It is easy to fall in love with Saint Lucia, so many people return to its sandy, palm-lined beaches and deep blue waters year after year. For sailors it is a wonderful experience to explore the island and the rest of the Lesser Antilles on a yacht charter.
Few places on earth can compare in beauty with the islands of the Caribbean Sea, which is why they’re such a popular holiday destination. They also attract numerous yacht charter guests with their good trade winds, marvellous anchorage spots and fair weather throughout the year.
Saint Lucia is located in between Martinique and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on the eastern side of the Caribbean and forms part of the Lesser Antilles. It was discovered by Europeans in 1500 and settled in 1660 after the French signed a treaty with the native Carib people. From 1663 to 1667 the island was under British rule. Then France and Britain fought over it for the next centuries, with the latter finally assuming total control in 1814. This constant battle over Saint Lucia gave the island the nickname “Helen of the West Indies”.
Other than being the perfect and most romantic place to go sunbathing or swimming (beaches here regularly end up on the world’s best list), Saint Lucia is also a sailing paradise. The local government has taken many active measures to encourage and support the yacht charter sector.
A good place to start your adventure would be Rodney Bay, a huge bay on the western side of the island with only a small opening to the sea which provides perfect calm waters and lots of moorings at the marina. The other popular place for visitors on a boat rental is Marigot Bay, on the southwestern part of the island. Smaller than Rodney but equally beautiful, it has the elongated shape of an inlet or an estuary rather than a proper bay.
Law & Order
While the Caribbean is very easy to sail and accessible to most beginners, some experience is required. So if the charter company feels you don’t have enough it will advise you to take along a seasoned skipper provided by them. If however you do have prior sailing experience and/or a sailing license, you can have it recognized here and head for the waters in no time. British nationals in particular will find it easy in Saint Lucia since the country has long been under Britash rule and is regarded as a commonwealth state.
St. Lucia is also the perfect place to take up sailing for the first time, as many yacht charter providers offer sailing courses both on bareboat and crewed ships. You can apply for basic courses such as Competent Crew or Day Skipper or for more advanced Coastal courses.
Entering Saint Lucia requires a valid passport for anyone except British nationals who only need to provide proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate or a driver’s license. This is valid for a stay up to 6 months, after which they are going to have to apply for a resident visa. Other countries that are exempt from the visa system are the United States, Canada and other commonwealth countries. Once obtained, a visa is valid for a 3-month period.