Savvy Sailing

Savvy Cruising

Savvy Cruising

Tucked away in the Eastern Caribbean Sea, Grenada is wonderfully off-the-beaten-path– though its appeal is already widely known to mariners and critical tourists alike. The island’s blend of old-school Caribbean beauty and contemporary bespoke high-end is best valued with a cocktail on the balcony at Mount Cinnamon Resort or with a rum punch on a sunset cruise aboard a traditional Carriacou Sailboat (locally made and diligently handmade by generations of Caribbean boat-builders). Less than twenty years ago, this tradition was almost opted for the wind, as narrated in the film Vanishing Sail, which communicates the story of Alwyn Enoe, once one of the last remaining contractors of standard wood sailboats in the West Indies.

View Prickly Bay, Grenada, West Indies

View Prickly Bay, Grenada, West Indies

Getty Images/Photononstop RF/ Severine BAUER

At the time, this rich, centuries-old custom of Caribbean boat-building was threatened with extinction, however miraculously it has handled to find safe harbor in the Eastern Caribbean.

Jambalaya

Jambalaya

Jambalaya

Although this preservation work is now being done in other islands in the West Indies, Grenada is the very best island to go to for traditional Caribbean cruising. “We are definitely the capital when it pertains to constructing conventional sloops,” states Donelan, citing the marinas, boatyard, chandlers and services available on the beautiful island. Not to point out individuals, who give access to the culture, which is its own part of the experience: “This is the colorful part of the regional culture you only get to experience by satisfying the local stars included: The boat-builders,” he stated.

Danny Donelan

Danny Donelan

Danny Donelan
It’s not every day that a story like this has a delighted ending, so we caught up with Donelan to find out more about the tradition of cruising in the West Indies, and what it was like to grow up on the (beautiful) island of Grenada.

Savvy Sailing

Savvy Sailing

Savvy Sailing

When did you first find out to sail?

My older sibling got cruising lessons when he was eight, and he taught me whatever he knew. I have actually been racing in regattas considering that I was 14– always joined by my uncles, who were excellent sailors. I first fell in love with these boats 13 years back, in 2007, when I experienced a yacht called Savvy being launched on the shores of Petite Martinique. I could not believe the pageantry and the traditions that opted for the launch of among these boats, and I was stunned and knew that one day I would have among these sailboats for my own to sail.

Seeing all the traditions that entered into the launch of these yachts simply made me fall in love with the culture of it, which’s when I understood this is what I wished to finish with the rest of my life. Fast-forward another six years, and I end up getting Savvy from my ex-boss, Peter Des Savary, and begin running a part-time service. On weekends showing travelers around the coast but also making certain they discovered the culture of these boats and what these traditions have actually meant to us as an individuals and how it set us out apart from any other island in the Caribbean and made us distinct.

Jambalaya

Mopion Islands, Grenadines

Jambalaya

Caribbean boat-building is rather distinct– can you share more about the history of Carriacou Sloops?

And, as soon as upon a time, these vessels were the lifeline of the Caribbean– carrying all way of products, crops, and contraband (rum in the old time days) to all of the islands. We are the only island in the Caribbean that still constructs these boats according to the standard methods used for 2 centuries.

Savvy Sailing

Savvy Sailing

Savvy Cruising

Though you matured surrounded by water, you didn’t constantly invest all your days at sea. When did you commit yourself full-time to preserving Caribbean boat-building?

So, I do the part-time thing on weekends for a couple of years, and each time I head out, it’s an outright pleasure to be out on the open ocean and showing guests a fun time while at the very same time talking to them about my enthusiasm. Life continues like this with the pressure of the corporate life from Monday to Friday– and not necessarily delighting in all aspects of that life. Then weekends would come along, and I would set sail and simply entirely forget all of the stresses of the workweek I simply left behind.

Then I turned 40 and at some point just understood that I was working the business life for all the wrong reasons (pay the home loan, have cash for vacations, and so on), and I was too stressed out, and the only time my stress was relieved was when I was cruising. A nd one 73- foot schooner Jambalaya, which I have started a separate company with called Jambalaya Sailing Charters and brought on a business partner Monique Mills for that brand-new company.

Savvy Sailing

Savvy Cruising

Savvy Cruising

How can visitors experience this tradition when they visit Grenada and book a charter or a sail aboard one of your yachts?

All of our captains are also boat-builders, and our very first mates are apprentice boat-builders. We serve all local food and beverages on board, and since the captains are also the boat-builders, you are getting the true, authentic, local essence when you take one of our trips.

I like my team.

Savvy Sailing

Savvy Sailing

Savvy Sailing

What type of trips do you have offered for visitors? And how do you believe the spread of COVID-19 impacts your offerings?

We have a variety of trips from sundown trips to half-day snorkel journeys to entire field trip, which include snorkeling plus lunch, cruising, and drinks. We likewise do numerous day trips up the Grenadines. What likewise sets us apart is we just do private charters; we do not blend groups, so when you come onboard, you are including your friends, your enjoyed ones, your household. We are not one of those rum runners that try to load as many individuals on their boats as possible as we prefer the privacy that a small exclusive charter deals.

In these times of COVID, this intimacy and personal privacy end up being increasingly crucial as you get to hang around together and won’t need to worry about complete strangers while you cruise with us. It also suggests we can cater for each journey to the specific needs of the group. Our guests really appreciate this about us, and you can see this in the comments they leave on our TripAdvisor page, which is Savvy Sailing Experience.

Danny Donelan

Danny Donelan

Danny Donelan

I know you’ve cruised all over the tropics– what are your preferred islands in the Caribbean?

My favorite islands– apart from Grenada– would be: Union Island, the Tobago Cays, and Bequia in the Grenadines, because of the mix of coral reefs to snorkel on and the island ambiance they originate. Antigua for its sailing traditions and Cuba for its amazing history, friendly people, dancing, live music, mojitos, and the range of things to do– whether it’s seeing a first-rate ballet or orchestra or finding out to box by an Olympic coach to discovering to Salsa, Cuba has it all.

Carriacou

schooner Schpountzat the mooring, Sandy Island, Carriacou, Grenade, West Indies

Getty Images/Photononstop RF/ Severine BAUER

What do you love the most about checking out these Caribbean islands? I find there’s a particular (and transmittable) energy in the West Indies that’s unmatched anywhere else.

What I love most about traveling to various islands is the individuals. Every island has its own unique feel to it, but each share a commonness in that Caribbean people like to have an excellent time.

Savvy Sailing traditional wooden sloop

Savvy Sailing traditional wooden sloop

Kijana Romain

Speaking of rum– what is the secret active ingredient in the rum punch you serve aboard the Jambalaya that makes it so drinkable yet fatal? Is it simply the Grenadian rum they won’t (and legally can’t) export off-island?

The secret recipe is always the freshly squeezed juices, enthusiasm fruit in particular if it’s in season and nutmeg, and obviously, I make it all with a regional rum called Westerhall Rum.

Carriacou

Sailboats in Hillsborough Harbor, Carriacou

Getty Images/ Bob Krist

You have actually gone to almost every island in the Caribbean, however call Grenada home– and have done so your whole life. What is it about Grenada that you love a lot? And what makes it stand out in contrast to the rest of the island countries in the West Indies?

Ok: Grenada. I feel that we are genuinely blessed on this small island nation of ours.

There’s a lot to do, and it’s one of the friendliest places you will ever check out. Living in an island this small (100,000 population) is like going to Cheers where everybody knows your name and where you are guaranteed to make local buddies as a tourist over here. This is how I measure my success at Savvy, not by just how much incomes we can create however by how many repeat guests we have come back to us as friends.

Scenes from a sunset cruise with Savvy Sailing in Grenada, West Indies

Scenes from a sunset cruise with Savvy Cruising in Grenada, West Indies

Katherine Parker-Magyar

I know you’re not the only person dedicated to keeping the Carriacou sailing custom alive– tell me more about fellow preservationists in Grenada and beyond.

Well, all of my captains are boat-builders, so we are all doing our part. Laurie Gumbs in Anguilla runs traditional cruising charters with his cargo sloop turned into a charter boat.

Grand Anse Beach

Grand Anse Beach, Grenada

Getty Images/iStockphoto/ Christopher Klontz

I know that Alexis Andrews is the filmmaker of Disappearing Sail, a movie about the predicament of these conventional wooden yachts. Are you two close partners?

Alexis Andrews has been a buddy for years. He sets up the West Indies Regatta in St. Barth’s, so we have actually been racing against each other for years– also in Antigua (at the Antigua Classics), and in the Carriacou Regatta.

Danny Donelan

Danny Donelan

Danny Donelan
What do you think contributes to their revival in style?

Ha, yes! They are very stylish since they are special and hand-built utilizing a 200- year-old tradition. Individuals increasingly more wish to connect with the places they check out, and what much better way to connect that to go sailing on a regional boat sailed by the really boat builders that constructed them

Its special, authentic, and these sailboats sail absolutely wonderfully, and since we just do personal charters too, you get the privacy you should have, and you get to spend time with your enjoyed ones and do not have to interact with complete strangers. This is particularly poignant now in this COVID world, of course.

Would you say the sails are not so disappearing now?

Yep. Absolutely on a growth now!

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Marco Bitran
Husband and father of two children under age 5, Marco also enjoys walks in nature, squash, running road races, and photography. He regularly contributes significant time and resources to the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the MSPCA and other animal rights organizations, and the Bitran Charitable Foundation. Marco has also volunteered and consulted for public housing support organizations such as the Somerville Homeless Coalition, created by the local community’s grassroots response to the social crisis of homelessness.