“ Type: Yacht Club / Country: St Vincent (Island) „
Sunsail is a yacht club located on the island of St Vincent that organises sailing holidays for tourists. In addition to holding a large fleet of catamarans and some extremely exquisite yachts the organisation generates income through bar and restaurant sales at the club, mooring fees and the letting of a small number of rooms.
I was introduced to the delights of Sunsail through my friend's mother, who now resides on St Vincent. She got talking to the manager whilst stuck at Barbados airport, struck up a friendship and now frequently drinks at the bar.
With my other half's dad being a traditional boat builder and working on several boats for the members of a well known Norfolk Broads sailing club I have witnessed first-hand what "sailing" people are like and how they posh and well-to-do they like their club premises to be. Since Sunsail deals with sea going yachts (costing even more money and attracting a very rich clientele) I was expecting the club premises to be immaculately presented and almost five star like and very pretentious. On my first visit to Sunsail I was disappointed, but relieved at the same time, to discover that this club is nothing like I was expecting.
Don't get me wrong, the interior of the club house and restaurant is very nice with modern décor and nice furnishings, but it is not exactly flash. I was quite happy about this since the clientele at the bar were just "normal", or at least that's how they acted. They obviously had money, they were on expensive sailing holidays or yacht owners after all, but they were in no way pretentious or looked down their nose. There was definite hierarchy or "I'm richer than you" type atmosphere, unlike the well known Norfolk Broads sailing club I have been to, and everyone seemed to get on really well. There was a great, friendly atmosphere and it was very welcoming. Speaking to the barman it later transpired that the "mega rich" tourists with the very expensive yachts tended to stay on their boats and eat/drink as Sunsail isn't as exquisite as other clubs based around the Caribbean islands.
In my opinion, the best thing about Sunsail is the view overlooking the bay and the twin peaks of St Lucia in the distance. Sitting there in the sun, with a park full of expensive, and gorgeous, yachts/catamarans and other types of water craft directly in front of you whilst supping down a Hairoun (the local beer) was just amazing. Sunset over the bay is something that has to be witnessed as it is such a magical event. One thing I did notice is how quickly the sun sinks in the Caribbean and one minute it is daylight and the next it is dark and the sunset period seems to last for a matter of minutes so you have to be quick to catch it.
Being in a rich man's playground we were well out of our depth but it didn't matter as we didn't feel intimidated at all. We didn't have as much disposable cash lying around as virtually every other tourist there, but St Vincent is a developing island and with everything so cheap you don't need a lot of money. As long as we were drinking and behaving ourselves we were treated just as well as everyone else in the club house. In fact, I would even go as far to say as we were treated much better than most people in the club house, which was partly to do with my mate's mother being a regular and knowing all the staff and partly to do with the fact that we sat at the bar and had a bit of banter with all the staff.
From 5 o'clock to 7 o'clock Sunsail has a happy hour every evening and it is this that we went for almost on a daily basis. During this time it is buy one get one free, and unlike many UK promotions where this applies to a select few drinks, this is not the case at Sunsail and it applies to all drinks. Whether you are drinking the expensive imported drinks, such as whiskey, Russian Vodka and the like, or the 'cheaper than chips' local specialties of Sunset rum (which is very strong and will blow your head off) or Hairoun beer, it makes no difference. Buy one and get another free. The other good thing about this promotion is that the staff will keep your free drinks in the tap or bottle for you so there is no need to down drinks as fast as possible and make yourself unnecessarily sick. This means you can pay for all the drinks during happy hour and then get your free ones after 7 o'clock and this arrangement is fantastic.
I should point out that the drink measures at Sunsail are huge but this seems to apply to all bars in the Caribbean. There are no 25ml optics here, oh no, and the more you spend or the more you get to know the barman the larger the shots get, which is not always a good thing since I find too much alcohol and a tiny bit of mixture not that nice. One thing I did notice was that if you ask for more mixer, you get a 'dirty' stare and the tiniest splash imaginable. Clearly the mixers cost more than the alcohol in St Vincent.
The food served in the restaurant in Sunsail is your typical traditional Caribbean food and it is absolutely fantastic. The food is fresh, locally sourced, looks good and tastes amazing. Seafood is a specialty at Sunsail and I have to admit that the mahi mahi (dolphin fish) I had was the better than anywhere else we ate whilst staying in St Vincent. Sunsail do take advantage of the rich and captive audience and do tend to exploit the tourists as eating at Sunsail is slightly more expensive that eating at other restaurants on the island, but given the quality and taste of the food it is well worth paying that little bit extra. Whilst the food is expensive by St Vincent standards it is still very cheap compared to UK prices so it is not such a big deal.
Sunsail is a fantastic clubhouse and I warmed to it very quickly. The staff are attentive and friendly but not overpowering, the food is absolutely gorgeous, the happy hour arrangement is perfect, it seems to attract a decent and friendly clientele and the views over the bay are absolutely breathtaking, especially at sun set. Whist the premises may not be as posh or exquisite as other places the décor is modern, tasteful and more than adequate. If you are ever fortunate enough to visit the island of St Vincent then I would highly recommend going to Sunsail yacht club.
(This review has been posted on other sites under the name of yackers1)