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ASA 2012 Flotilla: St. Martin and the Leeward Antilles

st. martinCheck out our full 2012 flotilla schedule here.

From April 20-28, 2012, ASA will be leading a flotilla in St. Martin and its neighboring Leeward Islands, St. Barts and Anguilla. A flotilla consists of several boats sailing together, and has many advantages. For one thing, it takes away the intimidation factor of exploring a new destination, since the group will be led by a captain with a wealth of local experience. Additionally, it’s a chance to meet a bunch of new sailors and share an amazing adventure.

St. Martin is a fascinating destination. The island is half-French, half-Dutch, meaning that even though it isn’t very big, it is home to two distinct cultures. Nearby St. Barts is French, and Anguilla to the north is English. That means ASA will be touring three European countries, all in the comfort of Caribbean warmth!

St. Martin’s historic Dutch capital of Philipsburg is full of friendly waterfront taverns, and recently helped write new sailing history by welcoming in teen sailor Laura Dekker to complete her record-setting solo circumnavigation. The French half is chic and picturesque, home to fancy restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and shopping direct from Europe. Travel between the two halves is easy, especially by boat!

St. Barts has the same French flair as St. Martin, and motorscooter rentals make it easy to get around the island. Anguilla is less developed than the other islands, and boasts great beaches and snorkeling in its underwater national parks. Sailing is the national sport in Anguilla, so there’s no question that it’s a great place for ASA to be.

Of course, we can’t forget the sailing itself! Armed with local knowledge provided by ASA instructors, we’ll be cruising the islands in style, with frequent stops for swimming, eating, relaxing, and partying on the beach. The individual skippers of the boats will be able to set their own pace, with the freedom to stay an extra day if they fall in love with a certain destination, or move on if they’re ready. The entire flotilla will meet up in various locations to socialize and exchange information.

ASA sweetens the deal with friendly competitions to win “sailor swag,” such as caps, t-shirts, sailing DVDs, etc. Past competitions have included blindfolded dinghy races, sailing knowledge quizzes, cooking contests, and more. Who knows what we’ll come up with this time?

It should be a great trip, and we’ll be sharing it with you on this blog and on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. For now, we’ll leave you with this tour of St. Martin’s Simpson Lagoon…led by a parrot.