St Maarten vs ...

David Vogel

Our vote for carénage (Repairs & Maintenance; Fitout) in the Caribbean:

1. Martinique, for all and anything AMEL-specific stuff, including(for example) running cables and installing for new cabin fans, overhaul of furler/outhaul motors & gearboxes, C-drive (the first time around), and so it goes. It is THE place for in-marina skill-base for our vessels, as well aa direct flights / freight from France (AMEL, if it is not already in stock)), within fewer potential supply & customs issues;

2. For more generic (non-AMEL) R&M: St Maarten, Dutch side, for ease of provisioning (boat parts) from both Europe and US; much has been made about IWW (Island Water World), which I endorse, as the range and variety of goods available there, from both US and European sources, exceeds any other place we have been before or since. To take just one example, the NOF range of rail fittings (for mounting solar panels, and the table supports for your nifty swivel cockpit table a la svGaruflo, et al), available at IWW. If we knew that these would require personal sourcing and import at almost any other port/ chandlery /country we have visited, then we would have bought them on the spot. At SXM, you also have a heavy engineering and metal turning shop, alternator /motor rewinding, a variety of electrical and electronics suppliers, all within a short walk of the dinghy dock. The value of this is inestimable, for either short on-the-fly visits or longer-term stays for a fuller refit. We changed our standing rigging there (air-freighted the pallet in from ACMO via KLM, all arranged by our riggers, = minimal transit delays and other hassles); the spars are routinely lifted off, meaning value-add -- you can work on them at waist height, dockside (90 seconds stroll from your boat), meaning paint touch-up, full wax & polish, plus running new VHF, radar, NMEA & lighting cables, plus install new masthead unit & light fittings, install windgen (include make-up of any necessary metal mounts, & other fittings, 60 seconds walk away), all at your "leisure". Oh, plus a vibrant and welcoming multi-culti sailing community. We retain many of the friendships, of a now dispersed diaspora of cruisers, that were forged there over $1-/beers at Lagoonies.

Of course, our time in SXM was also influenced by the warm welcome we received from Alex (Nikimat), and the daily ritual of his 4pm mojitos.


SM#396, Perigee
On the hard (again), Whangarei, NZ

On 19/9/2022, 2:36 am, "Courtney Gorman via" < on behalf of Itsfun1@...> wrote:

I’m trying to decide where to base Trippin this upcoming season in the northern Caribbean. To me good safe dockage and ease of flights from the states are important considerations. Would appreciate your input.
Cheers 🍻