In the sunny Caribbean Sea, between Puerto Rico and Anguilla, is a small group of islands renowned throughout the world as a perfect sailing destination. The British Virgin Islands are a compact group of more than 50 islands, 16 of which are inhabited.
Just to the north of the US Virgin Islands, the BVI are close together – making sailing between them quick and easy. American visitors love them because they offer scores of villages and moorings, ranging from busy party-filled harbours to remote secluded beaches.
The largest of the British Virgin Islands is Tortola, where the capital Road Town provides all the opportunities for stocking up supplies at the start of any yacht charter. It’s also home to the Sage Mountain National Park, a must-see protected area of beautiful rainforest.
On the island of Virgin Gorda is another widely acclaimed sight – a mysterious natural labyrinth of round grey boulders lining a pristine beach, called The Baths. If you’ve got your own boat it’s very easy to reach.
The BVI are officially a British overseas territory but have become a great favourite with American visitors. The islands are considered some of the most undeveloped spots in the Caribbean.
They have developed a reputation as the pick of the region’s sailing destinations. The islands are easy to get to and stand amid calm seas that are easily navigable.
The BVI tourism industry has evolved to fit in with the demands of yacht chartering – so there are fantastic facilities and a widespread culture of making things as easy as possible for visiting sailors. There are many leading hire operators you can opt for from Borrowaboat to many other online services, and you’ll find a choice of hundreds of boats available in the British Virgin Islands.
They’ll range from small bareback yachts to huge superyachts. There are hundreds of vessels available for every budget and size of party.
Generally, visitors from the US love the unspoilt nature of the island group. There are resorts and attractions like other Caribbean islands – but they are small and secluded compared with many of the other holiday destinations in the region.
The climate and geography mean that recent polls of visitors have ranked the BVI as one of the best destinations in the world to go to in the middle of the northern hemisphere’s winter. The islands are often voted the best place of all to go in January.
For Americans most of all, the islands are very easy to reach and offer the standards of luxury, quality and safety they expect. A top charter company like Borrowaboat provides the reassurance of boats that meet the most stringent safest and certification standards.
Some independent and experienced sailors choose to hire boats ‘bareback’ – that means they do all the sailing and navigation themselves. Others might hire a boat with a professional skipper included. The skipper will take charge of the sailing side of the holiday, leaving you to get on with cooking and cleaning.
The best option, and one favoured by many Americans, is to hire a completely crewed boat. Americans are primarily looking to relax on their vacation – they don’t want to spend it washing dishes or mopping the deck.
They would often opt for a glamorous catamaran that offers stability in the waves – and plenty of deck space to relax.
When you choose a crewed charter catamaran you will be getting a skipper to do the sailing – plus a cook to prepare all the meals and a deckhand to help both of them.
That means you will be able to ask the skipper to sail where you want – and ask the chef to prepare the food you want. You’ll even be able to ask the deckhand to serve it, where and when you want it.
Americans like the luxury this type of holiday offers. There’s no worrying about shopping, preparing or cooking. You don’t even have to do any washing up on your holiday.
The experience can be all about relaxing and exploring, you don’t even have to help put up a sail or pull on a rope if you don’t want to.
Choose a bigger boat and there could be room for more crew too. Families may add a nanny to look after the children or a diving specialist to help you learn how to explore underwater.
The crew members will always have their own quarters allowing you as much privacy as you require. This makes it great for honeymooning couples.
The BVI season lasts right through the year. The islands are very popular with Americans between September and November, after the hurricane season and before the Christmas crowds.
Then New Year is always a popular party time on Jost Van Dyke Island. The carnival-like festivities are famous throughout the Caribbean.
January and February are quieter and offer clearer waters and sunny skies. Temperatures are still very good in these months, with averages above 80 degrees F.
Sailors often like to visit the BVI in March during the festivities of the islands’ Spring Regatta. It’s also the driest part of the year.
March to August is the cheapest time but can bring the warmest temperatures because there’s a little higher chance of rain.
Whenever you visit the British Virgin Islands you’ll find it a sailing destination geared up to provide a relaxing holiday adventure. And isn’t that what all holidays are supposed to offer?