Sailing the British Virgin Islands: A 7 day itinerary
The British Virgin Islands are among the top sailing spots in the world for all sailors. With an easy line-of-sight and relaxed winds, it is easy to see why this destination has risen to the top of sailing experiences in the Caribbean.
The warm weather and immaculate waters with hidden beaches are definitely another excuse to island hop in the beautiful region. The offerings are endless with a perfect mix of local cuisine, nightlife options and of course scenic views that are incomparable.
A few things to know
A typical yacht charter in the BVI usually consists of 7 or 10 days, due to the nature of the itinerary. The charm of yacht chartering in the region comes from the ability to island hop so it is advised to do no less than a week.
To cruise in complete comfort, the catamaran is the most popular due to the increased stability it provides. If you’ve never handled a catamaran before or if you want nothing to do with the controls, you can rent a catamaran with a skipper and let them guide you through the hidden gems of the BVI.
If you charter a bareboat, there are a few things you should know prior to heading to the islands. In the BVI, there are no licenses required, but you will have to prove that you have the necessary qualifications if you are stopped by the port authorities. We recommend bringing all sailing certifications and a nautical CV to be sure.
If you plan to visit the national parks of the BVI, there are a few things you’ll have to keep in mind. Because of the protection of the reefs, you will have to take out a mooring permit if you want to moor, snorkel, or dive in any of the national parks, which will have to be done well in advance.
Day 1: Arrival in Road Town
When chartering a yacht in the BVI, the most popular departure point is from Road Town in Tortola, which happens to be the capital of the islands. The first day is quite calm as you’ll meet the skipper or the base captain, depending on your type of rental.
You will get a tour of the boat and they will give you all of the information you’ll need for your voyage. Have a nice dinner on the amazing, diverse port of Road Town and get ready to head out early in the morning.
Day 2: Road Town → Spanish Town
10.5 nautical miles, 2 hours of sailing
From the base at Road Town, you will head directly to Virgin Gorda from Tortola. One of the most exciting stops will be at the world-famous sailing spot, The Baths. A geological wonder of the islands, The Baths are a collection of granite boulders created from volcanic activity. Pair this with crystal clear water and white sand beaches and you have a sailor’s paradise.
After your done with The Baths, you’re only a short distance from Spanish Town. The Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour can be your main stop as this is the main commercial and boating hub for the entire southern part of the island. You can stop here for waterfront restaurants and shopping.
Day 3: Spanish Town → Gorda Sound
9 nautical miles, 2 hours of sailing
After leaving Spanish Town, you can start heading north along the beautiful coast of the island. Less than halfway through your voyage and you’ll encounter one of the most beautiful stretches of beach you’ll ever see. Enter Savannah Bay, a long curving beach that is ideal for a stop to snorkel, layout or just for a quick swim.
Enjoy the views and head straight to Gorda Sound which is only a short distance away. Here at Gorda Sound, you’ll have plenty of resources for your trip and it will be the perfect departure point for the next part of your journey. The total trip would only be approximately 9 nm.
Day 4: Virgin Gorda → Anegada
13 nautical miles, 2.5 hours of sailing
The voyage to Anegada is only about 13 nautical miles away, but the flawless water will leave you mesmerized. Upon arriving, you’ll realize how distinct the Anegada island is. It is surrounded by coral reefs, and you’ll have access to some of the most secluded beaches on the island.
One interesting aspect of the island is in regards to the wildlife. The island houses very interesting species both on land and in the water. Because of this, snorkeling enthusiasts will be sure to take a dive. If you prefer to stay on land, head to Cow Wreck Beach of Flash of Beauty for a dose of ultimate relaxation.
Day 5: Anegada → Trellis Bay
19.4 nautical miles, 4 hours of sailing
Once you arrive to Trellis Bay, one of the main things to do in this area is to relax. Sailors use this opportunity to go to shore and eat at one of the popular restaurants on the beaches. All the restaurants on the shore make it a point to be as easily accessible to dinghies as possible so be sure to use this day to recover and be ready for the next big day.
Day 6: Trellis Bay → Jost Van Dyke
15 nautical miles, 3 hours of sailing
A bit further away then the previous destinations, the voyage from Trellis Bay to Jost Van Dyke will be approximately 15nm. Even though the island is one of the smallest in the BVI, it has a rich history. Having been inhabited by the Arawak Indians, Dutch, Caribs, Africans and the British, you will feel a sense of cultural diversity. As you’ll notice, a lot of the islands here are perfect for snorkeling and diving, and Jost Van Dyke is no different.
One of the main attractions of the island is the local cuisine. The fresh fish and barbecues have always been tourist favorites and they are easily accessible by the Great Harbour. Once you arrive, you can take a nice swim and take in the view of the whales and dolphins that are easily visible from the harbour.
Day 7: Jost Van Dyke → Road Town
17.5 nautical miles, 3.5 hours of sailing
After the cruise back to Road Town, you can relax in the morning before your check out. This will give you plenty of time to pack your bags as well as take inventory of the boat. Take the time to look back at the hidden beaches, the marvellous snorkelling spots, the wildlife you’ll see once in a lifetime, and the amazing catamaran you were on a for a week and now you can join the list of sailors that have sailed paradise!