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SAIL THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS WITH SUNSAIL
Throughout the BVI, you’ll find sheltered harbours, sun-soaked beaches, pirate bars and jaw-dropping shipwrecks. Give island life a go, and you won't want to leave. Relax and bask in the spectacular scenery; taste the French-Caribbean fusion cuisine; and explore the tiny villages scattered along the shores of the Sir Francis Drake Channel.
Head for the dramatic rock formations of The Baths on Virgin Gorda to see immense boulders, grottos and natural pools, or let your imagination loose with tales of pirates and treasure caves on Norman Island, the model for ‘Treasure Island’. See sunken shipwrecks and a spectacular range of tropical sea life while diving Anegada, the BVI's unique coral atol.
Ideal for families, groups and couples, the BVI offers easy deep-water island hops, line-of-sight navigation and plentiful sheltered anchorages.
BVI essential information
Wickhams Cay II
The British Virgin Islands
The Sunsail base is located at Wickhams Cay II just outside Road Town.
The base is open 8 am until 5 pm, 7 days a week (evening staff to cover until all flights have arrived).
The BVI is – 4 hours GMT.
The language of the British Virgin Islands is English.
Cost of living
Prices vary from restaurant to restaurant, however, the following is a guide for your reference:
A bottle of wine costs about $9 in a grocery or supermarket and from $22 in a restaurant.
A bottle of beer costs about $3 to $4
A cheap snack can be bought for about $5 (local chicken, rice dish)
A budget meal will cost around $10 to $15 (burger, roti wrap – not including drinks)
A mid-range meal will cost around $20 to $25 (fish, meat in sit down restaurant – not including drinks)
A top-end meal will cost around $60 to $80 (Brandywine Bay, Sugar Mill, etc., 3-course meal – not including drinks).
The average shopping bill for 4 people for 1 week (suggesting all breakfasts, all lunches and 4 evening meals are spent on board) would be approximately $350 to $400.
What to bring
Passport and visas
Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return. Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.
If you wish to sail to the US Virgin Islands during your yacht charter you must have a US Visa and a return flight ticket to your country of origin.
It is your responsibility to ensure relevant visas are obtained where necessary. Sunsail cannot be held responsible for the refusal of entry or travel due to a lack of visas. If you are in any doubt please contact your Embassy for full details.
You must fill in a Customs Declaration Form on entry to The BVI, whether you arrive by sea or air.
Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Please check https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for the latest information before you leave. Sunsail is not accountable for any requirement changes.
Customs + immigration
Before leaving the airport, you will have to clear Immigration and Customs. A landing card will be given to you on the plane, along with a Customs declaration form. It is not possible to take fresh food into most Caribbean islands and airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles that may be confiscated by Customs.
On departure from Tortola a tax of $20 US per person will be charged – please organize departure tax payment prior to getting in line at the departure gate.
Environmental Levy: $10 USD per person, payable at the port of entry upon arrival.
Cruising Tax: Paid on the invoice prior to charter, $6 USD per person per day.
Although no sailing licenses are required for cruising in the British Virgin Islands, we strongly advise that you take any sailing certification on vacation with you. This may be useful should you be contacted by Customs or Port Police. If you have not already done so then Skipper and 1st Mate will be required to fill in a Sailing resume to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sail in this region.
National Park Day Time Mooring Permits
The National Parks Trust of the British Virgin Islands has established a system of daytime moorings in reef sensitive areas. This is to eliminate the erosion of reefs but also to help damaged reefs to recover.
For this reason, should you wish to moor, snorkel or dive in any of the BVI National Parks, a Mooring permit is required. The cost is dependent on the number of passengers but it ranges from $25 per boat per week for 4 people to $55 per boat per week for 10 people. Payment must be made to the sales office in advance with the final balance and the permit is issued on arrival at the base.
There is also a government tax that enables you to cruise around the British Virgin Islands which will be charged by the sales office.
Luggage + packing list
We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt, and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.
Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht. A small storeroom is available at the base which can be used to store luggage while on charter.
Cool boxes are available at the base on a first come first served basis at no additional charge. Please sign these out and return them clean and undamaged, otherwise, there will be a charge for replacement. Only one per boat.
Your cellular phone may work when in the BVI please check with your service provider for coverage details and call costs. You will need to activate international roaming on your contract.
However, every yacht charter comes with a mobile phone - these must be collected from Renport before departing the base. This will also be covered in the chart briefing. These phones allow free calls to the base numbers which are pre set up in the phone memory and also give the base the ability to contact you should the need arise. You can also use these phones to make local and international calls by purchasing credit with the phone - this is cheaper than roaming rates for calls.
Music + iPods
All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your iPod while sailing you will need to bring along an iTrip or FM radio transmitter.
The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit http://www.bvi.gov.vg/media-centre/drone-users-are-subject-aviation-rules
The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. In order to use electronic equipment that is 220v you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter. You may rent an inverter through your charter sales agent.
DVD / Internet / GPS packages
If you need to stay in touch or fancy settling down to a mid-week movie, you can consider the excellent packages available from Renport, pre-bookable through your sales agent or conveniently located at the base. Coffee Makers, inverters and blenders are also available for hire. These products can be purchased in advance via the Sunsail booking location.