Whether you’re a seasoned sailing purist who will never abandon your loyalty to monohulls, or a catamaran fan delighting in space and stability, all sailors can agree on one thing – There’s no such thing as a bad day on the water. Every experience is different from the last, and your opportunities for new adventures are practically infinite.
Sailors are equipped with an incredible skill. Once you’ve acquired the experience and knowledge necessary to navigate the open water, ultimate freedom is yours. The biggest concern as a bareboat captain is destination. Where should you set sail to next? What locations will offer the most beautiful scenery and the most memorable experiences at sea?
There’s certainly no shortage of phenomenal places to bareboat, but here’s five of the absolute best that every sailor must visit at least once…
British Virgin Islands
Think of the British Virgin Islands as the mecca for sailing. Not only are there a number of unique islands rich in culture and ambiance, but line of site navigation makes the BVI idyllic for sailing year-round. You’ll also enjoy the added bareboat benefit of consistent winds, ranging between 10-20 knots, and easy anchoring with depths ranging between 20-40 feet. The average distance between islands is minimal, making it an island-hopping paradise that no sailor can afford to miss out on. There are a number of local hot spots worth hitting up while you’re in town, and there are plenty of diving sites for your whole crew to explore. In fact, the BVI is home to some of the best diving spots in the world!
Tahiti is one of the most exotic tropical destinations in the world. That being said, it is also a bit more challenging to bareboat, but the journey is well worth it. The low 80’s temps and the tradewinds are typically consistent, but most forgiving during April and May. Polynesian bungalows hovering over clear blue waters are ever popular in Tahiti, so you may choose to take a break from bareboating for a couple nights. The fringing reefs, crystal clear waters and abundant wildlife make this region among the most sought-after vacation spots in the world, and the perfect spot for your next bareboat adventure.
Europe’s best-kept secret for travelers of all types is quickly becoming a well-known “new Riviera” destination. The Mediterranean offers plenty of magnificent sailing experiences, but Croatia has become the most popular place to bareboat, and with good reason. Between the months of May and September, sailors enjoy gentle northerly winds, mild mid-70’s temperatures, and persistent sunshine. The Dalmation Coast boasts more than 1,100 islands, fascinating history, charming culture, and succulent cuisine for the self-proclaimed “foodies”.
Sailing and the Caribbean are a match made in heaven, so it’s no surprise that in addition to the BVI, St. Martin also made our top-5 list of best places to bareboat. Hopping from one majestic island to the next allows visitors to experience dual-culture influence from France and the Netherlands, as well as endless white sand beaches, delectable dining options, and superb shopping. In addition, St. Martin is a paradise for snorkelers and divers alike. Keep in mind, however, that longer distances between islands make this an optimal bareboat destination for more advanced sailors, and the spring and summer months will provide the most promising conditions as far as climate is concerned.
A primary family member of the Windward Islands, St. Lucia is located at the southern end of the Caribbean. For those with a genuine passion for the sport of sailing, St. Lucia is the perfect place. Many sailors choose to maximize their cruising ground coverage with a one-way bareboat charter from St. Lucia to Grenada. No matter how you choose to sail in St. Lucia, the spectacular Pitons, surrounding landscape, and sightseeing will not disappoint. The winter months offer prime time sailing and cooler temps, but straightforward navigation is characteristic of St. Lucia all year long.