Confessions Of A Yacht Broker – Sailing From Grenada to St. Vincent During COVID 19

By: Sailboats, Schools

LTD Sailing literally stands for “Living The Dream” and this ASA Sailing School, based in Grenada, consistently gets high marks for their approach to sailing instruction and their sailing grounds. During this COVID-19 pandemic, less sailing instruction is being done and yacht deliveries have taken their place as LTD is also a Yacht Brokerage.  Chris and Chrystal have shared their story of a recent voyage to deliver a yacht.

SOLD! We are Chris & Chrystal from LTD Sailing School and Yacht Brokerage – “Living the Dream!” in Secret Harbor. Yacht brokering during a pandemic and travel restrictions changing daily, well, you have to get a little creative. When our SVG skipper couldn’t make the delivery of “Sirena” a 2015 Helia 44 to St. Vincent to meet her new crew, it was up to us to complete the job. Wanna go sailing?

We quickly figured out what we needed to do. It was Thursday when I called the General Hospital to find out about getting the PCR test. The PCR test is where they swab your nasal passage and it takes three days to get the results. The rapid test is where they take blood and you get the results in 20 minutes.

You don’t need an appointment, just show up between the hours of 8 AM – Noon. First thing Friday we went to the General Hospital. Parking is HORRIBLE! Be sure to fold in your side mirrors! Once parked, we set off to find the lab. To get there, go to the General Hospital compound and look for the building with the pop machine. It’s the only one I have EVER seen on the island! Take the stairs to the left and take the first right to the blood lab. Fill out the paperwork with Sunshine, the health nurse. Then, go to the cashier at the bottom of the stairs. Remember your mask and social distancing! The cost of the test is 450 ECD and you can pay with cash, local check or credit card. Take that to the accounting building right before you get to the main hospital entrance. The security guard will spray your hands and advise the nurse that you are ready for your test. She will call you into the back room and swap both nostrils and your throat. It’s uncomfortable but not painful. Well, not painful the same way the dentist says “You’ll only feel a little pressure” when he drills your teeth. The nurse was very sweet even when I jumped about a foot in the air. Are you reaching for my brain? They take your paperwork and promise the results within three business days. You have to go back to the lab to pick them up, they won’t email them to you. You can have someone else pick them up for you as long as they have your receipt. We had Izzy, our office manager, pick them up for us, scan them and send them to us electronically. Yes, they were ready in three business days! We took off sailing on Friday.

Fly the flag! Single Q flag representing a clean boat.

We took our time going up the islands as we made sure the boat was ready to sail up to the states. That, and we had to wait for the results. The only place you can currently check in to St. Vincent is Blue Lagoon. You can check out at Union Island but not check in. We emailed Katie at SVG Arrivals and got permission to anchor in Mayreau for the night – only if we left first thing in the morning. That got us closer to SVG to be able to make the time restrictions.

Planning this Sail? Here’s the deal:

  • You will need to notify St. Vincent that you are arriving by boat. Email them at
  • FIVE days before you arrive, you will need to send the Passenger Assessment Form to the Health Service Committee by email:  They are very responsive and helpful. Make sure you get a response from them before you continue.
  • At least 48 hours prior to arriving in St. Vincent, contact SVG Arrivals by email:

 You will provide:

  1. Captain’s contact information
  2. Negative PCR results for all on board (or arrange for testing in SVG)
  3. Planned arrival date
  4. Completed Customs Form
  5. Updated travel history for all on board

On arrival into St. Vincent, contact Nichole on 001 784 433 9645 (wats app) then head into Young’s Cut from the South entrance. This is the Quarantine area:

  • Plan to arrive between 0800 – 1800. Hail “Jimmy” on Ch. 68. He or his driver, Sparrow, will direct you to a quarantine mooring ball. Sparrow can be a little rough around the edges but he means well. We had a difference of opinion on how to adjust the mooring lines on our boat but you’ll have that with the big jobs.  At some point, Jimmy will come to collect: 
  • Proof of boat ownership
  • Boat registration document
  • Original previous clearance papers
  • Passports
  • Crew list
  • Approx. 305 ECD in cash (205 agent fee, 35 Cruising Tax per person, other fees.)
  • Place all the documents in a water proof bag/folder

Jimmy will give this to the agent, Nichole, who will process your paperwork with customs & immigration. I know, it’s daunting to hand over all of those important documents to a complete stranger! But Jimmy is very professional and polite. FYI: Jimmy owns the mooring balls so you have to pay him separate for that – 50 ECD a night. He will also organize anything else you might need like groceries or garbage removal because you can’t get off the boat until you are cleared.

Despite being listed as a private vessel on the official forms, the government decided to list us a charter boat and charge 125 ECD for a charter license. The vessel was in the process of transferring ownership so we didn’t have “proof of ownership” for the new owner. We did have running papers but that didn’t matter in this case. Sometimes it is just better to pay the fees and say “Thank you for allowing us into your beautiful islands!” than argue about it. We also got charged overtime fees despite getting here by noon and handing over the paperwork. Apparently, the nurse was running late in her paperwork so ours didn’t get processed till 4:55 PM. We got all our paperwork back the next day. The time was not written on the customs paperwork – only on the overtime receipt which seemed strange. So again, just pay the fee and move on to the rum shack. All in all, we appreciate the ease in which we were able to enter the country.

Read the rest of the story on the LTD Sailing website

Confessions of a Yacht Broker was originally published here:

Feel free to email Chris and Chrystal if you have any questions. They are happy to help!

Have you sailed the Grenadines? Take a look at this gallery of images from this LTD Sailing voyage: