Best Revenge 5's Sailing Areas

While based in the British Virgin Islands, Best Revenge 5's charter grounds between November and June include both the BVI and the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles (St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Barths, Antigua and Barbuda). And in July and August, BR5 sails the classic regions of New England - from Newport to Maine.

The BVI - "Nature's Little Secret"

The British Virgin Islands are a magical Caribbean archipelago of more than forty islands and cays delivering steady trade winds and numerous sheltered anchorages and protected coves. On these lush islands you will find no building taller than the nearest palm tree. Under the crystal blue sea you will discover a multitude of pristine coral reefs, tropical fish and sea turtles. The cruising grounds of the BVI seem to have been created expressly for the pleasures of yachting and water sports - if you like, you can travel to a new island or secret cove every day and still not see every treasure the islands have to offer.

Located about 60 miles east of Puerto Rico; volcanic in origin, the British Virgin Islands feature rugged mountain peaks rising from the blue Caribbean Sea with unusual names such as Great Dog, Fallen Jerusalem, Prickly Pear and Pelican Island and one magical sunken reef island (Anegada) that has a maximum altitude of about 25', simply exquisite long white sand beaches, a few pink flamingos and the best grilled Caribbean lobster to be had.

The islands of the BVI, many of them uninhabited and attainable only by yacht, offer solitude and a simplicity of living unknown to most people. The Virgin Islands' peculiar names were first given by Columbus in 1493. He named the scattered islands as a group in honor of St. Ursula and her 11,000 virgins who, according to history, were murdered by the pagan Huns in the 13th century.

St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barths

A sailing holiday on St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barths offers some of the most spectacular sailing in the Caribbean. If you are used to sailing in more crowded sailing areas, you will soon discover that these locales offer remote, unspoiled anchorages and total relaxation for that perfect getaway.

Through the oddities of history, these three islands within a few miles of each other are shared by three countries: Anguilla is a British territory; St. Barths is part of the French "overseas department" (département d'outre-mer or DOM) of Guadeloupe; and St. Martin is literally split down the middle between the French DOM of Guadeloupe and Holland's Netherlands Antilles (the Dutch spell it "St. Maarten"). You can be sure that when you cruise in these grounds, you will get a true international taste of the sea.

St. Martin is a tourist's mecca as well as a marvelous cruising destination. Ashore, you find extraordinary cuisine on the French side, casinos on the Dutch side for those that like a little risk in their lives, and a plethora of exquisite white sand beaches and anchorages throughout the island.

The tiny island of St. Barths - just a few miles southeast of St. Martin is "the" luxury destination of the Caribbean (some call it the "St. Tropez of the Americas"). Although it boasts fewer anchorages than St. Martin, it is a paradise of secluded gorgeous sand beaches, intriguing little villages, and haute cuisine and haute couture to rival Paris and Milan. And contrary to what one might expect from such a fancy locale, the local residents - a mélange of creole, French nationals and African descendants - are friendly, outgoing and welcoming.

And - for a taste of contrast, Anguilla is the polar opposite of St. Barths - a sparsely populated atoll with extraordinary diving and snorkeling and what some say are simply the purest white sand beaches in the world.

Antigua and Barbuda - The Forgotten Islands

"Antigua and Barbuda" - which is the formal name of this British Commonwealth country - consists of two of the more wonderful cruising destinations in the Caribbean - but one which many (particularly Americans) tend to overlook. Antigua - the larger and more populated of the two islands - is one of the major yachting headquarters of the world. It seems tailor made for boaters. There are nearly 25 different recognized anchorages to choose from - the most of any island in the Caribbean - not to mention a few secret ones known to the fine crew of BR5. In addition to great snorkeling and beaches, the island boasts one of the more extraordinary rain forests in the Caribbean. And the towns of Antigua contain a simplicity lost to many of the charter destinations in the Caribbean.

Barbuda - just 25 miles north of Antigua - is as close to a lost paradise as one can find outside of the South Pacific. It is one of those very few islands in the Caribbean that remains - and probably will remain for some time - so undeveloped as to seem positively deserted at times. Home to less than 2,000 fiercely independent but remarkably friendly human inhabitants, it has the longest pristine sand beaches in the Caribbean (perhaps the world - one is 11 miles long). In the northwest of the island you'll find the true "owners" of the island at the Frigate Bird Sanctuary (one of the largest bird colonies in the world), accessible only by boat and home to tens of thousands of the Fregata Magnificens. With the laid back atmosphere, an abundance of shipwrecks and beautiful reefs, and pristine waters - you may believe you have found paradise.

Summers in New England

Anyone who has sailed in New England knows its special seagoing heritage. In July and August, BR5 plies the classic waters and scenic towns and villages of the northeast coast of the U.S. The heritage of New England is dedicated to boating, despite the shortness of the boating season. New Englanders simply can't stay off the water - and you'll see boats of every budget and type, from working lobster boats and trawlers to every type of sailboat, from tiny catboats and "bay boats" to classic sloops, yawls, ketches, schooners, windjammers... and even the occasional catamaran...

Newport - the home of the America's Cup for a century - is the sailing capital of the northeast U.S. The sailing grounds are dotted with beautiful harbors, classic New England villages and remote island retreats. Newport itself - the summer retreat of the rich and famous in the roaring twenties - has been restored to its former glory. Both picturesque and authentic - its charming tiny streets, famed mansions and nautical bent are joys to wander through.

Cape Cod and the surrounding islands are a mecca for summer sailors. "Charming" simply doesn't capture the feel of the region. It feels like home to every boater. The mainland has all those seeking escape from the city's roar can ask for - and the surrounding islands have retained all of their charm, even after nearly 400 years of settlement. Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard are irresistibly quaint. The villages of Nantucket, Edgartown and Oak Bluffs are nearly unchanged - with the feel and look of their colonial and 19th century histories. Their beaches are among the best in New England - and the fishing is a must for the enthusiast. And for those seeking remote serenity, the Elizabeth Islands - a scattering of islands to the west of Martha's Vineyard and still owned by the same family for several hundred years - are perfectly untouched examples of New England sea islands (with one sole town - Gosnold on the isle of Cuttyhunk, the least populous town in Massachusetts with all of 70 year-round residents).

And for those who want New England in its purest form, there is nothing better than the rugged Maine coast. Reminiscent of the west coast of England and Wales, Maine remains utterly unspoiled. The quaint villages are simple, rustic, beautiful. But the real treat here is sailing the remote islands and twisting coastline and savoring the extraordinary seafood (is there any lobster that can compare with those in Maine?). You step back into the history of true sailing.

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