Catch the Trade Winds to Tortola

Loads of people like to imagine that they are sailing on the trade winds and into the sunset as the sky begins to darken. Well, that’s not just something that can be seen in a film. It can happen. And it does happen. The British Virgin Islands and the capital island of Tortola is one place where a memorable sailing trip can be experienced.


by roseoftexas on Flickr

British Virgin Islands

As is clear from the name, the British Virgin Islands is an overseas territory under the control of Great Britain. It is one area that stood the test of time and remained with Britain even after its empire was largely disbanded. Strangely enough, though, it uses the U.S. Dollar as its currency of choice, so if landing on one of the islands remember that traditional British currency isn’t valid here.

For a sailing trip, the British Virgin Islands themselves are a treasure-trove of luxuries and memorable experiences. Whether Tortola is chosen as the sailing trip of choice or whether it’s one of the many other islands in the region, turquoise waters and white sands await. Many sheltered bays will also provide less experienced sailors with a safety area if the winds begin to pick up or the waters begin to get too choppy.


Tortola is the capital island of the whole region. The entire administration of the region is based here and it’s where a lot of tourists traditionally come to visit. Tortola is touted as a prime example of the exotic Caribbean. It’s not a good place to go on giant cruise ships, though. This is the place to go on a ferry or a small craft as it’s not a large location. One full cruise ship can quickly overwhelm the facilities that Tortola has, and then passengers have the audacity to claim that it’s the island’s fault.

But that’s a good thing because it means this hidden gem is open to individual sailors and small craft. The first thing to mention is that docking in Tortola for repairs, rest, or just a visit is completely safe. The British Virgin Islands is one of the safest areas in the world. Residents are genuinely there to help and there have been many cases of the most expensive yachts being left at the marine completely unprotected.

What’s the Sailing Like?

Taking a ferry or commanding a vessel around Tortola and its neighbouring islands is simply fantastic. The waters are calm as Tortola and its surrounding isles act as a vessel of protection to prevent the waters from becoming too choppy. Waters remain calm for most of the year, and this is why even smaller vessels feel safe in the waters there. The clarity of the water is pristine, so people can practically see straight through it. Use the transparency of the waters to take advantage of the magnificent diving and snorkelling opportunities.

Since there are so many uninhabited bays, exploring the area is something that should be done by even the most novice of sailors; Cane Garden Bay is a particularly worthwhile place to visit. Lay anchor in one of these bays for the night or just have a party on-board, the possibilities really are endless!

About the Author: This is a guest post by Miles of Richardsons Boating Holidays.

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