There are a few bases to start your sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands, most of them on the main island of Tortola, or just nearby, on Scrub Island (10 min by ferry from Tortola).
With so many natural parks in the Virgin Islands, you could consider the whole area as a natural park. Therefore you will not find too many marinas along the way and you will spend many nights in bays. Most of the anchoring spots have mooring buoys and some of them can even be booked in advance thru the BoatyBall application.
A sailing vacation in the BVI’s can be very quiet and relaxing, but if you are also looking for a little party, then you should include The famous Willy T bar in your route, located in the Bight Bay on Norman Island. It is an old ship that is anchored there and besides the bar and music, they also have a small restaurant.
Close to Norman Islands, you can also find the Indians, a great swim and snorkel stop, not to be missed. You can find mooring balls here so the yacht can stay in safe conditions.
Anegada is the second-largest island in the archipelago, but it has a population of only 300 inhabitants. Anegada is known for miles of white sand beaches and the 18-mile (29 km)-long Horseshoe Reef, one of the largest barrier coral reefs in the Caribbean. The reef makes navigation to Anegada difficult. There is a channel well marked so you can go close to shore in the anchoring area, with plenty of mooring balls available. In high season though, you need to be early in the anchorage area if you want to find a free buoy or haven’t booked one in advance.
Anegada is also known for its great lobster dinner. There are 3-4 restaurants on the beach and you can’t go wrong with lobster in any of them. But if you are also looking for some fun at dinner, then try Potters Bar and Lobster House for some limbo lessons and dancing barefoot on the beach.
While here, take a taxi or rent a scooter and check the Flamingo area and go to Cow wreck beach.. so you can have long walks on wide empty beaches.
Virgin Gorda is the third largest island in the archipelago and was named like this by Christopher Columbus. On the southernmost point of the island is the natural park Devil’s Bay with the fantastic “stone forest” of The Baths. There are a few mooring balls here that can be used during the day for a short visit at The Baths.
Further north you will find Spanish Town and Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, a marina where you can find all services if needed. From here you can take a taxi to The Baths and for dinner, you can also go by taxi to CocoMaya for a great atmosphere.
Virgin Gorda is also home to the famous Bitter End Yacht Club which was rebuilt and opened after Hurricane Irma in 2017 destroyed everything in that area. Bitter End restaurant is a great asset to the archipelago.
Saba Rock Resort is also open, and you can either find a mooring ball at the resort, or stay at anchor or mooring ball close to Bitter End and go with the dinghy.
If you need docking, you can also try Leverick Bay Marina in this large protected bay.
A little north from Virgin Gorda you will find Sir Richard Branson’s private island, Necker Island. There are a few mooring balls or you can anchor close to Little Necker, a small sand band outside Necker Island for a short swim break and pictures.
On the west side of Virgin Gorda, there are the Dog Islands, a great swim stopover when in the area.
Cooper Island is a smaller island with not so many mooring balls available in the protected bay. Being very close to Tortola, it is usually busier at the start and at the end of the sailing week. The restaurant is a great one and if you visit this place, make sure you also check the fantastic rum bar at the restaurant.
The funniest and loudest island is Jost Van Dyke. It is difficult to reserve a buoy in Great Harbour as it gets very busy every day. If you don’t find a buoy here and neither a spot to drop anchor, then you can also try Garner Bay.
The main place in Great Harbour is Foxy’s, the famous place for anytime party and dinner, and one of the greatest places on earth to spend New Year’s Eve at.
Travelling west, the next bay is the White Bay with a looong beach and pristine turquoise waters. The best time to visit this bay is when is not windy. There are 3 mooring balls for sailing yachts and catamarans but there is also room for anchoring. Lots of small boats are here too. So if you have a spot on Great Harbour, you can come to White Bay by taxi, it’s a 7 min ride, with the island speed taxi.
The main attraction here is the famous Soggy Dollar bar, but you can find many other nice beach bars around (Gertrude’s, Ivan’s Stress free etc).
On the East side of Jost Van Dyke you can find the Sandy Spit, a nice swim stop over and also Sandy Cay, a little bigger island with a fabulous white sandy beach. Beware of small insects deeper on the island if you plan a hike..