The Best Season for Sailing

Brian Duff, Broker - BVI Yacht Sales

Brian Duff, Broker - BVI Yacht Sales

With experience from owning a variety of yachts, sailing on almost every type of boat out there, and accumulating many thousands of miles on the race course or cruising, Brian has worked in the yacht industry for 18 years. He has an intricate knowledge of yachts and he applies this to help his clients fully understand the boats he sells.
Brian Duff, Broker - BVI Yacht Sales

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The Best Season for Sailing in the BVI

Photography by Shakti Segura

The summer time in the BVI presents my favourite season for enjoying the BVI by water – some might say this is the best sailing experience you can get because you are not only in the sailing capital of the world, you are also arguably picking the best time.

While the winter months are the most popular for visitors owing to flight from painful climates, frozen wastelands, long dark days, and angry depressed people deprived of the sunshine, I do not actually find that the winter months offer the best of the BVI.

As a lifelong sailor and lover of the water, I find winter too cold, too windy, and too rough to really enjoy the passion I hold so dearly. Sure there’s fun to be had – strong trades make fast sailing, big swell creates awesome surfing, and the crowds of tourists fashion the best beach parties of the year, but perceptive Virgin Island residents will agree that the great times are when it’s a little warmer, a little quieter and the trades back down to 10-12kts many days; those winter storms stop sweeping out from the USA so the swell is flat, forming warm, crystal-clear water for excellent diving and snorkelling.

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To put the proverbial ‘icing on the cake’, prices are often better in the summer with steep discounts on hotels, tours, charters and flights. The bars and restaurants often have specials in attempts to rouse continued traffic as well so, in that concise wrap up, we know which is indisputably the best season to be in BVI – now let’s talk about the summer season’s activity.

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If you already own a boat then it’s going to be much easier for you to take advantage of the BVI summer months and its flat seas – try out some north side or outer island anchorages that are not normally considered safe for overnight use during the regular season.

A couple of spots I recommend trying are Monkey Point on Guana Island, or any of the Dogs for real adventure. As always, be sure to anchor in clean white sand, and when exploring these uncommon anchorages, be exceedingly careful about not just where your anchor goes, but also where the chain lies – do not damage the coral or grasses which you worked so hard to come and see.

Another excellent summer activity, particularly as we have a week long holiday in August which often gifts us with calm weather, is to run to St Martin. It’s not far, and with the likelihood of the trades being completely smooth, the run over will be much more reasonable than normal – specifically thinking of motorboats in this instance.

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But dear reader, I know some of you are lamenting the fact you are boat-less and perhaps I’ve invoked a little frustration about these great things you won’t be able to do – fear not.

The summer months also offer the opportunity for the boat-less to get on the water cheaper than ever. Charters, boat rentals, and even boats themselves all sell for great value rates in the summer months.

Companies such as the Moorings offer steep discounts to Virgin Island residents during the ‘off season’, enticing a continuation in water activity throughout the year.

One of the cheapest ways to get on the water year round, and to learn to sail if you do not know yet, is to join the Royal BVI Yacht Club, which for its very low membership fee gets you free access to the entire fleet of club owned boats, including five-man IC24s, two-Man 420’s, Single (or double) Laser Sailboats and more.

Being on a boat in the summer is about as good as it gets in the BVI – warm days, secluded harbours, and excellent clear water. It’s what yachting should be all year round and it’s definitely sufficient to provoke the envy of sailors abroad.

I’m more than a little bit of a ‘boat nerd’ and can get a bit heavy on that side, but I acknowledge that some just do not enjoy the yachting world. That in mind, I can suggest that a great land based activity to do is to try staying on other islands.

Just like our islands here experience less traffic in the summer months, our US sisters do as well and this can be a great season to get ‘off the rock’ and visit places such as St John where many hotels including Caneel Bay and Gallows Point extend their local resident summer discounts to BVI dwellers as well. This opens up a whole extra region to enjoy while the summer slows.

Whatever you choose to do with the extra free time, better weather, and quieter months of the summer, be sure to keep it a secret – we don’t want everyone around the world finding out about the best sailing season on the globe.

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