his month we take a sunny spin through the Southern Isles of the Lesser Antilles, along with Charter Notes. Just Can't Get Enough of the Grenadines Based on the number of trips he's taken in the past 20 years, it's obvious that Bay Area sailor Art Hartinger is completely addicted to yacht charter vacationing. His latest foray was a nine-day trip through St. Vincent and the Grenadines just after Christmas. Here are some highlights from his trip notes: Yumi and I stayed for a week before the cruise in Bequia at a cottage in Lower Bay. I had lived on Bequia for six months a few years ago, and grew to love it. Bequia is a low-key island with no high-rise resorts, plenty of friendly locals, and a strong sailing culture. If you're planning a cruise through the Grenadines, you should definitely build in some quality Bequia time. A highlight of our stay at the island was our day trip over to Isle à Quatre, an uninhabited island owned by the Mitchell family (which includes former prime minister Sir James Mitchell). Aside from a few mosquitoes and some pesky sandflies, we had the beach all to ourselves, and enjoyed a private barbecue. Our Oakland friends Andy and Libby Vevers arrived in Bequia a week after we did. Bequia isn't the easiest place to get to. Historically, it has been a three-flightsegment trip. But I'm told that American Airlines now has nonstop flights from Miami into St. Vincent's new airport, Argyle. From St. Vincent you take a one-hour ferry over to Bequia. There are about a half dozen ferries a day, but the last one to Bequia leaves at about 6 p.m., so you have to plan that connection well
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY ART HARTINGER
Meet the crew. L to R: Andy, Yumi, Libby and Cap'n Art were all smiles during their recent tour of the Grenadines.
or spend the night in St. Vincent. We chartered a 40-ft Bavarian sloop — Cinnamon of Falmouth — from Sail Grenadines. I really like this charter company, and have now used them three times. Katie Bingham and partner John are really lovely people, and the checkout is painless and fast. Katie knew that I had chartered Cinnamon before, so she didn't put me through a long checkout drill. She just asked, "Anything you want to know?" Sail Grenadines is located at the 'marina' in Bequia, over on the Hamilton side of Admiralty Bay. It is in the same location as what used to be called the Devil's Table, then the Yacht Club, and now Black Label. We had Sail Grenadines provision with basics — beer, water, rum and basic items. And we supplemented our provisioning with groceries from Knight's and then Doris's on Back Street — she has everything, super-good quality, but she is expensive. I like to go there last for the specialty items — good bread, cheese, Maranne's famous Bequia yogurt, charcuterie and hard-to-find spices. We shoved off and took a mooring ball in the middle of the anchorage for the evening. The use of that ball was included with the charter. Otherwise, I think most balls in SVG are about $50 EC ($20 US). If you spend time on Bequia — and I recommend doing so — you must check out the world-famous Frangipani, former home of Sir James Mitchell, now run by his daughter Sabrina. The staff is fantastic, and they make great rum punches. Mac's Pizzeria, up the Belmont Walkway, is a must. The lobster pizza is tops. There are lots of other spots to check out too, such as the Whaleboner Inn and Da Reef down in Lower Bay. We spent a leisurely evening on
Bequia, and took our time to get going the next morning. Andy and Libby wanted to see Mustique, which is less than a two-hour sail north, so we were in no hurry. As we were getting underway the wind was picking up to over 25 knots, so we triple-reefed for a comfortable beat up to Mustique. It's a beautiful but expensive island. They require a three-night minimum for the mooring balls (and you must take a ball) for $220 EC. We only wanted to spend one night, but so it goes in Mustique. After cocktails at the famous Basil's Bar, we had dinner up the hill at Firefly. I must say, that meal was expensive and entirely underwhelming. Our favorite part was the pre-dinner coconut cocktails. The following day, we shoved off for Mayreau. We had 20+ knots of wind and the destination was DDW, so we tacked way out and back to keep the jib from getting too floppy. We dropped anchor in Saline Bay with another 10 boats, made dinner, played cards, and went to sleep. I prefer Saline to the more famous Saltwhistle Bay, which is just around the corner. Saltwhistle is too tight, and I've been harassed somewhat by the 'boat boys' to take the mooring balls they control. The vibe in Saline is very low-key,
The March 2019 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.