Tips and advice for making the best out of your time, while sailing in the British Virgin Islands.
This article summarizes the following:
- When is the best sailing in the British Virgin Islands?
- Sailing in the BVI: Best coasts and harbours – a compass for the enjoyable sailing
- Coasts and islands in the BVI: Our offer on a one-week itinerary
This area has a tropical rainforest climate, according to which, the average temperature in summer is around 32 ˚C and in the winter around 29 ˚C. Rain can fall at any time, but “officially” the end of summer is considered as the rainy season.
In September and October are the trade winds the weakest. Between November and January, the dominant wind direction is northwest, with 15-20 knots. An exception is the “Christmas winds”, which often reaches 25-30 knots. From February to the great part of the year, an eastern, southeast wind is typical at 10-15 knots.
The most suitable period for visiting the British Virgin Islands is from mid-September to the end of November. By this time the hurricane season usually ends, and because of the winter holidays, the crowd does not arrive yet. The most enthusiastic sailors should visit in the spring too. Every year since 1972, the Spring Regatta is organized at the end of March. This is a seven days long sailing race between the islands, complete with a sailing festival.
The varied world of the British Virgin Islands has many well-equipped ports, bays and beautiful seashores to explore. Here’s almost everything is about sailing, so we strongly recommend the following places.
Parham Town is one of the largest settlements on the southeast corner of Tortola Island. Several ports can be found here. Hodge’s Creek Marina is a very popular one. In the western corner of Tortola, with its 50-seat the Sopers Hole Marina offers a wide range of services. In the administrative centre, Road Town offers dozens of different mooring options from simple to almost luxurious conditions. The settlement also has a yacht club.
In the southwestern part of Virgin Gorda, on the coast called The Valley, is a great yacht harbour. They can accommodate ships up to 160 ft length, with 10-foot diving depth. On the island, Leverick Bay has 20 seats, the close Saba Rock Island can accommodate 17 boats.
Jost van Dyke’s main port is on the Great Harbor. It is a spacious, wind-sheltered harbour surrounded by small hills and mountains. There are four more places on the island from where we can get on the land.
From the smaller islands, Cooper, Norman and Peter Island have a well-equipped harbour. The northern member of the archipelago, Anegada, is also worth mentioning. On a completely flat, limestone and coral island, it is possible to harbour between Setting Point and Pomato Point, but due to the reefs, there is a need for increased attention and greater knowledge to get safely on the shore.
This itinerary is ideal for those who would go on a voyage with a rented boat, whether it would be a catamaran or a different type of ships. We departures from Tortola Island and at the end of our journey we come back here, more specifically to the Nanny Cay Marina. It is one of the most well-known and best-equipped harbours on the BV Islands. It has 180 berths and all the important services are available. Electricity, water supply, restaurant and a hotel can be found in the immediate vicinity of the harbour.
1. day: Tortola – Norman Island
Light and pleasant sailing wait for you on the Sir Francis Drake canal. On the way we pass by countless great snorkelling and diving spots, starting from the impressive forms of Indian Rocks all the way to Norman Island. Here, if we go to “The Caves”, then we can understand what inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write the Treasure Island. Seeing these caves we start to really believe that pirates have hidden a lot of treasures here. In the Bight Bay, we can enjoy the beauty of the evening sunset, while drinking a delicious cocktail.
2. day: Norman Island – Peter Island
Another wonderful island is on our way. Despite the small size of Peter Island, it is one of the most popular BVI among the tourists. This is not surprising, because there are five beaches here, one more beautiful than the other.
3. day: Peter Island – Salt & Cooper Island
The Salt Island is a memento of a ship disaster. We can still find wreckage on the seabed. The meeting of the sea-life and remnants of the 150-year-old ship are a fascinating sight. The nearby Little Cooper Island is interesting because it offers cosy accommodation for the visitors. The island also has a restaurant, a coffee shop, a rum bar, gift shop and a small brewery as well.
4. day: Next stop: Ginger Island and Virgin Gorda
Due to the rich, green mangrove bushes, it is worth enjoying the sight of Ginger Island from the boat. This is a private island, you can only harbour there with a permit. At the greater part of our day, we reach the Virgin Gorda Island and spend our time there. In one day, we only have time for the most important sights. Of course, “The Baths” is a must-see attraction, here we wrote more detailed about it. For real sailor the North Sound is equally interesting: it is a water surface surrounded by islands and reefs. Here, at the northern end of Virgin Gorda, there are countless bays inviting us to get to the coast. The area is a paradise for divers and snorkellers, but here you can try jet skiing and paddle boarding too.
5. day: Exploring the North Sound
The small islands here are charming hiking and resting places. Some of them, such as Necker or Eustatia Island, are privately owned. The two larger islands, the Mosquito Island, and Prickly Pear can be visited by anyone. The latter is interesting because of its natural beauties and diverse flora, its area is a national park. The island got its especially exotic sounding name after a native cactus species. Well-built berths await sailors to enjoy the beach or the island’s popular, cosy restaurant.
6. day: Scrub Island, The Dogs and the Island of Jost Van Dyke
We return to the Sir Francis Drake channel again. This day is about making a distance between Scrub Island and Beef Island, which is near to Tortola, then we finally harbour on Jost Van Dyke. During the journey, we stop by “The Dogs”. This is a group of five uninhabited rock island that is a very popular diving and snorkelling destination. Scrub Island has a luxury holiday resort that meets all requirements, where yachts can harbour up to 170-foot length.
7. day: Exploring Jost van Dyke; returning to Tortola
Although Irma, the most devastating hurricane of recent times has left its mark on the island, if you want to have nice drinks and eat delicious food, you should have a stop here. There are cultic bars waiting for thirsty travellers like the Soggy Dollar Bar. Anyone who is looking for a dance club will also find some awesome places.
If you feel like a week is not enough of the British Virgin Islands, and you don’t want to stop sailing, we have a bonus proposal! Instead of returning to Tortola, steer the ship to Anegada, and if you are already there, spend one or more day on the island. In the meantime, you should try the local gastronomic speciality, the lobster.
Did you enjoy this itinerary? Don’t miss out! Even today you can rent a boat at affordable prices and with flexible terms!