With its ‘Goldilocks’ winds – not too weak, not too strong – and warm air and sea temperatures, learning to sail in the Caribbean is perfect combination of location and pursuit. But as with any activity holiday, it’s as much about who you’re doing it with as the technical side of things.
There’s one company in the Caribbean that is tailoring sailing experiences to millennials. Sailing Virgins focus on people in the 20s and 30s who are keen to actually sail.
By pitching their courses to people of the same age group, they foster a fun and relaxed atmosphere where everyone is on the same wavelength. And when you’re on board, sharing a confined space as well as receiving complex instruction and tuition, having a similar mindset can make all the difference.
Comprising more than 5,000 islands, countless reefs and cays, and thousands of white sandy beaches, the Caribbean is a truly mesmerising location. But it’s all this, combined with consistent winds of around 20 knots, that make it such a superb sailing destination. Add in hours of sunshine and crystal clear warm waters and you have the best place on the planet to learn to sail.
Getting to the Caribbean is also much easier than you might think. Located just a few hours from much of the east coast of the US and Canada, it’s possible to travel in the morning and be on the water that same afternoon. There are regular flights from a number of airlines from most major airports.
Travel from the west coast of the US, Canada or from Europe takes a little longer. But with direct flights to multiple Caribbean destinations from major cities like LA, London, Paris and Amsterdam, there is a good range of flight options.
Be sure to check Paris to Martinique, London to Antigua and Amsterdam to St Maarten – plus there are many more options. Non-stop flight times from Europe can be as little as eight hours so you’ll be touching down in paradise before you know it.
As you might expect, there are plenty of sailing courses to choose from in the Caribbean. Many of them are aimed at all age groups, which usually means the older, retired set looking to enjoy some quality time after a lifetime of work. Until recently, there was a distinct shortage of sailing courses aimed at the younger end of the market.
Sure, sailing in the Caribbean might be about dropping anchor in a brilliant blue bay for a swim before sipping cocktails on deck. But learning to sail should also be a mixture of great new friends and about developing an entirely new skill set. And it’s this side of sailing that Sailing Virgins excels.
Pitching their courses squarely at the millennial age bracket. Younger, more dynamic aspiring sailors can now experience a more high octane experience with people of a similar age and mentality.
It also means there’s plenty of scope for having fun – both on and off the boat. Down to the details such as the type of music that gets played while we sail in the Caribbean.
There are courses for all levels of sailor. Beginner courses last for seven days and take you through the basics of live-aboard sailing. There’s a more relaxed vibe, aimed at building confidence while developing new skills. No prior experience is required. There are also down-island and up-island seven-day adventures available.
For intermediate levels, this popular seven-day course turns you from an ordinary sailor into a qualified Bareboat Skipper. There’s a choice of syllabuses to follow depending on which certificate is most suitable for your future sailing career (including American Sailing Association and NauticEd). Again, there’s also up and down island trips, as well as a special performance catamaran course.
Advanced sailors can also check out the performance catamaran course. Or they can make the leap from coastal skippers to qualified offshore sailors.
With courses starting from as little as US$2,470 for a full week, all-inclusive course, this is sailing that is affordable for the younger generation of sailors. And, even when your course is over, Sailing Virgins have a global network of like-minded people they can connect you to for your next adventure.
If you’re aged between 25 and 35, then you might have found many of the Caribbean sailing courses not all that appealing. The prospect of spending a week on board with people you don’t know can be off putting. But knowing that the course is aimed specifically at people like you can make all the difference.
Perhaps this is why Sailing Virgins are the highest rated sailing academy in the Caribbean and are experiencing fast growth. They’ve clearly hit on a winning formula. And this is something that many of the testimonials from happy customers can also back up.
Instruction is relaxed and directed towards self-learning and discovery. And an atmosphere of fun is encouraged. There are plenty of visits to the best nightspots and restaurants around Martinique and the British Virgin Islands, so you’ll have as good a time off the water as on it.
The weather in the Caribbean is generally pleasant all year round, but sailing conditions tend to be best during November through to May. This just happens to coincide with the winter in Europe and North America. So, if you want to escape the cold, and head to somewhere warm and beautiful to learn to sail, this is the perfect time of year to go.
Based in the British Virgin Islands, renowned for its incredible sailing conditions, you can learn the ropes as well as enjoying some much-needed R and R on a choice of stunning beaches.
If you’ve always wanted to learn but were never sure that to sail in the Caribbean was the right for you at this time in your life, Sailing Virgins might just be changing all that.
We hope you enjoined this article and now want to sail in the Caribbean! If so check out Sailing Virgins at: www.sailingvirgins.com