Offshore Cruising Club Flotilla in the Windward Islands
March 25 – April 2, 2017
Fast Sailing and Exciting Passages
St. Lucia, where we start this cruise, is a gorgeous part of the Caribbean known as the Windward Islands, with a pair of dramatically tapered mountains called the Pitons on its west coast. This popular cruise takes place in the heart of the winter cruising season, when everyone back home is still slogging through snow.
Where Whales, Flying Fish and Dolphins Play
On this cruise you will experience fast sailing and longer passages, sunny skies and northeast breezes, through seas where whales breach, flying fish skirt wave crests and dolphins play in your wake. Each day takes you to a different, fascinating harbor on a fleet of four Moorings 4000 catamarans, guided by cruise leaders Nate and Heather Atwater. Itineraries are always subject to change once you are in the islands, at the discretion of the cruise leaders, but having done this cruise for our graduates before, here is what we expect will occur.
Call 888-454-7015 or Email Sail@OffshoreSailing.com to Reserve Your Cabin Now!
Saturday, March 25 – Arrive Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
On the north side of St. Lucia is Rodney Bay – once a major British Navy base and now a thriving yachting center with a full service marina, shops and restaurants. If you arrive early enough you might want to explore the Bay’s park with gardens and footpaths marked with plaques, or head to nearby Reduit Beach or Pigeon Island National Park. Board the boats at 6 p.m., then join your cruise leaders and crew mates for a Welcome Reception and Orientation Meeting at one of the local restaurants nearby.
Sunday, March 26 – 18 NM to Soufriere and The Pitons
The Pitons, a World Heritage Site, are conical peaks rising more than 2,000 feet from
the sea. Here you will likely pick up a mooring, then dinghy ashore to explore. Just north of Petit Piton (elevation 2,460 feet) is the lovely small town of Soufriere, which shares the name of the nearby dormant volcano, the only one in the world you can drive a car right inside! Its Creole-style buildings with gingerbread trim and balconies exude Old World charm. There’s tons to do here: Visit Sulfur Springs, the volcanic-heated waters of Diamond Baths and its surrounding tropical gardens, Maho waterfalls, and the Jalousie Plantation; take a guided hiking tour in the rain forest near Morne Fond St. Jacques (information at the Soufriere Marine Management office in town); climb to the top of Gros Piton (2.619 feet) for an incredible view; snorkel beautiful reefs; hire a taxi to give you a tour. In the evening, dine aboard or enjoy one of the many restaurants along the shore and in town.
Monday, March 27 – 51 NM to Admiralty Bay, Bequia
The only settlement on the island, Port Elizabeth in Admiralty Bay, is on the west side of
the island, where you will find a variety of shops, boutiques, food markets, a bookstore, and lots of bars and restaurants. Bequia has a long tradition of fishing and boatbuilding. Whaling from open sailboats still happens occasionally by special agreement with the International Whaling Commission (max four whales per season). There is plenty of room to anchor and moorings are also available. Admiralty Bay is another great place to dine ashore: at the Frangipani Hotel for a Caribbean-fare dinner, the Auberge des Grenadines for lobster and other seafood, or the Tradewinds Yacht Club restaurant Devil’s Table, with its charming island ambiance. Attractions include the Bequia Maritime Museum, Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, and the small whaling museum at the home of one of Bequia’s most famous harpooners.
Tuesday, March 28 – 24 NM to Tobago Cays
There are so many highlights in these islands, but the Tobago Cays Marine Park is
certainly one of the best. Pick up a mooring and then set out in the dinghy to look for sea turtles and other fascinating marine life. Dinghy to one of the crystal clear reefs for amazing snorkeling. Perhaps here Heather and Nate will line up a vendor for a fun beach barbecue. Be prepared to purchase souvenirs as there are many entrepreneurial local boat owners who ply the anchorages selling ice, bread, lobsters and of course, t-shirts!
Wednesday, March 29 – 18 NM to Mustique
In 1958 Mustique was sold by its original owners to a wealthy Scottish nobleman, Lord Gelnconner, whose grandfather invented bleach. Lord Glenconner bought the island as a present for his wife, a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. For years, the island was an exclusive hideaway for the rich and famous, including Princess Margaret who received a 5-acre peninsula on the island from Lord Glenconner as a wedding present in 1960. Our fleet will moor in Britannia Bay, home of Basil’s Bar, a must stop for yachties where you can sample Basil’s Mustique Whammy and enjoy the Wednesday night Jump Up and Barbecue Night. Basil Charles’s empire consists of his restaurant, a boutique, nearby gourmet shop with fine wines, cheeses and other gourmet treats, and an antique and collectibles store. The island has many more unique shops, a fresh veggie stall next to Basil’s, lots of restaurants including an 18th century sugar mill called the Cotton House Hotel and Restaurant (pricey and exclusive with an exceptional view). To explore the island you can rent golf carts (called mules). Before leaving the next morning be sure to get fresh croissants, pain au chocolate and fresh baguettes from Sweetie Pie Bakery, Cafe and Boulangerie.
Thursday, March 30 – 14 NM to Blue Lagoon, Young Island
Young Island has a variety of good harbors, including one at Young Island Cut at the southern end of St. Vincent. Our flotilla will likely head to Blue Lagoon, a well-protected harbor on the southern end of the island. On the main island of St. Vincent are several attractions: At the head of The Mesopotamia Valley sits Montreal Gardens where you can walk along paths lined with fragrant tropical flowers; or visit the Botanical Gardens, the Falls of Baleine, Fort Charlotte and the amazing 3,000’ Soufriere volcano. Yes, it’s a bit of a hike, but well worth the effort if there is time.
Friday, March 31 – 11 NM to Wallilabou Bay, St Vincent
This was the setting for Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp in 2003 – a popular spot for cruisers to
see the remains of the original set ashore. Here our fleet will have to work with boat boys, members of the Wallilabou Line Handlers Association – an enterprising group wearing t-shirts and badges denoting their membership. There’s a very nice restaurant and bar ashore, plus water, ice, free showers, internet access, and garbage service. Just up the road is the Golden Spoon Restaurant and a small snack shop on the beach. You may catch ladies weaving baskets and pick up some of their special guava liqueur at Morna’s Craft Shop. To swim, go to the falls about a mile to the left of the anchorage.
Saturday, April 1 – 45 NM to Marigot Bay
This is our last long day of sailing, a great time to reminisce about the week and watch for whales and porpoises along the way. Tucked away at the base of steep, verdant hills on the western coast of St. Lucia is delightful Marigot Bay – a lovely place to unwind before heading back to Rodney Bay. Restaurants here are known for their French cuisine. The new Capella Resort sits on the hillside where the group will enjoy a gala end of cruise dinner. If there’s time, take a sightseeing tour of the surrounding land or head to St. Lucia’s marine park for excellent diving and snorkeling among the numerous shallow reefs near the shore.
Sunday, April 2 – 7 NM back to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
An early starts gets the fleet back to Rodney Bay by noon, in time for boat check-outs and flights home, or perhaps an extension of your winter getaway at a nearby resort.
The Offshore Cruising Club Flotilla Fleet
The Moorings 4000 are great boats, with 4 double berth cabins, 2 heads and a convertible saloon. There is a deck shower as well as the showers in the two heads. Though you probably won’t need it this time of year, generator-powered air conditioning is available. There are two forepeaks forward of the two forward cabins, recommended only for luggage storage.
Length overall is 39’4”, beam 22’1”, draft 4’1”, with 1032 sq. feet of sail area, 2 Yanmar diesel engines with fuel capacity of 96 gallons, and 206 gallons of water. During this flotilla you can expect up to six people aboard each boat, with couples in the aft cabins and singles in the forward cabins. However, cabins will be chosen by drawing straws before everyone boards and puts their gear away.
Sign Up Today and Get Away to Sunny Climes This Winter!
This fantastic trip is open to all sailors with sailing experience equivalent to the US Sailing Basic Keelboat level or higher. All participants are asked to fill out a sailing resume when signing up.
St. Lucia Package Price Per Person
Double shared cabin $2995, single private cabin $3495. 30% deposit required when you sign up. Balance is due by January 13, 2017 with a $300 per person refundable security deposit. Two airports on St. Lucia are: Hewanorra International Airport and George Charles Airport. Soun Saysomvang at The Moorings, 866-649-2003, has extensive experience booking flights for charterers to this destination.
Included in Your Package
- Your shared or private cabin aboard a Moorings 4000 catamaran
- Welcome reception and orientation with 2 drink tickets and hors d’oeuvres
- Gala end of cruise dinner with 2 drink tickets
- Provisions for all breakfasts, lunches, snacks and three dinners aboard
- Ice, water and fuel aboard boat when you start out
- Commemorative Windward Islands Cruise shirt and cap
- Leaders Nate and Heather Atwater with the fleet throughout the cruise
Other Costs to Plan For
- Travel to and from St. Lucia
- Taxi to and from St. Lucia airports/base – $25-$90 per person depending on which airport you come into or leave from
- Mooring fees, probably four to five during cruise, cost shared by crew on each boat – $30-$50 per boat per night
- Drinks and dinners ashore – dinners $30 to $60 per person plus 10-15% tip
- Customs fees entering St. Vincent and back into St. Lucia – around $35 per person, overtime fees apply after 4:30 p.m.
- Boat boys tips when they take your lines (sometimes cannot be avoided) – $5-$20 shared by crew on each boat
- Park fees – around $10 per person
- Alcohol and other beverages and provisions bought to share or consume on your own aboard the boat prior to and during the cruise
- Docking fees – if used, not known at this time, shared by crew on each boat