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Sailing in the British Virgin Islands

Sailing in the British Virgin Islands
03 April 2014

At the northern end of the Caribbean the British Virgin Islands make a great final cruising ground for ARC Europe participants before they set off from Nanny Cay, Tortola, across the Atlantic.  Powdery white-sand beaches, lush green mountains, and plenty of sheltered anchorages characterise the BVIs. 

Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands.  Formed by volcanic activity it is a mountainous island 13.5 miles long, 3 miles wide with an area of 21.5 square miles and its highest peak is Mount Sage at 1,750 feet.

Local belief is that the name Tortola was originally given to the island by Christopher Columbus, meaning "land of the Turtle Dove".  Columbus actually named the island Santa Ana and it was the Dutch who settled, and dubbed it Tor Tholen (New Tholen), after a tiny island off the west coast of the Netherlands.  When the British moved in they altered the name to its present day form of Tortola.

The population of Tortola is 23,908.  The principal settlement is Road Town, the capital of the British Virgin Islands.

Road Town, the capital of TortolaTortola's lush tropical coverage

Sheltered Anchorages

The cruising ground is sheltered with many of the more popular anchorages only short 4-5 hour sails criss-crossing the Sir Francis Drake channel.  The protected anchorages at Brandywine Bay, Cane Garden Bay, Hodge's Creek Marina Cay, Soper's Hole and Trellis Bay are ideal for yachties.  Secluded palm-shaded beaches at Apple Bay, Brewer's Bay, Elizabeth Beach, Josiah's Bay Beach, Long Bay Beach and Smuggler's Cove make for excellent swimming and snorkeling. 

Nanny Cay

Nanny Cay, located on the South side of Tortola, between the capital Road Town and West End is a thriving and bustling community Resort and Marina. They provide the very best marine services and facilities possible in what after all is one of the most popular sailing destinations in the world today. Nanny Cay has always been known as a well-protected marina, with beautiful surrounding hills and a relaxed feel about it.

Nanny Cay Marina is one of the premier marine facilities in the Caribbean. A fully equipped marina and boat repair facility has berths for 180 motor cruisers and yachts. They have two boat lifts of 50 and 70 tons capacity, the latter capable of lifting catamarans up to 33 feet wide. 

Nanny Cay Resort is a charming 40-room hotel with two restaurants (the Genaker Cafe and Peg Leg Landing), a fully stocked chandlery, a small supermarket for your provisioning needs, delightful shops and boutiques, dive shop, water sports centre, WiFi and gym.

Resort Amenities Include:

  • Fresh water pool & beach
  • Fitness room
  • Beach volleyball
  • 2 Restaurants
  • Beach Bar & Grill
  • Shopping
  • Spa
  • Salon
  • Water sports.

For more information on the British Virgin Islands, click this link 

British Virgin Islands flag



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