The Windward Islands are from Grenada north to Dominica, and include Martinique, St Lucia and St Vincent & the Grenadines. For me, I am very fond of the southern ones from St Vincent to Grenada. Flying into St Lucia and 10 days down to Grenada is a great trip and down wind. It can be quite windy and obviously the windward side is the Atlantic Ocean so generally you only ever sail down the west side. The Grenadines are rustic, remote and the home of Jack Sparrow’s desert island in the Tobago Keys where they left him in the first film. Its a real pirate adventure, you can visit a variety islands; the exclusive Mustique, the friendly island of Bequia, the shell bar built on the reef by Union Island, Carriacou, Mayreau and Canouan. All full of wonderfully friendly local people, happy to share their paradise.
The Leeward Islands run from Guadeloupe north to Anguilla, and include; Antigua, St Barths, St Maarten, Monserrat, Saba, St Kitts, Nevis & Statia. Our favourite 1 week cruise is from Antigua to Barbuda, St Barths, Anguilla and finishing back in St Maarten. Taking in the beautiful beaches of Antigua & Barbuda, then the Caribbean chic St Barths, up the east coast of St Maarten to Anguilla and then out to the stunning islands there and finishing back in St Maarten, giving you a real variety of islands.
With excellent trade winds and a wonderfully laid back culture, it’s no surprise the BVIs are one of the most popular sailing destinations in the world. Tortola and Virgin Gorda are the main islands, with the rest set in a formation that create the Sir Francis Drake Channel, sheltered from the Atlantic swell. With plenty to see, the area is perfect for introducing non-sailing crew members to a cruising holiday. Highlights include; the boulders and sea baths at Virgin Gorda, beautiful soft sand beaches, fantastic diving with an endless choice of coral reefs, famous shipwrecks and plentiful sealife, not to mention a bounty of beach bars for sundowners. There is a strong American influence, more apparent than the rest of the Caribbean, not only do they use the US dollar as their currency, but you notice the North American influence most in their restaurants and by the size of the cocktails! It is worth noting that there are no direct flights to Tortola so you will need to come via Antigua, St Maarten or the US.