SAIL AWAY

A CHAR­TER IN THE GRE­NADINES IS CALL­ING

Yachting - - FRONT PAGE - by kim kavin

One of the few sil­ver lin­ings that­came with the dev­as­tat­ing hur­ri­canes Irma, Jose and Maria last year was the way that char­ter yachts re­dis­cov­ered St. Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines, in the south­ern Caribbean. Tra­di­tion­ally, the hub of crewed char­ter ac­tiv­ity has been up north, but as mari­nas there worked to re­build, cap­tains and char­ter bro­kers looked for al­ter­na­tives. Quite a few yachts pointed their bows south, with some head­ing back this sea­son as well. ¶ Many peo­ple who’ve char­tered in the Gre­nadines call the re­gion “the Caribbean as it used to be.” That’s be­cause the is­lands to the south are gen­er­ally less de­vel­oped than the north­ern ar­eas, with fewer yachts around over­all and even fewer of the largest su­pery­achts dom­i­nat­ing the har­bors. It’s still pos­si­ble in the south­ern Caribbean for a char­ter yacht to have a sand­bar all to it­self for an af­ter­noon of sun­ning and swim­ming. Step­ping ashore is oc­ca­sion­ally done at a sim­ple dock where lo­cal chil­dren are play­ing, as op­posed to at a water­front hub lined with Fifth Av­enue-style store­fronts and tony restau­rants. ¶ The way the Gre­nadines are ge­o­graph­i­cally sit­u­ated makes for easy char­ter itin­er­ar­ies too. Start­ing at St. Vin­cent, which has an in­ter­na­tional air­port, the Gre­nadines arc to the south­west like a flung-out string of pearls, all in a row.

If an itin­er­ary ends just be­low the south­ern tip of the Gre­nadines, at Gre­nada, there’s an in­ter­na­tional air­port as well as enough to do and see for any­one who wants to spend sev­eral days ashore. (The choco­late fac­tory is par­tic­u­larly fun.) ¶ Many bro­kers rec­om­mend 10- to 14-day itin­er­ar­ies for the Gre­nadines, to set a leisurely pace when cruis­ing the ar­chi­pel­ago. Take their ad­vice. This is not the well-known Caribbean — which is ex­actly what makes a char­ter here worth con­sid­er­ing.

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