GRENADA CRUISE: Der Skipper Uber Alles

Crew of Tiando

Loyal WaveTrain riders have perhaps been alarmed, or at least puzzled, by the scurrilous and incoherent diatribes posted here of late. This is what comes of allowing a pick-up bareboat charter crew to share their secret thoughts and whims with an unsuspecting public. It is left to the skipper, of course, to impose some semblance of order. He may be vilified as a Nazi for his trouble, but it is clear where the crew would be without him (see photo up top).

Prior to this trip (we just completed our charter on Wednesday) I had never sailed in Grenada before, though I had always wanted to. As such, it did seem odd to me that our chart briefing was all about how to leave Grenada and sail to St. Vincent. The inestimable Bernadette of Horizon Yacht Charters, having assumed our ultimate goal must be to snorkel with turtles in the Tobago Cays, had even prepared and filled out for us beforehand all of the many forms we needed to clear in and out of both countries.

But my personal ultimate goal whenever I’m sailing in the Caribbean is to avoid stress as much as possible. I did not want to be bound hand and foot to an over-ambitious itinerary, and I certainly didn’t want to have to present my motley crew for four different immigration inspections. Fortunately, they heartily endorsed my announcement on day two that our cruise would be limited to Grenadian waters.

As it was we had a perfectly fine time sailing from True Blue Bay, at the south end of Grenada, all the way up to the islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique and back again. We checked out the local boatbuilding scene on both the smaller islands, got in some snorkeling at various locations, and still had enough time to spend a whole day touring the main island by taxi.

Hillsborough waterfront, Carriacou
Danny checks out a local cargo boat in Carriacou
Boatbuilding on Petit Martinique
Charles inspects a boat under construction on Petit Martinique
St. George's, Grenada
St. George’s waterfront scene

The sailing itself was quite vigorous. The tradewinds here blow continually from the northeast at 20 knots or more, which meant we had a boisterous beat up to Carriacou and a nice sleighride of a broad reach coming back from Petit Martinique. Outside the lee of the islands the seas were very full size, but our Lagoon 380, I have to say, performed like a champ. No, it was not terribly closewinded (though for a while we did suffer from a delusion that we were sailing at a 30 degree AWA, thanks to some optimistic instrumentation), but it handled the lumpy stuff with aplomb. With a 110 percent jib and one reef in the main (most of the time) we felt quite secure and had the old girl screaming along at speeds up to 9 knots.

Sailing Tiando Petit Martinique

One of the very best things about Grenada are the people who live there. They are exceedingly open and friendly. Also, amazingly, they are generally grateful for the 1983 U.S. invasion that ousted the Cuban-backed Communists who murdered and overthrew Maurice Bishop, the popular socialist leader. It is refreshing to visit a foreign country where people who feel they have benefited from the deployment of American military power don’t feel obliged to resent it.

Nutmeg factory in Grenada
Farmers bring in the nutmeg crop in Grenville
Clarke's Court rum distillery
How they make rum!
Grenada interior

As for my crew, yes, they did whine a bit at times. It is always a thankless job having to constantly remind people on a boat that supplies of water and electricity are not unlimited. In the end they did have their revenge. I tried to mollify them by letting them choose where to eat whenever we were ashore. They rewarded me by leading me–repeatedly–to a German beer garden in St. George’s called Der Schnitzel Haus.

I really don’t think it was a play on the Nazi theme. They seemed to genuinely enjoy the food there.

(Special thanks to James and all the crew at Horizon Yacht Charters for loaning us our boat Tiando! Thanks to my delightful crew. For more on this adventure, look for my write-up in SAIL magazine.)


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