A Guide to Sailing in St Martin

Known for its quaint restaurants and turquoise waters, St Martin has some fantastic things for you to do while you sail around
Known for its quaint restaurants and turquoise waters, St Martin has some fantastic things for you to do while you sail around | © Madeleine Jettre / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lexi Fisher
12 November 2021

From remote, uninhabited islands to streets lined with duty-free shopping and quaint French bistros, St Martin has a lot to offer yachting visitors. Split almost down the middle, the northern half is French while the southern half is Dutch, creating an interesting blend of European and Caribbean cultures. Drop the anchor, butter a flaky croissant and enjoy the warm turquoise waters of St Martin.

Spend a day sailing in St Martin when you book a yacht with SamBoat.

What to See and Do in St Martin

Start in the Dutch capital of Philipsburg, walk the streets and marvel at the duty-free shopping – from jewellery to clothing and electronics, there’s not much you won’t find here. Fill your bilges with fine French wine and Dutch cheese, plus check out the Guavaberry Emporium for a taste of the island’s fruity local liqueur.

Next, head over to Sentry Hill where you can glide high above Simpson Bay Lagoon on an exhilarating ride down the mountainside. The Flying Dutchman zipline at Rainforest Adventures is not for the faint of heart – with a 1,050ft (320m) drop, it’s the steepest zipline in the world. We promise that the 360º view of the island will make it worth stomaching the nerves.

Finally, experience regatta life at the 12 Metre Regatta, where you can spend the day racing authentic America’s Cup boats in exciting head-to-head matches – races are held daily throughout the year. Get stuck in trimming the sails and grinding the winches, or sit back, relax and leave the hard work to the professionals.

Pedestrians walk along the boardwalk in Philipsburg, St Martin | © Greg Balfour Evans / Alamy Stock Photo

Best Mooring Locations in St Martin

Conveniently located in the French capital of Marigot, a broad circular breakwater encloses the 150 slips available for boats up to 260ft (80m) at Marina Fort Louis. Unlike most other marinas in the area, Marina Fort Louis has the advantage of not having to pass through a bridge to access it.

Alternatively, pick up a marine park mooring at Tintamarre – an uninhabited Robinson Crusoe island off the northeast coast of St Martin. Follow the trails ashore to the long, windswept beach on the eastern shore – perfect for beachcombing. Or, jump in the crystal-clear water of the anchorage to snorkel with sergeant majors and butterflyfish.

A stunning view of the harbour, St Martin | © Paul McKinnon / Alamy Stock Photo

Where to Eat and Drink in St Martin

With regular live entertainment and a daily happy hour, the Soggy Dollar Bar in Simpson Bay Lagoon is the place to be on a Friday night. Put your dancing shoes on and rub elbows with locals, visitors and sailors at this lively and popular waterfront bar.

It’s worth travelling to Grande Case just for the restaurants. Among the best is L’Auberge Gourmande – which serves excellent traditional French Creole cuisine in a rustic country atmosphere. Don’t miss the French onion soup – and be sure to ask your server for a recommendation from their substantial wine selection.

A beachfront view of the Grand Case City on the Caribbean island of St Martin | © Multiverse / Alamy Stock Photo

The Best Charter Options in St Martin

From small, 12ft (3.5m) ribs to sleek monohulls and luxurious catamarans, SamBoat has you covered when it comes to chartering a boat. Whether it’s skippered or bareboat, there’s a wide selection in Marigot and Anse Marcel to make your sailing holiday effortless. Book a trip with Dream Yacht Charter, who also offer cutting-edge bareboat catamarans and monohulls or skippered yacht charters from their base in Marina de L’Anse Marcel.

Where to Get Groceries in St Martin

For fresh local fruit and vegetables, visit the market stalls behind the Marigot dinghy dock on a Wednesday or Saturday. A short walk from the Marigot waterfront is Super U, where you’ll find just about everything you need for full provisioning. For bulk items, go to the Cash and Carry next door. If you’re buying more than you can walk with, take a taxi back to the dock.

Key Annual Sailing Events in St Martin

With often more than 200 boats competing, the St Martin Heineken Regatta is perhaps the largest and most well-known sailing event in the Caribbean. Every March, hundreds of boats gather in the anchorages of St Martin for four days of racing and entertainment. If you’re visiting in December, look out for the Course D’Alliance – which takes participants from St Martin to St Barts, Anguilla and back during this fun-filled three-day regatta.

The Heineken Regatta in St Martin | © Steve Arkley / Alamy Stock Photo

Climate and Weather in St Martin

Air temperature in St Martin ranges from 21ºC to 30ºC throughout the year, with hurricane season running from June to November, although tropical storms and hurricanes are most likely in August through to October. Like most of the Caribbean, humidity sits at around 70 percent year-round. Water temperatures are a steady 26ºC to 29ºC – warm enough to swim and scuba dive comfortably without a wetsuit.

A popular beach at Philipsburg in St Martin | © Charles O. Cecil / Alamy Stock Photo

How to Get to St Martin

St Martin has two airports: the larger Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side of the island and a smaller, regional airport in Grand Case on the French side. For day trips and inter-island travel, regular ferries are available to Anguilla, Saba and St Barts from St Martin.
Sail around St Martin with a yacht charter booked with Dream Yacht Charter.

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