The BVI are among the world's most popular sailing destinations. They're clustered together and surrounded by calm waters, so it's fairly easy to sail from one anchorage to the next. Most of the Caribbean's biggest sailboat charter companies have operations in Tortola. If you know how to sail, you can charter a bareboat (perhaps for your entire vacation); if you're unschooled, you can hire a boat with a captain. Prices vary depending on the type and size of the boat you wish to charter. In season, a weekly charter runs from $1,500 to $35,000. Book early to make sure you get the boat that fits you best. Most of Tortola's marinas have hotels, which give you a convenient place to spend the nights before and after your charter.

If a day sail to some secluded anchorage is more your spot of tea, the BVI have numerous boats of various sizes and styles that leave from many points around Tortola. Prices start at around $80 per person for a full-day sail, including lunch and snorkeling equipment.

Aristocat Charters. This company's 48-foot catamarans, Aristocat and Lionheart, set sail daily to Jost Van Dyke, Norman Island, and other small islands. Aristocat sails out of Soper's Hole (Frenchman's Cay), West End, and Lionheart sails out of Village Cay Marina in Road Town. Frenchman's Cay, VG1130. 284/499–1249;

BVI Yacht Charters. The 31- to 52-foot sailboats for charter here come with or without a captain and crew. Port Purcell, Road Town, Tortola, VG1110. 284/494–4289; 888/615–4006;

The Catamaran Company. The catamarans here come with or without a captain. Maya Cove Marina, Fat Hog's Bay, Tortola, VG1130. 284/494–6661; 800/262–0308;

Horizon Yacht Charters BVI. Horizon rents monohull and catamaran sailing vessels with bareboat, captain only, or full-crew options. Nanny Cay, Tortola. 877/494–8787; 284/494–8787;

The Moorings. One of the world's best bareboat operations, the Moorings has a large fleet of both monohulls and catamarans. Hire a captain or sail the boat yourself. Wickham's Cay II, Road Town, Tortola, VG1110. 800/535–7289;

Regency Yacht Vacations. If you prefer a powerboat, call Regency Yacht Vacations. It handles captain and full-crew sail and powerboat charters. Wickham's Cay I, Road Town, Tortola, VG1110. 284/495–1970; 800/524–7676;

Sunsail. A full fleet of boats to charter with or without a captain is available here. Wickham's Cay II, Road Town, Tortola, VG1120. 888/350–3568; 800/327–2276;

Voyage Charters. Voyage has a variety of sailboats for charter, with or without a captain and crew. Soper's Hole Marina, Frenchman's Cay, VG1130. 284/494–0740; 888/869–2436;