Ultimate Virgin Islands Cruising Guide
Before sailing the Virgin Islands, there are a few things you should know about the sailing logistics, opportunities, conditions, and culture. This go-to Virgin Islands cruising guide will provide you with all the information you need for the sailing trip of a lifetime.
- Virgin Islands sailing conditions
- Virgin Islands sailing culture
- Virgin Islands sailing courses and bareboat charters
- Virgin Islands sailing logistics
- Book your Virgin Islands sailing trip
The sailing in the Virgin Islands is known as “champagne sailing.” Sailors use this term to describe beautiful, sparkling seas that are easy to sail, with winds speeds typically below 20 knots.
Virgin Islands sailing weather
If you are planning on sailing the Virgin Islands, you can expect temperatures around 80°F and 85°F year round and predictable easterly winds of about 15-20 knots. Additionally, the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean remain at about 82°F year-round in calm protected bays. This makes the Virgin Islands a fabulous place for snorkeling, scuba diving, as well as sailing.
Sailing season in the Virgin Islands
Sailing the Virgin Islands is generally best between November and July. Between August and October is the rainy season in the Virgin Islands, as well as hurricane season. While these months may not be the best to be out on the water, they are a fabulous time to plan an upcoming trip for sailing the Virgin Islands.
Before you arrive in the Virgin Islands, we encourage you to get to know a little bit about the unique culture of the area. Here are a few specific things to be aware of:
You’re on island time!
It can be difficult to slow down from the high-paced environments we call home but when you are sailing the Virgin Islands— it’s a must! Life moves at a slower, more relaxed pace here. It’s customary to take the time to good morning, good afternoon, and good night before and after every conversation. It’s also not uncommon for people to run a few minutes late or have a more fluid definition of time. However, locals are happy to invite tourists into their lifestyle and help them adjust to the process of slowing down and living in the moment.
Impeccable culinary fusion
The Virgin Islands brings together people from around the world— and you can tell by the beautiful culinary fusion on the islands. You can find just about any food you desire here from sushi and American diner classics to fare that may be totally new to you, like Jamaican or West Indian dishes. When sailing the Virgin Islands, we also recommend trying out the famous Caribbean Roti. This dish consists of curried veggies and sometimes meat, all wrapped in a nice flour shell served with chutney and hot sauce.
Once you arrive, you are going to need a boat! Whether you would like to sail on your own or learn with a captain aboard, Go Sail Virgin Islands has you covered.
Taking ASA sailing courses in the Virgin Islands
Before you charter a boat, it’s important to have all your ASA qualifications and confidence in your own ability to charter the boat of your choosing. Go Sail Virgin Islands is the only school in the US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands with a live calendar and online booking. This makes registering for classes quick and easy.
Additionally, the Go Sail Virgin Islands instructors are the most experienced in the area. The instructors use 7 different teaching styles and use 5 different techniques to reach auditory, kinesthetic and visual learners. These are successful ways to teach sailing knowledge and skills that inspire students to lead positively, inspire teamwork, and bolster confidence.
You can sign up for ASA 101,103,104, 106, 114 and 118 with Go Sail Virgin Islands here.
Chartering a boat in the Virgin Islands
Go Sail Virgin Islands offers premium Catamaran rentals for sailing the Virgin Islands. These catamarans feature private en-suite Queen cabins with comfortable linens and towels. Each cabin has a fan and hatches to let in the ocean breeze as well as A/C, if needed. There are empty closets and drawers, so you can unpack and feel at home. View the boat gallery here.
If you are sold on the conditions and culture that comes with sailing the Virgin Islands, the next step is to book your trip. Here are a few important tips for booking a trip you’re sure to love:
Arriving in the Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands are comprised of 3 major islands, all territories of the United States. These islands are St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. The easiest way to get to the islands is through St. Thomas airport (STT). One of the advantages of flying into St. Thomas for Americans is that no passport is required (although, you will need a passport if you plan to go to the British Virgin Islands).
At the airport, taxis are easy to find. Keep in mind that taxis only take cash and charge per person, not per trip. When you call VI Taxi at (340) 774-7457, it is like calling a scanner, they will ask for your destination and broadcast it on the radio for a local driver. Be patient and they will locate the nearest driver and tell you the taxi number.
As for hotels in St. Thomas, we recommend the e Windward Passage Hotel, or a well-rated
Provision prep for sailing the Virgin Islands
While sailing the Virgin Islands, you’ll likely be about 10-20 miles from shore at times. Make sure you are well prepared with everything you need before you go!
All Go Sail Virgin Islands boats come with a propane stove, refrigerator, and freezer in the galley. Additionally, we pre-stock the boat before your arrival with provisions, paper products and water.
The Go Sail Virgin Islands menu include quick meals and cooked items. We always have a variety of breakfast items like fruit, granola, cereal, yogurt, pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast as well as coffee, and tea. Lunch items are typically quality wraps, turkey, ham, tuna, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and occasionally avocado. Snacks are usually chips and crackers. Dinners include fish, chicken and beef options for simple BBQ on the boat, accompanied with rice and veggies. You’ll also have the opportunity to eat dinner ashore occasionally and pick up any extra groceries onland as well.
Go Sail Virgin Islands has the best reviews in the Virgin Islands, with local captains ready to provide you with the experience of a lifetime. Make sure to book well in advance— our courses and bareboat charters do fill up!