Bitter End Yacht Club

Fat sails in the sunset

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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