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Sailing to windward

4: Mustique high-life

Despite the rum, it was another early start the next morning as we had a long sail north towards Mustique. As our 423 was built for comfort, not sparkling upwind performance, we popped the motor on and biminy up during the fiercest midday heat, but still made good time along the windward side of the islands. Mustique is the only island where anchoring is forbidden, instead you pick up a mooring buoy for which you pay EC$50-75 dollars, for up to three nights.

Opinion varies on the best way to do this doublehanded, but by feeding an ultra-long warp right back to the transom I was able to grab the buoy from the swim platform and run forward with the line while the Admiral of our ship reversed us into position. Not something you probably pick up on your average villa-flotilla holiday, but effective nonetheless.

Mustique is without doubt the most famous of the Grenadines, playing host to the rich and famous, royalty and Hollywood A-list, many of whom have villas on the island. It immediately has a very different feel to the rest of the area, with a sense of bustle and purpose as ‘mechanical mules’ (ruggedised golf carts) buzz around the otherwise traffic-free roads.

We’d timed our visit to arrive on Wednesday, coinciding with the legendary Basil’s Bar jumpup, an evening of cocktails and live music frequented by the likes of Mick Jagger. However, on arrival we were disappointed to find Basil’s still something of a building site, not quite ready for the next season. Instead we enjoyed a quick sundowner at the bar, which is built on stilts overlooking the sea, before smartening ourselves up a little and grabbing a mule ride up to Firefly, a stunning romantic hideaway in the hillside with a gorgeous colonial piano lounge, whispering staff in white uniforms, and a la carte dining.

After a lazy day snorkelling and exploring (mules can be hired, although we weren’t quite quick enough off the mark — the only occasion all week anything got booked up) we arrived back at St Vincent for a relatively fuss-free check out, pirates and hurricanes duly dodged. Next year several cruise ships have signed up SVG to their itineraries, so this unique little slice of the Caribbean may become a little less unique in future — if you fancy a visit, timing is everything.

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The Cays without doubt surpassed all our expectations, and we spent two days running around like ‘Swallows and Amazons’ explorers

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Costs and contact details

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