Any tips on Windward islands?


New member

We are planing to sail around Windward islands: St. Vincent, Bequia, Mustique, Tabago Cays.

Any tips or good content on these places would be appreciated.




Super Anarchist
Get the current Doyle cruising guide.

Be cautious about overnighting in any St Vincent anchorage North of Kingston.

Mariannes in Bequia has the best ice cream.



Super Anarchist
+1 on the Doyle's Guide. If that is all you want to see, then charter a boat out of St Vincent. Do Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Tobago Cays, and PSV/PM. I would give Union and Mayreau a skip. The best anchorage in Union is Chatham, but not much there, and on Mayreau either Saline or Saltwhistle, but almost nothing at either, and Saltwhistle can be rolly. Bequia is great to wander, and it has good restaurants/cafes along the South side of the harbor. Tobago is a good snorkel stop and dinner on the beach with Glen is great. PSV has a very high end resort. SM is very local - Palm Beach is a good, casual local restaurant.

If you want to extend I would suggest that you go south to Carriacou and Grenada. Sandy Island and Hillsborough are good, and the back side of Grenada down to St George's is gorgeous, but very few places to stop.

The problem with going north to St Lucia (which is a great spot) is the aforementioned issue with staying overnight at any of the leeward side anchorages on St Vincent. You will probably be okay, but every so often there are armed robberies and yachties get killed, and there is little or nothing there to attract boats except to cut up the trip. Its long 70+, so if you decide to do it leave Bequia early (0600) and keep your speed up (7+). And watch out/be prepared for the north end of St Vincent it's always "fun."

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Your post omits the type of boat and time frame, but I can offer these observations from three different trips to the area (2006, 2009 and 2014).
Peacefrog is correct – the Phil he is referring to has a great cruising briefing that used to be available on line at Barefoot Yachts. I think it isn’t posted anymore.

If you use the Wayback Machine, you could search for an old version of the barefoot website. You should also look for the great but now defunct website The Usual Suspects. A wealth of knowledge.

Also check out TTOL

The Doyle Guide is terrific also visit his website for updates.

The last time I sailed the area I did a one way from St. Lucia to Bequia to Mustique to Tobago Cays (Baradel and Jamesby) to Mayreau to Union (Happy Island) to Mopion to Petite Martinique to Carriacou to Grenada. In previous charters I departed from the now shuttered Moorings base at Canouan.

Best Practices – Always lock the boat completely including all hatches.
Always lock your dinghy, engine and fuel tank.
I often would hire a local guy hanging out on the dock to watch the dinghy and the boat when we were away for dinner. $10 EC is less than $4 USD. So $15 or $20 EC basically bought a lot of peace of mind.

Conditions – generally breezier than the BVI and at least as breezy as the area around Antigua/Barbuda. Wind was Northerly, which means leaving St. Lucia on the 2014 trip I was on a reach or run the entire sail. Usually saw 15 + knots around the islands and more between the islands and down the west side of Grenada.

Since you did not ask about St Lucia, I will omit it from this response.

St. Vincent – I have never been there – on purpose. Most of the incidents of crime in the area – both petty and more serious – I am aware of have occurred in St. Vincent. I understand that several charter companies have bases in St. Vincent, but my advice is to be cautious about cruising the island. I am reluctant to paint an entire island as a “bad actor” but I always have a co-ed crew and didn’t want the extra worry. I welcome more recent opposing opinions. Consult:
Also check the Noonsite website.

Bequia – Bequia is one of my favorite places in the world. Admiralty Bay feels like home. You can anchor along Princess Margret Beach but I usually pick up a mooring closer to the dinghy dock and the Belmont Walkway. The fellow who runs the moorings I have used goes by the name “African.” African is usually in the mooring field; he is hard to miss these days as he had really packed on the pounds. If he’s not in the mooring field, one of his assistants will be … African is a competent, straight forward guy who is a mariner. I trust his moorings and he is a good source of information if you need to source a part or get a mechanic, etc. Belmont Walkway has several great spots for drinks and dinner. Further down the way out of town is a night club sort of place with a dinghy dock.
In town, good provisioning, nice out of the way beaches on the other side of the island and a turtle nursery. Visit the model boat shops.

Hire one of the local kids to clean and watch your dinghy at the town dock. Best way to make sure it doesn’t “drift off” and is “found” with the corresponding request for a $400 US reward (the deductible on your dinghy).

Daffodil Marine is great service to re-water. They come alongside.

Mustique – If you’re cheap, stay away. The mooring fee is for 3 day minimum. Few restaurants – one secret local bar called Lisa’s which now may be closed or re-opened and called The View. Ask Slick, he is the Harbormaster and a great guy. Macaroni Beach is as nice a big wave, eastern side beach as you’ll find. Basil’s fun to hang out and people watch.

There is a reef called Montezuma’s Reef which is near the mooring field and whose buoy is often off station. Coming from the North (Bequia) motor around West Cay and motor to Isle a Quatre. Fall off between Isle a Quatre and Petite Nevis and sail to Mustique on a close reach. Check charts re Montezuma’s Reef but I believe the way I just mentioned causes you to avoid the reef.

Firefly is great for a high end crew dinner. The will pick you up and bring you up the hill. Make a reservation. I really like Mustique. It is the antithesis of most places you will see in The Grenadines and it is a fun and beautiful diversion. Take a tour or rent a mule.

Canouan – I haven’t been here in a long time. Once American Eagle stopped flying there the Moorings base closed. There is a guy named Iceman who is useful for re-watering. The Tamarind Hotel had a good bar and good wood fired pizza (owners are Italian). Entry to Charlestown Bay is straight forward. My information here is old and possibly out of date.

Tobago Cays – Although I am in no way religious, I usually describe the Tobago Cays as “God’s and Walter Bob’s gift to the World.” Tobago Cays consists of 5 islands and two reefs. Study the charts … if approaching from Mustique/Canouan you will turn left at Dry Shingle (its marked), before Catholic Island. I motor sail as I approach the entrance between Petite Rameau and Petite Bateau. You won’t see the range until you are on it. Pass between the two islands, make a right and welcome to paradise. There is now a park charge and moorings available. You can still anchor, I believe. I used to anchor, just south of Baradel Island, but that is now a Turtle Reserve.

Tobago Cays is the Headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Boat Vendors. Over the past 15 years, Walter Bobb, aka “Engine,” has convinced the Boat Vendors to cut the crap and actually provide a valuable service. These days a simple “No Thanks” curtails unwanted approaches from the Boat Vendors. I always order a lobster dinner for the entire crew … it is always a highlight of the trip. I am not as up to date on the vendors as some others are, I used to just arrange everything through Walter. Generally, these guys are doing a good job and trying to make a living.

Unfortunately, Walter passed away in late 2013 after a mis-diagnosis and short bout with cancer. He was a real giant and one of the reasons the Tobago Cays is a great place to visit.

For the entire trip, not just Tobago Cays, make sure when you are getting a price quoted, you are both talking about the SAME CURRENCY – either USD or EC. (You will always get change in EC). I always say to the vendors “I don’t like confusion,” which seems to be a good catch all which means “Hey, I have been here before. I love it here. I know that sometimes there are disagreements between sailors and boat vendors. I don’t want that so let’s work together to know exactly what we are agreeing upon.”

Take a dinghy to Jamesby and climb it for the view and to watch the kite surfers. Swim with the Turtles at Baradel. Hire a boat vendor to take you beyond the first reef to Petite Tabac. But bring your own rum since that skinny English bitch burnt all the rum that was already there.

Mayreau – Two anchorages. Salt Whistle is the more picturesque but both (Saline Bay is the other) are protected. I find that Salt Whistle can handle about 15 boats, there are often 25 crammed in there. Default to Saline. Robert’s and Dennis’ are both fun places for drinks. Views from the top of the hill are great. Drift diving the Mayreau Gardens on the East side and the wreck by Grand Col Pt. (Be aware of the reef in that area). We used Dive Grenadines – a solid outfit.

Union Island – in my mind a “must stop.” In particular, Clifton Harbor. Great for provisioning, getting the feel of a real Caribbean town. Just a fun, authentic place as opposed to Mustique which is fun, but not authentic. I always get a Med Moor spot at the Anchorage YC. They have 24 security so you don’t have to worry about theft.

There is a new beach bar/restaurant on the North side of the Island which is getting good word of mouth
I like Lambi’s for dinner. The Bouganvilla is good for breakfast. And of course you need to take the dinghy over to Happy Island. Happy Island is like Café Sport (Peter’s), the IYAC, the Chicken Box, Doug’s Harbor Reef, the White Horse in St. George, etc. If you are a sailor, it is a “Can’t miss.”

Check out of Union if you are heading to Carriacou/Grenada.

Mopion – I find it to be a pain in the ass to anchor there, but the crew likes it.

Petite Martinique – very off the beaten path. Great place to buy booze. Officially part of Grenada, but no place to check in. No one cares. Had to use a stern anchor when there. Only there for an overnight and booze run so I didn’t have a chance to see too much but I had a favorable feeling about the place.

Carriacou – my new favorite Caribbean island. I anchored in Hillsborough, but I would anchor in Tyrell Bay. I believe you can clear in in Tyrell. Great restaurants in both places. Make sure you order a shot or two of “Iron.” We dove with Deefer Diving. Outstanding outfit … especially good for the rusty or occasional diver. Really want to stress what a great outfit these guys are. I became a much better diver during my dives with them. The diving itself was phenomenal.

Favorite bar was a no-name shack on the beach in Tyrell Bay where everyone was sitting around a fire at night on the beach and singing alone with a guitar player.

Head also to the north end of the island to see traditional boat building and good hikes.

On the sail to Grenada, all the locals give Kick’em Jenny a wide berth. They are serious about it so I decided to follow their lead. You can get updates here:

In Grenada, I moored in True Blue Bay at Horizon Charters. Good bar and restaurant in walking distance.
Last day motored up to St. George to return the boat to the Moorings. There is a well marked rock/reef in the middle of St. George Harbor … I ran right over it in about 15 feet of water. Just keep it in mind and you won’t feel like a goof as I did ten minutes before I returned the boat. I didn’t hit anything, but I sure felt like an idiot.

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Many years ago, while staying in Mustique (so this may be out of date) chartered a boat for a day sail and tour of St Vincent. Left early in the morning and left St Vincent before dark. Left the boat in Kingston, hired a car and guide for the rainforest which was absolutely spectacular. Had no trouble and would highly recommend it. I have not stayed overnight on a yacht in St Vincent.


Don't know if Robin's experience was before or after the 2006 gangrape of 2 teenaged tourists coming back from a hike.

Sorry I couldn't find a more mainstream website (although the original source material was the Miami Herald), but this incident where 2 teenaged girls were raped while their mother was beaten is one of the reasons I "plan around" St. Vincent.

In all fairness, you can find crime anywhere in the world.

And to be balanced and candid, I highly recommended Union Island. A few years ago there was a machete attack on a anchored boat on Frigate Island, which is adjacent to Union Island. That is why I like staying at the Anchorage YC.

My intention is not to make this place, which is a great cruising area, sound like a war zone, but I really think that St. Vincent proper is a "pass."

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Don't know if Robin's experience was before or after the 2006 gangrape of 2 teenaged tourists coming back from a hike.

Sorry I couldn't find a more mainstream website (although the original source material was the Miami Herald), but this incident where 2 teenaged girls were raped while their mother was beaten is one of the reasons I "plan around" St. Vincent.

It was well before.


In all fairness, you can find crime anywhere in the world.

And to be balanced and candid, I highly recommended Union Island. A few years ago there was a machete attack on a anchored boat on Frigate Island, which is adjacent to Union Island. That is why I like staying at the Anchorage YC.

My intention is not to make this place, which is a great cruising area, sound like a war zone, but I really think that St. Vincent proper is a "pass."


Super Anarchist
MDR has some great tips. I've sailed above(BVI) and below (Trinidad) where you're talking about. I wouldn't over rate much but would say that you should probably mind your pints and quarts (Ps and Qs) if these guys are pointing them out. That said... It depends what kind of heat you draw.

We are keen sailors, combined ages 138, who crossed the Atlantic in a 36 footer in December 2016 from Falmouth to Madeira, La Palma and St. Lucia.

We set off cruising the Windies in March and have stayed on St. Vincent twice in the past month, once anchored up North near Chateubelair then down at Young Island Cut. We never saw, encountered or heard of any trouble whatsoever, so don't be put off visiting this lovely island. If you want to be completely safe and draw less than 13 feet, Blue Lagoon in the South is a calm place to anchor, moor or go dockside. There are three eating options, an all day cafe, finer dining restaurant and a good rum shack also serving meals, use of a lovely freshwater pool, great showers, a small basic market and buses regularly into Kingstown for great shopping there. Hairoun beer brewed locally is the best we've come across out here, likewise local St. Vincent rum. There's a good rum tour which takes in the lovely east coast scenery if you like that sort if excursion,

Other memorable stopping points have been enchantingly beautiful Laborie on St. Lucia, far nicer in our view than Marigot Bay, the Pitons or Souffriere, and a good place to set off for the Grenadines if you are sailing South from Rodney Bay. Anchor safely just off the pier, dinghy ashore to the beach and enjoy the colourful buildings and quaint shops and bars. In the morning fish sellers announce their wares by blowing loudly on conch shells, cockerels crow and waves lap around the reef, marked by buoys.

Charles Bay inside the northern end of Charlestown Bay on Canouan was peaceful, really delightful although occasionally gusty. We took a mooring for $EC40 and put down a stern anchor. Many fish, seabirds and turtles kept us company. Other anchoring spots on this island we liked are Anse Guyac and Corbec, both very sheltered with good holding. Get to know John Compton who will help you out with anything you need.

Mayreau was superb in our experience, so maybe we were just lucky. In Saltwhistle Bay we accepted help from Kimron finding a good spot, paid our dues to Forde, the official Tobago Cays Marine Park Ranger, who treated us thereafter with great courtesy and kindness, had a delicious reasonably priced lobster beach barbecue at Dorothy's and in the morning received a gift of a still warm, freshly-baked light cinnamon banana cake, great for breakfast spread with butter.

We moored on Union Island just off the beach by the kite surfing school, assisted by Clem who also runs an excellent water taxi service. Clifton is good for shopping, especially the Farmers Market for fresh produce. The kite-surfing was fascinating to watch, if a little scary as they raced up to and away from yachts, their rowdy beach party on a Tuesday evening went on till 2.30 am, a bit too much for us wrinklies. A big highlight, recommended by Clem, was evening drinks on Happy Island at sunset with a very cosmopolitan crowd. Great fun!

Carriacou must not be missed. Unspoiled, quiet and truly Caribbean lifestyle with five food markets, lots of general stores selling household and chandlery style items, a daily fish market and MNIB, the farmers' fruit and veg market. We anchored peacefully off a pristine beach at Hillsborough, preferring that to the crowded yachtie centre down at Tyrell Bay. Nigel, on the rough and ready dinghy dock, will dispose of your rubbish (garbage) and look after your dinghy for $EC10 when you go shopping, register with Immigration or just enjoy food and drinks ashore. We got over the landing issue by me going ashore on the gently shelving beach and my other half tying up at the dock, saving me having to clamber bum first up onto the stone and shingle dockside. With luck Bogles Roundhouse had a cancellation and dinner there was exceptional. We arrived at dusk by dinghy, about ten minutes up the coast from Hillsborough with no obstacles on the way, and successfully made the same journey back in the dark. No one bothered us or attempted to cause any trouble. Saw pelicans, turtles and spiny lobsters.

Next stop on our way back up North will be Petite Martinique which locals say should not be missed, great snorkelling apparently and a unique local atmosphere. Bequia will be our last stop before heading back to St. Lucia, over-nighting again at Laborie.

One change in our sailing procedures, something we've never done in Europe (and which may not sit well with politically correct yachties but may be an answer to our peaceful passage-making here in the Caribbean), is to take down our national flag while at sea and only fly it if we have made local contacts and feel safe. Flying a foreign flag maybe makes it too easy for yachts from the States and Europe to be potential targets.