Thursday, December 15, 2011

Navigating the Sir Francis Drake Channel

     The Sir Francis Drake Channel is the sailing and boating mecca of the British Virgin Islands.     It is the primary water artery to all of the British Virgin Islands.    The channel can be a bit treacherous if she is riled up, but the usual 15 to 20 knot winds keep the waters a bit choppy and the sail boaters happy.     The winter season provides a bit stronger winds, and choppier conditions, but it is all worth the voyage when you arrive at your favorite destination in the BVI.    

     Our day on the Sir Francis Drake Channel was spent in a Nauti Nymph 29 foot Fountain center console power boat.    The Fountain is a perfect boat for the channel, it is long and slender and carves through the waves like butter while still providing a good ride through the 3 plus foot seas.      Leaving from Red Hook St. Thomas our first order of business was to go to Soper's Hole on the West end of Tortola and check in with Customs in the BVI.     Afterwards it was straight into the Sir Francis Drake and heading for Road Town.

     The channel was it's usual choppy self, we navigated through her to Road Town, then continued to the east for Virgin Gorda.    Along the way we saw several of the beautiful islands, Norman, Cooper, and Salt to our south as we navigated the North side of the channel along Tortola's shoreline.    This rugged semi-arid  landscape boasts many beautiful houses on her many cliffs and peaks.    The rapidly changing scenery is what I find the most interesting about the channel, deep blue waters, very unusual volcanic out crops near the shores, and the beautiful breaking waves on the shores.    

     No matter what your destination, the trip up the Sir Francis Drake Channel makes the destination a welcome sight as your arrive from your adventure.    In our case it was the Bitter End Yacht Club and Saba Rock in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda.     Having the right equipment, the desire, and interest in seeing what she is going to throw at you, the channel is a great adventure that you will always remember.    Try it if you have the opportunity, you will never forget the trip, and probably like me never be able to stop talking about it..   ;o)