Family Fun: Sailing Tortola and Jost van Dyke in the BVI


Cane Garden Bay, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Sailing

Cane Garden Bay, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Sailing

The Steins scattered to the four cabins of our 45 Leopard catamaran ‘Oak’ that I chartered out of Red Hook, Us Virgin Islands. The three teenager boys reappearing moments later: “Hey, we’ll unpack later; show us the boat!”

This enthusiasm would wane in the older two but the 14 year old became my go-to man. Nick never wavering in his interest to do EVERYTHING.

So Nick, Alan, the father, and I sailed the yacht. Blaine, the mother, and her other two sons, Brett and Ben, spent a relaxing week on the trampolines sunning or in the water beaching and snorkeling. Brett did love zooming around in the dinghy. The BVI is a fantastic location for all of the above.
British Virgin Islands, Caribbean SailingWe sailed to Francis Bay for some swimming and an overnight mooring. Nick and Brett became the mooring ball team – quickly learning how to snag the ball.

Early the following morning we cleared Immigration at Soper’s Hole, BVI so we could have the whole day sailing into the wind up the Sir Fancies Drake Channel towards The Bight at Norman island and Willy T’s.

With 17 kn of wind and a new crew, we left a reef in the main. The kids were tired out after winching this heavy sail so hid forward on the tramps while Alan and I tacked up the Channel. Alan would yell for them to keep their heads down as the genoa came across the bow. Blaine chilled in the sun.

White Bay, BVI, Caribbean Sailing

White Bay, BVI, Caribbean

The kids weren’t into the scene at Willy T’s preferring volleyball at Pirate’s Restaurant on the beach after dinner. Blaine preferred dancing to the small reggae band. It was a good evening followed by an early morning to make sure we had a mooring ball available at one of the best snorkeling spots. We arrived at The Indians before breakfast, had an hour for snorkeling and then headed downwind.

The long downwind sail brought us through the cut at Thatch into the wide pool between Tortola and Jost van Dyke. We would spend most of our remaining days here. Sandy Cay for lunch swims,  Sandy Spit for snorkeling, Diamond Cay for dinner at Foxy Taboo’s, Little Harbor for Dinner at Sydney’s Peace and Love so Alan could have a lobster as big as his head and beautiful White Bay to enjoy the white sand beach and the Soggy Dollar for lunch.

It’s only about 4 miles across the pool from Diamond Cay to pretty Cane Garden Bay, Tortola. Quito was playing so we grabbed a ball mid-afternoon and spent a few hours on the beach chairs with umbrella drinks. We dinghy-ed back to Oak, changed for dinner, ate a huge meal at Myett’s overlooking the Bay and danced to Quito Rhymer singing island tunes. Another wonderful, warm Caribbean evening.

British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Sailing

Oak, our 45 ft Caribbean Cat

We had visited a number of the favored yacht anchorages surrounding the BVI.
The week was drawing to a close. Leaving the perfect sand of White’s Beach for
our last full day on the water, we sailed out late in the afternoon upwind for an
overnight at Little Harbor and Sydney’s.

Friday had come too quickly. We sailed downwind through the Windward Passage
to Caneel Bay to moor and dinghy over to Cruz Bay for check-in at USVI Customs.
Wandering around Cruz Bay for a couple of hours afforded time for shopping and
lunch. Opting for an afternoon sail across Pillsbury Sound, we pulled into Red Hook to dock in the late afternoon.

The Steins invited me out to their hotel restaurant for dinner. It was a nice touch of appreciation after a lovely sailing week. My Mahi-Mahi at Blue Horizon was excellent!