US Virgin Islands Cruising Conditions

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

Epic year-round sunsets await - this one over St. Thomas at Christmas Cove

You'll enjoy some of the best yacht charter sailing conditions anywhere thanks to the steady Caribbean easterly tradewinds and protection in the lee of St. John and St. Thomas from wind driven swell.

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.

Plenty of mooring balls are available in the National Park, but you can also find places to anchor in relative solitude, such as at Magens Bay.
I like to break the USVI yacht charter 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 weather and marine forecasting post.

  • Climate by month
  • Sailing seasons
  • Windy current forecast

USVI Yacht Charter Sailing Seasons

US Virgin Islands 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.

Expect crowded mooring fields.

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.

USVI shoulder season 1 (April to June)

This is my favorite and I believe the best time to visit the US Virgin Islands for yacht charter 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.
A typical USVI day at Magens Bay with some cumulus clouds and the occasional shower

USVI 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. On the flip side, however, some establishments are closed, such as Pizza Pi VI, so keep that in mind.

This is the wet season thanks to developing low pressure systems.

US Virgin islands shoulder season 2 (November)

This is my second favorite time to sail in the Caribbean and the US Virgin Islands.

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 that the days are shorter. It can make a difference if you plan to spend long days on the water. Otherwise, not a big deal!

US Virgin Islands charter planning?

Consider booking with the Yacht Warriors.