The birthplace of the Painkiller, Virgin Islands

The birthplace of the Painkiller, Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands have enough wind so that neither beginning nor experienced sailors will get stuck on land, we are a Paradise among the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. There are also plenty of harbours with absolutely idyllic conditions to ensure that you will have happy holidays.  It is one of the most popular and coveted destinations for sailing vessels. On the island of Tortola you can find all kinds of services and different options to rent a boat in the Virgin Islands.

The archipelago of the British Virgin Islands has over 40 islands, although only 11 of them are inhabited. A shelter for pirates and buccaneers in the 16th and 17th centuries, including the infamous Blackbeard. Today the islands are a British overseas territory, with an administrator who represents Queen Isabel II of England and, instead of harbouring pirates, several stars populate the best properties on the islands.

One big advantage of the British Virgin Islands is that they are a natural park with an excellent infrastructure for recreational sailing. If the weather is bad, all anchorage areas have buoys that are hired by the night.

The archipelago’s largest island, bathed by the waters of the Drake Channel, is Tortola. The capital of Road Town is located here, and is where you’ll find the majority of services.

Sailing conditions

As mentioned, the wind is a great ally in this region for sailing vessels. The conditions and weather let you sail to the horizon, and do two or three hour deep-sea crossings.

The Virgin Islands, easy to navigate their protected waters. The trade winds generally blow from NE to SE, at 10 to 20 knots.
Despite the frequent rainfall depending on the time of year, the climate is moderate, with average yearly temperatures ranging from 24º to 31º C.

The best sailing season is from October to May.

Painkiller crossing
Marina Cay is a small island surrounded by a coral reef. Although tiny, its history is replete with a great love story, which is narrated and documented with photos on the walls of the famous Pusser’s Restaurant, as well as in the bar on the hill.

If you stroll to the highest point of the island, the unforgettable sunrises and incredible views will make it well worth your while.

From Marina Cay, we sail south to Cane Garden, where its lovely beach and lively nightlife make it one of the most popular anchoring spots on the British Virgin Islands. But first, drop anchor on the small uninhabited island of Sandy Cay, the perfect spot for snorkelling or diving in deepwater.

From Cane Garden, we head to Jost Van Dyke Island, a mandatory stop to visit the legendary Foxy’s & Soggy Dollar Bar, the birthplace of the ‘Painkiller’, the BVI’s official drink (we give you the recipe at the end of the article).

For our evening respite, we highly recommend sailing to one of the more protected ports on the archipelago, especially during hurricane season.  Soper’s Hole, a favourite pirate hideaway and Blackbeard’s home, is where the ferries arrive and depart that connect the British and American islands, and is equipped with full services.

The next day we head once again toward the Drake Channel, to Norman Island, a mere hour from Tortola. Norman has some 300 anchor buoys. And, of course, comes replete with a legend of priceless treasure buried beneath its waters. You can’t leave the island without going to the beach housing the lively Pirates restaurant and drinking a few more ‘Painkillers’ on the Willy T. floating pirate ship.


Giving you the exact recipe for the Painkiller, the Virgin Island’s official cocktail, is a bit complex. Locals claim that the amount of rum you must add is directly proportional to the pain you’re feeling.   But let’s give it a go.

– 2 to 4 shots of Pusser’s® rum (or more, depending on your pain)
– 4 parts pineapple juice
– 1 part orange juice
– 1 part coconut milk

Mix well, serve with a lot of crushed ice and grate a bit of nutmeg on top.

Strecht of sailingtravesia_islas virgenes_1

Strecht of sailing Nautical Mail Cour
From Marina Cay to Sandy Cay 11.53′ 262.6°
From Sandy Cay to Cane Garden 3.74′ 100.3°
From Cane Garden to Jost Van Dyke 4.81′ 285.3°
From Jost Van Dyke to Soper Hole 4.29′ 147.1°
From Soper Hole to Norman Island 6.44′ 129.8°
Total 30.81




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