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CARIBBEAN DREAMING WITH EASYBOAT
With frequent direct flights from the UK, this is the main entry point for the Leeward chain, including the BVI, St Kitts & Nevis, St Maarten and Anguilla. Antigua also has one of the best marinas, sailing infrastructure and largest harbours at English Harbour and historic Nelson’s Dockyard. Sailing around the island is a joy for experienced sailors as the tradewinds tend to be constant, with plenty of cosy harbours to pop into and, supposedly, a beach for every day of the year! Other good harbours include Falmouth Harbour and Jolly Harbour. The capital, St Johns, is a major cruise port, so best to avoid. Some of the best beaches include Rendezvous Bay (isolated but stunning), Half Moon Bay and Long Bay beach (good snorkelling), but there’s many more to discover. Antigua Sailing Week, arguably the Caribbean’s best regatta, with a great party atmosphere, is held in April each year.
British Virgin Islands
Made up of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada, plus many smaller islands, the BVI are simply a sailing paradise. The sailing area between these islands feels almost like being in an inland sea as you’re sheltered from just about every direction, so it’s ideal for novice sailors. You’ll fly into the little airport on Beef Island which is connected by a bridge to Tortola and onwards to the capital, Road Town. There’re numerous anchorages and palm-shaded beaches almost everywhere. You have to visit the ‘Baths’ on Virgin Gorda, a series of huge granite boulders along the coast. Jost Van Dyke is known for its fresh lobster and many beach bars, whilst Anegada is a low-lying coral island with wonderful diving and a tranquil vibe. Don’t ignore some of the smaller islands such as Peter Island (a private resort), Cooper Island and Norman Island (the inspiration of ‘Treasure Island’), all of which have excellent anchorages. With mostly short sails, you can make the most of each place you visit.
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Although there are no direct flights to St Vincent, you can fly to Barbados, St Lucia or Grenada and catch an inter-island flight from there. You may also choose to start your yacht charter from St Lucia or Grenada and sail down the island chain. St Vincent itself is a very mountainous and lush island with an active volcano at its northern tip. Further south, Bequia is an utterly charming little island – its main settlement of Port Elizabeth is set in Admiralty Bay, a safe and very attractive anchorage fringed by several sandy beaches with bars and restaurants. Mustique is perhaps one of the most famous privately-owned small islands in the world, home to incredible luxury villas, one of which was owned by Princess Margaret. About half-way down the island chain lies Canouan, which boasts an 18-hole golf course and a resort managed by Mandarin Oriental. Perhaps the most spectacular section of this island nation are the five uninhabited islets that form the Tobago Cays – imagine snorkelling with green turtles in aquamarine waters and pristine palm fringed beaches and you get the idea!