car-petit_st_vincent-largeIt is twilight when we step onto the dock at Petit St. Vincent, a tiny tropical resort island snugged down like an anchored sloop in one of the most beautiful bays in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

No Ricardo Montalban waiting to greet us in a white suit, but this is no TV show. This is the real Fantasy Island.

At least guest services manager Charlie Carroll is wearing white. Better yet, he's holding a tray of piña coladas.

Forget television, I think, scanning the island under lavender skies.

Just south of the dock, cottage nineteen boasts its own little sundeck, the perfect spot for watching the sunset. "We hardly see anybody," says Ohio newly-wed Michelle Gdovin.

"Our own stretch of beach – perfect sunsets. Doesn't get any more romantic than that," says husband Steve.

Or maybe it does. After sunset, the lights of Petit Martinique flicker like candles in a gale. On a clear night you can just see the horizon glittering with Grenada's lights far to the south. To the east the sea assaults a deserted beach where the surf's thunder is a serenade for two.

Most of the twenty-two cottages laze along this shore.

Our own cottage, number five of twenty-two, crouches high atop one cliff – "The Bluff". It's built from greenheart wood and stone quarried on the island. Big wraparound deck, living room, bedroom, hammock built for two. A fantasy built for two.

In the morning the sun completes a phantasmagoric vision – peeking out from scurrying cumulous clouds, laying down a light show for me alone.

A path leads from here to the Little Bluff, skirting Telescope Hill, with a path leading to views of Mayreau and Union, Tobago Cays, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, Mustique and Canouan, mystical monoliths of diaphanous green and blue rising from sapphire seas.

When I die, I want them to spread my ashes here.

There's also a view of a beach on Conch Bay just below. At one end is a yoga pavilion, a daily ritual for some. Not my fantasy, but the spa treatment offered both there and in your own cottage sure is.

And it's not the only activity they offer here.

Snorkeling is superb. There are Hobie Cats and Sunfish, sea kayaks and windsurfers. There is a hiking trail with fitness stops strategically located en route. There is a beach with my name on it, just past Conch Bay.

Close your eyes. Picture paradise. Open them. Welcome to West End.

Palapas laze in the sun at West End, fronting onto a beach with alabaster sand. Red flags fly here, as on the entryways to the cottages. They mean "don't disturb." Here you can sun and swim in privacy. Here your fantasies are rated "R".

And then the sun goes down and you book dinner for two on the beach, sunset views, haute cuisine.

"It was the single most romantic experience I've ever had," says Michelle Gdovin. "A fantasy come true."

Food's pretty good too. On the centre of the island, just past tennis courts that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair dominated during his stay here, is a garden area where they grow fresh fruit herbs and much of the produce. For the rest of the menu that changes daily they depend on local fisherman and a Boston butcher.

You can dine on the beach, in your room or at the central dining room, sporting cantilevered beams of greenheart over hand-carved tables of purpleheart. Flowers sashay in the trade winds – a cannon guards the harbour approach.

For PSV is coveted ground. A charter captain named Haze Richardson first conquered her back in the 60s. He built a resort so fantastic that U2 booked the whole island to chill after a tour, an island three times rated among the world's best places to stay and best Caribbean resort by Conde Nast Traveler.

This is no mere fantasy.

Haze's widow, Lynn, now runs the place. She met Haze at one of the regattas he used to annually host. She was once a sailmaker. Cruising boaters are allowed to visit the island – "They can dine here if there's room," says guest services manager Christine Knoff – but most of its delights are reserved for guests.

So maybe the cannon guards against an amphibious invasion. Makes sense to me. I have never seen a more desirable piece of real estate.

Nor one with a better nautical heritage. One highlight is a voyage on a traditional wooden sloop built under the supervision of skipper Jeff Stevens.

Make north for Tobago Cays, one of the best anchorages in the Caribbean. Snorkel inside a reef, do lunch in the lee of islands that played backdrop for much of "Pirates of the Caribbean." Laze on the deck as you make your way back south.

"We did the Titanic thing," says Michelle Gdovin. "I balanced myself on the bow even if I couldn't convince Steve to sing for me. It was –" she pauses.

"Don't tell me," I say. "A fantasy come true?"
She laughs and nods as we return to heaven.

Until one morning they come to take us away.

A line lies coiled on the dock. I reach for it. "Tie myself up," I say. "Then you can't get rid of me."

I'm half-kidding.

We cast off and make for Union Island. Reality, dead ahead.

Falling away inexorably astern, like an emerald mirage encased in turquoise, is Petit St. Vincent.

The real fantasy island.

Lifestyle

  • Prev
With old boats every repair seems to uncover something else needing attention.  Removing the ...
We admit it, this Photo of the Week shot was just too cute to resist even though it was blatant ...
Reader Lorraine Gentleman took some liberty with our request for Photo of the Week shots from the ...
This afternoon portrait of her son enjoying a snooze in a pretty unlikely spot comes to us from ...
I've been cleaning dresser drawers for space and came across this 1979 LYRA t-shirt. This was my ...
Our Photo of the Week comes from one of our CY team members who writes “This is my son and his best ...
This boat carries the distinction as the last boat to leave the C&C Custom shop in Oakville ...
We crossed Lake Ontario from Oswego with a minimum of fuss and did a little happy dance when we ...
Our Photo of the Week comes from Mark and Lisa Harris who winter in Vancouver, Washington and spend ...
I am new to boating. Bought a 2019 Ranger Tug in April followed by taking a short boating course ...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Since the late 19th century, a debate has raged on the relative merits of diesel fuel over ...
This bag does more than hold your anchor and rode in one tidy little pile. After you’ve anchored ...
Purchase your copy of the BRAND NEW Ports Georgian Bay 2020 Edition at the Toronto International ...
The boat was put on the hard for this winter and were going to follow along with Graham as he ...
In this part, we’ll delve deeper into the other parts of the boat found below the water line: the ...
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told my children to wash their hands. I remind them ...
The new editions of PORTS Cruising Guides, from the publishers of Canadian Yachting will be ...
As the seasons change and we move from warm summer into cooler fall, many fanatic boaters ...
On the Friday before a weekend with a gorgeous forecast, I heard on the news that a boat had ...
A reader suggested we take a look at anchors. Anchoring seems simple enough. A weighted hook with a ...

Diesel Fuel MaintenanceSince the late 19th century, a debate has raged on the relative merits of diesel fuel over gasoline. In more recent decades, that argument has included boat manufacturers, and increasingly, individual boaters. As I pass through boat yards in the spring or fall, I’m sure to hear a comment or two (sometimes ruefully, other times with great joy) of the merit of a particular engine or fuel source.

Increasingly, diesel engines are praised for their long-life, ease of maintenance, compact design, reliability and safety, and rate of combustion. As well as cruisers and trawlers, many sailboat manufacturers in particular have chosen to install diesel engines. 

Read more about Diesel Fuel Maintenance........................

 

  

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
With a philosophy of quality and 'doing things right Ranger Tugs launches the all new R-25 at the ...
The new Beneteau Swift Trawler 41 renews the spirit of the practical seaworthy cruiser. The ...
The Canadian Yachting test crew last week had the opportunity to run the Bavaria S36 HT at St ...

Beneteau Flyer 32By Andy Adams

Summer sun boat! The handsome new Beneteau Flyer 32 is all about entertaining and the bow area is one of the main attractions. It's a wide shape forward with a huge anchor locker and opening centre section in the railing that invites you to beach the boat and go swimming. The bow is really one giant sun bed area with armrests that fold down and head rests too, for fall-asleep comfort. 

 

 

Read more about the Beneteau Flyer 32....................

 

Dufour 460By Katherine Stone

When one does an October yacht review on the Great Lakes you can never be sure of what kind of weather you will get…. and did we ever luck out! A beautiful sunny day with a high of 31 degrees and a perfect 8-10 knot breeze with light chop made for a champagne sailing day. Lucky for me we were at Swans Yacht Sales located in the Whitby Marina on Lake Ontario, trying out the Dufour 460 Grand Large, a flag ship for the midrange Dufour boats. With an overall length of 46’5” and a hull length of 44 ‘, this boat is majestic, not only in size, but also in elegance with timeless and contemporary style. 

Read More about Dufour 460..................

Belize: Sailing SolitudeBy Mark Stevens

We’ve just weighed anchor off Thatch Caye, a tiny island nuzzled by Caribbean waters flowing between the world’s second longest barrier reef and the mountainous coast of Belize to our west, and now we’re navigating a serpentine course through a crowded congregation of coral heads.

Once safely in deep water we raise sail. I spin the wheel of “Kavok” (a Lagoon 421 catamaran we’ve booked for our weeklong Belize bareboat adventure from Dream Yacht Charter) until we’re pointed south – steady on a lazy beam reach.

Read more about Belize......................

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
Since the days of the astrolabe, sailors have looked to the skies to determine the weather. If only ...
Since 1984 PORTS Cruising Guides have been the cruising boater's essential companion. But now PORTS ...
Canada’s largest independent fiberglass boat builder, Campion, has launched Muskoka, The M26 is 8.4 ...
It is not often I get to drive the newer model of something I own. Most of the time the model I own ...
Good news cruisers, it’s coming in early Summer 2020 – PORTS Rideau Canal and Lower Ottawa River ...
Few things are as frustrating to a boat owner as being becalmed or running out of fuel—or both. If ...
One of the biggest complaints we hear from our readers is ‘why we don’t run more new products’. ...
Every cruiser in the region has used it for years, but now there’s a brand new edition of the ...
When you visit the Toronto Boat Show, come to the Canadian Yachting booth (#1741), trial a pair of ...
With the Davis Scrubbis Underwater Hull Cleaning Kit it's easy to rid a boat of algae, grass, and ...