The stunning island of Martinique in the charter destination of the Caribbean is extremely popular with sailors, who are enchanted by its white sand beaches, tropical rain forests, and French charm. Infrastructure here is excellent and the yachting industry is flourishing, with new marinas opening all the time.
For inexperienced sailors, these waters offer a relaxing boating experience. There is a small danger that the spectacular coral reefs beneath the surface could damage boats, and yachters should map their routes carefully when exploring reef areas, but aside from this the waters are ideal for novices, with constant easterly trade winds blowing at 10 to 25 knots. However, for those with more experience, there is also much to see on the Atlantic side of Martinique. New ports and marinas have sprung up on this side of the island, including in Le Robert and Le François. The coast by Le François has long sand bars that stretch out to sea and many tiny islands, making it an ideal destination to explore by boat. In the south, Le Marin boasts the island’s largest marina—Port de Plaisance. This yachting marina is famous throughout the Caribbean for its high quality facilities and idyllic location in the sheltered cul-de-sac bay. With 750 berths and 100 mooring buoys, Port de Plaisance is a sailor’s paradise.
Martinique also offers a number of sailing events year-round. Visitors in August can enjoy the Yole Boat Race, where locals race traditional-style fishing vessels by day and enjoy a carnival of music and dance by night. Another option is the Nautical Week of Schoelcher in February, where teams on Optimists and Lasers set off from Schoelcher, just north of the island’s capital, to compete for the top prize. From Martinique, yachters can also easily sail to the nearby island of St Lucia, a natural wonder with spectacular volcanic peaks. The island offers a number of sheltered anchorages where it’s possible to dock and explore the rain forests, resplendent with wild orchids and birds of paradise, or simply relax and rejuvenate in the hot island springs.
Martinique enjoys hot weather all year round, with little variation in temperature. It averages 22º to 30º along the coast, and is slightly cooler inland. The water maintains a steady temperature of 20º to 23º, and refreshing breezes from the north-east trade winds bring welcome relief during the hot days. The dry season is between December and May, while June to November is often more humid. Between November and March, strong winds are likely and northerly storms may produce swells that create unsafe anchorages. June to November is hurricane season, with storms most likely in September, so sailors in this period should pay particular care to tropical weather reports.