How to plan your BVI sailing itinerary

One of the most fun, but most intimidating, parts of your planning might be deciding your itinerary. I recommend planning one, with lots of room for change, run it by someone who’s been to the British Virgin Islands before. Be prepared to change it or deviate from it as things come up. You might be having a lot of fun one place and decide to stay or your crew might be seasick and not up to a long sail. Flexibility and options are key!

To give you an idea of what’s possible, here’s an example of a 7 day itinerary:

Day 1 – Get your boat, provisions, checkout. Sail from Roadtown to Norman Island. It’s a short sail, so if you get going late, you’ll be ok. (I’ve checked out as late as 3pm due to problems with boats and provisions.) If you get going early, you can stop at the Indians for a snorkel and then once you get to Norman, you can dingy over to the Caves for another snorkel.

Day 2Norman Island to North Sound, Virgin Gorda with a stop at the Baths. This is a long sail upwind, so if your crew is new or you get a late start, you might want to change your plan. Stop at Cooper Island or Marina Cay instead. You can also motor from the Baths to North Sound. You can’t overnight at the Baths.

Day 3North Sound to Anegada. Get an early start, get into Anegada by noon, take a taxi over to one of the beaches. (Before you leave, make reservations some where for your lobster dinner!)

Day 4Anegada to Jost Van Dyke. This is a long sail. We usually break it up by stopping for a lunch and a snorkel somewhere like Monkey Point.

Day 5 – Hang out on White Bay, Jost Van Dyke.

Day 6Jost Van Dyke to Norman Island. Stop at the Indians and the Caves if you didn’t see them the first day. You could also pull into Cane Garden Bay or Sopers Hole for a lunch break.

Day 7Norman Island to Road Town.

You can vary this any number of ways. We often spend two nights at North Sound and two nights at Anegada – if you run into a place you really like, stay a while! You might also want to add extra snorkel stops, like at the Dogs. Or you may want to skip Anegada and do more short hops. Fit in a trip to Salt Island to snorkel over the Wreck of the Rhone or take a short hike.

Here’s an idea of where you can go from one day to the next. This isn’t an exhaustive list and you should always check with your chart, your boat and your crew. Note that this is counter clockwise. I recommend you do your first trip counter clockwise.

From To
Roadtown Norman Island Short sail. Good if you get a late start. Lots of snorkeling. Good food at both Pirates (the beach bar) and Willie T’s (the boat bar). Willie T’s is also a great bar at night. Great snorkelling at the caves and at the Indians. Short sail back to Road Town in the morning. Or a good launching point for Peter Island, Cooper Island, Salt Island (Wreck of the Rhone) and the Baths.
Peter Island Not all the harbors are good for overnight.
Cooper Island Good restaurant. You want a mooring ball though so you’ll need to get in early. Stop at the Wreck of the Rhone and snorkel it. Can be a bit rolly on an overnight mooring.
Marina Cay Restaurant and shop.
Trellis Bay Right by the airport. Live music some nights. Also a place to rent windsurf boards.
North Sound Long sail. Only good if you get an early start. Many choices for mooring balls and entertainment. Great dinner at Leverick Bay – a pool and showers you can use there too. Pool and water sports at Bitter End yacht club.
Norman/Peter/Cooper Marina Cay Restaurant and shop. Be sure to catch Michael Beans on Happy Hour.
Trellis Bay Right by the airport. Live music some nights.
North Sound Many choices for mooring balls and entertainment. Great dinner at Leverick Bay – a pool and showers you can use there too. Barbecue/beach party on Friday nights. Pool and water sports at Bitter End yacht club. You can take a cab to the Baths from here.
Baths Not an over night stop!
Road Town Short sail.
Marina Cay/Trellis Bay North Sound Short sail. Lots of options for mooring balls and entertainment. Great dinner at Leverick Bay – a pool and showers you can use there too. Barbecue/beach party on Friday nights. Pool and water sports at Bitter End yacht club. You can take a cab to the Baths from here.
Cane Garden Bay Very pretty beach. Check out happy hour at Myett’s Friday or the Sunday Bar-B-Que at the Elm. Quito plays solo on Thursdays at Quito’s. Quito plays with the Edge on Fridays.
Jost Van Dyke Great beach on White Bay. Lots of evening entertainment in Great Harbour. Most peaceful mooring balls in Little Harbor. Check out the Bubbly Pool and Foxy’s Taboo at Diamond Cay.
North Sound Anegada Get an early start, especially if you want a mooring ball. Great beach at Cow Wreck. Good snorkelling at Loblolly. Lobster at all the restaurants but you have to call early and reserve it.
Marina Cay Restaurant and shop. You could stop at the Dogs and snorkel. Be sure to catch Michael Beans on Happy Hour.
Trellis Bay Right by the airport. Live music some nights. You could stop at the Dogs and snorkel.
Jost Van Dyke Cane Garden Bay Very pretty beach. Check out happy hour at Myett’s Friday or the Sunday Bar-B-Que at the Elm. Quito plays solo on Thursdays at Quito’s. Quito plays with the Edge on Fridays.
Norman Island Lots of snorkeling. Good food at both Pirates (the beach bar) and Willie T’s (the boat bar). Willie T’s is also a great bar at night. Great snorkelling at the caves and at the Indians. Short sail back to Road Town in the morning. Or a good launching point for Peter Island, Cooper Island, Salt Island (Wreck of the Rhone) and the Baths.
Road Town We made it by our noon checkout one time!
Anegada North Sound Lots of options for mooring balls and entertainment. Great dinner at Leverick Bay – a pool and showers you can use there too. Barbecue/beach party on Friday nights. Pool and water sports at Bitter End yacht club. You can take a cab to the Baths from here.
Jost Van Dyke Long sail but plenty of time to break it up with some snorkeling. Great beach on White Bay. Lots of evening entertainment in Great Harbour. Most peaceful mooring balls in Little Harbor. Check out the Bubbly Pool and Foxy’s Taboo at Diamond Cay.
Marina Cay Restaurant and shop. You could stop at the Dogs and snorkel.
Trellis Bay Right by the airport. Live music some nights. You could stop at the Dogs and snorkel.

You may also want to know where you can water and fuel. If you are on a sailing yacht, it’s unlikely you’ll need fuel during a week long stay. If you are careful with your water, you won’t need water either. However, if everyone is taking long showers, you might want to plan for a water stop midweek.

What itineraries do you suggest to people planning a sailing vacation in the BVI?

2 comments for “How to plan your BVI sailing itinerary

  1. David
    November 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Is sailing from Road Town to Anegada after check-out out of the question? What is the sailing time?

    What about sailing from Road Town to North Sound after check-out and then on to Anegada the following day?

    When you say ‘early start’, what time do you mean?

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