Caribbean Compass Monthly International Caribbean Yachting Magazine


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Welcome to THE Caribbean Compass - the most widely read boating publication in the Caribbean!

Click here to download Compass Annual Calendar of Events 2020

Every month the Compass brings you THE MOST NEWS YOU CAN USE — more feature articles on cruising destinations, more news about regattas and events, more news about our Caribbean environment and more news about marine-related businesses. Plus we’ve got THE MOST FUN: poetry, fiction, history, book reviews, recipes and cartoons.

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And we’ve got THE MOST INTERACTION: letters make our always-lively Readers’ Forum a must-read. Caribbean Compass, a monthly source of information and enjoyment not to be missed. Readers say, “Compass is the best!” Welcome to the Caribbean!

If you want to receive notifications by e-mail when each month's new Compass is available free online, just drop a note to sally@caribbeancompass.com and we'll put you on the list - it's as easy as that!

In this Issue:

Covid Commentary Navigating the Protocols

All of us will be newbies this year. Photo: Chris Doyle

We know that cruising this season will not be easy and we all expect bumps along the way but those of us who venture out will be the better for it. This season’s cruising cohort will earn experiences that even lifelong cruisers do not have. All of us will be newbies this year and as we charge towards the start line of the season our excitement is growing.

— Addison Chan, Cuba, Land and Sea

Here are some updates to help navigate those bumps along the way. Keep in mind that Caribbean governments are constantly “trimming their sails” according to current conditions, so refer to the website links provided for up-to-date information.

See more on page 8

Tip-Top Tips for First-Time Caribbean Cruisers

Devi Sharp: "If you do not know how to prepare an unfamiliar fruit or vegetable, just ask the market vendor. People love to share their advice and you will have a new friend at the market." Photo: Susan Yamonaco

Since 2005, Caribbean Compass has been asking experienced Caribbean cruisers to share their top tips for first-timers. In this, our 25th Anniversary Silver Jubilee Year, we’re proud to present a tip-top collection selected from among all the top tips offered over the years. It’s interesting to see how much good advice remains timeless. If you’re heading out for your first Caribbean cruise, one of the best things you’ll find is the willingness of the Caribbean cruising community to give advice!

See article pp. 16 - 17



From a sailing family on the south coast of England, Chris earned a doctorate in psychology before sailing to the Caribbean in 1969 aboard a wooden Colin Archer called Sugar Creek and becoming a resident of Grenada. Photo: Cruising Guide Publication

Caribbean Compass: Chris, your Sailors Guide to the Windward Islands is celebrating its 40th Anniversary with the publication of the latest edition. Congratulations! Other cruising guides covering the Windwards to a greater or lesser degree had already been published by 1980, including those by Don Street, Hart and Stone, Carleton Mitchell, et al. What was the impetus that led you to write your first edition of Sailors Guide to the Windward Islands? What did you think would set it apart or be an improvement?

See story on pp. 20 - 21

Christmas in the Caribbean

(Doesn’t Jimmy have a song about this?)

Christmas morning aboard at Deshaies, Guadeloupe

by David Lyman. I had a delivery to do last year, over Christmas. A nice 54-foot expedition sloop located in Antigua needed to be in Martinique by the end of January.

“I’m coming!” My daughter e-mailed me from her dorm room at Maine Maritime Academy. I admitted I could use the help. Island to island, it’s only 200 miles as the shearwater flies: a 24-hour jaunt, start to finish. I could do it solo, but why hurry things? “Slow down, mon… You go too fast.” That was said to me by the dock master at the marina at Virgin Gorda on my first trip to the Caribbean. It’s a mantra I’ve had to repeat to myself throughout my life in the West Indies. “Can we visit the islands on the way?” My son chimed in on WhatsApp. He was in England at Solent University studying Marine Engineering and Yacht Design. “Last time the family was together,” he added, “on a boat for Christmas, in the Caribbean, was ten years ago. Can we not rush it this time?” He was right. We had the time. Why not spend it?

See story on page 25


41st St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Ahead

The future course of the Covid-19 pandemic is far from clear; however, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club Regatta Foundation and the Government of St. Maarten are confident to host the 41st St. Maarten Heineken Regatta from March 4th through 7th, 2021. Entries are now open. Participants are asked to sign up as soon as possible, so organizers can finalize plans and ensure safety for all. Photo: Laurens Morel

See Regatta News on pp. 13 - 15

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Notice of Race for 2021 Barbados Sailing Week • The Notice of Race for the 2021 Barbados Sailing Week has been released. The organizing committee is confident that the event will take place and will assist yachts heading to Barbados for the first big regatta of the Caribbean winter circuit. The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race will be held on January 21st and circumnavigate the island anticlockwise. Coastal Races will take place from January 22nd through 24th. Starts and finishes are in Carlisle Bay. The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race is open to any type of monohull or multihull sailboat over 20 feet. Boats under 20 feet may be accepted at the sole discretion of the organizers. The classes will be based on the length and type of boat (unrated) and include vessels with a CSA rating and ones raced singlehanded and double-handed. Boats with foils are eligible for “with foils” records rather than conventional records.

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Classified AD of the Month

SHELTER BAY MARINA- PANAMA • The canal needs help in the sail loft. We see more than 1000 sail boats a year. Certainly, the best equipped sail loft in the Caribbean with over 1000 sq/ft of floor space & 6 sewing machines, including a Solent XL which enables us to handle all types of sails from the smallest pocket cruiser right up to the largest Super Yachts. If you have sail making skills then come & replenish that sailing kitty. Live & work in a great environment. Among the many benefits Panama enjoys, perhaps the most important in these days of Covid, a solid medical system which has never been overwhelmed by Covid, & insurance which covers Covid is available, as well. ••• To apply please contact: Juanjo Boschetti. Tel: (507) 6813-5327 E-mail: juanjo@shelterbaymarina.comwww.shelterbaymarina.com

To place a classified ad in Caribbean Compass contact shellese@caribbeancompass.com


Good day for a sail? Let's find out!

Selected Shortwave Weather Reports 2020

Selected On-line Weather Sources

Tide Forecast

This Month in Pictures:

I built my hard dinghy out of plywood and epoxy a quarter of a century ago for half of what an inflatable dinghy would have cost. It’s had repairs since and even two rebuilds (which you don’t do with inflatables). I’ve saved the cost of several inflatables and one or more outboards. And I don’t buy gas. A Paddle Ashore • by Jim Hutchinson • See page 34. • Photo: Lorraine Seatle
Happy Holidays from the Hubble Telescope! • The Sky from Mid-December 2020 to Mid-January 2021 • by Jim Ulik • See pp. 28 - 29 • Photo: NASA & The Space Telescope Science Institute
Inaugural IGY ‘Caribbean Yacht Launch’

As the Caribbean gears up to welcome the 2020-21 charter season, IGY has announced its inaugural Caribbean Yacht Launch. • See Business Briefs on pp. 9 - 10

The Sisserou, or Imperial Parrot, is a national symbol found only on Dominica. This bird was photographed feeding in the wild after Hurricane Maria. • See Eco News on pp. 11 - 12

Rescued and rehabilitated Jaco (Red-Necked Parrots) at the aviary in Dominica in 2018.

In the first regional event of the 2020-2021 season, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, organizer of the 15th Annual Sol St. Maarten Optimist Championship, had 17 youth sailors out on the water. See Regatta News pp. 13 - 15

Twelve-year-old Lolie Osswald from St. Barth was overall winner of the 15th Annual St. Maarten Optimist Championship.
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Colombian authorities have formally announced the reopening of the ports effective December 1st.

Kelly Johanna Fernandez at Marina Santa Marta says, “ We are just waiting for the procedures to follow to receive cruisers. As soon as I have more information I will let you know. Meanwhile, cruisers wanting to come to Marina Santa Marta can contact me at operaciones@marinasantamarta.com.co

Cruisers wishing to visit Club de Pesca in Cartagena can contact contacto@clubdepescadecartagena.com


Union Island, St. Vincent & the Grenadines - Photo Jeremy Trotnet

Many have asked about overnighting in St. Vincent & the Grenadines while on passage, without clearing in. Here is the news from SVG Arrivals. You must contact SVG Arrivals at svgarrivals@gmail.com in advance, request permission to stop in SVG overnight, and arrange for a designated quarantine mooring. Spend the night on the designated quarantine mooring with your Q flag up, and proceed the next day without anyone going ashore. Do not stop overnight without permission. There might be updates, so contact svgarrivals@gmail.com with any queries. In further SVG news, SVG Arrivals is now approving boats for entry at Union Island. However, there is a limit on how many are permitted into the quarantine area there, so those wishing to clear in at Union are advised to apply early at svgarrivals@gmail.com


BVI borders are closed to US tourists because of COVID restrictions...

On November 29th, The US Embassy Bridgetown advised travelers by sea, including private/charter vessel day cruises, to exercise caution when traveling near the British Virgin Islands. The Embassy said “ BVI borders are closed to US tourists because of COVID restrictions and the government is strictly adhering to its border restrictions and Covid-19 protocols. Violating current restrictions and protocols may result in criminal charges including detention with the inability to disembark, significant fines, and boat seizure.”

Clarification of Antigua Entry Protocol

Bob Potter, CEO of eSeaClear Inc., reports: In an effort to serve visitors to Antigua better, I have created a new website to alert inbound yachts of any discrepancies between what the government states, and what is actually happening on the ground. It can be confusing and frustrating for visitors. There is a link on the eSeaClear homepage, but for ease of access, here is the direct URL: https://eSeaCOVID.com

Covid-19 Updates



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Cover Photo Megan Dyson • Essential Detail / Scott Wilks / Lorraine Seatle / Laurens Morel / NASA