The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are comprised of more than 25 beautiful jewels set amid the sheltered, turquoise waters of the central Caribbean Sea. Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, and Anegada are the major isles of the archipelago. The smaller islands, many splendid for day or overnight visits, add to the varied mix of tropical pleasures, which can be as laid-back or as active as desired during a British Virgin Islands yacht charter. White-sand beaches, luxury waterfront resorts, sailor-friendly bars and upscale restaurants, chic boutique shopping, snorkeling and scuba diving on coral reefs teeming with sea life, it is all the perfect blend to create a delightfully rejuvenating experience under sail on a private luxury yacht. British Virgin Islands sailing vacations are one of the top choices among sailors for a terrific and memorable Caribbean adventure.
If you would like to purchase a print version of the Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands, visit Cruising Guide Publications
A British Virgin Islands sailing vacation offers a unique combination of steady trade winds, sheltered waters with minimal tidal currents, few unmarked hazards, line-of-sight navigation, excellent navigation aids, short hops to new destinations (often just a few hours or less), and protected bays and sounds where anchoring or picking up a mooring is easy and stress-free. Marinas with fuel and water are never far away, nor is support from the Moorings base in Road Town. The trade winds generally average 10 to 20 knots most of the year, and they hold steady, making the BVI superb for sailors new to cruising. It’s easy to plot a course to suit the most favorable point of sail on virtually any passage, the islands provide smooth-water lees, and the navigation is straightforward. Temperatures average between 75°F and 88°F (24°C – 31°C).
Many of the British Virgin Islands are mountainous remnants of long-extinct volcanoes, rising from the sea in lush green that captivates the eye. The area includes majestic stone formations and intriguing flooded caves. Coral reefs abound. The natural beauty is a major reason why sailors choose a British Virgin Islands yacht charter, but the attractions ashore are also plentiful and varied, from beachside bars and luxury resorts to quiet villages and eclectic shops.
Located on the north side of Tortola, just east of Jost Van Dyke, Cane Garden Bay is popular among cruisers for its beauty, beach, and nightlife. Shaped like the tip of a thumb, the bay curves around in a gentle arc, presenting a view from the boat of the white-sand beach and palm-studded shore, the quintessential Caribbean scene. Swim, windsurf, kayak, and relax at anchor or on a mooring until the sun sinks below the horizon.
During the evening the beachfront restaurants and bars hum with activity. Enjoy conch, pumpkin fritters, or other fare at Quito’s Gazebo while sipping a Bushwhacker, a drink made from four different kinds of rum. The owner, Quito Rymer, often plays solo guitar and sings, or plays with his band, The Edge. Myett’s Garden & Grille Restaurant is another popular haunt, with a varied dinner menu and calypso, fungi, and reggae bands playing on most nights.
A pleasant sail southward from Road Town, The Bight on Norman Island offers one of the most sheltered and beautiful anchorages in the BVI, as well as the popular Willie T floating restaurant. Treasure Point is indented with four flooded caves; the northernmost one extends 70 feet. Inside the water is shallow, carrying depths of four feet to the naturally carved room at the end. With an underwater flashlight to illuminate the sea life below and the purple- and rust-colored walls of the cave interiors above the water’s surface, it’s an unforgettable snorkeling experience. Due north of The Bight is Pelican Island and The Indians, four tawny rock pinnacles extending 50 feet above and below the water’s surface to create a superior snorkeling and dive spot. Elkhorn, brain, and star coral, sea sponges, sea fans, and gorgonians flourish there, along with colorful tropical fish.
The North Sound (officially Gorda Sound) of Virgin Gorda is tucked behind Mosquito and Prickly Pear islands, affording excellent protection and enough water and shoreside attractions to occupy several days of a British Virgin Islands yacht charter. Leverick Bay, Gun Creek, Vixen Point, John O’Point, Saba Rock, and Biras Creek are all in North Sound and offer a selection of marinas, luxury resorts, gourmet restaurants, fine white-sand beaches, and quiet anchorages. The Bitter End marina and resort, on John O’Point, is famous among cruisers for its nautical ambience and unique Caribbean spirit, as is the resort on Saba Rock, a tiny island at the east end of the sound between Virgin Gorda and Prickly Island.
Unlike the volcanic islands farther to the west, Anegada is low and flat. Its highest elevation is 28 feet above sea level. Salt ponds occupy much of the west end and are home to pink Caribbean flamingos introduced more than a decade ago from Bermuda. Abundant wild orchids, pine and palm trees, and pristine white beaches make this coral and limestone isle unique and well worth a visit. In a typical southeasterly, the wind is favorable (aft of the starboard beam) when departing from Virgin Gorda, a perfect point of sail.
On the north shore, Loblolly Bay is known for its spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving in crystal clear water. Lagoon swimming and beach walking are also popular pastimes, and a sail to the island wouldn’t be complete without savoring the locally caught lobster. Cow Wreck Beach Bar & Restaurant, Anegada Reef Hotel, and Neptune’s Treasure are just a few culinary possibilities.
Our 2013 brochures with new destinations
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