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Set sail through the British Virgin Islands, following in the wake of pirates, colonists, slaves – and Irma, the greatest storm of all

'Irma was rough. I felt like I was in a survival movie, man. I Fish were spinning right on up the street, the sea surged forward and a lot of boats got destroyed. There was no water, no electricity. I had chosen to keep a watch over my family’s house, but the windows were gone, there was nothing left in the kitchen – the wind had blown it all away.’

Grand Harbour on Jost Van Dyke
a marooned speedboat and stripped hillside
Skipper Glenroy Johnson.

Yacht skipper Glenroy Johnson recalls 6 September 2017, when the eye of a cataclysmic storm hit the British Virgin Islands. Irma was the strongest hurricane ever to gather over the Atlantic and smash against the Caribbean, with sustained wind speeds of 185mph and gusts up to 220mph. Nine out of ten homes on Tortola – the largest of the British Virgin Islands – were damaged or ruined. ‘Afterwards, the islands were dried completely brown,’ says Glenroy.

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