Yacht Charters around The Virgin Islands
By far the most popular charter area (and the easiest to sail) is the US and British Virgin Islands. These Islands, located east of Puerto Rico, are more sheltered from the open ocean than other Caribbean areas. The area is served by several airlines, with American providing the most flights. Airfare costs less to the Virgins than other Caribbean charter destinations and connections are better, too.
If you choose the charter from Tortola we recommend flying into this island if possible. Alternatively you can fly into St Thomas and take a ferry (about one hour, costs around $60 round trip) but chances are you’ll have to take the 8 AM return ferry in order to make your flight, if you want to fly home the same day that your charter ends.
If you are a first time Charterer we strongly recommend the Virgins unless you have prior blue-water experience. However, many sailors love this area so much that they return to it year after year! This is unquestionably one of the finest sailing areas in the world and very easy to navigate. Islands are close together with a nice quite anchorage always in easy reach many excellent spots for diving and snorkeling.
Everything in the Virgins is geared towards bareboat chartering, and you’ll find lots of things to keep you occupied from car and jeep rentals to paragliding or scuba diving. Stop at a floating restaurant for a rollicking good time, enjoy the Cabaret at the Last Resort, Spend a day at The Bitter End, walk a perfect sand beach, experience a pig roast or superb lobster dinner at one of several beachside restaurants. Above all, snorkel the warm, crystal-clear waters that are a hallmark of The Caribbean.
Repair service is just a phone call away, and should you experience an emergency, VISAR (Virgin Island Search and Rescue) is poised and ready to respond instantly. Climate is near-perfect with temperatures ranging from average highs of around 83 deg F in January to 90 deg F in July. Water temperatures range from 79 deg F in January to 84 deg F in August. The easterly trade winds blow steadily throughout most of the year, averaging around 22 knots in December and January and decreasing to about 15 knots May through July with occasional lulls during the summer. Rain usually occurs at night, with brief but heavy showers. September through November are the rainiest months, the average daily rainfall being around .25 to .30 inches.
Hurricane Season officially opens June 1st and ends in late November. It is quite rare to experience a hurricane earlier than mid-July nor later than mid-October, and the majority of hurricanes that have visited these islands occur in late August through September.
Insider Hints: During the winter season, arrive at your evening destination early to assure a good spot. Also, don’t miss The Baths on Virgin Gorda, which will be a highlight of your trip. Anchor the night before outside of Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour (conditions permitting) then sail down the coast under jib alone while eating breakfast, arriving there before 9:30 to avoid the crowds.