Tortola, BVI

Sailing school

Learn to sail in sunny Tortola

Discover crystal clear waters, palm-lined white sand beaches and a taste of blissed out Caribbean culture as you learn to sail in the beautiful BVI.

The perfect sailing conditions of the British Virgin Islands make them the ideal destination for sailors of all abilities. Enjoy easy line-of sight navigation, deep water sailing and steady breezes as you learn to sail or hone your skills in a Caribbean paradise.

Prices and availability

Level
Course
June - 17th December
January - May
18th - 31st December
BeginnerRYA Competent Crew£495£525£695
IntermediateRYA Day Skipper£495£525£695

*Prices above are per person based on two people sharing the cabin. For single occupancy prices and availability please talk to our Holiday Planners.

Practical information

What to bring

  •  Money (there is no opportunity to get US dollars before your course begins so you will need to bring a suitable amount with you. Credit cards are widely accepted).
  • A passport is required for your journey to the British Virgin Islands. Please carry with you all relevant travelling documents, airline tickets and vouchers for transfers, etc. Additionally, please have your Sunsail booking information and details at hand. If you would like to hire a car to explore Tortola at the end of your Training Week, you will need your UK driver’s licence.
  • Clothing. Tortola enjoys very warm temperatures all year round, but be prepared for wet weather conditions and possible drops in temperature. We advise you to pack the following items: Shorts, T-shirts, sunglasses, hat, sun cream, light trousers, a fleece, sailing gloves, light waterproofs, deck shoes or non-slip, non-marking trainers, swim wear and beach towel.
  • Please only use soft sided folding bags, as there is nowhere to store hard cases.
  • You are advised to bring light waterproofs with you.

Money

The local currency is the US Dollar. ATMs are available for USD at select locations only. There are no currency exchange facilities available on the island. Credit cards are widely accepted at restaurants and shops. Moorings/marine fees are not included in the course fees. Any costs incurred for berthing will be split between the crew. Overnight mooring fees are approximately USD 30 per night depending on the itinerary. Dinners out are at modestly priced locations, and rarely exceed USD 40 per person, per night. A few souvenirs are probably in order, and you have the option of excursions and activities on the Thursday free sailing day. A few hundred dollars per person will be adequate.

Accommodation

  • You will be sleeping on board in shared cabins.
  • Sheets, pillow, blankets and shower towel are all provided.
  • Bring your belongings in a soft holdall as there is little storage on board the yacht.

Base facilities

  • Shower and toilet facilities
  • Bar and two restaurants
  • Mariner Inn
  • Selection of shops

Course provisioning

  • Breakfast, lunch and non-alcoholic beverages are provided on board together with one evening meal. You are welcome to purchase any extra nibbles you may require, but there are a number of restaurants to dine at every night.
  • We do not specifically cater for vegetarian or other dietary needs and therefore suggest that you bring alternative provisions as required.
  • Evening meals are at your own expense. Your skipper can recommend good restaurants at each overnight stop.
  • Please note that you will be expected to help with the cooking, washing up and general housekeeping of the yacht.

You can find additional helpful information in our BVI Sailing School Joining Instructions here.

Log book for RYA courses

You will need RYA log book G15 for your course. If you have not already ordered a log book you can purchase one from our office. If you ordered one when you made your booking it will be sent out to you.

Recommended reading for RYA courses

RYA practical and/or theory course books. These can be purchased in advance direct from the aftersales team at the Sunsail Port Solent Office, Tortola base or the RYA. 

Flights and transfers

UK departures

Fridays from London Gatwick (LGW)

Flight duration

Approximately 8 hours to Antigua (ANU)

Antigua to the British Virgin Islands (eis) can take another 4-6 hours, including all layovers and multiple island stops

Air carriers

You will be changing to local air carriers for the Antigua connection to BVI. Please confirm adequate time for layovers,delays.

Tortola BVI arrival

A company representative will welcome you at Beef Island International Airport (EIS) and arrange your transfer to the base.

For customers returning home, please be prepared to pay $20 (USD) per person at the BVI port authority. The journey from the airport to the base takes pproximately 30 minutes.

Yacht course start times

From 7 January 2017, all RYA courses taught in our Tortola base will begin on Saturday evening, and run until Wednesday afternoon.

Embarkation Friday, 6pm

At 6pm you will be allocated a berth on board your training yacht and given an evening safety briefing by the school principal, your course instructor or the base staff.

There is no problem if you arrive late—we know what travel to the islands is all about. After stowing your luggage, the rest of the evening is your own.

If there is anything else you would like to know about your yacht, the marina or the islands, please ask a friendly member of our customer service team.

Course start: Saturday, 8am

A full yacht and safety briefing will be given on Saturday morning at 8:00 by your course instructor. Please be ready at this time as it is our goal, as well as yours, to get sailing as soon as possible. We hope to be underway before lunch, and it is always a priority to make time for a mid-day swim and snorkel.

Course itinerary: Saturday to Wednesday

Our mission is to maximise your sail training while here in the British Virgin Islands, the most exquisite classroom in the world. You'll enjoy lunch stops and overnight stops in beautiful anchorages and harbours. Sunsets, snorkeling and beachcombing await once the day's work is done. Everything is weather dependent. That is the sailor’s life. Each day starts at approximately 8:00 and finishes at approximately 18:00. The syllabus will be sent to you with your course confirmation information but is also described in the G15 RYA logbook. Our instructors are experts at achieving the RYA syllabus with a variety of BVI sailing itineraries.

Course end Wednesday, 5pm

Your course ends at the Wickhams Cay II base on Wednesday 1700. The crew normally enjoys drinks and dinner together at the end of the course. If you are arranging your own flights you are free to leave after the course finishes either to catch a return flight or to go to a hotel on the island.

Thursday: Tortola activity

This is your free day to relax and explore the island of Tortola, the capital island of the British Virgin Islands. You have several options for accommodation and activities at the end of your course week. Please speak with your holiday planning specialists before arrival.

Some of the activities you may like to do:

  • Hire a yacht for a maiden voyage
  • Go diving or snorkeling with SC Divers
  • Hike Sage Mountain National Park
  • Wander through BVI Botanical Gardens
  • Explore the island in a rental jeep
  • Relax on the beach of your choice

Talk to our local activities department for more ideas

Marina fees

Mooring/marina fees are not included in the course fees. Any costs incurred for berthing will be spilt between the crew. Mooring fees are approximately £30 per person for the course, depending on the week’s itinerary.

Children on courses

Children aged 13+. Sunsail welcomes your older children on any of our courses at any time of year, provided they are accompanied by at least one adult. Under 16s can qualify as comp crew, over 16s can become Day Skipper qualified. 

Respecting destinations

Sunsail remains committed to protecting the environment and supporting local cultures in our sailing areas. Over many years our clients have helped us to ensure that our presence does not negatively impact these areas. Please continue to help us leave these areas as good as or better than we found them.

  • Managing your sewerage by always use the pump out facilities in marinas where available. Otherwise, please avoid emptying tanks in busy anchorages and marinas and prevent contamination to humans and reefs by pumping out as far as possible offshore.
  • Washing off your anchor when leaving an anchorage. Your yacht is equipped with low phosphate washing up liquid, please use this and keep the bottle so that it can be refilled.
  • Separating your waste and recycling on-board as much as possible.
  • Avoiding pumping oily bilge water or other hazardous substances into the sea. Save these for safe disposal in a marina pump out facility.
  • Being litter conscious by never throwing rubbish overboard and avoiding using plastics and other non-biodegradable products.
  • Observing marine law, and knowing the laws that govern fish catch sizes and the touching and handling of marine wildlife.
  • Remembering to keep a safe distance from marine life, and if viewing, approach side-on and stop with propellers in neutral.
  • Identifying dark water areas as possible important ecosystems, and taking care if navigating them.
  • Keeping sealife in mind when mooring. Using buoys where available instead of anchoring.

Photography

We have photographers on site at our bases throughout the season, and you'll be informed if one is present upon arrival at your base. If you have strong objections to close-up photography of yourself and your party, please indicate your feelings to the photographer at the time. 

Sunsail schools sales office opening hours

The office is open all year:

Mon-Fri from 8am-7pm

Saturday from 9am-7pm

Sunday and Bank Holidays from 10am-5pm

Contact numbers

Reservations     023 9222 2224
Aftersales     023 9222 2894 

Base opening hours

The Tortola, BVI Base is open all year.

7am-10pm AST (No Daylight Savings Time)

Base address

Sunsail PO Box 3457
Wickhams Cay II
Road Town
Tortola, VG1110
British Virgin Islands
Base Phone: +1 284-393-2331
Base After hours: +1 284 542 0300

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