Category: Caribbean

Sailing in the BVI

Carlisle Bay on the Caribbean island Grenada

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands are absolutely the jewels of the Caribbean.
This necklace of volcanic islands consisting of the main islands, Tortola and Virgin Gorda are encircled by the smaller and enchantingly named islands Fallen Jerusalem,  Dead Chest,  Salt Island Peter, Cooper and Ginger Island. These smaller islands conjure up tales of treasure maps and piracy offering a unique sailing experience throughout the Island group.  These extraordinary names hark back to the days of explorers and pirates, made accessible by sailing across the aptly named Sir Frances Drake Channel named after the Queen’s favourite Privateer and Westcountry hero, Frances Drake.  What better way to immerse yourself in RL Stevenson’s inspiration for Treasure Island.  Who knows what treasure you will find.

Today, we can enjoy these protected waters under sail enjoying every aspect of what these gems have to offer.  With a steady warm wind of 15-50 knots, the climate makes for a lot of sunshine for the perfect sailing holiday.  Getting away from the bare-boat charter,  Schooner Twister, or Eye of the Wind offers a more authentic way to discover paradise and a lot more comfortable than Jack Sparrow’s Black Pearl! For those looking for total luxury, classic yachts Chronos and Rhea glide effortlessly around these crystal clear Caribbean seas.

After a night under the stars, the perfect way to start the day “island style” is with a swim, diving over the side into balmy crystal waters.  A breakfast gleaming with fresh tropical fruits start the day in anticipation of sailing to our next destination.  

These islands provide some of the best and easier diving and snorkelling encounters anywhere in the Caribbean.  With underwater national parks,  spectacular reefs and historic shipwrecks, an underwater world teeming with fish and coral all the colours of the rainbow awaits.

 Of course, the absolute favourite has to be the Baths on the island of Virgin Gorda.  Here, amongst the white coral sands, giant boulders known as Batholiths form wonderful caves and glistening blue pools.  A day spent here is never enough, lazing in the sun or  drifting through the waves uncovering the wonderful world beneath.

Away from the bustling commercial centre of Road Town on the island of Tortola is the quieter “Sopers Hole”.  This wonderful anchorage, gently watched over by pelicans is a great place to explore the island.  Sage Mountain National Park is a great climb through some unique rainforest and is home to vast mahogany trees and boasting extraordinary views over the archipelago.  If it’s a quiet day you are after, then you can’t get more perfect than Smugglers cove to the north of Tortola.

Historically, the British Virgin Islands strategic geographical location and climate started important industries growing cotton and sugar.  Back in 1750, plantations of sea island cotton were exporting over a million pounds of cotton to the Lancashire mills.  As the cotton trade declined, sugar plantations took their place exporting cane and molasses. And yes, you guessed it,  from sugar you get Rum which is the drink of the Islands.  So make sure, as the sun goes down you head to Pusser’s Landing for their famous Rum Punch, known as a Painkiller!!

Wildlife in the Caribbean is also a real treat. Spot graceful Green and Loggerhead Sea Turtles gliding effortlessly through the water and Bottlenose Dolphins swimming with the wake of the bow. Whales also frequent the Caribbean sea, with the warm water providing the perfect breeding grounds at this time of year for the humpback whale. Birdlife in the Caribbean is an incredibly beautiful sight. Keep your binoculars at the ready to spot these colourful delights. With species only native to the Caribbean, these are once in a lifetime encounters! Pink Flamingoes are also a common bird across the Caribbean islands; these sociable creatures inhabit the blue lagoons, mudflats and lakes, living in colonies that can contain thousands of individuals.

Before you leave the islands, after a good day sailing,  you must try the local lobster, and the best way to do that is at Foxy’s Bar on Jost van Dyke.  Since the 60’s Foxy has been entertaining sailors with amazing BBQ’s on the beach, rum punches and great live music.  As a finale to your treasured isle holiday, what could be better?!

Take a look at our ships offering sailing holidays around the BVI >

10 Reasons to sail in the Caribbean

St Lucia Caribbean Marigot bay unsplash

The Caribbean is regarded by many as the Best Place in the World to holiday. Home to thousands of islands and perfect sailing winds (out of hurricane season of course!) we would have to agree with this… Forget the all inclusive Caribbean resorts and head for an authentic Caribbean adventure on an all inclusive sailing holiday! Sailing trips to the Caribbean should be on everyone’s bucket list, and if you’re still not convinced then here are our top ten reasons for choosing a sailing holiday in the Caribbean!

1. Warm Weather
Temperatures in the Caribbean sit between 23ºC to 30ºC all year long both day and night – so you can ditch those woolly jumpers but don’t forget the suncream! Whilst there’s plenty of time to be spent ashore sunbathing on the beach, one of the best things about yachting in the Caribbean is the gentle ocean breeze as you relax on the deck of the boat.

2. Perfect Sailing Winds
We obviously make sure that our holidays occur outside of the hurricane season! The Caribbean has constant trade winds, averagely blowing at about 15 – 25 knots from the East, most of the year. Dream sailing conditions making island hopping a dream to navigate for our skippers on Eye of the Wind, Chronos, Rhea, Blue Clipper and Skyelark. So whether you’re joining us on a 5* luxury yacht, or on a traditional tall ship, the warm winds make sailing a breeze..

3. Beautiful Beaches
We have all seen the photos of the pure white beaches hugging the islands providing the perfect holiday backdrop. Whilst typical Caribbean beach resorts are brimming with tourist hustle and bustle, our boats can take you to so many “off the beaten track” beaches you won’t know where to look! So whether it’s beaches overlooked by the volcanic mountains of St Lucia, or tropical beach destinations hidden along the shores of Antigua, find your favourite hidden gem beach in the Caribbean (and be sure to let us know!).

4. Wonderful Wildlife
From flamingoes to Sea Turtles, Marmut Monkeys to rare butterflies, the Caribbean is home to a rich and diverse abundance of fascinating wildlife and rare species. One of the benefits of a sailing holiday in the Caribbean is the proximity to marine wildlife. From our boats, you can swim with dolphins and sea turtles, snorkel with tropical fish in beautiful coral bays or even rent a diving suit at a local village and explore the shipwrecks. Whatever island you visit, rest assured you won’t be short of wildlife spotting opportunities.

5. Crystal Clear Waters
Low water density and lack of industry make for fantastically clear waters so swimming and snorkelling are top of the list for activities! And not only are they crystal clear but the average water temperature is also 27ºC – it’s like swimming in a lovely bath! Many of our voyages are able to take in the world class snorkelling destinations in the Caribbean, including the reef-lined Bequia Island or the under-water world of Tobago Cays.

6. Thousands of Islands
The Caribbean is made up of thousands of islands and with so much to explore, you’ll be longing to return for more from the moment you arrive. A skippered sailing holiday is the best way to experience as many islands as possible, with each mainland wonderfully culturally different from the next.

7. Fabulous Food
Traditional Caribbean food is a fabulous fusion between African, European, East Indian and Chinese cuisine. Your all inclusive Caribbean vacation starts with our on board chefs, who will certainly make sure that they are hopping ashore to grab the local delicacies to cook up a feast for your dinner. The seafood is especially fresh and the spices available will be like nothing you have tasted before. And of course, you must try the Caribbean rum!

8. Colourful Caribbean Culture
From the beautiful timber buildings to the local festivals to the wildlife, there are so many ways in which the Caribbean is full of colour. It would be impossible to choose the best Caribbean islands to visit, with each having its own unique community and culture. A sailing holiday in the Caribbean allows you to soak in as much culture as possible on your tropical vacation! The festivals reflect the rich and cultural diversity of the islands and if you catch one, you will be in for a once in a lifetime experience!

9. Interesting History
The Caribbean is steeped in colonial history with each island seemingly worlds apart from the next. The BVI is home to many pirate stories and shipwrecks while the Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda are full of historical and archaeological places of interest for those who love to sniff out a bit of history. A skippered sailing holiday to the Caribbean means you have built in tour guides in the form of our experienced crew who will be more than happy to make recommendations on all the top sights and hidden gems.

10. The Caribbean People
Whatever island you visit, you will find the (majority!) of locals to be friendly, happy-go-lucky and amazingly laid back. As you anchor from one port to the next be sure to befriend the locals, as they know all the best hidden gems of the area. They really do make your Caribbean sailing holiday experience a relaxed one!

Take a look at our sailing holidays in the beautiful Caribbean.