With thanks to:

The Moorings



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Virgin territory

4: Favourite haunts

It took us around 10 days to cruise around the BVIs at a relaxed pace, leaving extra time to revisit some islands. The whole area seemed nice and the sailing was delightful. We particularly liked Norman Island which, despite being close to Tortola, is largely unspoilt and has its own mini cruising ground with neighbouring Peter Island.

Further up the island chain, the Baths at Virgin Gorda are well worth a visit, though you need to arrive early to bag a mooring and swim/walk through the huge granite boulders which are nicknamed ‘Stonehenge-by-Sea’. Gorda Sound, at the west end of Virgin Gorda, was memorable for the excellent Fat Virgin Cafe just round the corner from the anodyne marina development at Bitter End.

This is also the perfect jumping off point for Anegada, 14 miles to the north. The Moorings has a small office at Bitter End, which provides an informal daily briefing on how to sail to Anegada without wrecking their boat. The problem is you can’t see the extensive reefs, which are mostly deep enough under your keel, but have coral heads like houses just a few feet below the surface.

To ensure a safe passage to Anegada, the Moorings have developed a rather curious method of navigating by various trees, roofs and houses, but as Christine who ran the briefing explained, ‘We’ve never lost a boat!’ However, sailing there is well worth the effort. Anegada could double as paradise island with miles and miles of the most beautiful sandy beaches, no ghastly hotels and very few people around. The large anchorage appears to be completely open but is protected by hidden reefs, with a pleasing selection of simple cafes spread along the beach and the most charming and friendly people we encountered in all the islands.

Unfortunately even paradise is never perfect, particularly when you have noisy neighbours. We had no problem with the local band playing into the night on shore. But it’s not so great to wake up to the sound of next door’s yacht running its engine at 0700hrs, which was then joined by a huge catamaran on which a group of self-obsessed young men gave a public display of their keep-fit routines. We neither wanted to watch blokes pumping up their biceps or listen to their music, so we left Anegada and went sailing.

Sailing in the BVIs is so enjoyable that we were not particularly sad to leave Anegada, even though we’d considered staying there a couple of days. The next best trip was sailing down the north coast of Tortola, which is largely untouched and beautiful, with rolling surf in the bays and nowhere to stop along the way.

I had high hopes of another dose of paradise on Jost van Dyke but found it a little disappointing, likewise Cane Garden Bay on Tortola gets a wonderful write-up in the Virgin Islands Cruising Guide, but was really not so nice. Soper’s Hole looked great from the water, but on closer inspection turned out full of touristy kitsch with prices to match. So it was back to Norman Island for our last two nights afloat, anchored in our favourite Benures Bay where you can watch the local pelicans do their dive bomb routines all day, then moored in Privateer Bay for a perfect view of the Caribbean sun going down at the end of another perfect sailing day.

Would I recommend a yacht holiday in the BVIs? Yes, it really is worth the trip. We’ve enjoyed family cruises across Britain and Europe, but the BVIs topped the bill for the best sailing conditions, most pleasant climate, least hassle (getting there excluded) and highest levels of extremely relaxed fun.


With thanks to:

The Moorings


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