on top of watching me draped over the engine with wrenches in hand,
she had to cook or do dishes, it would be no vacation at all. Setting
aside my first notion that a crewed charter was much more expensive
than a bareboat, I made some calls and started putting together
For 12-year-old Stephen Spurr,
whose passions are fish and fishing, this introduction to the
West Indies can't be more ideal.
Surprisingly, it was close. The key is a realistic assessment
of what you end up spending for food, liquor, dinghy, fuel,
water and the like.
It's always more than you expect. The crewed-charter rates
are all-inclusive, so you know what you're in for from the
We like that. Not to mention skipping the obligatory bareboat
checkout and grocery shopping that, combined, can knock a
day off your vacation.
One of the industries top brokers recommended, we sign on with
Oliver Deligny, a St. Lucian (French father, St Lucian mother) with
14 year's experience chartering the Gulfstar 50 La Creole; for many
years, he ran a corporate yacht for the industrial equipment manufacturer
Caterpillar and, before that, a 91 foot French-Canadian yacht. With
16 transatlantics under his keel, Oliver now works out of the comparatively
placid waters of Charlotte Amalie. St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Take him for a few days, or take him for a month. One client had
Oliver sail him all the way to Venezuela. Another had him park La-Creole
at a hotel dock just so he could entertain customers in the cockpit.
|We met Oliver's professional chef, at the Crown
Bay Marina, where La Creole had been entered in the annual charter-boat
show, again winning an award for best varnish job. Steve's bags
were taken to the forward cabin, ours to the aft cabin, and
by the time we changed into T-shirts and shorts, we were under
way, first stop Christmas Cove at Great St. James Island, between
St. Thomas and St John. I'd resisted the compulsion to plan
our itinerary, postponing such decisions until I had a chance
to consult with Oliver. Our conversation went like this,
initiated by Oliver:
"What would you like to do this week?"
"Fine by me."
Oliver and I saw eye to eye. Or so he made me feel, and that's
all that matters. (In the hospitality business, sincerity is
La Creole beats past Little Thatch
Island on the way to Sopers Hole, on the west end of Tortola,
in the British Virgin Islands.
Despite this mandate, in the insuring week we visited all of the
major islands in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, many of the
smaller ones, and did so at a leisurely pace. Such is their proximity
to one another. [Read on..]