The Florida Keys. St. Maarten. Antigua. Belize. If you're wondering whether there's anyplace left for you to take a sailing vacation, the answer could lie in at least one of these ports of call.
Trade Wind Yachts, Horizon Yacht Charters, and Tortola Marine Management (TMM) have added bases over the last year, and each one comes with a distinct array of amenities in cruising grounds noted for their diverse settings.
In Florida, choose from a fleet of multihulls and monohulls at Trade Wind Yachts' new base at Marathon Marina, Marathon, a tropical setting without customs clearance. Sail the Florida Keys chain, and if you've got time, stop in Key West, then head farther out to the Gulf of Mexico and the Dry Tortugas. If you're game to make for the Caribbean, set out from the company's other new base at Simpson Bay Yacht Club, St. Maarten, Netherland Antilles. Fleet choices in St. Maarten encompass eight monohulls and multihulls from 37 to 47 feet in length; in Marathon, the choice is from among five 33- to 43-foot monohulls and multihulls. For rates and other details, contact the company (800-825-7245, www.tradewindyachts.com).
Jolly Harbour Resort and Marina, on Antigua's protected western coast, saw the arrival of Horizon Yacht Charters' third base in November. The five-boat fleet, ranging in size from 36 to 50 feet, includes three Bavarias, for which Horizon is the authorized Caribbean dealer. George Clarke is base director, and Eugene Hughes is operations manager. Charterers to this destination can create an itinerary with destinations from among the numerous anchorages that ring both Antigua as well as Barbuda, 27 miles to the north, or they can head to Guadeloupe, 40 miles south, to St. Kitts and Nevis, about 40 miles northwest, or opt for a one-way voyage to St. Martin. For rates, contact Horizon (877-494-8787, horizonyachtcharters.com).
TMM's southern Belize fleet, situated in Placentia Village, lets sailors take their time exploring the hundreds of islands and mangrove cays along the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, or they can head to Honduras' Bay Islands. Charters to Guatemala's Río Dulce are also available. Choose among a fleet of multihulls and monohulls; stay overnight before or after your charter at one of the three guest cottages at the base. For rates, contact TMM (800-633-0155, sailtmm.com).
**The Moorings, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary, offers sailing deals and discounts throughout 2004. Call the company (800-535-7289) for details. . . . Conch Charters, in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, has added personal dive trips with accomplished underwater photographer, filmmaker, and dive master Armando Jenik. Night dives are a specialty; for more information, contact Conch (284-494-4868, www.conchcharters.com). . . . Angela Connery, who took over as manager of Lynn Jachney Yacht Charters upon Jachney's retirement last summer, has struck out on her own as a broker of crewed-yacht vacations. Reach her at Angela Connery Yacht Charters (877-741-4448, firstname.lastname@example.org).