With thanks to:

The Moorings

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Virgin territory

3: Climate control

We visited in February, providing a perfect escape from the British winter. Over two weeks the temperature was perfect T-shirt and shorts sailing: seldom too hot or too cold and much more comfortable than the excesses you can experience in the Mediterranean. It also blew every single day – mostly around Force 4, occasionally Force 6 and more with torrential downpours, never less than Force 3 – with the breeze staying up through the nights, which is great for comfortable sleeping.

With wind guaranteed, we could sail whenever we wanted. The engine was no more than an auxiliary which at most got run for an hour a day to power the anchor windlass, top up batteries and keep the fridge-freezer reasonably cool.

Incidentally, on the subject of food storage and mod-cons, the Moorings 403 (a 39ft Beneteau) was our best yacht to date in that department, plus it also had a terrific tender and sailed fairly well! We did, however, treat the onboard air conditioning with incredulity — what’s the point of travelling to the Caribbean to sleep inside a cold boat? And we also found it curious that a yacht with air-con was equipped with parallel rules for chart work, which surely belong in a museum, and had no hand-bearing compass. It did have a Raymarine GPS Chartpilot with fancy colour display — just push the buttons and go — which was quite useful when it worked but absolutely useless when its compact flash card suffered complete brain failure. The Moorings can provide an on the water repair service if you call them out – but with line of sight navigation, we didn’t worry about a dead GPS.

February is high season in the BVIs, but it seemed much, much quieter than the Solent with a notably restrained pace of development on shore. When it comes to choosing places to stop, there is a huge choice of anchorages dotted around the islands, which in our experience never suffered from swell. The area also has a brilliant system of moorings. You can lie at anchor — taking care never to drop onto coral — but picking up a mooring is top choice for worry-free nights at a very reasonable charge of around US$25 (US dollars are widely used in the BVI).

These moorings are scattered throughout the islands and appear readily available for day and night time use. We only once failed to find a free mooring for a lunch-time stop: no-one had left Manchioneel Bay at Cooper Island because the wind was howling, and it was too deep to anchor comfortably, so we moved on.

With thanks to:

The Moorings

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