British Virgin Islands
Short distances, line of sight navigation, mooring balls, great first time charter
Welcome to one of the finest and most protected sailing areas on the planet. The Virgin Islands in the Lesser Antilles is a well-known and much-loved "sailor's playground". It's the ultimate Caribbean yachting destination for those who know how to sail and anyone who has yet to try. With a brand new RYA sailing school at our base here on the BVI capital of Tortola, you can learn to sail from scratch in one of the world's most idyllic settings.
These islands have everything you could wish for in a sailing holiday. All year round, you can enjoy short hops from one blissful anchorage to another with easy line-of-sight cruising in steady, comfortable trade winds. This is a great choice for people of all ages and abilities, families or groups of friends and couples looking for a romantic getaway. If sailing isn't a passion already, you will fall in love with it by the time the BVI has finished with you.
Located in the northeast Caribbean, 60 miles east of Puerto Rico, the BVI stretch more than 30 miles around the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The waters between these tightly clustered islands are almost like lakes. Low-lying Anegada to the north has the furthest distance at 10-15nm from the rest of the island group. All cruising guides will advise you to give a wide berth to Horseshoe Reef that lies between Anegada and Virgin Gorda.
With a reputation for serious yacht racing and serious partying, this event is non-stop action and non-stop fun for all, on the water and ashore. Before, during and after the races, the Regatta Village takes on a carnival atmosphere with food, drinks, games, live music and lots of entertainment for everyone. Racing enthusiasts return year after year from all over the world for this major event in the worldwide yachting calendar to compete in the perfect conditions of warm, steady trade winds, and weave their way around these lush green islands of long sandy beaches.
Legendary pirates and buried treasure... Norman Island is a highlight in the BVI. Said to have inspired the story of Treasure Island, it's here you'll find the famous Caves - a top snorkeling spot at the mouth of the Bight. North of Norman also lie The Pelicans and The Indians, tall skinny rocks sticking up out of the water, that are a main attraction for a huge variety of undersea life. The Bight to the West of Norman Island is a safe, sheltered anchorage. Dine and dance and get into the party games on board the 1915 converted Willy T topsail schooner.
Swim or snorkel at The Baths, a unique rock formation with a myriad of secret pools and caves where you can take the cool walk through the tunnels to Devil's Bay where surf is sometimes ideal for body boarding or surfing. Visit the famous Bitter End Yacht Club in North Sound or head for Spanish Town - a popular stop-over and the center of shopping and sailing activity on the southwest side of the island.
Jost Van Dyke
Named after a Dutch pirate, this is a hilly island of perfect anchorages and sandy beaches. White Bay is a yachting favorite. The Painkiller cocktail originated here at The Soggy Dollar Bar which got its name through people diving off their boats, swimming ashore and hanging up their wet dollars to dry and pay for their drinks. There are hammocks and places to relax for the day. In the evening, head to infamous Foxy's for great food and live music. Just offshore from Jost Van Dyke you can have fun on the desert island of Sandy Spit or opt for superb snorkeling at Green Cay reef.
The largest in the group between Virgin Gorda and St John, Peter Island has three very good anchorages and a marina. Sprat Bay has 20 berths and some mooring buoys available.
Known as The Drowned Island this wildlife sanctuary is a refuge for colonies of flamingos, herons and ospreys. It's also home to the endangered rock iguana, which can grow to five feet long. It's well worth the careful navigation through the reef and age-old shipwrecks to reach the endless fine white sand beaches for a cast-away experience.