We have met hundreds of sailors in the past year and it is interesting to see how different our circumstances and plans are. Of the close friends we made on the ARC, none are currently sailing anywhere near us. 1 boat sailed back to the UK suffering days of stormy weather when ‘they feared for their lives’. They are safely home in Southampton thankfully. Another friend shipped his boat back at a cost of 12K GBP. Another had a professional skipper and crew sail his back. A few joined the World ARC, leaving St Lucia in early January. The charter boats on the ARC sailed back ready to do this year’s ARC again, some having done more than 10 ARCs. The ‘Atlantic Circuit’ is very popular so none of these spent much time in the Caribbean. Some went north, hauling out in Antigua or the USA and one couple were hiring a camper van to tour the states for 6 months.
Several came south like us, hauling out in Grenada or Trinidad but they all flew back to the UK between March and early May and are not expected back until near Christmas or later. 1 couple are circumnavigating independently and left a few months after the World ARC. We have recognized some boats ashore in various boatyards and are sure there are other ARC boats still here but we just don’t know them!
We have been surprised at just how many American and Canadian boats are in Grenada, plus a few South African boats. Several Australians bought boats in Europe, did the ARC and are sailing them back home to sell them, hoping for a profit, as prices are quite high apparently.
There are quite a lot of single-handed male sailors but only a couple of women and they have been anchored long term in the bays we met them in. Now we are surrounded by live-aboards, the average size of boats is smaller and it is amazing how little money people are prepared to live on. They have a lot of equipment crammed on the decks, and often have dogs for company and security.
There is a strong community here, lots of chat on VHF Ch 68 and people monitor 68 overnight in case of any security issues. We feel very safe in Grenada as they value the income the yachts generate. We were told the average wage is 25 GBP a day but 1 taxi shuttle to the supermarket brings in at least 30 GBP. There are countless services associated with the marine industry, not to mention the busy social programme. Cuba is currently looking at how they can improve facilities for yachting, in order to earn some revenue from sailors. We need to get there before it changes too much 🙂