A Beginner’s Guide To Antigua Sailing Holidays

One of Coca-Cola’s taglines was, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” No words could be more appropriately said when referencing an Antigua sailing vacation.

If you have always wanted to set sail in Antigua for the holidays, there has never been a better time to start planning it. Prices are still slightly depressed following the COVID-19 pandemic, the sandy beaches and weather in Antigua are magnificent, and the crystal clear turquoise waters offer the invitation of a lifetime.

In this beginner’s guide to sailing holidays in Antigua, I discuss everything that needs to be considered from a planning perspective. I also offer some suggestions for different types of holidays.

🌴Useful Info About Antigua Sailing Holidays 

The call of the sparkling clear blue water is excellent if you want to snorkel and get a pristine view of marine life and coral reefs.

The golden sand on the beaches and the idyllic weather conditions make holidays in Antigua an item on the bucket list for every sailing boat owner. It is the perfect place for a sailing holiday.

The good news is that all COVID-19 restrictions have been completely lifted for visitors arriving by yacht or ferry services. But remember that most countries have retained the right to reimplement restrictions if another COVID or a similar outbreak occurs.

Antigua is a great place to visit because dress style is up to you. For more information, we have previously covered what to pack for a Caribbean sailing trip

If it is impossible to sail to the islands and explore the English Harbour yourself, many companies offer a range of chartering options that you can choose from.

Un-Skippered Charter

You’ll find that the lowest cost option is for you and the other guests to skipper and crew the yacht.

Skippered Charter

In this arrangement, a skipper is hired for the voyage, and you will act as crew.

Fully Crewed Charter

With this arrangement, you can sit back and relax with your favorite drink and that novel you have been eyeing but never had enough time to read.

Everything is done for you topside, and if your budget allows, you can extend yourself and have a chef and hostess come along.

An Antigua yacht charter costs range between $7,000 per week for an eight-birth Un-Skippered Charter catamaran to $500,000 a week for a fully crewed super yacht.

If you are time constrained and can’t rent a sailboat for an extended period, look at one of the day trips listed in the article below and search the Antigua section:

The best Caribbean sailing tours and trips

Caribbean sailing safety is an important consideration. Antigua is very safe, and as long as you take sensible precautions against petty theft, you will be completely secure.

Looking at the travel brochures will immediately let you know the biggest problem of Antigua sailing holidays – is persuading yourself to leave.

When Is Best To Have An Antigua Sailing Holiday?

If you are sailing to Antigua, the best weather can be expected between December and May.

Unfortunately, this is also the high season, which means rental prices are highest over this time. If you want to rent a sailboat, I recommend you try to book just out of the high season when rental fees should be lower.

What Is The Climate In Antigua Like?

The climate is considered hot and humid almost every day of the year.

The weather in the Caribbean can be unpredictable, so make sure you have reliable weather information available and can plan to skirt around weather systems or enter the protective embrace of a secluded mooring.

Antigua Temperatures

The most popular time for visitors is between December and May when temperatures are reduced.

The average monthly and annual temperatures are listed below.

MonthHigh (°C)Low (°C)Mean (°C)
Annual Average23.930.026.9

Source: National Centre For Environmental Information: Link

Antigua Rainfall

The average monthly rainfall in Antigua is listed below.

Annual Average105041.3125

Source: Climates to travel: Link

What Is Sea Temperature In Antigua?

The all-important sea temperature around Antigua is listed below.

MonthCelsius (°C)Fahrenheit (°F)
Annual Average27.681.6

Source: Climates to travel: Link

Do I Need To Be Concerned About Hurricanes?

Like all destinations in the Caribbean, there is a risk of Hurricane activity.

The official hurricane season falls between June to November. And the most likely time hurricanes will pass through is between August to October.

In the last 151 years, 60 Hurricanes have passed through the area (as of the end of 2022.) This means there is only a 40% chance that a Hurricane will pass through in any year.

There have only been six direct Hurricane landings in Antigua in the last 50 years.

While caution should be taken, and travel should be avoided during peak hurricane season, it is not a reason to cancel the trip.

How Long Should You Plan For?

The ideal amount of time you spend on your sailing vacation will depend on your circumstances.

If you intend to have a relatively short holiday to recharge your batteries, up to two weeks on the water will give you enough time to de-stress and enjoy the azure blue ocean and all of its delights.

Try to avoid the time when humidity levels are expected to be high. Nothing is worse than trying to sleep in a stifling hot cabin while you are covered in sweat. If you are chartering a boat, an air conditioner is necessary.

What Are The Sailing Conditions Like?

The North Easterly winds prevail between November to May, and you can expect wind speeds of 15 – 20 knots (17 – 23 mph). 

If traveling North or East, expect to use the motor for extended periods.

Where Can We Dock?

There are several charming marinas (such as the Jolly Harbor Marina) dotted about the coast. 

If you prefer a lower-cost solution with more privacy, there are many uninhabited harbors and secluded bays.

Do I Need To Carry A Passport Into Antigua?

Antigua is an international destination; therefore, US citizens must carry their passports and complete customs and immigration requirements when arriving or leaving the country.

It is important to remember that Antiguan customs officials do not accept passport cards. Therefore, US citizens (and other nations) must present a valid passport when traveling to Antigua and Barbuda.

Visitors are required to have documentary proof of their anticipated departure from the country.

If I Travel On My Boat, What Documentation Will I Need?

The documents you should carry on your boat include the following:

  • Boat insurance documents
  • Proof of citizenship
  • A current passport
  • Boat license
  • Proof of ownership of the vessel
  • Boat Registration
  • Customs clearance form 
  • Immigration card
  • Cruising permit
  • Fishing permit (if applicable)

🐝 Antiqua Sailing Holidays For Honeymooners

Spending that first time together after the chaos of organizing a wedding is an essential foundation for your marriage.

If you are up to the challenge, renting a catamaran like BALI will ensure that you have a holiday of a lifetime and privacy to match.

The boat will cost upwards of $7,000 per week.

Bali has the following facilities:

  • 6 cabins
  • 10 berths
  • 4 bathrooms
  • An Outboard Engine
  • Electric winches
  • Automatic pilot
  • A Bimini Cover

Link to this boat – Link.

🫂 Antiqua Sailing Holidays For Couples

There are several options for a couples’ holiday on the high seas in Antigua.

The catamaran “Fountaine Pajot” perfectly balances luxury and an affordable holiday.

The vessel has the following amenities:

  • 3 cabins
  • 8 berths
  • 3 bathrooms
  • An Outboard Motor
  • Air Conditioning
  • Electric winches
  • Automatic pilot

Link to this boat – Link

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Antiqua Sailing Holidays For Families

A mono hull or catamaran is ideal for a family seeking something different.

📝 Related article: Catamaran vs monohull: What’s the difference?

You can expect to pay upwards of $10,000 weekly.

The lower end of the price range will secure the SUNSAIL — 454 catamaran with room for 11 people. The charter does not include a captain; the guests will skipper and crew the boat.

In this example, there are:

  • 5 cabins
  • 11 berths
  • 4 bathrooms

The boat contains the following equipment:

  • An outboard motor.
  • Air-conditioning (Very important)
  • Paddle Board
  • A Bimini Cover

Link to this boat – Link

💳 Which Companies Can You Book Through?

Most holiday bookings require substantial amounts of trust. This is because the bookings are made over the internet, and deposits pass hands in the hope that it is going into a reputable company’s bank account.

Because of this, it is essential that you only book through trusted entities.

The companies which we use are as follows.

  • Click And Boat:  Link  
  • Churchill Yachts: Link 
  • Ocean Getaways: Link 
  • Nautal: Link


Is Antigua Good For Sailing? 

If there is a perfect sailing location, Antigua ticks all of the boxes.

The trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean are reliable and blow across the islands to offer exhilarating sailing conditions.

Additionally, with an around-the-year sea temperature of 27.6oC (81.6oF), you are never far away from your next swim or diving adventure.

Give the hurricane season a miss (June to November), and you are assured of a holiday that will become part of your family’s history and folklore.

Where Do Yachts Dock In Antigua? 

There are many places where you can dock your boat in Antigua:

  • Antigua Slipway Boatyard (Vessels up to 140ft)
  • Antigua Yacht Club Marina & Resort
  • Falmouth Harbour Marina (Vessels up to 380ft and a draft of 21 feet)
  • Nelson’s Dockyard Marina (Vessels up to 180ft)
  • North Sound Marina & Boatyard
  • Catamaran Marina
  • Jolly Harbor Marina & Boatyard (Vessels up to 200ft)
  • Shell Beach Marina (Max draft 10 feet)
  • St. James’s Club & Villas Marina (Max draft 14 feet)

Beyond the established traditional moorings, the many uninhabited harbors and secluded bays provide a lower-cost option with greater privacy.

Is Antigua A Windy Island?

As a result of the Northeasterly trade winds across the Atlantic, Antigua has a reputation for being windy.

This is not a negative feature because a cooling wind is necessary to counter the high, year-round temperatures.

The wind strength is generally fairly moderate, and it would be an exaggeration that it howls the whole time.

🔑 Key Takeaways

Antigua is one of the sailing destinations which you read and dream about. Perhaps you subscribe to one of the cruising channels on YouTube and wishfully think… “if only.”

Instead of wishing, why don’t you make a positive decision to travel and enjoy any of the 365 beaches, one of Antigua’s marvelous islands, such as deep bay, green island, and the leeward islands, and everything else Antigua has to offer. 

I’m the founder and chief editor here at Sailing Savvy. I spent a decade working as a professional mariner and currently, I mix those experiences with digital publishing. Welcome, and I hope that we can be the hub you need for safe passage.