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Yacht Charter and Boat Rentals in Nelsons Dockyard

Yacht Charter Nelson's Dockyard

On a Nelsons Dockyard yacht charter with Borrow a Boat you can explore much of Antigua within an easy sail. Whatever you want from an Antigua yacht charter, from exploring the 365 beaches to a sail south to the French Caribbean, a Nelson's Dockyard sailing vacation is going to be an unforgettable experience.

Located on English Harbour, the largest natural harbor in the Leeward Island chain, Nelson's Dockyard wasn't remembered well by its namesake. Horatio Nelson tangled with the sugar plantation owners over smuggling while in command of the Royal Navy base between 1784 and 1787 and referred to it as an 'infernal hellhole'. Visiting English Harbour today you would think the place anything but!

Nelson's Dockyard is the old Royal Navy base that was set up to watch the French Caribbean during the Napoleonic Wars and American Revolution. It was the biggest base in the region thanks to the deep bay being wide and deep enough for the largest warships to be fully refitted and kept out of the way of hurricanes.

Today you will find this part of the island an idyllic location. Part of the Nelson's Dockyard National Park, in the village itself you will find high end boutiques, bars and restaurants where the stores, magazines and ropewalk were. High above, and protecting the bay from hurricanes is Shirley's Heights, a forested peak in which to get astounding views of the surrounds. The Napoleonic war era Fort Barrington and Fort Berkeley overlook English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour on the other side of the spit too - a worthwhile wander on your Antiguan adventure.

Explore Nelson's Dockyard By Renting A Yacht

Many on a Nelson's Dockyard boat rental choose not to leave Antigua. Given there is so much to do and enjoy on this beautiful and fun island, a seven day luxury yacht charter will offer plenty to do.

If your idea of a Caribbean sailing vacation is to island hop, then island hop to Green Island just to the SE of English Harbour. This is a quiet desert island with coral reefs and almost total privacy being only accessible by boat. For those who love hidden beaches, on the mainland Rendezvous Bay is either accessible on foot with a 40 minute hike or by boat.

Many visit Antigua for more structured fun. Resorts like Carlisle Bay and Nonsuch Bay are up there among the best in the world. Both are split into separate couples-only and family resorts where privacy is assured for those who seek it.

For those into snorkeling or scuba diving, Antigua has some of the best available in the Caribbean. Cades Reef is a place of wonder for seasoned divers and newbies alike, though there are reefs along much of the south of the island too.

For those on a longer yacht charter, you can hop over to neighboring island Barbuda or take a longer sail down to Guadeloupe in the Windward Islands or north to the nearby Leeward Island of St Maarten for some serious partying!

How To Get To Nelson's Dockyard

V C Bird International Airport

This is the international airport for Antigua, and has regular flights during the vacation season from the UK and North America. It sits on the north of the island. A bus to Nelson's Dockyard takes just over an hour and costs $2, while a taxi can cost $35 and takes half an hour.

Marinas In Nelson's Dockyard

Nelson's Dockyard has a marina in its own right, but very close is Falmouth Harbour Marina.

Nelson's Dockyard Marina:

Nelson's Dockyard Marina is a major yacht charter hub with charter companies offering crewed and bareboat sailing catamaran charters, sailing yacht charters, superyacht charters and motor yacht charters.

Berth Characteristics:

40 berths

Max Length 55m (180 Feet)

Max Draught 6m (19.6 Feet)

List of additional services: Shore power, water, WiFi, shower/WC, launderette, garbage disposal, cash machine, currency exchange, supermarket, restaurant.

Falmouth Harbour Marina:

The smaller of the two important yacht charter hubs, Falmouth Harbour Marina has charter companies offering crewed and bareboat sailing catamaran charters, sailing yacht charters, superyacht charters and motor yacht charter.

Berth Characteristics:

60 berths

Max Length 100m (330 Feet)

Max Draught 6.1m (20 Feet)

List of additional services: Shore power, water, WiFi, shower/WC, launderette, garbage disposal, cash machine, restaurant.

Suggested Sailing Routes From Nelson's Dockyard

So, what do you want from an Antigua charter out of English Harbour? Serious chill on a sandy beach? Snorkeling or scuba diving on a protected coral reef off your charter yacht? Your boat charter need not leave Antigua to enjoy all of these.

7 Days - Circumnavigate Antigua: After a day exploring English Harbour you will head east toward Freeman Bay as your shakedown cruise. After lunch, sail on to Green Island, an uninhabited island where you can go scuba diving and sunbathing in its secluded coves. Jolly Harbour Marina will be your next stop on the west coast - another sailor's paradise. Sail to the capital of Antigua, St John's on the north of the island and explore this colonial capital. A short sail to Dickenson Bay will allow you to enjoy one of the most stunning beaches in Antigua. Hang out there for the next day. Carlisle Bay Resort is your next stop - choose the family or couple's end of the resort accordingly! Your final day takes you back to English Harbour where you disembark.

14 Days: Great fun sailing to be had here on an island hopping expedition up the Leeward Islands. The first day you run south to Montserrat, before the next few days of broad reaching NW to Nevis, St Kitts, Sint Eustatius, Saba and then to the world famous party island of St Maarten. If you can handle it, spend a couple of days here before NW again to Anguilla. Perhaps to give your heads a rest, a long reach to the sparsely inhabited island of Barbuda and then turn things up again with a run south to Guadeloupe. Back to British soil on St Lucia and then island hop north-west to Martinique before returning to base at Nelson's Dockyard.

Best Times To Rent A Yacht In Nelson's Dockyard

Unlike Europe, the sailing season in the Caribbean Sea runs from November to May - perfect for a dose of winter sun. The NE Trades are settled and you will encounter weather between 25-35 degrees C.

Within this period, March and April after the winter northerlies have passed are cooler yet the sailing is just as fun as the rest of the year.

For those who want to try something a little outside their comfort zone, August and September are said to be the very best sailing months of all.

There's a problem with this - many yacht charter fleets will not be in the area thanks to hurricane season that runs between July and November. If booked and a hurricane is on its way your vacation will be canceled. There is no minimising the danger of being in the region in a hurricane - there is no escape and with the general trend for ever fiercer storms, it is not an experience to even risk being around for.

The Climate

The sailing season runs from December to June with the hurricane season hitting in June and ending in November. Winds are dominated by the NE Trade Winds and can sit at up to 20 knots, firm and steady all day.

Hurricanes have recently given the region a big kicking and are not to be underestimated. Generally speaking it is impossible to rent a yacht during this time.


What should I consider when renting a Yacht or Boat?

The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a captain, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.

What are the Marinas in Nelson's Dockyard?

Nelson's Dockyard Marina is the main marina, while closeby is Falmouth Harbour Marina that caters to superyacht and luxury yacht charters.

When are the best times to rent a boat in Nelson's Dockyard?

Nelson's Dockyard is in the northern Tropics and this means blissful trade winds and comfortable temperatures year round. The cooler part of the year from November to May is better for yacht charters simply because the hurricane season coincides with the hotter and wetter part of the year. As ever, if serious chill is the name of the game, then come out outside of school vacations.

Do you have to pay a deposit when renting a Yacht in Nelson's Dockyard?

You will typically pay 50% up front on reservation the yacht rent and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.

What happens if my Yacht breaks down?

If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.

What should I think of before I rent a Yacht or Boat in Nelson's Dockyard?

You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat rental before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Dress for warm weather but do have something for tropical rains - light but waterproof.

What Qualifications Do I need to rent a boat or yacht?

If you want to sail without a captain then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a captain on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.