Yachting in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda

Sailing in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda, comprising the main islands of Antigua and Barbuda along with the tiny uninhabited island of Redonda, are nestled in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean Sea. These islands, with their serene landscapes predominantly comprising lowlands and remarkable coastal beauty, offer an exquisite backdrop for sailing enthusiasts. The capital, St. John's, located on Antigua, is a bustling hub of activity and a central point for maritime adventures in the region.

The Geographical Location of Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda, located in the heart of the Caribbean, are part of the Leeward Islands. This strategic location provides easy access to other Caribbean destinations, making it a central point for sailors looking to explore the region. The islands are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, offering diverse sailing experiences.

Location of Antigua and Barbuda

Aquatic Conditions for Sailing

The aquatic conditions around Antigua and Barbuda are ideal for sailing. The trade winds that blow consistently from the northeast provide excellent sailing conditions almost year-round. The waters are generally calm, with moderate tides, making navigation relatively straightforward for experienced sailors. However, attention to weather patterns and local conditions is always advisable.

Climate and Seasonality in Sailing

The climate in Antigua and Barbuda is tropical, with temperatures averaging between 25°C and 30°C throughout the year. The sailing season peaks from December to April, coinciding with the dry season and the most favorable winds. During these months, the northeasterly trade winds are steady and reliable, offering ideal sailing conditions. The wet season, from June to November, can bring unpredictable weather, with occasional storms and hurricanes.

Navigation and Sailing Difficulty

Navigating the waters of Antigua and Barbuda presents a diverse range of challenges and opportunities, making it a destination that appeals to sailors with varying levels of experience. Understanding the navigation complexity and sailing conditions is crucial for a safe and enjoyable sailing experience in these Caribbean islands.

Understanding the Waters of Antigua and Barbuda
  • Geographical Layout: The islands are surrounded by a mix of open ocean and intricate coastlines, with numerous coves, bays, and harbors. This variety offers different levels of sailing complexity, from easy and protected waters to more challenging open sea conditions.
  • Coral Reefs and Shoals: The presence of coral reefs and shoals, especially around Antigua, requires careful navigation. Skippers need to be vigilant and well-versed in reading charts and navigating shallow waters.
Wind and Weather Patterns

  • Trade Winds: The predominant northeasterly trade winds provide steady conditions ideal for sailing. However, their intensity can vary, affecting the difficulty level of navigation.
  • Weather Variability: Weather conditions can change, especially during the hurricane season (June to November). Sailors need to stay informed about the weather forecasts and plan their routes accordingly.
Tidal Influences and Currents

  • Moderate Tides: Tides in Antigua and Barbuda are generally moderate, but local variations can occur. It's important for sailors to understand tidal patterns, especially when navigating close to shore or in shallow areas.
  • Ocean Currents: The currents can be stronger in open waters and around the points of the islands. Knowledge of the local current patterns is essential for effective sailing and maneuvering.
Skill Level Considerations

  • For Beginners: Sheltered harbors and bays, like Jolly Harbour, provide a more controlled environment for less experienced sailors.
  • For Advanced Sailors: Open water passages and navigating around coral reefs offer a more challenging experience for seasoned sailors

Yacht Chartering and Skipper Requirements

Chartering a yacht in Antigua and Barbuda is straightforward, with numerous charter companies offering a range of vessels. These companies typically require proof of sailing competence, such as a recognized sailing certificate or demonstrated experience. Some may also require a brief practical assessment to ensure the skipper's ability to handle the specific conditions of the region.

Yacht Marinas and Infrastructure

antigua marina

The yachting infrastructure in Antigua and Barbuda is among the best in the Caribbean. The islands boast several world-class marinas equipped with modern facilities to cater to all yachting needs. These marinas offer services such as maintenance, provisioning, and crew support. The presence of top-notch marinas like Falmouth Harbour Marina and Jolly Harbour Marina underscores the islands' commitment to supporting the sailing community.

Accessing Antigua and Barbuda

Getting to Antigua and Barbuda, the twin-island nation in the heart of the Caribbean, is a seamless experience for travelers and sailors from around the world. The islands' strategic location in the Lesser Antilles, coupled with modern transportation facilities, makes them easily accessible and a popular choice for sailing enthusiasts.

By Air

Flights search

  1. St. John's V. C. Bird International Airport (Antigua): The primary international gateway to the islands is the V. C. Bird International Airport, located approximately 8 kilometers northeast of St. John's, the capital of Antigua. This airport welcomes flights from major cities across North America, Europe, and other Caribbean islands. It serves as the hub for regional and international airlines, offering frequent connections to various destinations.
  2. Codrington Airport (Barbuda): For those heading directly to Barbuda, the Codrington Airport, though smaller and with a shorter runway, accommodates regional flights and private charters. This facility is crucial for inter-island connectivity and also supports the tourism sector in Barbuda.

By Sea
  1. Marinas and Ports: Antigua and Barbuda are equipped with several marinas and ports that cater to international yachts and sailboats. Notable marinas like Falmouth Harbour Marina and Jolly Harbour Marina in Antigua provide facilities for docking, maintenance, and other maritime services. These marinas are accustomed to welcoming sailors from around the globe, whether they are arriving on private vessels or chartering locally.
  2. Yacht Chartering: For those interested in exploring the islands by sea, chartering a yacht from Antigua is a popular option. The charter companies on the island offer a range of sailing vessels, including monohulls and catamarans, allowing visitors to tailor their sailing experience to their preferences and skill level.
Inter-Island Travel

Traveling between Antigua and Barbuda is facilitated by regular ferry services and inter-island flights. These services provide a convenient way for visitors to explore both islands during their stay. The ferry ride offers a scenic journey, while the flights provide a quicker alternative for those with limited time.

Best Sailing Spots

Antigua and Barbuda, with their captivating coastlines and idyllic sailing conditions, are dotted with numerous sailing spots that are both challenging and mesmerizing. Each location offers a unique experience, from tranquil bays to lively harbors, catering to sailors of all skill levels and preferences.

English Harbour, Antigua

Yachting in Antigua and Barbuda

  • Historical Significance: English Harbour, renowned for its rich maritime history, is not just a sailing spot but a journey through time. Home to Nelson's Dockyard, a UNESCO World Heritage site, it offers a glimpse into the naval history of the Caribbean.
  • Sailing Experience: The harbor's natural protection and calm waters make it ideal for both anchoring and leisure sailing. It's a favorite spot for both local and international sailing events.
Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

Yachting in Antigua and Barbuda

  • Modern Amenities: Falmouth Harbour, adjacent to English Harbour, is known for its modern marina facilities, including the Falmouth Harbour Marina. It caters to a range of yachts, from small sailing boats to large luxury vessels.
  • Vibrant Atmosphere: The area is lively, with numerous bars, restaurants, and shops, making it a perfect spot for sailors looking for both on-water and off-water entertainment.
Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Jolly Harbour Antigua

  • Family-Friendly: Jolly Harbour offers a more relaxed sailing environment, suitable for families and leisure sailors. The area is well-equipped with amenities, including a shopping center, restaurants, and beautiful beaches.
  • Safe Anchorage: The harbor provides safe and secure anchorage, ideal for those looking to enjoy a peaceful sailing experience with stunning sunset views.
Green Island, Antigua

Green Island Antigua

  • Secluded Paradise: Located off the east coast of Antigua, Green Island is a secluded spot perfect for those seeking tranquility. It's accessible only by boat, ensuring a serene sailing and anchoring experience.
  • Natural Beauty: The island is surrounded by coral reefs, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling and exploring marine life.
Barbuda's West Coast

Barbuda's West Coast

  • Pristine Beaches: Barbuda's west coast is famous for its long stretches of unspoiled beaches. The clear, turquoise waters are ideal for sailing, swimming, and snorkeling.
  • Untouched Wilderness: This area offers a more rugged and natural sailing experience, with fewer crowds and an opportunity to connect with nature.
Carlisle Bay, Antigua

Carlisle Bay, Antigua

  • Scenic Beauty: Carlisle Bay, situated on the south coast of Antigua, is known for its breathtaking scenery and calm waters, suitable for relaxed sailing.
  • Water Activities: The bay is also popular for water sports, providing a balanced mix of adventure and leisure.
The best sailing spots in Antigua and Barbuda offer a variety of experiences, from the historical allure of English Harbour to the secluded charm of Green Island. Each location provides a unique perspective on the beauty and diversity of the Caribbean, making them must-visit destinations for any sailing enthusiast.

All Marinas on the map


Yacht marinas

Antigua Yacht Club Marina & Resort (AYC Marina)

Nelson’s Dockyard Marina

International Airports

Please note that some links on our site are affiliate links. This means we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you click on them and make a purchase. We recommend products because we believe they add value, not because of the commission we receive.
Your support helps keep our site running. If you have questions, please reach out to us.