The Caribbean Sea’s hundreds of islands offer many coves, inlets, and bays for sailors to explore. Which are the best islands to visit when sailing a yacht? These are Frommer’s picks of the five best Caribbean sailing destinations.
1. Antigua and Barbuda
This sovereign state in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles is named after the two largest islands in the chain. The port of St. John on Antigua is the island nation’s largest city and its largest port. Antigua and Barbuda has a cool winter in between December and February and year-round low humidity, Antigua and Barbuda has a more temperate climate than its tropical neighbors.
With more than 365 beaches, the nation has many natural harbors and lagoons. Antigua and Barbuda are renowned for their sailing culture, with a Sailing Week each April featuring a Classic Yacht Regatta and international sailing races.
2. British Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands chain also includes the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Spanish Virgin Islands, although the three territories are governed separately. More than 50 islands belong to the British Virgin Islands. The largest are Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda. Tortola’s city of Road Town is the capital and also has the territory’s largest harbor.
The British Virgin Islands are considered the yacht capital of the world. Because the waters are generally calm and the wind blows steadily, sailing conditions in the British Virgin Islands are some of the best in the Caribbean. The Spring Regatta held here is considered the premiere sailing event in the region.
3. The Grenadines
Part of the territory of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, this chain of 32 islands (only nine of which are inhabited) are known for the gentle trade winds that blow here as well as the warm, clear water. The Martinique Channel separates the Grenadines from St. Vincent. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines belong to the Windward Islands group of the Lesser Antilles.
The Grenadines include the exclusive private island of Mustique, a favorite of celebrities and royalty. Ten acres of the island belong to Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are among the frequent visitors to Princess Margaret’s estate, Les Jolies Eaux.
4. St. Lucia
St. Lucia, or Sainte-Lucie as it’s known in French, is among the most easterly of the islands of the Caribbean, bordered on its east side by the Atlantic Ocean. It belongs to the Windward Islands group of the Lesser Antilles. St. Lucia’s tropical climate is made more tolerable by its trade winds.
Its position at the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean makes St. Lucia a frequent destination for yachts entering the Caribbean. Marinas at Rodney Bay and Marigot Bay are especially popular destinations for sailing voyages. St. Lucia’s premiere sailing event is the yearly Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), which begins in the Canary Islands each November. More than 200 boats participate in the rally.
5. St. Martin
St. Martin sits at the northern tip of the Leeward Islands and frequently serves as a jumping-off point for sailors bound for St. Barts and Anguilla. The island’s administration is divided between France on the northern half of the island and the Netherlands on the southern half. The island hosts several regattas each year including the Heineken Regatta each March, the Captain Olivers’ Regatta each May, and the
With clear, deep harbors and mild trade winds, these five island destinations in the Caribbean Sea are each ideal for a yacht getaway. Novice and experienced sailors alike find these tropical waters in equal parts challenging and relaxing.