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On a St Lucia yacht charter you can enjoy Saint Lucia and the other Windward Islands on your sailing adventure of a lifetime. Book your sailing holiday with Borrow a Boat today!
Fought over by the Brits and French in the days of sail for its strategic location and sugar plantations, St Lucia is now an independent island nation with a mixed economy of fishing, agriculture and tourism. Vieux Fort to the south is a Free Trade Area and a major centre for commerce and trade in this part of the Lesser Antilles.
Though you will arrive at Vieux Fort in the southern part of St Lucia, much of the fun for tourists is to be had in the mountainous north. As with so many islands on the Caribbean Sea, locals tend to live a distance away from the tourist hot spots. Tourist resorts including Anse Chastanet and Marigot Bay on the west coast, and Rodney Bay and Gros Islet on the north are among the important sailing destinations on this beautiful jewel of a Windward Island.
As with so many islands in the Lesser Antilles, you will find great beaches and plenty to do in the water, from scuba diving and snorkeling to blasting along the Caribbean Sea on a reach with a grin as broad as the beam of your boat.
Ashore, there is plenty to do as well. The extinct Pitons volcanoes that form the dramatic backbone of the island are a great place to walk or mountain bike, and thanks to the volcanic soil, a huge range of native trees and flowering plants decorate the island from end to end. As such, there is so much more to do in Saint Lucia than a sun, sea and sand holiday - book your St Lucia yacht charter with Borrow a Boat today to see what we mean!
On your yacht charter vacation from St Lucia, there are plenty of other islands to enjoy. Heading south towards South America, you will find St Vincent and the Grenadines, the next country south. Amongst other places to visit, and just half a day's sail from Marigot Bay are:
- St Vincent itself is a few hours south of Vieux Fort but has largely ignored tourism except for those who enjoy a different culture with people living their own lives. You will find two major resorts here including Young Island just off the south coast. The rest of the island is more focused on agriculture, fishing and commerce.
- Bequia has Admiralty Bay, famous for being one of the most beautiful anchorages in the Caribbean
- Mustique eschews mass tourism, instead focusing on villas for its high-net-worth part time residents
- Union Island is one of the smaller islands that is open and friendly even to people on smaller craft. Do visit Chatham Bay for its undeveloped beach and solitude.
- The Tobago Cays are uninhabited but a major sailing destination thanks to their beauty and chance to dive and snorkel on their all but untouched coral reefs.
Heading north from Rodney Bay you will soon be in sight of Martinique, the first of three France-owned islands in the Windward Islands. Dominica and Guadeloupe are also great Caribbean islands with a particularly French outlook.
After Antigua you are in the Leeward Islands with a range of destinations including the other exclusive resort island of Montserrar, party island of St Martin and ultimately the sailor's paradise of the British Virgin Islands.
Though a south/north sailing vacation would mean you do the 'uphill' bit first and head downwind for your final leg home, most of the Lesser Antilles are within reach of your St Lucia yacht holiday - it really is down to you!
On the south of the island in Vieux Fort, Hewanorra International Airport has direct flights from much of Europe and the US. You can take a shuttle bus to your charter yacht in Rodney Bay or Marigot Bay from there.
Thanks to its mountainous terrain and jaw dropping beauty, the west coast of Saint Lucia is a popular destination for those on a charter yacht. Beaches like Anse Chastanet are among the best on the island. Meanwhile Marigot Bay has no beach but is so well protected it is the island's hurricane hole for yachts to hide in away from hurricanes. It is also a well developed resort in its own right.
On the northern tip of St Lucia is the main centre for tourism on the island. Centred around Rodney Bay Marina (end point of the ARC Race from the Azores) it is a grand melee of natural beauty (Pigeon Island National Park), Caribbean style partying (Gros Islet) and of course sailing! Many won't want to travel much further but on your sailing holiday, there is plenty to enjoy on islands to the north and south of this area, as we discussed earlier.
Final destination of the Atlantic Racing Cruise (ARC Race), Rodney Bay Marina is one of the most important marinas on the Caribbean Sea. A hang-out for people in the area, the marina has several restaurants and bars closeby, as well as places to victual your yacht. From here you can wander into nearby Gros Islet or go over the manmade causeway to Pigeon Island.
Thanks to the mountains that surround it, Marigot Bay on the west coast of St Lucia is the island's hurricane hole for the summer months. It also has a very good marina for a range of yacht sizes, including some of the largest yachts afloat. Marigot Bay Resort has no beach but very good facilities for water sports.
There are three broad types of charter - bareboat charter, flotilla charters, and skippered yacht charter. Where it comes to the types of charter boat you can hire a motor boat, a monohull sailing yacht, catamaran, superyacht or luxury yachtcharter and RIBs or day boats. Each have their benefits.
Coming in all shapes and sizes from 7 metres to 70+ metres, motorboats are as different as their uses. A seven metre RIB will be a great day boat and can be hired for as little as $110 a day for fishing trips or just blasting about the bay. The 15 metre plus size of motor yacht will have cabins and often en suite heads and cost upwards of $400 a day.
Starting at as 'little' as $10,000 a day a superyacht will come with skipper and crew as part of the package. On the crewed motor yacht or sailboat you will be treated like kings and queens on your personal mini-cruise-ship that will often come with tenders and toys such as jet skis and even sailing yachts!
Coming with or without skipper and/or crew, a luxury charter yacht will cost upwards of €700 a day and will come fully fitted out with all the modern conveniences and comforts of the very best sailing craft afloat. Expect en suite heads and comfortable staterooms but also a lot of fun under sail!
Starting at $450 a day, catamarans are luxury yachts that offer lots of space, a fair lick of speed on a reach and a shallow draft for mooring close into shore. They have twin engines in the hulls so while large they are incredibly manoeuvrable when in marinas and so forth.
Ranging in size from 10 metres up to 20 or so, monohull sailboat form the backbone of the Cuba yacht charter industry. Very good to windward, you will find yourself chewing up the miles at all points of sail without relying on the engines. Costing as little as $120 a day you will enjoy comfort and fun for a good budget price.
Where it comes to a St Lucia yacht vacation you have two choices - bareboat or crewed yacht charter. Both have their own advantages.
No sailing qualifications or not confident enough to bareboat charter yourself? That's no problem when it comes to yacht charter - you can take on a skipper and crew for the week or two touring hte Lesser Antilles! With a crewed yachtcharter you have someone aboard who knows the ropes and the best places to visit on your sailing holiday. They will know the best spots for what you want, be it hideaway restaurants or the best diving and snorkelling reefs on the islands! Costing as little as $100 a day (depending on the size and type of vessel) you will get the very best from your yacht charter holiday with one aboard. Don't forget the tip at the end of the week!
A competent sailor? Have the qualifications required? Dreaming all year of casting off and exploring the Cuban coastline and islands with just you and your friends? A bareboat yacht charter is just the thing for you. This is cheaper than a skippered yacht charter but you also get the privacy of being in your chosen group without a stranger in your midst. You get to choose your own adventure and go at your own pace - not a bad thing for a holiday to recharge your batteries ahead of rejoining the rat race...
If you want to bareboat charter you will need an approved boating qualification, below is a list of relevant qualifications:
International Certificate of Competence (ICC): Standard European Qualification for bareboat sailing
ASA 104 Bareboat certificate: The American Sailing Association's skipper standard qualification for hiring bareboat yachts.
RYA: The Royal Yachting Association's qualifications (minimum Day Skipper level) is necessary for bareboat hire, it's also worthwhile seeing do you need to have done a VHF radio course as well as some private yacht owners will require this.
There are also many other European national boating qualifications that are accepted here too, it's worthwhile checking these details before hiring.
If you want a skippered boat rental as a charter yacht then you don't need any sailing certification at all, you just turn up and off you go.
Unlike Europe, the sailing season in Saint Lucia runs from November to May - perfect for a dose of winter sun. The NE Trades are settled and you will encounter weather between 25-35 degrees C.
Within this period, March and April after the winter northerlies have passed are cooler yet the sailing is just as fun as the rest of the year. St Lucia is after all a tropical country!
For those who want to try something a little outside their comfort zone, August and September are said to be the very best sailing months of all.
There's a problem with this - many yacht charter fleets will not be in the area thanks to hurricane season that runs between July and October. If booked and a hurricane is on its way your holiday will be cancelled. There is no minimising the danger of being in the region in a hurricane - and with the general trend for ever fiercer storms, it is not an experience to even risk being around for.
North East Trade Winds: Similar to those of the Canary Islands, these are regular and can get up to F6-F7 at times, but steady and predictable. That can make for exciting sailing conditions at times.
How much does it cost for a St Lucia Charter
There's almost a yacht for every budget when it comes to chartering. For US $120 a day - $840 a week - you can take a sailboat monohull out with five other adults. That is going to be cheaper than a week in a hotel for everyone.
Catamarans cost a lot more - expect to pay anything from $500 to $2,000 a day depending on the season.
Motor boats taken on a bareboat basis can cost as little as $500 a day if they have sleeping acommodation - much less if they are day boats.
RIBs can cost as little as $50 for an afternoon.
In each of the examples above you can take on a skipper starting at $150 a day depending on what the vessel is and their required qualifications to sailit.
Superyachts and luxury yachts are a different league - expect to pay $15,000 a day and up to $100,000 a day if your budget can manage it.
With so much to offer from the island itself to sailing the Windward or Leeward Islands, a Saint Lucia yacht charter could be the perfect tonic for life in grey and dreary Northern Europe. From snorkeling over tropical fish at a marine park to partying until the sun comes up at Gros Islet, a Saint Lucia sailing holiday could be one you never forget. Book your charter yacht with Borrow a Boat today!
As with most islands in the Lesser Antilles, St Lucia yacht charters are perfectly legal. Do remember that even on a short hop between islands you may be entering another country so it's important to have your passport aboard.
You can charter everything from a small motor boat to a large superyacht. Monohull sailing yachts are common, though catamarans are more comfortable and spacious metre for metre.
Your budget for the sailing holiday should come first. Travelling - both getting there and what destinations to explore. What do you enjoy on a St Lucia yacht charter? Work out your itinerary from there. Who are you taking with you and what are your limitations as a sailor?
The St Lucian sailing season runs from November to April. Do try to get afloat outside of the school holidays.
There are two deposits to consider. Firstly you will normally have to pay a 50% deposit on booking. This secures your trip. On arrival you will have to pay a refundable security deposit for the trip on your credit card though you can get yacht charter insurance - though non-refundable this can be cheaper.
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to/are on a mooring you will be able to phone a number given by the yacht charter company.
Do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter you want to book? Where do you want to go?
Though an independent country, St Lucia welcomes tourists. As long as you plan to stay fewer than 90 days, a visa is not normally required from most countries.
The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a captain, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.
You will typically pay 50% up front on reservation the yacht rent and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.
You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat rental before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks like the weather can be cool as well as warm and remember at sea it can be cool on most evenings.
If you want to sail without a captain then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a captained on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.
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