When the last season in the Caribbean was nearing its end in may Jessie and I had made the decision that after 2 years on the boat non-stop, it was time for us to go back to Europe for the summer to spend time with friends and family. That naturally raised the question of where we would leave Adhara.
Sailing in the tropics (Caribbean) has its pros and cons. From December to May, you mostly find perfect sailing conditions with the trade winds blowing, rarely exceeding 25 knots. That means you will find protected anchorages in the lee of any of the islands. You could basically drop the anchor in St Anne in Martinique in December and not move the anchorage for 6 months. In fact, lots of people do, you recognize them by the chickens on their boat!
Anyway, staying in one spot for that long would be impossible in the Mediterranean with its constantly changing winds and weather. However in summer in the Caribbean the risk of hurricanes increases. Last season hurricane Ian was the most infamous and sad example of what these intense storms can do when they hit land (or a boat) with sustained wind speeds of 155 mph. Anything in its way will get destroyed.
For that reason, insurance companies will not insure your boat if you are in certain geographical areas during the official hurricane season from June 1st until November 30th against damages from these named storms. For most cruisers, it means making the decision of either going north to above 37*N (around the Chesapeake area) or going south to below 12*N (the very south of Grenada). Generally, these areas are assumed to be safe although, if you look at the data you will see that hurricanes have hit all of the US east coast and also Grenada. So, you are basically taking your chances anywhere you leave your boat.
When going south there are a few different options all with their own advantages and disadvantages. You can decide to sail to the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), which are considered very safe from hurricanes but it leaves you quite far to the west when hurricane season ends and you would like to go back to the windward islands for another sailing season. You can go all the way down to Trinidad and Tobago but it’s still quite far and the amount of rainfall and thus humidity (aka mold in the boat) there made it not very attractive for us. Which leaves Grenada.
Leaving your sailboat on the hard in Grenada over hurricane season is a popular choice among sailors looking to protect their vessels from potential damage during the active storm season. This tropical paradise offers a variety of options for boat storage, including secure, hurricane-proof facilities and experienced boatyard personnel to assist with the preparation process.
Considered by many as the ultimate “cruisers’ paradise” it is south enough to very rarely get hit by named storms but east enough to be able to sail up north the chain of islands come winter. Also, with Cariacou and the Grenadines just around the corner, there are some awesome spots nearby. Most of the cruisers that go to Grenada head south to the huge natural harbors of Prickly Bay or Woburn. There you will find three big yards which store hundreds of boats during the hurricane season: Grenada Marine, Clarkes Court, and Spice Island Marine. We made the decision to keep Adhara at Spice Island Marine as a fellow cruiser had recommended it to us. For us, it was perfect as the yard is well run and the biggest and cheapest chandlery Budget Marine is right next door. Having a well-stocked chandlery nearby is super convenient!! We obviously had a lot of work when we came back to the boat at the beginning of November but with the chandlery next door all works went smoothly and we finished in no-time ! Budget Marine have many outlets throughout the Caribbean and we’ve found their staff to be friendly, knowledgeable, and super helpful! A tip is to bring your boat papers with you to get a “Yacht in Transit” Status! It will save you big money with the discount you get!!
Leaving our sailboat on the hard at Spice Island Marine in Grenada was a good experience. The staff at the boatyard were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable, making the preparation process for hurricane season seamless. It provided peace of mind knowing our vessel was in safe hands. Additionally, the location of the boatyard was perfect, with restaurants nearby and it allowed us to easily explore all that Grenada has to offer. From the delicious local restaurants to nice beaches and hikes we were able to make the most of our time on the island. We can recommend Spice Island Marine for anyone looking to leave their sailboat on the hard in Grenada during hurricane season.
This is not a sponsored article, we have no affiliation with Spice Island Marine, many of you guys asked about our experience and this is it 🙂