Saint Martin & Saint Barths - Paradise is waiting for you!

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If it wasn’t for this damn pandemic that has been ruining our lives for two years, we would never have been able to book a Moorings 5000 from Marigot at the last minute. February is usually the peak season - all the catamarans would normally have been booked up for months... So, sailing for a week on board the most comfortable catamaran that the charter company offers was an absolute must! Of course, there are still a lot of restrictions and they do limit the scope of our activities, but the program could still be very attractive!

Having covered the Caribbean Multihull Challenge from the St. Maarten Yacht Club, on the Dutch side of the island, I disembarked on a Monday late in the morning in Marigot, on the French side. I was welcomed by Corrado, the base manager, and Myriam, his assistant. The Sunsail/Moorings offices are limited to an airconditioned shipping container - the charter company, which is used to much more luxurious bases, should be remedying this basic infrastructure. For the moment, I was alone on board the Moorings branded Leopard 50. Simply looking around from the pontoon had already given me an idea of the catamaran’s size - there was no doubt that this was an XXL comfort situation…


The Anse du Colombier, which is west-facing, is well protected from the tradewinds. 


The goal: to master a 50-foot catamaran

My brother Paul and his friend Antoine arrived in the middle of the afternoon, early enough for Pascal to start the handover of the 5000. Our three brains tried to record as much information as possible. A few photos and mini-videos were taken so as not to forget anything. Electrical panel, fuses, circuit breakers, tanks, pumps, inverter, watermaker, sound system - there are so many elements to integrate. As far as the air conditioning was concerned, my goal was not to use it at all - in this season, the temperature is quite bearable. Other stations such as the engines, the sail handling, the ground tackle or the propane are much easier to get to grips with because they are common to most multihulls. Even before leaving the harbor, we made an initial observation: mastering a 50-foot catamaran cannot be improvised. While handling a 40-foot multihull might be able to be learned on the job, this is not the case for a machine that is over 15 meters long and that weighs 20 tons! Before nightfall, we stocked up on supplies at the large Super-U supermarket, less than 350 meters from the catamaran. The return trip could be done with the shopping cart (provided that it was brought back to the store’s parking lot, of course) - but the sidewalks are sometimes a bit rough - a taxi is a good alternative. The many storage spaces and the refrigerator/freezer capacities allowed us to store our food very easily.

Overall, Marigot is a lively and charming town - all that’s missing is a nice beach to take a dip. On the recommendation of Brigitte, a journalist who has been living here for 30 years, I suggested that we dine ...

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