St. Lucia is a terrific 2-for-1 charter destination. This 238-square-mile Windward Island, located south of Martinique and north of St. Vincent, boasts enough beautiful anchorages to spend an entire week sailing. St. Lucia is also an ideal jumping-off point to sail south and explore St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Save the latter for a second trip and enjoy St. Lucia all by itself for the first charter to this destination.
“One of the jewels of the Windward Islands, St. Lucia offers an abundance of natural beauty, pristine sandy beaches, and lush landscapes. Thanks to year-round trade winds, the destination provides travelers with excellent sailing conditions no matter the season. Ideal for the active set, the island’s beaches are suited for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, and more. There are several highlights throughout the island from the magnificent Marigot Bay to the historic Pigeon Island, but the destination’s true claim to fame is the Pitons, a picturesque set of twin peaks soaring 2,500 feet high. No trip to St. Lucia is complete without exploring the Pitons,” says Ian Pedersen, senior marketing manager for Clearwater, FL-headquartered, The Moorings, and Sunsail, whose base is located at IGY’s Rodney Bay Marina.
The Moorings fleet of bareboat and crewed charter yachts include 40- to 51-foot sailing monohulls and catamarans and power catamarans.
There’s an advantage to starting a charter out of Rodney Bay, on St. Lucia’s northwest side, according to Ulrich Meixner, owner of DSL Yachting, also located at IGY’s Rodney Bay Marina. “There are comprehensive services here and easy accessibility to supermarkets, restaurants and bars, hardware stores, computer stores, and more.”
DSL offers a fleet of bareboats for charter ranging from a Sun Odyssey 32 monohull to a Lagoon 44 catamaran.
Here is a sample 7-day charter itinerary within St. Lucia:
Day 1: Rodney Bay to Marigot Bay.
Cast off for about a 4-hour (14 nautical miles) sail south. Marigot Bay is a secluded anchorage traditionally used as a hurricane hole. In fact, the Marigot Bay Resort, Spa, and Marina has a restaurant called the Hurricane Hole, where you can sit open air on the water and dine on salads, sandwiches, and seafood.
“Marigot Bay is a beautiful sight, and it greets guests with the sights of deep blue waters, tropical mangroves, palm trees, waterside dining, and a view of the hillsides. The marina welcomes all classifications of vessels and provides convenient access to a 5-star luxury resort that is open to boaters and their guests year-round,” says Geraine Georges, public relations manager at the St. Lucia Tourism Authority.
The Resort also charters its 113-foot Star of the Seas Motor Yacht for 3- to 10-night crewed charters. Marigot Bay is one of the filming locations for the original or 1967-released movie, Dr. Doolittle. Today, you can also enjoy eating and drinking at Doolittle’s Restaurant across at the Marigot Beach Club & Dive Resort.
Day 2: Anse Cochon.
Nine miles south are this small town’s beautiful beaches, idyllic island views, and a delightfully laid-back vibe. By boat is the best way to access the beach. Or snorkel or go diving to explore the wrecks here. One is the Lesleen M, a 165-foot freighter purposely sunk over 30 years ago to create an artificial reef. There are corals, sponges, and many fish to see. The Soufriere Marine Management Area starts just south of here, where there are protected zones for yachts, fishing, and as a marine reserve.
Day 3: Anse Chastanet.
Get up at sunrise and sail for an hour or two south to Anse Chastanet. There’s a small jetty to tie up your dinghy, and the anchorage is close to the jetty. Go ashore and enjoy an elegant breakfast at the Anse Chastanet Resort’s Treehouse, an open-air eatery overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Go local and try the St. Lucian Green Fig & Saltfish, a combination of locally caught house-cured mahi, cucumber and tomato salad, avocado dip, banana ketchup, and coconut oil. The reef off the beach here is fish-filled and scenic for snorkeling.
Day 4: Pitons Bay.
About 8 miles further south, past the port town of Soufriere, is this quiet bay with St. Lucia’s iconic twin Pitons rising high. There are mooring buoys off Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. Explore ashore. Take a taxi to the world’s only drive-in volcano. Tour guides lead you past pools hissing with steam and sulfur bubbling springs. The big thrill in this anchorage is going to sleep and waking up embraced by the close-up and personal view of a majestic Piton on either side.
Day 5: Malgretoute Bay.
Sail north a few miles to his bay. It’s a great access point to hike the Pitons. Hire a guide or sign up for a hiking tour. Gros Piton, the larger of the two, rises over 2,500 feet above sea level. To fill up before or refuel afterward, seek out a local bakery in the quaint town of Soufriere. Look for the coconut cake that is more of a bread or cassava bread, made savory with saltfish or sweet with dried fruits.
Day 6: Anse Cochon.
Today is a sailing day. Set off from Malgretoute Bay, set out the fishing rods, and set your sights on catching mahi, wahoo, or tuna for dinner, depending on the time of year. It’s not uncommon to see sea turtles or dolphins while cruising. Pull into Anse Cochon and anchor for the night.
Day 7: Pigeon Island.
Sail back north to Rodney Bay. Drop anchor at Pigeon Island. There are two white sandy beaches. Plus, this 44-acre island, which is now connected to the mainland by a causeway, has 18th-century military structures such as forts, a panoramic lookout, and a pub and restaurant. This stop makes the perfect way to end a weeklong charter in St. Lucia. www.moorings.com, www.dsl-yachting.com, www.stlucia.org