A British Virgin Islands itinerary is extremely flexible. The cruising ground presents myriad opportunities for enjoyment (see British Virgin Islands maps). It’s possible to sail wherever the wind dictates, then pick up a mooring or drop the hook at a secluded anchorage to pass the hours snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, reading, or walking on the beach. It’s also possible to always remain in the thick of Caribbean action, stopping at marinas, savoring gourmet dinners at upscale restaurants, shopping in boutiques, and sightseeing in quaint towns. Most sailors choose a British Virgin Islands sailing itinerary that blends the best of both worlds: secluded anchorages and beautiful sunsets, a dash of the highly sophisticated at the resorts, and a bit of laid-back fun partying in the beachside bars.
Road Town to Cooper Island – 6.5 nm. It’s just a short sail across the well-protected Sir Francis Drake Channel to Cooper Island. Salt Island lies due west and has good day moorings, where you can tie up to do some swimming and snorkeling before heading to Cooper Island to pick up a mooring for the night in Manchioneel Bay (holding ground isn’t good and moorings are in demand; arrive early). Take the dinghy ashore to enjoy the beach or relax aboard and admire views of the islands to the west.
View day 1
Cooper Island to Virgin Gorda, North Sound – 14 nm. After sampling the pleasures of Cooper Island, your British Virgin Islands sailing itinerary will take you northeast to the beautiful island of Virgin Gorda. About 5 nautical miles from Cooper Island, on the west end of Virgin Gorda, is The Baths, a fascinating jumble of boulders, some of which form interesting caves to explore. If sea conditions are favorable for taking the dinghy ashore, this is a must-see highlight. Another option is stopping at The Dogs, a cluster of small islands off Virgin Gorda’s north shore. The snorkeling is spectacular. When you arrive at North Sound, you’ll find a plethora of marinas, resorts, restaurants, and scenic anchorages. Many sailors allocate two days to explore Virgin Gorda.
View day 2 - 3
Virgin Gorda to Marina Cay – 10 nm. By now you’re completely in sailing mode. The stresses of life have faded, washed away with the combination of excellent sailing conditions, unparalleled Caribbean beauty, and a variety of pleasures ranging from the laid back to the active. A downwind passage of roughly 10 nautical miles from North Sound to the small island of Marina Cay will carry you along the north shore of Virgin Gorda and past The Dogs. Just northeast of Tortola, Marina Cay is nestled among three larger islands – Great Camanoe, Scrub, and Beef. Worthy of a painting by one of the great artists of history, Marina Cay’s beauty is breathtaking. The anchorage is sheltered and offers numerous mooring balls. Nearby Trellis Bay is also beautiful. It has a number of shops and restaurants.
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Marina Cay to Cane Garden Bay – 18 nm. In a few shorts legs, you can sail northward around Scrub and Great Camanoe islands into the open waters caressing the northern shore of Tortola, passing the long tip of Guana Island, where a day anchorage are available in White Bay. Beyond, the land runs straight and bold, and then curves south until you arrive at picturesque Cane Garden Bay. Many residents of Tortola consider the bay one of the prettiest on the island, with its crescent-shaped beach of fine white sand juxtaposed against a lush backdrop of swaying palms. A number of fun nightspots are located right on the beach, or close to it, and dancing, dining, and enjoying great island cuisine are all popular pursuits.
View day 5
Cane Garden Bay to Great Harbour – 5 nm. Your British Virgin Islands itinerary has taken you east to the northern end of Virgin Gorda, and then progressed downwind to the west back to Tortola. There’s no reason to stop sailing west because the scenic island of Jost Van Dyke is just a short cruise away. You’ll have plenty of time to stop at nearby Sandy Cay for some snorkeling and a tasty lunch. There are five anchorages or mooring sites on Jost Van Dyke, each with its own special charm. Peaks averaging 1,000 feet in elevation soar skyward from the shore of Great Harbour, home to Foxy’s, one of the most famous restaurants in the Caribbean.
View day 6
Great Harbour to Norman Island – 10 nm. The last full day of your British Virgin Islands sailing itinerary will take you southward from Great Harbour to lovely Norman Island and the popular anchorage known as The Bight. Once there you will have nearly circumnavigated Tortola! The Bight has two fun places to eat, including the floating restaurant Willie T, a replica of a 93-foot lumber schooner. It’s also home to the caves at Treasure Point, a fascinating location for snorkeling. Just to the north of Norman Island are Pelican Island and The Indians, four rock pinnacles considered one of the best snorkeling and scuba diving spots in the area.
View day 7
Norman Island to Road Town – 7 nm. Although you won’t want to sail back to reality (you can always come visit the BVI again!), the final leg of your charter will be a quick jaunt north back to the Moorings base. Please check in by noon.