Spanish Virgin Islands Cruising Conditions

Uncover the cruising conditions you can expect on the water and find out the best times to visit.

Perfect day for a hike to Flamenco Beach

As with other Caribbean yacht charter destinations, you'll enjoy some of the best sailing conditions anywhere thanks to the steady easterly tradewinds. Passages can be exposed to swell and current, but if you follow a clockwise route, you can mitigate most of the uncomfortable pitching and rolling.

Generally, for weather conditions, you can expect steady 10-15 knot trade winds from the ENE-ESE, puffy tradewind cumulus clouds, and an occasional shower or squall.

I like to break the Virgin Islands' sailing calendar into 4 seasons. Read more detail about each below.
  • High season: December to March
  • Shoulder season 1: April to June
  • Peak hurricane season: July to October
  • Shoulder season 2: November
To learn more about the unique weather features that affect the Virgin Islands, read my BVI weather and marine forecasting post. Take care to be aware of when northerly swells are running. Flamenco Beach and Culebrita are particularly exposed.
  • Sailing seasons
  • Windy current forecast

SVI Sailing Seasons

SVI high season (December to March)

This is the busiest and most expensive time of the year. Hurricane season is over, and the annual pilgrimage of cruising boats has made it’s way from mainland U.S. and Europe to enjoy the warm Caribbean winter. Don't expect the SVIs to become quite as crowded as the more popular BVIs and USVIs. You will, however, pay higher prices just the same.

Days are shorter (~11 hours vs ~13 hours in the summer).

Most notably, you can expect the Christmas Winds: several days of strong winds (15-30 knots) created by strong high pressure systems in the Atlantic. Make sure you know how to reef those sails!

Wind is usually out of the E to NE and less precipitation falls this time of year.

SVI shoulder season 1 (April to June)

This is my favorite and I believe the best time to visit the Spanish Virgin Islands for sailing trips. The crowds have thinned out somewhat and the weather has become more settled.

Expect easy 10-15 knots from the E to SE and an occasional shower to cool things off.

SVI peak hurricane season (July to October)

It can be hot, the trade winds lessen (5-15 knots), and tropical mischief can be brewing.

But, you might have the place to yourself. This is the wet season thanks to developing low pressure systems.

SVI shoulder season 2 (November)

This is my second favorite time to sail in the Caribbean. I recently chartered in the SVIs in November - read about it here.

Again, the crowds haven’t arrived yet and the weather tends to be settled – similar to April-June.

Trades blow 15-20 knots with wind direction from the E to NE.

The biggest downside of this time of year is the days are shorter. It can make a difference if you plan to spend long days on the water. Otherwise, not a big deal!

Spanish Virgin Islands charter planning?

Consider booking with the Yacht Warriors.