Sailing the Caribbean – St Maarten to Dominica and Back 7th to 20th May 2011

Dominica Return
James and James joined up for a couple of weeks sailing from St Maarten to Dominica and back as a shakedown for the planned Transatlantic crossing. Some blustery days and a fair bit of rain, interspersed with some great trade winds sailing.

[dropcap]J[/dropcap]ames (1 – herein after called James) joined in St Maarten with aspirations of a solo Transatlantic crossing one day. In prep for his (and mine) first Transatlantic crossing the following month I’d scheduled a shakedown cruise to Dominica, 200 miles to the South where James (2 – herein after called Jim) was joining us for the return trip North.

After a short hop to St Barts, we elected for an overnight trip for 100 miles from Gustavia to Deschaies on Guadeloupe. Reefed down for a safe overnight passage, we took in turns on watch and had a showery but uneventful crossing, arriving in Deschaies mid morning. We hired a car and set off in search of a generator (one of my must-have items for the Transatlantic trip), but after a fruitless search returned to Deschaies empty handed. It was a good chance to look around the island however.

The next day we cruised down the coast to Les Saintes, a gorgeous cluster of islands between Guadeloupe and Dominica where we chilled out at anchor….actualy that particular anchorage turned out to be rather noisy as about 15 charter boats full of students arrived and cranked up the music! We had the wind on the nose a bit for the trip to Dominica the following day, but the 25 mile passage was easy enough and we arrived in the picturesque Prince Rupert Bay in good time.

Sadly Jim’s luggage didn’t arrive at the same time as him, but not to worry, we hunted down a pair of shorts in a local shop and the next day the boys headed off with their guide for a road trip and Indian River tour. They came back elated and laden with my order for fruit for the Transatlantic crossing. You can see the bunch of bananas in some of the pics, but they all ripened at once, and about 2 weeks too early!

We headed North with Jim’s luggage on board to the Isle des Saintes again and back to Deschaies for an overnight anchorage. Then off to English Harbour on Antigua which was a favourite and historic stop with the Jims. We hopped over to Nevis, with a lengthy discussion on down-wind sailing, in time for sundowners on the beach, and back across to Gustavia on St Barth’s for a look around the town.

James’ son was arriving into Philipsburg on one of the world’s biggest cruise liners, Oasis of the Seas, where he worked, so we headed to St Maarten early doors, in time for James to have a few sherbets with his family; and the trip ended in Marigot Bay after a brief overnight stop in Simpson Bay.

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