St Barts, officially the Collectivité de Saint-Barthélemy, is an overseas collectivity of France that came into being on 22 Feb 2007, encompassing the island of St Barts proper plus several offshore islets. Also known as Saint-Barthélemy, Saint Barths, or Saint Barth, the collectivity is one of the four territories among the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean that comprise the French West Indies. St Barts lies close to the islands of St Martin, Saba and Anguilla.
There is a good variety of yacht charter in St Barts including; bareboat yacht charter, luxury crewed yacht charter, skippered yacht charter, monohull and catamaran charter and both sail and motor yacht charter.
The weather of St Barts is tropical, meaning it's hot and sunny year-round with very little temperature variation between seasons. Expect an average of 30°C during the summer, with a drop of only a few degrees for the winter season. S Barts weather turns wetter in the autumn but the showers are generally brief if. St Barts catches the trade winds off the Atlantic Ocean all year round but especially in the winter. Winter sees winds in excess of 20 knots making for a great yacht charter. Summer months see winds anywhere from 10 to 20 knots.
Summer is the least expensive time to charter with many yacht charter companies offering significant discounts.
France first claimed St Barts in 1648. It was sold to Sweden in 1784, which sold it back to France in 1878. The Swedish period left its mark in the names of many of the streets and Gustavia, the main town of St Barts, which was named after King Gustav III of Sweden.
St Barts has a small airport that is served by small regional commercial aircraft and charters. The short airstrip is at the base of a steep hill ending directly on the beach. The arrival descent is extremely steep over the hilltop traffic circle and departing planes fly right over the heads of sunbathers. The nearest large commercial airport is on the neighbouring island of Saint Martin. Ferries that run between St Barts and St Martin are the only other real option for reaching the island.
French is the official language of St Barts although English is widely spoken.
The island has a reputation for sophistication and is often referred to as the St Tropez of the Caribbean. Gustavia, on the west coast, will make you feel as though you stepped into provincial France. St Barts is a natural marine reserve and is an attractive destination for those who enjoy scuba diving. The oldest settlement on St Barts is the village of Lorient
Ile Fourche is a good overnight yacht anchorage. Saline Beach is very popular with those who enjoy the local sport of people watching.
Of the 20 beaches on St Barts, several are considered especially inviting. In the south Saline and Governor beaches are kept in pristine condition with no development on them. On the western coast of St Barts is Colombier beach, reachable only by boat or substantial hike. St Jean, Flammands and Grand-Cul-de-Sac beaches are also, attractive. The beach of Grand Cul-de-Sac is perhaps the easiest beach in the Caribbean for learning to sail, windsurf or kite surf because it has a reef that closes off the entire bay. The current that passes outside the reef here also carries migrating whales and dolphins. Shell Beach is popular for families with kids as it has little surf, and lots of tide pools. Toiny is one of the main surfing, while Grand Fond is one of the island's only non-swimming beaches. Scuba and snorkelling are a great way to see the nurse sharks, lobsters, conch and green sea turtles that abound in the waters surrounding St Barts.