It's no idle boast that Grenada is a paradise for yachtsmen, with its perfect blend of sea breezes, pristine blue water, secluded coves, idyllic anchorages and some of the best cruising grounds in the Caribbean.
In fact, the coastline of Grenada offers a wealth of unspoilt natural surroundings that continues to attract more and more yachts from across the region - not just for the island's world-famous regattas, but also for long stays and extended cruises.
Grenada's boat yards are widely used by yachts for dry storage in the hurricane season, with several yards offering haul-out and storage facilities in sheltered bays. In spite of Hurricane Ivan, Grenada is still one of the safest places in the Caribbean for hurricane season storage.
The biggest regatta of the year is the Grenada Sailing Festival, held in January, which attracts yachts from the Caribbean, Europe and the United States. At Easter, the Round-the-Island race has become increasingly popular, while the Carriacou Regatta in August provides a showcase for that island's rich heritage in boatbuilding and seafaring.
The government has long recognised the potential of the yachting sector and is helping it to expand by encouraging further development of facilities and marinas. One way of doing this is to allow duty free imports of spare parts and supplies for the marine sector.
The yachting sector embraces various categories of yachts including charter yachts, cruisers, live-aboards and locally owned yachts. The biggest category is the live-aboards, which have led to a competitively priced yacht service industry. However, studies show that the greatest potential for increased revenue is from the mega-yachts, which often have fully paid crews.
Most of the existing facilities in Grenada cater for mega-yachts as well as smaller craft. Newer facilities are being developed at various locations, while many existing yards are expanding their berthing and storage capacity.
The expansion is mirrored by a growth in ancillary services such as canvas work, chandleries, engine repairs, machine shops, rigging and sailmaking as well as hotels, restaurants and shops. This two-pronged development is creating as long-lasting and proficient marine sector in Grenada that is fast becoming the envy of the region.
Blue Lagoon Marina, in St George's Bay, offers berths for 40 boats up to 100ft long.
Clarkes Court Marina, in Woburn Bay, has 50 berths on the south coast, which is gradually being developed into a full service facility.
Grenada Marine, in St David's Harbour, is a full service boatyard and haul-out facility for over 150 yachts and catamarans and offers a wide range of ancillary services. The yard has a 70 tonne travelift for yachts up to 32 ft wide and backs on to six acres of storage.
Grenada Yacht Club, located in the Lagoon in St George's, has 46 berths and 20 moorings and offers a full range of yacht services and utilities.
Martin's Marina, established on the former site of the Moorings, has a 53-berth marina for yachts up to 200 ft, and 32 moorings, and offers storage and other services.
Spice Island Marine Services, in the northwest of Prickly Bay, offers storage space for 200 yachts, Its 70 ton travelift can handle boats up to 85 ft long and 25 ft wide.
True Blue Bay Marina is a small marina and resort complex near Prickly Bay and is home to Horizon Yacht Charters.
Tyrrel Bay Haulout Carriacou provides haul-out services with a 30 ton travelift and has storage for 25 yachts.
At Le Phare Bleu Marina & Resort, in Calivigny Bay, there will be 64 stern-to berths for yachts up to 60 ft alongside a residential and amenity complex. Also on the south coast, in Prickly Bay, a EC$ 70 million marina with a luxury mega-yacht facility with floating accommodation and hotel complex is under construction, Another marina development is planned for Virgin Beach.
A new full service marina is also being developed in Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou, with 150 berths and yacht services as well as restaurants, shops and storage.
The yachting sector is clearly ripe for investment, with a series of public-private partnerships transforming the industry, If all the developments now being planned or under way come to fruition, Grenada will have more than doubled its yachting capacity by 2010.
During this yachting renaissance, the industry established the Marine & Yachting Association of Grenada (MAYAG), to help lobby Government and to promote Grenada both regionally and internationally and to act as a bureau for boaters.
The Government of Grenada has acknowledged the sector by creating legislation to facilitate growth and address matters such as duty free status for vessels, a yachting desk, a cruising permit that grants an unlimited stays, and, more recently streamlining the clearance procedures with a one page form which is available online (the official website of Grenada Tourism Authority www.grenadagrenadines.com or MAYAG's website at www.rnayaq.orq) and can be completed prior to arrival.