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From experiencing the local atmosphere of the British Virgin Islands to learning everything you can about all things sailing, you’ll want to be prepared! This guide is a reference for what to pack for your sailing lessons and how to
prepare for your trip.


Your tuition includes mooring fees, ASA certifications, safety equipment, and fuel. All Caribbean sailing courses also include luxury accommodation in a private cabin aboard our catamaran for you and a guest (if you choose to bring one along).

Other items included as part of our live-aboard courses:

  • Towels and linens

  • Breakfast, lunch, and complimentary snacks

  • Two dinners aboard the boat

  • Course textbooks

  • ASA certifications

Items that aren’t included in your stay:

  • Any meals ashore (mainly dinners)

  • Lunch and dinner while docked at Penn’s Landing. (Red Rock Restaurant, located right at the dock, has terrific food options.)

  • Soft drinks or alcoholic beverages you wish to bring onboard

  • Gratuity for instructors

While taking your sailing lessons, you’ll be responsible for your on-shore meals. We find dining at local restaurants during the week allows guests to get the full experience of the islands and the amazing Caribbean food. These dinners often occur on a beach or a marina depending on the anchorage.


All year long, the air temperature usually ranges between 21°C (70°F) and 32°C (90°F).


The sea temperature usually ranges from 26-29°C (79-84°F).


Winds are generally E or SE 10-15 knots (11-17 mph).


There’s a relatively dry season from January to April and a rainy season from May to December. The least rainy months are February and March. Generally, the wettest period is from September to November.


You can find required forms and waivers here. Some forms and waivers require signature prior to arrival. Once you have booked your sailing lessons with us, you will receive a Booking Confirmation Form by email. Complete and return this form to us to ensure your reservation.


Top Tier Sailing assumes that all guests who book courses are capable of participating in our British Virgin Islands sailing lessons. Each guest must be in suitable physical condition to perform necessary duties aboard a moving boat and be comfortable while training onboard.


Visitors with or without visas may be granted entry to the British Virgin Islands for up to one month at the ports of entry.

Entry requirements for longer periods of time vary by country. Please check the UK government website for more information.


Getting to our base at Penn’s Landing marina on Tortola couldn’t be easier. You’ll either fly to the British Virgin Islands
or take the ferry from St. Thomas. Either way, we’ll provide the transportation once you arrive.


If you fly into Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS) just east of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands,
we’ll pick you up from the airport and take you to our base.


If you instead fly to Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas (STT), you can take the public ferry or a private water taxi
from St. Thomas to Tortola. We’ll pick you up at the Road Town Ferry dock and take you to our base.


It’s also easy to access our facilities by taxi or rideshare services from the airport or the ferry dock. Our base is a
5-minute ride from the airport dock or a 30-minute drive from the ferry dock.


Note: A travel tax is required upon arrival and often required when departing. This Environmental and Tourism
Levy costs $10.


While some of our sailing lessons include overnight accommodations onboard our catamaran, you will be responsible
for securing overnight stays if you’re training at the base or arriving the night before the lessons begin.

Our recommendations for on-shore accommodations are Emile’s Restaurant and Suites or Lambert Beach Resort (Wyndham Tortola BVI).


You can find our boats docked at Penn’s Landing Marina on the east end of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.


All guests must report for the first day’s class at 9:00am unless other arrangements are made. Once you arrive, report to our office or your classroom located at the base. Your captain or another team member will greet you, review necessary paperwork, and give you a tour of the facilities and the boat.


Questions? Lost? Delayed? Feel free to contact our office so we can help.

Line during office hours: 1-284-340-7594

Line for out-of-office hours: 1-284-342-0766


We require you to purchase travel insurance before you arrive in the British Virgin Islands for your sailing course. In fact, it’s best if you purchase it soon after confirming your stay with us and making your initial deposit. Travel insurance gives guests peace of mind when it comes to flights, bookings, lost luggage, and adventure within the British Virgin Islands. 


It’s easy to purchase a travel insurance package for your learning adventure in the British Virgin Islands. The sorts of travel insurance coverage you should consider are briefly described below.

Medical Emergencies, Injuries, and Repatriation

Top Tier Sailing takes great care to keep everyone onboard safe at all times during our sailing lessons. However, it’s best to be prepared for medical emergencies or accidental injuries that could occur while sailing. The travel insurance you choose may cover injuries, medical emergencies, bills, and fees pertaining to hospital or urgent care visits or unexpected flights home.


Flight Delays or Unforeseen Cancellations

Unexpected life interruptions happen. Travel insurance cancellation coverage may help to reimburse prepaid fees or expenses. Delay coverage may also help cover lodging, meals, or travel if delays occur due to weather.


Personal Belonging Protection and Lost Baggage

Personal belongings protection is sometimes included in homeowners insurance. Travel insurance may also cover personal belongings, baggage delay, or damage. Extra expenses due to lost or damaged items are often included in travel insurance plans.


24/7 Assistance

Travel insurance companies usually offer a 24-hour hotline for questions or issues that arise while traveling. Some insurance companies also offer referral services to local retailers, restaurants, resorts, and more.


To get travel insurance for your trip to the British Virgin Islands, check with your credit card provider for flight cancellation, delay coverage, hotel reservation cancellation, or other coverage that may already be included. Note that credit cards often don’t include medical coverage. Check companies like Travelex Travel Services, Generali, AIG Travel, Allianz Global Assistance, World Nomads, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, and AAA. Be sure to compare policies, reviews, and pricing.


What To Pack

The most important thing to keep in mind for your sailing adventure is to pack light. You’ll be spending most of your trip aboard our catamaran, which includes your room, the captain’s quarters, and two other guest rooms. A soft-sided bag is recommended for easy stowing and access during your stay.


The unspoken rule of the Caribbean is to keep things casual. After all, this is practically a seaside vacation!
(While most of your time will be spent learning, studying, and practicing your sailing skills, you will have the
opportunity to travel ashore for food, shopping, and relaxation.)


When you’re not learning important sailing knowledge and getting hands-on experience with the captain, you’ll be enjoying island life. Swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, beach cocktails, and shopping are all on the table during your stay with us. Remember to keep your clothing and shoe choices comfortable and light.

Here’s a quick breakdown of most everything you need during your Caribbean sailing lessons:

  • Sun protection like 50 spf sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses, sun hat, and long-sleeved shirts (avoid cotton!)

  • Comfortable, airy clothing (avoid cotton!)

  • Deck shoes

  • Bathing suit and beach towel

  • Small dry bag for trips ashore

  • Raincoat or moisture-wicking coat

  • Sailing gloves

  • Toiletries/wash kit

  • Water bottle

  • Personal flashlight

  • Headphones or earplugs for sleeping

  • Mosquito/bug spray

  • Passport

  • Debit/credit card and U.S. currency

  • Travel insurance

Check out our FAQ to prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime!

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