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Tortola is at the heart of the British Virgin Islands tropical archipelago and the center of BVI government and commerce. It’s surrounded by the main islands of Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke and 50 other small islets and cays. The BVIs are known for offering a warm welcome and laid-back atmosphere, which has never been more apparent since the hurricanes of 2017. Use our itineraries to help plan your yacht charter, or read our BVI-specific blogs. If you have a BVI question, you’re welcome to call our team or request a quote.
The BVIs are known for a vibrant nightlife among famous sailor’s bars, including the legendary Soggy Dollar Bar and Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke with its famous Painkiller punch – you have been warned! The islands are the perfect choice for all with so many spectacular spots to visit, great corals to discover and a colorful underwater world. It’s an easy sailing experience too with line of sight navigation and short legs between islands.
The BVI is a sailor’s paradise with reliable trade winds, calm, sheltered clear waters and a beautiful archipelago of scenic islands. The islands are at the top of any sailor’s bucket list of chartering destinations for good reason, even after the recent powerful hurricanes. The BVI community has worked hard to recover from the damage and sailors have returned, enjoying the Caribbean spirit and hospitality.
It’s easy to see why the BVIs are the most popular cruising grounds in the Caribbean, as these impressive islands bask in sunshine year-round with a tropical climate staying at a balmy 86°F. Add in the line of sight navigation and it’s a great choice for those relatively new to sailing or haven’t sailed the Caribbean before. Even experienced sailors enjoy the relaxed sailing this part of the world offers.
From November to June, the trade winds blow from the north-east, averaging 15 to 25 knots. The winds can be stronger between December and January, known as the famous Christmas wind. In the summer months, the trade winds are from the south-east, and a little weaker at between 10 and 15 knots. You’ll find the islands less crowded when there is lighter wind in the summer months The hurricane season runs from June to October.
Fly to the BVIs via Puerto Rico (the best route from North America), St. Thomas and Antigua with Delta, United Airlines and JetBlue. Use Caribbean carrier, LIAT, to fly onwards toTerrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS) on Tortola in the BVI, or local ferries from St. Thomas. Make sure your connections are available if you arrive in the evening.
National Park Day Time Mooring Permits
The National Parks Trust of the British Virgin Islands has a system of daytime moorings in reef sensitive areas. This is to eliminate the erosion of reefs and help damaged reefs to recover. If you wish to moor, snorkel or dive in any of the BVI National Parks, you need a Mooring Permit. Permit costs depend on the number of passengers and range from $25 per boat per week for four people to $55 per boat per week for 10 people. It is charged in advance along with the charter fee. The permit is issued on arrival at the base. This is a government tax that enables you to cruise around the British Virgin Islands.
DAY 1 : Easy reach to Norman Island (8nm), home of the Caves and inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”. You can find mooring lines at the Bight.
DAY 2 : At Salt Island grab your mask and snorkel and check out the wreck of the Royal Mail Steamship “Rhone” which sank during a hurricane in 1867. Pass around Cooper Island (8nm).
DAY 3 : The Baths at Virgin Gorda are one of the most famous natural formations in the Caribbean. Huge granite boulders form small grottos and pools on the water’s edge for you to explore and snorkel. Sail up to North Sound (13nm), an incredible and magnificent blue lagoon, rich in maritime history. It is where Sir Francis Drake assembled his fleet before attacking Puerto Rico with the legendary Sir John Hawkins.
DAY 4 : Located at the western end of Tortola, Soper’s Hole, which is situated on Frenchman’s Cay and reputedly built on the hideout of the pirate Blackbeard. It is an ideal place to stop, refuel and replenish provisions. Dine at Pusser’s Landing and Omar’s Cafe.
DAY 5 : Cruise up to Guana Island for spectacular snorkeling and a beach picnic at Monkey Point. An afternoon’s sail west takes you to Jost van Dyke (15nm). Anchor in White Bay and swim ashore for cocktails in Little Harbour where “Foxy’s’” is famous for its Painkiller punch and beach parties.
DAY 6 : Free sailing.
DAY 7 : Low-lying and flat, Anegada is known as The Drowned Island and is quite different to the other islands in the BVI. Surrounded by reefs and shipwrecks, Anegada has superb white sand beaches. Whilst visiting Anegada on your yacht charter you might also spot one of the endangered rock iguanas that grow up to five feet long.
DAY 8 : Explore Fallen Jerusalem and its fabulous underwater world. It’s a top snorkel spot.
DAY 9 : Free sailing.
DAY 10 : Return to base.
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