Unwind in the Northern Leeward Islands on a St. Martin Flotilla Cruise
With Colgate Sailing Adventures
January 12-20, 2018 — Moved to Belize on Sunsail 444 Catamarans, May 2018! See Belize Flotilla details here.
Because of the destruction Hurricane Irma caused in the Caribbean and specifically in St. Martin and the surrounding northern leeward islands, this cruise has been postponed to a later date, not yet determined.
This winter Caribbean sailing vacation takes you to St. Martin on the northern tip of the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands, just when you’re beginning to feel a long winter lies ahead. Unwind and recharge with like-minded sailors. Enjoy leisurely sailing, great shopping, sightseeing and fabulous food ashore. The ports of call on this sailing St. Martin cruise vary from laid back coves to fun harbors with many attractions ashore. Sailing is perfect here in January – balmy 15-20 knot tradewinds, typically from the northeast, with temperatures ranging from 75-80°F and water temperatures around 77°F.
The island of St. Martin is half French (St. Martin) and the other half Dutch (St. Maarten). The flotilla sailing St. Martin cruise starts and ends in Marigot Bay on the French side – serviced by many international and US airlines including American, US Airways, Delta and Jet Blue, arriving at St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side. You’ll feel yourself starting to unwind on the 40-minute taxi ride to The Moorings Base where your Caribbean sailing vacation cruise leaders, Nate and Heather Atwater await your arrival.
The cruise starts at 6 p.m. at The Moorings base in Captain Oliver’s Marina at Oyster Pond on the French side of the island. The base holds mandatory briefings at 2:30 pm, but if your flight doesn’t arrive before then, Nate and Heather will brief you separately when you arrive. At 6 p.m. the Atwater’s will host a fun Meet and Greet Party ashore where you get to know your sailing St. Martin cruise-mates.
Your first day underway will be spent cruising Marigot Bay, a great way to ease into a St. Martin charter. Marigot is the capital of the French side of St. Martin. The pretty waterfront has many shops and boutiques, and wonderful French-cuisine-inspired restaurants at all price ranges, plus lively bars with live entertainment. Marine parks offer superb swimming and snorkeling, and the beaches are fantastic.
Today, you set a southeast course on your Caribbean sailing vacation to the British Island of Anguilla and anchor in Road Bay, one of the nicest anchorages in the Northern Leewards. Laid back and unpretentious, Anguilla is large, with small hamlets, and interesting shops and restaurants spread out along quiet roads. In the evening head to Johnno’s, for live music on weekends. Snorkeling on the reefs where colorful tropical fish abound is excellent in many locations. You won’t have time for scuba diving during this trip, but if that is your passion, consider heading to Anguilla before or after the cruise to explore the seven wrecks off Sandy Island and the Prickly Pear Cays.
Monday, January 15
Crocus Bay, Anguilla (4 NM)
As you enter this peaceful, secluded anchorage you are amazed by colorful 70-foot cliffs rising from white-sand beaches. The snorkeling is superb from Pelican Point in Crocus Bay and the beach is excellent for swimming and sunbathing. Just north is Little Bay, which has day use moorings. Lots of seabirds, are plentiful and fun to watch here. The main settlement on Anguilla, The Valley, is within walking distance. The Savannah art gallery, which you’ll pass on the way, has a selection of beautiful paintings to admire (or buy). Next to the gallery is Koal Keel, an upmarket restaurant, a good choice for dining ashore.
Tuesday, January 16
Orient Bay, French St. Martin (17 NM)
Aside from its beautiful white sandy beach, kite surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, and many restaurants and boutiques, the bay has a quieter side as well. Ile Pinel is mostly secluded, though there are beach-side shacks where you can rent windsurfers and other water sports equipment. Snacks and soft drinks are available, and you can arrange a ride in an ultralight aircraft for incredible, heart-racing, views. There are also a few restaurants and shops within walking distance of the dinghy docks. Yes, there is nude bathing here (on Green Cay’s eastern stretch of Orient Beach).
Wednesday, January 17
St. Barts, Gustavia (16 NM)
The main port of entry on St. Barts is the scenic, chic harbor of Gustavia, situated on the south side of the island near its western end. Snug and protected, the harbor is a great place to people-watch with super yachts, boutiques featuring designer wear and jewelry and superb French cuisine, as well as casual places to dine. Red-roofed buildings give it a distinct character. A hike up the hill to the lighthouse at Fort Gustav is well worth the incredible panoramic view. The sailing St. Martin fleet will probably pick up moorings here (cost shared by all). Since the next day’s anchorage is right around the corner, take your time exploring, shopping and dining in this fun “Riviera of the Caribbean” stop.
Moorings are available at no charge in this scenic and well protected, horseshoe-shaped bay at the western tip of St. Barts. There is great snorkeling, at the north end of the beach, and just south is an islet where sea turtles and sea rays are sometimes seen. Here you’ll also find stairs leading to the top of the hills and a scenic trail that takes you through patches of fragrant lilies and cactus. On the southern hill is a house built by the Rockefeller family, which once owned Anse de Colombier, now part of the St. Barts Marine Reserve.
From the quiet anchorage at Anse de Colombier you sail to bustling Great Bay, Philipsburg, the capital of Dutch St. Maarten. This busy harbor has all the amenities a sailor could want. Marinas, waterfront stores and restaurants, a selection of casinos, and plenty of nightlife make Great Bay cruising one of the more popular adventures on the island.
Saturday, January 20
Back to Oyster Pond (8 NM)
After a leisurely breakfast, pack up your gear, and then sail back to Oyster Pond, arriving before noon. With cameras and cell phones full of memorable images, it’s time to head to the airport for flights home.
The St. Martin Caribbean sailing vacation fleet is two Moorings 48.4 four-cabin monohulls and one 51.4 four-cabin monohull – two of the raciest Beneteau designs in the Moorings fleet. Crew and boat assignments are made by Nate and Heather based on resumes you send when you book your cabin. They will also designate two of you on each boat as “skipper” and “navigator” to take charge if an emergency occurs. Otherwise, everyone is expected to share in all aspects of handling the boat while sailing St. Martin – that’s the fun that comes with these hassle-free trips! All the yachts sleep eight comfortably in four cabins with four toilets and five showers (one on the stern for rinsing off after swimming), with spacious main cabins and lots of room on deck. They all have generator powered air conditioning.
Sign Up Today!
888-454-7015 or Sail@OffshoreSailing.com
This exclusive Caribbean sailing vacation has just 11 cabins available (the 12th reserved for your cruise leaders, Nate and Heather). It will fill quickly, especially since it happens during one of the coldest time of the year across the U.S. The cruise is open to all sailors, with a $300 discount per person for Offshore Sailing School grads who have US Sailing Bareboat Cruising Certification. Find a friend or loved one, or come alone, and call 888-454-7015 today to reserve your cabin.
Package Rates and Payment Terms
- Single private cabin – $2,950 ($2,650 with grad discount if you qualify)
- Double shared cabin per person – $2,550 ($2,250 with grad discount if you qualify)
To guarantee your cabin, a 30% deposit of the total package is due now, refundable less a $200 cancellation and processing fee until August 31, 2018. Final payment is due on September 1, 2017, at which time no refunds are allowed. A $300 refundable damage deposit is also required at time final payment is made. Please purchase Trip Insurance.
- Private or shared cabin on one of the flotilla yachts, assigned in advance by the Atwaters
- All breakfasts, lunches, snacks and three dinners aboard during the cruise
- Welcome party (heavy hors d’oeuvres or light dinner) first night of the trip
- Commemorative shirt and hat
- Ice, full water and fuel tanks prior to departure
- Damage waiver applied by charter company
- Comprehensive cruise e-book prepared by Offshore, to help you plan your trip
- Airfare and other travel
- Ground transfers to and from base (approximately $30 per person each way)
- Dinners or other meals ashore
- Beverages you wish to have aboard while cruising (markets available in the marina)
- Park fees and immigration charges when entering from one island country to another (figure around $50 per person)
If you’d like to come in a day early to relax and explore, Moorings recommends two hotels in Oyster Pond: Captain Oliver’s Hotel, and The Columbus Hotel. Since The Moorings’ Mariner Travel books so many people to their Caribbean bases, you might want to let them book your flight too. For flights call Soon Saysomvang, 866-649-2003. Currency is in U.S. dollars or Euros. Mastercard and Visa are only accepted at The Moorings base, but American Express is accepted in many other stops. All shops are duty free.