Boating and Sailing in Martinique


Boating and Sailing

You can rent Hobie Cats, Sunfish, and Sailfish by the hour from most hotel beach shacks. As for larger craft, bareboat charters (that is, ones with no crew) can be had for $1,900 to $7,000 a week, depending on the season and the size of the craft. The Windward Islands are a joy for experienced sailors, but the channels between islands are often windy and have high waves. You must have a sailing license or be able to prove your nautical prowess, though you can always hire a skipper and crew. Before setting out, you can get itinerary suggestions; the safe ports in Martinique are many. If you charter for a week, you can go south to St. Lucia or Grenada or north to Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Les Saintes. One-way sailing to St. Martin or Antigua is a popular choice.

Don't even consider striking out on the rough Atlantic side of the island unless you're an experienced sailor. The Caribbean side is much calmer—more like a vast lagoon.

Punch Croisières. A local, French-owned charter company, Punch Croisières has a fleet of 17 sailboats, 14 of which are catamarans from 40 to 47 feet; they go out bareboat or crewed, and you can take a boat to a neighboring island. Rentals from one week to 11 months are available. Marina, Bd. Allègre, Le Marin, 97290. 0596/74–89–18.

Windward Island Cruising Company. Windward Island Cruising Company has sailboats from 30 to 70 feet, catamarans and motor yachts, for bareboat or crewed charters. Luxury is what characterizes their fleet. If crewed, there is a choice of full- or half-board. This is a world-wide operation, with 40 locations around the globe. Le Marin, 97290. 0596/74–31–14.

Located on the west coast, Anse-d'Arlets is a delightful fishing village with a historic church and wooden gingerbread houses. It is yacht-friendly and has several sheltered coves; charter boats usually anchor on Grand Anse or Petite Anse. Ti Sable is a waterfront restaurant that has a fun scene. Sunday brunch is a big event, with a good and moderately priced buffet. They now have art exhibits and other happenings as well.


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