“What’s it REALLY like to sail the Caribbean islands?” We are frequently asked this question. For two seasons, we’ve sailed the island chain and this book relates our daily adventures. Whether you’re an armchair sailor, a lover of adventure in general or you are contemplating sailing down island yourself, we think you will enjoy sharing our many adventures and humorous incidents as well as the occasional frustrations with maintenance issues, customs officials, etc.
We wished we had a book like this prior to sailing the Caribbean. It is such a leap of faith to go sailing into the unknown. We assembled the various cruising guides and they had much useful information. However, none answered the question, “What’s it really like to sail the Caribbean?” It is our hope that this book will answer that question and, for those so inclined, give you the assurances that, yes, you really can do it yourself.
I was in my early 60’s and my wife, Gale, was in her late 50’s when we woke up one morning and said, “Let’s do it!” We had been coastal cruisers and racers aboard our Frers 41. But sailing the Caribbean was a life long dream. We decided that, if we were going to do it, we’d better get on with it or the opportunity would pass us by.
We purchased a sturdy and comfy boat in early spring 2003, a Hylas 54 that was designed for island hopping. After sailing her up from Ft. Lauderdale to Jamestown, RI, we continued on to Maine for a shakedown cruise. Late summer was spent outfitting the boat and getting ready to deliver the boat to the Caribbean during the fall of 2003.
On our trip down to the Caribbean, we first sailed to Bermuda and then down to St. Thomas. We left on a cold windy day but then had a good passage through the Gulf Stream and on into Bermuda. Our boat handled the offshore waves well and there was much camaraderie among the people on board.
During our first season, we experienced unusually squally, rainy and windy conditions…not at all like the brochures! However, our second season was picture perfect with sunny skies and gentle breezes.
While ten years have passed since we completed our adventure, not much changes in the Caribbean. All of the characters mentioned in this book are still there. There’s a much larger, full-service marina on St. Lucia, but that’s about it.
We hope you enjoy sharing our adventures and hope that you, too, will take the plunge and sail the islands. Your only regrets will be if you don’t.
Gale and Gerry Bay
NOTE: A MULTI-MEDIA VERSION OF THIS BOOK WITH MORE PICTURES AND VIDEOS IS AVAILABLE AT THE IBOOKS STORE.