Please note: There is a lot here to read! I recommend you read the first section with bullets, the What To Do, and the Costs While Sailing sections (and view this pics at the very bottom!). If you want to come, feel free to read the rest, call and ask questions, and make this a great trip!
I'm planning the next sailing trip in the Caribbean! For any of you up for an adventure, my buddy Tom has a 47 ft. Beneteau 473 in the Caribbean. I'm sailing with him from mid April thru early May and we're looking for a few people to come with us! You have the following options:
a roughly four week round trip from St Lucia to the BVI and back travel one way in either direction, about two weeks. Currently travel dates including flights are anticipated to be a flight departure on 04/13/2012, on the boat 04/14/2012, begin sailing 04/15/2012 from St Lucia, ending at BVI 04/26/2012, taking on new/replacement boarding party between April 25-27 returning to St Lucia by 05/05/2012 or later for flight back to California at your leisure! You may depart from BVI/USVI or fly into the BVI/USVI and meet us for the sail back to St Lucia! a land based stay in St Lucia and/or the BVI or USVI of a few nights to a week! visit the St Lucia rum distributor where you can sample all the rum you desire for $3! Last time I went they had about 20 different bottles of rum to sample :--)
We will probably stop at Martinique, Dominica, Les Saintes, Antigua, Guadeloupe, and Saint Martin / Sint Maarten. I'm working with Jim who has a 46' Beneteau in the USVI to meet us in the BVI possibly as well! Tom's boat will not venture into USVI but it is fairly easy to use ferries between USVI and BVI for transfers between Tom's boat and the USVI airport!
Meals on the boat will be innexpensive. It has a stove and BBQ, fridge, etc. But we'll be eating out at bars and restaurants as well!
What to do:
Look at the estimated costs below RSVP and provide your phone and email (I ask for it when you RSVP) We'll talk on the phone, meet, hopefully in a group but sometimes I meet one on one! If I think you are a great fit for the group I'll ask for a $150 deposit. Once you pay the deposit the balance of Tom's amount and the estimated $25/day boat provisions are due 1 month before departure! After you pay the deposit, email me when you bought your plane ticket. I do my best to co-ordinate flights so people fly together when possible! If I accept your deposit and you don't travel on the trip or pay your balance on time, your deposit is forfeited!
Costs while sailing:
$25/day per person for food and drinks on the boat, this is estimated but I accomplished this twice in 2011. I collect this estimated amount and if we consume it then you will pitch in near the end of the trip! $50/day per person to Tom to be on the boat, collected before we leave! $0-$75/day per person for food and drinks on land, you spend it as you do it :) $0-$500/day per person for shopping, tours, other experiences you desire :) Airfare is estimated to be $1,000 but I believe we might have some options which could reduce this. Anticipate a one way sailing budget of maybe $2,000 including air for about 11 nights on the boat, $3,000 for the three week round trip. I haven't looked into lodging for a few nights or a week since I don't know how many people will be interested, but see my ideas below:
Optional land based lodging:
You will be able to stay on the boat for your entire trip, but possibly your first/last 1-2 nights in St Lucia and/or BVI/USVI you might prefer to enjoy the comfort of land based lodging! During our February 2011 trip we enjoyed a nice night at Coco Palm in the Rodney Bay area, four of us shared a room with three beds (a king and two singles) for about $250, less than $70 each per night. This was a very nice hotel resort, less attractive resorts and smaller rooms were available for lower prices! To secure lower airfare we might depart and return 1-3 days different than the sailing schedule. This is up to each person! I like flying the shortest travel time but right now that means an additional $400 in airfare (ouch). If we chose a low cost flying itinerary we might have money for lodging and still save money! Sometimes I can land timeshares for $700-$1,200 for a week. One resort, Bluebeard's Castle in the USVI might have studios for about $100/night for up to 4 people. The nicer Marriott timeshare in the USVI or Westin in BVI are closer to $2,500-$4,000/wk!
Other things to know:
You must have a valid passport and provide a copy of your passport prior to travel. During the trip Tom will have possession of your passport You may submit requests for meal types and preferred drinks, including alcoholic beverages, but requests might not be practical and may require a supplement fee. Not all meals will be on board, so you will need to budget for land based eating and drinking! People on this trip will share responsibilities for cooking, cleaning, keeping the boat clean, basic personal chores! Not all responsibilities will be equally shared. Usually everyone volunteers for an appropriate amount of responsibilities, Tom and I ultimately reserve the right to suggest participation :) Based on the two trips in 2011 you will be responsible for eating dinner onshore a little over one third the time at some fun and great restaurants, possibly a third of your lunches, and about half the days we might stop at bars where you may choose to buy drinks and food or not! I think I spent $350 on additional meals/drinks on an 8 day sail in February and more than that on the sail in April! In some locations, such as St Vincent, when you are passing thru immigration in the air terminal you might have to pay a customs fee of about $20-$25. I only mention this since I'm not positive how much the fees will be when leaving BVI / USVI / and I forgot the fee in St Lucia. When packing for the trip it is highly recommended you only bring one suitcase (even more preferrable a fully collapsible travel bag such as a duffle bag) and personal bag. Any more than that and we could have space constraints on the boat :) I take pictures on this trip. If you wish to restrict my use of pictures with you in them you must specifically decline to have your picture taken on this trip! You do not have permission to limit my use of pictures where you are not in them and you do not have permission to limit my use of pictures where you are in them and I've blacked you out or otherwise eliminated you from the picture. You have no authority to require or coerce me into removing pictures of other people unless you are their guardian/parent.
We're looking for 1-4 people in addition to Tom and I to enjoy sailing (you don't need to know how to sail, just be willing to be on the boat is fine!), water activities such as snorkeling and probably kayaking and scuba, and pilaging (err, I mean exploring) multiple islands! If you want to travel one way, that's great! I'll fit one set of people from St Lucia to BVI and another from BVI to St Lucia!
This is not a trip for land lubbers! While a 47' sailboat is large, you might not think so after 7-21 days! Also, we are sailing from island to island, kind of like going to Catalina but farther. While we'll have a good amount of time to explore islands, cayes, and the like, we will also spend a good amount of time sailing. There are two "double" berths plus Tom's King berth so it's important to be clear if you're willing to share a berth or want your own. Either way is fine, but without sharing there are less people to entertain each other but also more space!
I don't have the flight itinerary determined yet. St Lucia offers SLU "the Castries" airport which is about 20 minutes from Rodney Bay Marina. Airfare can be more expensive to fly here and I don't enjoy the smaller planes but sometimes it's the best option! There is also UVF View Fort which has more convent flights. A group of us shared a taxi and the overall cost compared to flying to SLU was less, plus we were able to see some sights as well! On my last trip we spend just under two hours to get to Rodney Bay Marina and then took a special tour when returning which took most of the day and included stops at beaches, places to shop, botanical gardens, and the Rum distillery/distributor!
LAX Los Angeles will probably be the departure airport DFW Dallas/ Fort Worth, MIA Miami, ATL Atlanta, JFK New York, and SJU San Juan are all possible stops depending on how we fly to St Lucia and/or the Virgin Islands. SLU Castries or UVF View Fort will be our airports in St Lucia If you do the one way sailing, you might fly via BVI or USVI airports listed per the suggestions on these websites: B-V-I flight info (http://www.b-v-i.com/beef.htm) British Virgin Islands flight info (http://www.britishvirginislands.com/ghttbvi.htm) Wikipedia USVI airport codes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airports_in_the_United_States_Virgin_Islands) Caribbean flight info
Activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, scuba, and pilaging (err, I mean exploring) multiple islands! Due to limited space on the boat and the primary locations being conducive to sailing and snorkeling, please do not bring scuba gear! I found lobster at some of our anchorages! Looking forward to fresh caught lobster, Mmmmmm, and maybe fresh caught fish! The local residents offer fish, fruit, bread, etc right at the boat! We hike a few hills/islands to see sights and views Some opportunity to explore some of the small cities
Here's some cool pics: