What are the biggest Caribbean Updates? Superyacht marinas, classic sailing races, Easter cruising and more!
Beautiful white sand beaches, bountiful French and Dutch cuisine, and a bevy of land and sea activities ranging from horseback riding on the beach to day-sails to uninhabited islands are just a few of what draw millions of visitors each year to the dual-island nation of St. Maarten-St. Martin. Now, yachtsmen can add another reason to their list. Island Global Yachting (IGY) Marinas 5-Gold Anchor Marina, Yacht Club at Isle del Sol, is the recipient of the 2017 Superyacht Marina of the year award. There are several good reasons to pull in for a visit. On the logistical side, the well-constructed concrete slips offer grade A fuel, water, two 100-amp receptacles (with a choice of 110V or 480V), complimentary satellite TV, and high-speed Internet. A recent major dredging project allows room for superyachts with up to 17.5-ft drafts. On the self-indulgent side is the on-site Caribbean-vibe Fat Turtle restaurant, as well as a swimming pool and tennis courts. Other eateries, shopping and entertainment complexes are close by. igy-isledesol.com
Classics set sail in Antigua
Feel like you’re back in the bygone days of Caribbean sailing at the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. Set for April 19-25 and hosted out of the Antigua Yacht Club in Falmouth Harbour, this year’s 30th anniversary event features a fantastic array of competitors. The watercraft ranges from traditional island boats and classic ketches, sloops, schooners, and yawls to majestic Tall Ships, J class and spirit-of-tradition yachts from throughout the Caribbean and the world. One newcomer this year is the 112-foot, three-masted Spirit of Bermuda, a 2006-launched purpose-built sail training vessel constructed in the manner of 19th century civilian schooners. Other eye-candy entries include the USA-based 115-foot, 1939-build Staysail Schooner Eros; the Netherlands-homeported 2012 157-foot, Klaus Rodner Staysail Ketch Chronos; and France’s Mariette of 1915, a 137-foot Herreshoff gaff-rigged schooner built in the year of its name. Spectators can enjoy a great view of all four days of racing from Fort Charlotte, Shirley Heights and the Block House. Those who have only one day to visit should do so on Sunday, April 23rd for the Parade of Classics. This is when an incredible line-up of some of the most awe-inspiring vessels set sail at 1:30PM off Nelson’s Dockyard. It’s definitely history-making in modern day. antiguaclassics.com
Hop down to Virgin Gorda for Easter
The Easter holiday is party time in Virgin Gorda, the second largest of the inhabited B.V.I. Parades, live bands, food fairs, and comely queens are all on tap for the 50th anniversary of the island’s Easter Festival set for April 8-17. A big part of the fun for sea lovers is the two-day Fisherman’s Jamboree tournament on April 15-16. Bring your own boat or charter. Vessels like Capt. Donnell Flax’s 42′ Bertram Big Ting make a great platform to fish the productive sea mount south of the island. Anglers catching the top three heaviest wahoo win prizes. Hosted out of the Fischer’s Cove Beach Hotel & Reef Restaurant, fishermen and their families can enjoy a wrap-up dinner and awards ceremony. fischerscove.com
—By Carol Bareuther, Southern Boating Magazine April 2017