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TMM Yacht Charters

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Bareboat Yacht Charters
St Vincent

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In Depth

TMM can help you get the best of the sailing in the Grenadines. The small number of staff means that you will have a very friendly and personable experience. To begin with you will be collected on arrival by Phyllis in her taxi. Members of staff that you will come across – actually you will probably have been in touch with already by email – include Mourando, Sonita and Lisa. The chart briefing will be given by Vincentian Don Martin, who has been involved in yachting in the Grenadines since the 1980s.

In the run up to the hire there is a certain amount of administration to be completed. You will need to send a sailing resume, sign a contract and make an initial payment. And to help with your arrival TMM will also require a list of all crew and their arrival times on a manifest form, largely so that they can arrange to pick you up and bring you to the marina. At the same time you might want to let them have your provisioning requirements and any requests for sports equipment, e.g. kayaks and fishing or scuba gear. It’s worth knowing that TMM can also arrange a special request, for instance a wedding on board a yacht or on an isolated cay.

On arrival in St Vincent you will be collected from the airport or ferry dock and transferred to the TMM base at Blue Lagoon. Arrival times are often late in the day in the Caribbean and so if a yacht is available then TMM is happy to offer the option for you to sleep on board the night before your charter starts. You will be allowed on board from 5pm.

The Calliaqua base is situated in inlet near the southern tip of St Vincent, protected from the Atlantic in the west, about ten minutes ride from the airport. There are bars and restaurants within walking distance (or a very short ride away if you prefer). Kingstown itself is about fifteen minutes ride away. You will find a small supermarket at Blue Lagoon, another marina close by, but the closest major supermarket is in Arnos Vale near the airport. The closest beach is in Villa, just couple of minutes away in a car or the bus.

On the first day of your charter, usually in the morning, you will fill in your paperwork and settle any final payments before your yacht orientation and inventory check. TMM will have your yacht ready, with the provisions on board and any extras you have ordered. Then there will be a chart briefing and a short ‘check out’ sail. You can set off at 12 noon. During your trip TMM will provide safety cover. In the case of an emergency you can contact them with the mobile phone that is carried in each yacht. The numbers of key members of staff are pre-loaded.

At the end of your charter, which again expires at noon, your yacht is generally returned to the base. A drop off at a different point incurs an extra charge. After you have refuelled, carried out the inventory check and inspection, you check out at the office to settle any final bills. Your security deposit will be returned to you at this stage.

There is excellent sailing in the Grenadines. The islands stand a good distance apart and so there are good open water sails between them. It may be important to note that the conditions can be quite challenging at times, because of the currents and the winds which can often be strong, but many of the anchorages (day and overnight) are excellent. Some bays, but not all, have moorings. The islands all have lovely beaches, some of which you can escape to, and some have strips of waterfront bars and restaurants. There are several key gathering points, around the Tobago Cays and Bequia, but it is often possible to escape when it is not the height of the season.

While most of the Grenadine islands are politically attached to St Vincent, it is worth noting that Carriacou belongs to Grenada. Many people do not go there because of the bother of checking in and out with Customs, possibly twice in a relatively short period, but it too is a lovely island. If you have long enough you can also make your way down to Grenada itself, where St Georges harbour is very attractive and there are some lively coves in the south-west.

TMM is owner managed, but it is loosely part of the larger TMM organisation that also has bases in Belize and the British Virgin Islands (this is where the name TMM came from, Tortola Marine Management). The original company started in 1982 in the Virgin Island and the business in St Vincent opened in 1995. The three companies are pretty independent in their style and management, but they pursue some marketing strategies in common. John West, who has been sailing since he was a teenager, has been in the Caribbean since the early 1990s and in St Vincent since 1995.