Map - Best Ports & Anchorages in Saint Barthélemy
Saint Barthélemy, often referred to as St. Barts, is a volcanic island. It has an area of 24 square kilometers and a population of about 9,625. Its capital is Gustavia, which also contains the main harbor to the island. The island's history as a Swedish colony is still evident today, with street signs in both French and Swedish, and its annual celebration of Swedish National Day. Despite its small size, Saint Barthélemy has managed to establish itself as a globally recognized luxury tourism destination.
The island's climate is tropical, with temperatures averaging between 22°C and 30°C year-round. The sailing season typically runs from November to April, coinciding with the dry season when the weather is most favorable. During this period, the prevailing wind, known as the Christmas Winds, blows from the northeast at 15-20 knots, providing ideal conditions for sailing.
The island's geography also plays a significant role in its sailing conditions. St. Barts is surrounded by numerous reefs and shallow areas, making navigation challenging but rewarding for experienced sailors. The currents around the island are generally mild but can become stronger in certain areas, particularly around the numerous bays and inlets that dot the coastline. It's crucial for sailors to be aware of these currents, as well as the local tide schedules, to ensure safe navigation.
Despite its idyllic conditions, sailing in St. Barts is not without its dangers. The island is located in the hurricane belt and is susceptible to tropical storms during the hurricane season from June to November. Additionally, the island's popular anchorage spots can become crowded during peak season, requiring careful maneuvering.
The island's water supply is primarily sourced from desalination plants that convert seawater into potable water, ensuring a consistent and reliable supply. However, due to the high mineral content resulting from this process, some visitors may find the taste slightly different from what they are accustomed to. It's also worth noting that during the dry season, the island occasionally experiences water shortages, leading to temporary reliance on bottled water. Therefore, while the tap water is technically safe to drink, visitors often opt for bottled water for taste and convenience.
The standard voltage is 220 V, and the standard frequency is 60 Hz, similar to the rest of the Caribbean. The island's infrastructure is well-developed, with modern marinas equipped with power pedestals offering both 30 and 50 amp services. However, it's important to note that the plug type in St. Barts is Type E, which is different from the U.S. standard, so sailors may need an adapter. The island's commitment to renewable energy is also noteworthy, with a significant portion of its electricity generated from solar power.
The island's main fuel dock, located in Gustavia Harbor, offers diesel and gasoline of excellent quality, ensuring optimal performance for marine vessels. Delivery services are available both on the island and to nearby islands, making it convenient for sailors.