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DETAILS: Sailing the Grenadines

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

GETTING THERE: Six major gateways (Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico and Trinidad) offer service to Union Island, Canouan, Mustique, Bequia and St. Vincent. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Air Canada, Air France, BWIA and Air Jamaica provide nonstop service from those gateways to the Grenadines. From Washington, round-trip fares on American Airlines, for example, start at $635.

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WHERE TO CHARTER: Charter companies offer a variety of vessel sizes and types, including luxury motor yachts, sailboats and catamarans. Services range from fully crewed (skipper, shipmates and chef) to bareboat (i.e., you're on your own). Rates vary, but spike during the high season (December to April) and drop in the low season (June to November).

We used Erika's Marine Services on Union Island (416-848-7325, http://www.erikamarine.com), which manages huge yachts that cost $100,000 per week as well as budget options such as the 36-foot Bon Bini, which went for $175 a day per person.

Barefoot Yacht Charters on St. Vincent (784-456-9526, http://www.barefootyachts.com) charters monohulls and catamarans in the 32-to-50-foot range. The company also offers sailing school courses and has its own air charter service and in-house travel agency.

Florida-based Moorings (888-952-8420, http://www.moorings.com) has been chartering boats around the world for nearly 40 years. A 40-foot skippered sailboat costs $110 a day per person, and a fully crewed 62-foot yacht runs about $510 a day per person.

WHERE TO SLEEP:

* Canouan:

Crystal Apartments (Grand Bay, 784-458-8356) offers simple but comfortable two-room apartments with kitchenettes. The property has a small restaurant serving such basic dishes as rotis and beans and rice. Nightly rates are $65 per person.

The no-frills Anchor Inn Guest House (Grand Bay, 784-458-8568 ; $65 per person) has four double rooms with ceiling fans, TVs and kitchenettes. There is also a small bar and restaurant with inexpensive fare.

The Tamarind Beach and Yacht Club (Grand Bay, 784-458-8044, http://www.tamarind.us) is a luxury hotel with 40 rooms, two open-air restaurants and direct access to the beach. Rates from $210.

* Mayreau:

Dennis Hideaway (784-458-8594, http://www.dennis-hideaway.com; $85) offers five air-conditioned rooms, each with a private balcony and ocean views. The hotel also has a small pool with bar and a restaurant.


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