Sailing holidays in USVI

Sailing holidays in USVI

The Ultimate guide to United States Virgin Islands sailing

Thinking about taking a holiday with a St. Thomas catamaran charter or a St. Thomas sailing yacht charter? Look no further than our complete yacht charter guide that has everything you need to know about your next USVI sailing holiday. 

Want to know more? Keep reading...

If you are familiar with USVI sailing and want to look at boat options for your next yacht charter, then skip to: Request a tailor-made quote.


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USVI sailing holidays a glance

Virgin Island sailing vacations are among the top choices for sailors and vacationers every year—and for good reason, too. 

Comprising St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. James, and Water Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) are coveted for their powdery, white beaches and stunning coral reefs across an impressive 117 miles of coastline. 

With seven national parks, USVI is a haven of beautiful wildlife, which you can explore during your virgin island sailing charters by snorkeling and diving with the islands’ turtles and rays. Or you can head inland and explore the forests of the islands’ hilly terrain.

At night, you’ll want to head to Charlotte Amalie, the capital of St. Thomas, where the views of the many ships and boats along the night’s horizon are yet another one of USVI’s spectaculars. 

Best time for USVI sailing and weather conditions

USVI has a typical tropical climate, with year-round warm temperatures, ranging between 75F (23.89 C) and 82F (27.87 C), and the Caribbean’s characteristic rainy and dry seasons. 

The rainy season is from May to November, with the highest rainfall from September to November. 

The best time for USVI sailing is from December to April, during the islands’ dry season when there’s bright sunshine, low humidity, and light to moderate winds coming from the east. These conditions make for great sailing, cruising, and swimming, which is why a St. Thomas charter is a favorite for the holiday season. 

The most popular time for travelers to book their St. John USVI sailing charters or St. Thomas charter is around the New Year. Other peak times for USVI sailing charters are in February and March, around Easter time, and during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. 

Where to start your USVI sailing holiday from & how to get there

Start your USVI sailing trip from Compass Point Marina in St. Thomas by flying into the island’s airport: Cyril E. King airport.

You’ll find many non-stop flights to USVI from the U.S. mainland (incl. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta); for most other flights, connections are made in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Popular airlines that fly to USVI include American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways. 

You’ll find that USVI’s ferry services have regular, timely schedules and inexpensive fees.

Transfer time from Cyril E. King airport to the base is about 25 minutes by car.

​​​​​​​USVI sailing holiday tips

Because USVI is a U.S. territory, entry requirements do not require a passport if you are a U.S. citizen. It’s worth noting, however, that you will need to provide evidence of citizenship when departing the islands (e.g., a raised-seal birth certificate and government-issued photo ID), so many travelers find it easier to simply bring their passport. 

If you are not a U.S. citizen, a passport issued from your country of origin will be required for entry to USVI. 

As mentioned, USVI is a U.S. territory, so the currency used is USD.

When USVI sailing, there are many marinas on St. Thomas and St. Croix, though it’s important to note that St. John doesn’t have any marinas. As an alternative, you can find anchorage sites and moorings on all islands for your USVI sailing charters. 

In an effort to protect the islands’ marine wildlife and coral reefs from potential damage, the National Park Service has set up 210 moorings in National Park Waters around St. John; the Reef Ecology Foundation of St. Thomas and St. John has set up 45. While these moorings are free for public use, they are not meant to be used at night, so you’ll want to check out the restrictions beforehand to see if there are any fees.

The anchorages that are most popular for overnight stays are Caneel Bay, Francis Bay, and Maho Bay. Keep in mind that anchoring is permitted for up to 14 days in a 12-month period. But if you just can’t get enough of USVI sailing, you can apply for a long-term permit to anchor in a designated area for a one-month period. 

As for provisioning, a great option is Pueblo Supermarkets, who has been serving USVI for over 50 years with two stores in St. Thomas and two in St. Croix. 

Alternatively, if you’d like, Yacht4Less can arrange your provisioning for you! Then you can arrive at the marina with a fully stocked boat. ​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Recommended 7-day USVI sailing itinerary

⚓ Day 1. St Thomas to Caneel Bay and Maho Bay, St John

⚓ Day 2. Waterlemon Cay, St John

⚓ Day 3. Coral Bay, St John

⚓ Day 4. Congo Cay, Carvel Rock, Mingo Cay, Magens Bay

⚓ Day 5. Magens Bay

⚓ Day 6. Little St James, Buck Island (St Thomas)

⚓ Day  7. Wreck of the Cartanza, Turtle Cove, Honeymoon Beach, Water Island, Charlotte Amalie

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