Go sailing around Antigua, the main island in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The island's heavily-indented coastline offers a huge variety of overnight and day-stop anchorages. Antuigua is compact enough to comfortably circumnavigate in vacation mode over seven days.
If a short blue-water passage is one of your holiday objectives, there is time to visit Barbuda. Charter for 14 days, and you'll have the opportunity to enjoy all nature has to offer on this less-visited tropical island. And also enjoy more of Caribbean island life, in all its colourful variety.
At 281 sq. km, Antigua Island is the largest member of the Leeward group with British colonial heritage. Its numerous bays and small coves, and the offshore reefs that shelter them, have made this a wonderful charter holiday destination. A week-long charter allows time to enjoy the island, meeting its people and exploring its rich history as well as playing on and in the water.
A 14-day charter opens up a whole new world of adventures, with a 23 nautical mile passage to sparsely-populated Barbuda, plus all those little treasures on the main island that you may otherwise miss.
St. John's is the capital, a modern city of 80,000 through which land-based and cruise ship visitors to Antigua inevitably travel. On bareboat charter, visit St John's at the start or end of your trip. Once aboard at Jolly Harbour you can then make the most of your sailing vacation with stopovers close by in such places as Five Islands Harbour and Deep Bay (where you may wish to snorkel the Andes wreck). All are near the city but far enough away to seem like another world. If time allows and there's the desire to do a short open-water passage, depart Dickenson Bay early morning for Barbuda.
Barbuda is worth at least a two-day visit, with a big attraction being the Frigate Bird Sanctuary tour in Codrington Lagoon. There are anchorages at Low Bay right by the lagoon, and at the southern end of the island at Cocoa Point.
Back at Antigua, your clockwise circumnavigation continues with stopovers at Jumby Bay on Long island or on Great Bird Island, both inside the Boon Channel and offering great snorkelling and water sports generally. Around this northern part of Antigua there are uninhabited islands to explore until day is done. And there's more of the same round at Nonesuch Bay, where the reef provides good shelter from the prevailing easterlies. Like several of the places you stop at along the way, the local resorts open their restaurants to passing sailors, and sometimes other facilities as well.
English Harbour is an Antigua 'must see' for boaters. Here a young Horatio Nelson was second-in-command of the British station, from which the Royal Navy kept a watch on French possessions to the south. Nelson's Dockyard is now fully restored and functioning, a major drawcard for visitors to the island. The larger Falmouth Harbour, home of the Antigua Yacht Club, is immediately to the west of English Harbour.
Your voyage around Antigua ends with your final day spent in Carlisle Bay. Or sail directly back to Jolly Harbour to enjoy some of the inland attractions, such as that shopping excursion to St John's, or an invigorating hike to the lush Christian Valley.
Whichever way you look at it, Antigua has it all for the bareboat charterer and holiday crew.
As part of the Leeward Islands, Antigua and Barbuda lie in the path of the tradewinds that steadily blow from east to southeast at strengths between light and fresh, rarely exceeding 20 knots. With winds from the north and west virtually non-existant, combined with the sheltering effect of the indented coastline and reefs, it is easy to plan a series of safe and comfortable overnight stays just about anywhere around the island of Antigua. Barbuda's best anchorages are equally sheltered, in the west and south of the island.
Expect to sail in consistently warm daytime temperatures ranging from 82ºF (28ºC) in January to 88ºF (31ºC) in August. The interior comprises mainly low hills, making Antigua and Barbuda relatively dry islands, with summer being the wettest season.