats from Union Island is available daily to provide necessities such as freshly baked baguettes, lobster and ice. Have an ample supply of ‘EeeCee’ or Eastern Caribbean dollars for payment.
Day 6: Tobago Cays to Union Island
The leeward side of Union Island is the location of Chatham Bay, an expansive quiet anchorage that contrasts with the hubbub of Clifton Harbor on the windward side. The long sandy beach is ideal for walking and exploring, and stopping for a rum punch at one of the handful of beach bars.
Day 7: Union Island to Petit St. Vincent
Once Miss Irene Point is rounded on the south side of Union Island, sailing to Petit St. Vincent (PSV) is a challenging beat. Just off PSV is Mopion, a tiny, low, sand island. Surrounded by a reef, Mopion is an ideal lunch stop. Snorkel ashore through the reef after lunch and survey the spectacular 360-degree view of Union, PSV, Petit Martinique and the jagged peaks of Carriacou.
Petit St. Vincent is a private island with a large anchorage with good overnight holding in the sandy areas. Sailors are welcome ashore at the beach bar using the dinghy dock.
Day 8: Petit St. Vincent to Carriacou
At Carriacou, sail into Hillsborough Bay past Jack-A-Dan (Jack Adan) to Sandy Island. Pick up a mooring for lunch at Sandy Island, and enjoy the view and waters of this well maintained marine park.
Continue on to Tyrell Bay for an overnight anchorage. Keep clear of the ship channel when entering, and anchor in ten feet of water at the south side of the bay. For dinner, dinghy in to the Lazy Turtle, the most popular cruisers’ restaurant on the bay.
Day 9: Carriacou to Dragon Bay, Grenada
An early start is a must for the 25-mile sail to Grenada. The open water channel offers spirited sailing and views of Kick ‘em Jenny, the Sisters and Isle de Ronde. Give the active underwater volcano (Kick ‘Em Jenny) a wide berth by respecting the volcano’s exclusion zone.
The last night aboard is at Dragon Bay, a small quiet hideaway with good snorkeling. Picking up a mooring is the first choice rather than anchoring.
Day 10: Dragon Bay to St. George’s
A short sail is all that is necessary for the final morning of chartering and returning the boat to the charter base. The capital of Grenada, St. George’s, is a scenic group of hills dotted with houses overlooking the Carenage. Historically, the Carenage served as the harbor for inter-island sailing schooners and local fishermen. Today, it still maintains that unique down island vibe.
Chartering through the Grenadines the first time reveals a completely different experience than the British Virgin Islands. But just like BVI, it offers a wide variety of itineraries for future charters.