The Yachtsman’s Guide to the Virgin Islands was first compiled by John R. Van Ost in 1968. The following year Tropic Isle Publishers became the publisher when Mr. Van Ost wrote in his introduction: “We unabashedly designed this volume to do for the Virgin Island sailors what the famous Yachtsman’s Guide to the Bahamas has done for sailing in those islands.” The 1969 Guide was 106 pages long. Among the eight bareboat charter boat companies in the islands at that time were The Boathouse (run by father and son Cal and Dick Avery) and CSY (Caribbean Sailing Yachts) at the Lagoon. Marine facilities included Yacht Haven in Charlotte Amalie, John Harm’s New Lagoon Marina for fishermen at Red Hook, the St. Croix Marine and Development marina at Christiansted, and Tortola Yacht Services at Road Town. In Coral Bay on St. John, the early Guide states that “Sputnik bar serves liquid refreshments – hard and soft” and that was about it.
Today there are at least 60 marinas, boatyards, charter companies, and other facilities of interest to boaters throughout these islands. Thousands of people arrive each year to charter boats and cruise the islands, and there are sailing schools and skippers for hire that can allow even beginners to cruise. You don’t have to be a certified hero-of-the-sea to enjoy these islands.
In 30 years, the Yachtsman’s Guide to the Virgin Islands has grown to 288 pages, with 27 hand-drawn sketch charts, numerous charts and landfall sketches, and 16 pages of aerial photographs of the islands. The current edition also includes eastern Puerto Rico and the islands of Vieques and Culebra, also known as the Spanish Virgins. We are proud that our Yachtsman’s Guide to the Virgin Islands continues to be acknowledged by experienced boaters as the best organized, most readable and accurate cruising guide to these areas.