car-st_martin-largeSometimes everything just comes together to make an island landfall the perfect experience. We approached St. Martin in an absolute torrential tropical downpour. We had sailed overnight from Barbuda – leaving at midnight to arrive in the day. The night was a rollicking sail with nice strong winds from behind and we flew along at over 8 knots.

Then, as quickly as it had come, it moved off, and the sun started to shine as we made our way up to Marigot in St. Martin gleaming wetly and looking like a little French town in the tropics...which, in fact, it is Martin is. Lying on the French side of this split nation (half Dutch and half French) it is a very popular stop for sailors in the Caribbean. The Dutch side is a duty free haven to provision and outfit the boat. Over the years, the marine service industry in St. Martin has grown in sophistication to that it now rivals anywhere we have been in the world.

The French side has some of the best French pastry shops we have seen, great restaurants and a very French euro feel. The Dutch side offers excellent shopping and the winding roads into the main cruise port fairly heave with traffic seemingly all day. But you can still find wonderful quiet beaches and lots to do.

But probably the main reason St. Martin has developed into such a sailors Mecca is the lagoon in the centre of the islands. Simpsons Bay can be reached from either side but boats primarily come in at the lift bridge on the Dutch side. The protected lagoon is one of the best and most protected harbours in the Caribbean. In the last few years the mega-yacht scene has really taken off here and now boasts a couple of marinas just packed with mega-yachts. We took our dinghy through the harbour to the dock at Budget Marine Chandlery and that ride is an eye-opener. In these marinas, a 100-foot yacht is small change. I would estimate over 100 yachts exceeded that size and are all stern to the dock, crews scrubbing and polishing what must amount to more than 1 billion dollars worth of boats.

We loved our time in St. Martin. So, to ensure you do too, we picked our top ten favourites to recommend to you.

1) Order a pint at the Sunset Beach Bar and wait for the planes to come in. Princess Juliana Airport can accommodate all jets including 747s but the runway barely fits. The downwind end is just 40 meters from on the beach. And just next to the end of the runway is the bar. So you get a rare chance to watch aircraft coming in over the beach so low you wonder if someone tossing up a beach-ball might have it sucked into the engines. The bar posts a schedule for which planes are coming (near a sign that proclaims topless women drink for free) so you can plan for the planes. The highlight is when a 747 trundles down to the beach – turns and runs her engines up prior to take-off. Crazier beachgoers stay there are wait to be blown right off the beach into the water in what must be category 5 hurricane force winds. 50 meters away at the bar you don't feel a thing. But, do stay at the bar and avoid the beach.

2) Visit St. Martin during the Heineken Regatta. Sign up to crew or jump on a spectator boat. This is one of the premiere regattas in the Caribbean and a great way to see the island. The race takes place over a few days – stopping in various ports. Every day ends in a fun-filled post-regatta party not to be missed. If your own boat isn't there, you can easily charter one to enter the race. If you don't want ot sail, you can still enjoy the night life.

3) Indulge in a pastry and cappuccino at Sarafina's on the waterfront in Marigot.

4) Tour Simpsons Bay lagoon and check out the mega-yacht scene. If not on a boat, walk the docks or take a water taxi ride.

5) Shrimpy has been helping out visiting sailors for years and his bar on the Dutch side of the lagoon is well worth a visit. Go at happy hour for the very best value.

6) Check out the chandleries: Budget Marine and Island Water world are both world class chandleries with excellent prices. If you can't get what you want in St. Martin, you probably don't need it!

7) Zip over to Anguilla. It's a day trip from St Martin to the low quiet island and a total contrast to busy St. Martin.

8) Dine in Grand Case. A few miles north of Marigot is this small waterfront town that stretches along the beach and has a divine selection of restaurants offering both French and local cuisine, many with beautiful waterfront views.

9) Drive across the international border. This small island is politically split between French and Dutch sides. Signs at the border announce you have entered the other country. No customs, formalities or guards. Just drive over. You will notice a distinct difference in the quality of the roads and use of signage. Crossing the border with a boat is much more complicated. Leave it on either side and rent a car.

10) Grab dinner at a Lo-Lo. Local women cook island specialties at low local prices. We had fabulous food and met some of the friendly locals at Lo-Los in both Marigot and Grand Case. I'm sure there are more waiting to be discovered.

Lifestyle

  • Prev
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 ...
Arie and Maribeth sent us this photo from their honeymoon departing Killarney…I think they were in ...
This shot was taken last week by Jessica Lee, a freelance photography pro, Albacore racer and part ...
On a sunny and windless day we led Alicia and another sailboat into New York Harbour. There were ...
It was a trip 2 or 3 years ago, and all 4 boats traveled up to the Killarney area in a ...
My name is Alexandrine GOVAN, mother of a 5 years old girl and I found your contact on internet. ...
John Booth, who passed away just a few weeks ago was one of the most amazingly gifted and ...
We left Vero Beach on Saturday morning with Alicia, a boat from Sweden, following close behind. The ...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
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 ...
If you’ve spent any time in a boat yard during spring commissioning season, you won’t find it out ...
As a busy marine mechanic, I tend to have the same or similar conversations often, and they’re ...
This time of year, great deals abound. That boat with the ‘for sale’ sign looks quite attractive. ...
For less than US$2,500, Jim Leshaw, a lawyer who lives and works in Key Biscayne, Florida, ...
Each spring, I tend to notice canvas. I wish it was because it’s been immaculately maintained and ...
I’ve had two emails over the past few weeks with a count-down to launch (47 days per the last ...

Leasing a YachtBy Andy Adams

When I first saw the display at the Toronto International Boat Show saying that you could lease a new yacht, it stopped me dead in my tracks. While I had never considered leasing boats, we are certainly seeing growth in boat rental organizations, so leasing didn’t seem out of line. In fact, I wondered why it had taken this long to see boat leasing come to the market.

However, I have a reasonable understanding of how leasing works compared to financing a purchase and I wondered how the numbers could work for something like a yacht. The sign was in front of a 60 foot Princess Express Cruiser – about $3,000,000 

Read more about Leasing a Yacht............

 

  

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
The Canadian Yachting test crew last week had the opportunity to run the Bavaria S36 HT at St ...
ILCA is seeking new builders to complement its existing network of manufacturers, the International ...
Nelson Gilbert (1854-1921) began building canoes in Brockville in the 1890s, a time when the sport ...
I have heard a lot of talk lately about trends in yacht clubs where senior membership is getting ...
To get you in the mood for cruising the Boat Show then launching in spring, here’s a boat that ...
Quite simply, the styles of boats have changed. Where in past years a buyer might have been looking ...
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...

J99By Katherine Stone

All set to pull out the Code 0 before dousing the jib.

It was a very cold and wet beginning to the summer and we never thought it would arrive in Southern Ontario. Doing a 100 miler race on Lake Ontario (billed as the COOLEST race on the lake) with my 8 layers of thermal clothing, woolen ski toque and ski mittens, along with a neck warmer kept me on the edge all night, just out of frostbite reach. I shouldn’t have complained, as we also had wind!

July and August arrived, and it has certainly warmed up, in fact, its too warm, AND we don’t have wind. We are now counting 5 Wednesday nights in a row without wind to race. 

Read more about the J99 Offshore Shorthand Speeder.....................

 

Wellcraft 242 FishermanBy Andy Adams

Boat buyers are gravitating to the latest centre console boats for a wide range of reasons but for the Wellcraft 242 Fisherman, you can sum it up by saying it’s about features, style and value.

This great-looking boat is just as capable on a family picnic cruise as it is doing serious blue water fishing. A wide range of options let the buyer tailor the boat for their specific interests, but it’s all there to choose from. Our test boat was well-equipped for that comfortable cruise with easy access via the swim platform and through the transom gate into the cockpit.

Read More about the Wellcraft 242 Fisherman..................

Port Severn's Lock 45Blake Marchand


As the final link between Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay, Port Severn’s Lock 45 is the gateway to the beautiful Trent-Severn Waterway. The first and smallest lock to be constructed on the Severn portion, Lock 45 is entrenched in Canadian History and is worth the trip in itself. However, it is the waterway and its idyllic surroundings that will keep you coming back.

The canal connects Lake Ontario and Lake Huron with an eastern terminus in Trenton and a western terminus in Port Severn. Its amazing natural waterways include the Trent River, Otonabee River, The Kawartha Lakes, Lake Simcoe, Lake Couchiching and Severn River.

Read more about Vancouver...........

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
Navigating the process of yacht care and maintenance just got a whole lot easier, following the ...
I will be honest, I am generally not a big fan of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV). My wife and I own ...
In the April 2015 edition of CY magazine, I published an article on anchors and anchoring – Staying ...
The Seabin device part of the Oak Bay Marine Group trial, has had promising results so far while ...
When I took the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV down to Wednesday night racing, the people that came over ...
Protecting your boat from scratches and dents isn’t always easy. That’s why the Big Bumper Company ...
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - Forespar has just introduced a new smaller size version of their ...
As boaters we all have a very unique connection to the water and all the opportunities it presents. ...
Edited by the Quebec Marine Association under the direction of L'Escale Nautique (producer of the ...
Blue Guard has announced the general availability of the BG-One, a solid-state bilge pump switch, ...