Bitter End Yacht Club

Fat sails in the sunset

Feb 1, 2004
Outside Magazine
Caribbean Resort, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Even type A's need some downtime: the Bitter End

Caribbean Resort, Virgin Gorda, BVI

The North Pier deck at Virgin Gorda's Bitter End Yacht Club

THE BITTER END, ON THE REMOTE NORTHEASTERN TIP of Virgin Gorda, is a sprawling community of people with one thing on their minds: boating. In addition to the club's 78 rooms, freshwater swimming pool, and teakwood Clubhouse restaurant, there's a marina with charter-boat service, a dive shop, a market, a pub, and 70 boat moorings. All the action takes place offshore, specifically in the protected waters of three-square-mile North Sound, with the club's flotilla of 100-plus vessels, ranging from sea kayaks and windsurfers to Hobie Cats and 30-foot oceangoing yachts. This is no mellow-rum-drinks-on-your-private-beach kind of resort: It's a playground for Type A's in topsiders.

The Good Life // The best rooms are the 48 cottages set on a steep hillside, with wraparound decks and views of Eustacia Reef (30 air-conditioned suites climb the sunset side of the hill). Meals (think surf-and-turf) are served under the blue canopies of the Clubhouse.

Jaw Dropper // The staff at the BEYC remembers everyone. It had been two years since my last visit, yet when I walked to breakfast, watersports staffers greeted me by my first name.

Sports on-Site // Thanks to warm water and 15- to 20-knot winds, North Sound is the perfect place to hone your tacks and jibes. Private sailing lessons for beginners cost $25 per hour, and advanced sailing sessions run $50 per class. Use of all the small boats is included in your stay, as are snorkeling trips to nearby reefs. Two-tank dives cost $85, all equipment except wetsuit included, and deep-sea fishing for blue marlin runs $275 a day.

Beyond the Sand // The 30-minute hike to the top of 1,359-foot Gorda Peak offers a commanding view of the entire Virgin Islands region. Don't miss a trip to the famous Baths, a jumbled collection of giant boulders and knee-deep tide pools.

The Fine Print // Round-trip airfare on American Airlines (800-433-7300, from New York to Tortola's Beef Island Airport is $525. From January 5 to April 30, the five-night Admiral's Package at the BEYC ($2,925 to $3,850; 800-872-2392, includes three meals a day for two (low season, $2,150 to $2,625). The annual Pro-Am Regatta ($2,940) takes place the first week of November.

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