Sailing the British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands remain the world’s best place for sailing with constant trade wills, crystal clear waters, sunny days and islands that remain so close you can navigate by sight. Whether you’ve been sailing your entire life or it’s your first trip, there is always something to do and discover in this region of the Virgin Islands archipelago. Here are a couple fun destinations to check out during your voyage.
About the Islands
The British Virgin Islands – or BVI — are made up of over 25 islands set in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. The major islands include Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Tortola and Jost Van Dyke, although even the smaller islands offer accommodations and plenty of things do to.
Most of the islands feature white-sand beaches and luxury resorts on the water with sailor-friendly venues, great shopping and activities like reef diving and snorkeling to keep you busy. Booking a charter sailboat is the best way to see the islands that aren’t easy to access, although you can also opt for a charter yacht to tour the waters in style. Your biggest worry of the day will be running out of ice or deciding what to do next.
The main island of Tortola offers the right combination of steady winds, sheltered waters, very little tidal currents and hazards, perfect line-of-sight navigating and a quick hop over to many destinations just hours away. Trade winds in the region average a steady 10-20 knots, ideal for the beginning sailor, and you’ll find it easy to plot your course to your next destination.
During your voyage, take in the lush green islands rising from the waters at every turn. Many of the islands are actually the remains of ancient volcanoes and the area is full of formations and flooded caves to discover, not to mention the coral reefs. Hop off on Jost Van Dyke, Tortola or one of the other main islands and rent some scuba gear to explore the natural beauty for yourself.
Heading to Cane Garden Bay
A popular destination for its nightlife and great beaches, Cane Garden Bay is just to the east of Jost Van Dyke on the northern region of Tortola. Spend some time kayaking, windsurfing or relaxing at anchor to take in the magnificent sunsets in this thumb-shaped bay. At night, the bars come alive with calypso and reggae bands, particularly at the popular Myett’s Garden and Grill Restaurant.
This low coral and limestone island is only 28 feet above sea level at its highest point and it’s home to many salt ponds and, famously, pink flamingos introduced here long ago from Bermuda. The island is covered with orchids and palm trees with white sand beaches.
The perfect point to sail from is Virgin Gorda with favorable winds. While you’re here, enjoy the world-renowned scuba diving in Loblolly Bay, swim in the lagoons and enjoy some fresh caught lobster at Neptune’s Treasure before setting sail again.