Happy New Year, rolling in St. Bart’s


Why were nearly 100 megayachts anchored off St. Bart’s last night, instead of cuddling up in lovely Gustavia for the New Year’s Eve party?  Well, apparently it was quite rough down there, and even the vessels that had already made it into the inner harbor were asked to leave because of the swell.  Which must have made for a hellacious scene…

Now, I’m not the sort of fella who laughs at the thought of Lindsey Lohan getting rolled around as she Twittered pictures of herself in a bikini.  Nor am I concerned about whether or not Puff Daddy really did get married on the island last night.  And it’s true that some of rich and famous probably found posh berths ashore, like Roman Abramovich, who now has an estate there, as well as his 377′ Pelorus (check the slideshow!).  But I sure would like to hear about the adventures in seamanship that were no doubt experienced by many of the crews faced with big seas, big boats, and big celebrities on a big night.  Maybe my friends at CharterWave and/or Megayacht News will collect some stories?
  MarineTraffic.com, incidentally, has good AIS coverage for this area, and it’s coming from volunteer receivers (as discussed earlier this week).  It’s handy if you’re sitting in Maine, waiting for a foot or more of snow, and wondering what Beyonce is up to.  Happy New Year to all!


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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

13 Responses

  1. Russ says:

    Big north seas have been rolling through the east Caribbean for the last two weeks. We’re in Les Saintes, maybe 140 miles south of St. Barths and it was very rough here the last 36 hours, just starting to calm down a bit. And we’re basically in the “lee” of Guadeloupe when it comes to north seas.
    Having been in Gustavia during a north sea, I can agree that the megayachts get out. Last May, tied off at the moorings at the end of the harbor we could watch the waves roll down the dock, right on the beam of where the the big yachts had been hours before.
    They are forecast to reach 15′ from the NW by next week, very large, and a very unusual direction. No Christmas winds this year.

  2. Kim Kavin says:

    I have just arisen from my own New Year’s slumber and sent off some e-mails to megayacht captains in the area. Stay tuned…

  3. Kim Kavin says:

    Ben: A photo of the surge that emptied the harbor, courtesy of broker Ann E. McHorney at Select Yachts, which is based on nearby Sint Maarten:

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Kim! Geez, that photo is frightening. The tender crews must have a wicked time getting people ashore and back.

  5. Russ says:

    Cancel that forecast for next week, my blurry eyes were reading the forecast for Maui!
    Great shot Kim!

  6. SanderO says:

    I spent a fair amount of time anchored outside the inner Harbor in Gustavia and this looks positively scary. I wonder if Jacques is still the guy who runs the harbor there?
    Think spiral jetty.

  7. Kim Kavin says:

    Just got off the phone with the captain of the 161-foot Trinity Lohengrin, which was on charter down there for the holiday. He says the port was closed from 12/28 until yesterday because the swell would not abate. Had to run his engines at the dock in St. Barth’s for eight hours to battle the incoming surge while waiting his turn for local divers to help retrieve his anchor so he could get out.
    A source on Sint Maarten told me this morning that she saw a good 30 yachts coming in through the Simpson Bay Bridge between last night and this morning, which indicates that a lot of charter yachts stayed anchored off St. Barth and used tenders to get their charter guests in and out for the New Year’s Eve parties ashore. If that is true, then they must have been some pretty intense dinghy rides…

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Kim. AIS showed nearly 100 large yachts anchored off Gustavia on New Year’s Eve, some over two miles from the harbor. And the tabloids show some celebrity guests coming ashore in heels. I doubt the crews train for situations like that; I think they had to figure out how to manage on the fly!
    Today there are only a dozen yachts with AIS still anchored off. Another dozen has tied up in Gustavia and many of the rest are scattered around nearby islands. You can see quite a few of them using that “good AIS coverage” link above.

  9. M. Dacey says:

    Ben, I think you enjoyed making this post with all its Page Six fabulosity. I almost didn’t mind having to dig for the boat and gear content…

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I did get a vicarious kick out of the scene, M., I will admit (assuming that no one got hurt when real seas met fabulousity). And, hey, did you see that my man Roman A. spent five mill on his party:
    The last time I walked around St. Bart’s was with two other pale, paunchy, very non-fabulous guys (one of whom had traded a St. Martin bareboat charter for ads in his magazine). After a while we got laughing because we’d each slowly realized that we were like ghosts. We seemed to be entirely invisible to all of the beautiful people walking Gustavia’s streets, and even to the merchants who tend them; no ‘bonjours’, no eye contact, no nothing! And that was many years ago, before the place really got on the map.
    No hard feelings, though. I’m very happy to bring in 2010 tending the home fires during a fabulous Maine blizzard. Especially as that made it a bit easier for my wife to be in Boston to tend to the birth of our first grandchild early this morning. Mother and child are fine. Now that’s fabulous.

  11. Capt. hank says:

    Ben, congratulations on the birth of your grandchild. Now the spoiling begins….!!!

  12. Kim Kavin says:

    Hi again Ben,
    I just posted some photos received from a man who was on charter in St. Barth’s at the time the harbor was cleared out. Pretty amazing sights…

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