Crewed Yacht Charters are the Post Hurricane Bridge to Tourism in the Caribbean
Our hearts & prayers go out to all those in the Caribbean who have been affected by the hurricanes. We know the island spirit is unbreakably strong. The islanders will heal with great community spirit. The beaches will quickly get cleaned. The businesses and fun beach bars that we all love so well will come back too. And the water is always, ALWAYS blue. Tourism is the Caribbean's only industry, so they will work hard to bring it back. They've done it before and will succeed again because they are positively "Island Strong".
Self sufficient crewed charter yachts with their generators, air conditioning, water makers and refrigeration have always been one of the best living options after a hurricane. Crewed charter yachts ARE the answer, performing as a bridge to keep tourists coming until hotels can be rebuilt. Yacht Haven Grande Marina in St. Thomas, USVI came through the storm well. Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVI has brand new docks on one side of the marina that are intact too. In the coming days, the airports will reopen and support services for the yachts will be available.
Want to help? There are so many options available if you are interested in donating funds to the relief efforts, many more than what we have listed here:
Catamaran Manna: https://mannaformissionaries.org
Catamaran Sea Boss: https://www.youcaring.com/21usvirginislandrelieffund-942738
Richard Branson: https://www.virgin.com/unite/bvi-community-support-appeal
Kenny Chesney: https://kennychesney.com/news/448917/hurricaneirmamessage
BVI Aid: https://www.donationaid.com/bvi#
Jost Van Dyke Humanitarian Aid: https://www.gofundme.com/jost-van-dyke-humanitarian-aid
Virgin Islands Strong: https://vistrong.org/
DO We Have Determination?
Listen to Foxy's daughter, Justine Callwood describe her hopes and determination for rebuilding Jost Van Dyke as well as post hurricane relief efforts in the Virgin Islands.
Most clients are quite eager to support being some of the first tourists arriving during the rebuilding of the islands. We can confirm that the islands will pop with renewed spring green growth within the next 3 weeks. In the past, we watched as hotels stood their palm trees back up and braced them so that their shallow roots could get reacquainted with the ground. The lushness of the tropics quickly replaces the brown of the storms.
We've put together an sample 8 day/ 7 night itinerary, listing anchorages in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands that would fit the bill for seeing an unscarred landscape of calm turquoise water and hillsides: ie Little Harbor, Lee Bay, Benures Bay, etc. It might get tricky to do in the winter months with the North swell; but you could easily have a visually cleaner view of paradise during the rebuild process
Foxy Callwood is already back at the bar, singing songs!
For our adventurous clients who love vacations that also include a bit of giving back to the community, we're promoting the idea of a casual one-day-during-the-charter donation of helping out. Many people don't have the skills to rebuild a house; but they can volunteer to do some good and feel great by doing so. A spin-off for a "Caribbean Habitat for Humanity" could be a very good thing.
As an optimist, we want to think it will all be okay. Obviously, it won't ever the exact same. But in a short time I feel sure we will see simple structures on beaches serving beer and cold drinks - maybe even a burger on the grill. This is about the sailing vacation experience, and not about the structures on shore. If our clients see Foxy sitting on his stool & performing his songs with a cooler of beer, they are going to think it was best time ever! We feel so sure of this.
Our Hurricane Experience: Seeing all the stories about Hurricanes Irma and Maria made us realize that we need to add our life experiences in writing. Here's the second of two storms we experienced that hit the Virgin Islands in 1998 and 1999:
History: Hurricane Lenny was record-breaking fifth Category 4 hurricane in the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season. It was the second-strongest November Atlantic hurricane on record, behind the 1932 Cuba hurricane. Lenny formed on November 13 in the western Caribbean Sea and maintained an unprecedented west-to-east track for its entire duration. Backwards!!! It attained hurricane status south of Jamaica on November 15 and passed south of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico over the next few days. Lenny rapidly intensified over the northeastern Caribbean on November 17, attaining peak winds of 155 mph (249 km/h) about 21 mi (34 km) south of Saint Croix in the United States Virgin Islands.
We had just finished a successful showing of s/v Three Moons at the Virgin Islands Charter Yacht League Show on November 13th when we got the news that a hurricane was on the way. It killed us to think that we had to completely strip the boat back down to bare bones from "show status" and back into the boatyard. So much work & not that much time. In hurricane Georges the previous year, we learned that we didn't like the outcome after tying the boat to mangroves in St. John.
We fretted, how in the world could this possibly happen? There aren't any hurricanes typically in November!. One of the older locals replied, "Dats de price of da livin' in paradise. Get to work and get yourself safe 'mon".
We sailed back to Virgin Gorda from St. Thomas and helped haul boats for 2 days in the boat yard in Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda in the hopes that they would get to ours too. They did. (In retrospect, our helping out was what truly solidified our relationship with the locals in Virgin Gorda.) Our haulout began late, just as the first black bands of the storm arrived. We had been given permission to enter the area of the haulout slip and had been jockeying with other boats to get our position.
There was a bit of good old fashioned sailor style cursing between Captains & crews, all trying to be next in line. When it was finally our time, the wind gusted and caught Three Moons, pinning her perpendicular to the haulout slip! But we finally managed to get ourselves turned around backwards into the haulout slip. I remember the wind increasing and lightening really striking the water around us...and we were handling lines on the dock!
Sanford and Son's tv quote, "Elizabeth! I'm coming!" will forever be stuck in my head. By the time the boatyard guys lifted Three Moons, the lightening popping around us was so sever that they had to stop & leave Three Moons in the haulout slings, hanging in the air. The rain was pouring in buckets and we quickly discovered that our wet weather gear was completely inadequate. I remember thinking at the time that this was it. The boat would be destroyed in the hurricane, swinging like a big baby in the slings of the haulout lift. We hid from the crazy lightening & rain in the boatyard bathroom...and prayed. After the first wave of the storm passed, the guys completely surprised us and came back into the yard to finish our haulout. Then we helped haul 3 more yachts in the dark, lit only by the headlights of 2 trucks in ankle deep mud & water. The pieces of wood that we needed for the stands to sit on were scattered everywhere, making me think of an Easter egg hunt gone bad. Thinking back now, I know the yard guys had families who must have been so incredibly worried about them.
When we knew the storm was definitely coming, I thawed and cooked every single thing we had onboard in our big freezers. The containers were packed into the 2 coolers that were kept aft of the cockpit. After everyone was hauled out, we threw the coolers, lots of ice...and the rum in someone's car who volunteered to take us to the shelter. The first one was closed. The second was open and looked safe enough. The floor was clean and there were foldable pallets available, like those children use in preschool for rest time. We were completely alone at 11pm and wondered where everyone else had gone to. By 11:30, we had more people; but they didn't like the shelter and didn't stay. So it was just four of us during the first of two nights in the shelter, wondering what would happen next.
Hurricane "Backwards Lenny" pounded over us, allowing us to see bits of the night sky between the roof & walls as everything in the shelter jumped up and down except for the foundation. Then the storm came back and sat on top of us in the shelter in Virgin Gorda for 3 solid non-relenting days, spinning, killing the trees & vegetation and rattling our nerves with the fear that our boat charter business would surely be gone this time. Randy & our friend Rik from sister-ship Sandcastle were severely scolded by both myself & his wife Ann for leaning out over a nearby cliff in 100+ mph winds. (They sheepishly looked like 2 little kids and to this day will tell you that it wasn't "that bad"!)
After the storm was finally over, we all went back down the boat yard with our empty cooler of food and sagging hopes. Both yachts, Three Moons and Sandcastle were fine, albeit the varnish was worn off a bit and they were tilted in their metal stands from the force of the wind. But they were still standing! Sandcastle's stands were stuck in the soft wet sand and she couldn't be put back in the water until the ground dried. They had a charter to do a week after the storm and knowing that they couldn't make it, they gave it to us and Three Moons. So after all the stress of the storm, we put ourselves to work, got the boat back together and did the charter for them. Catamaran Sea Boss is a Crewed Yacht Charter Caribbean Vacation
We probably looked like two scared rabbits the day we picked up the guests from the stress of it all; but it was a good week. Both the sky and the water was a myriad shades of blue. There were tender green pops of vegetation everywhere just beginning to grow back. And the rum & laughter flowed!
Blessings to all those who've discovered the real meaning of "Island Strong"~
Capt. Randy and Shelly Tucker
About Us: Captain Randy & Shelly Tucker
We're former Owners & Captain of the Award-winning 72' yacht Three Moons for 18 years. With over 300 charters in our logbook, we currently represent privately crewed Caribbean sailing luxury yacht charters as professional CYBA yacht charter brokers. Recently, we interviewed over 120 catamarans, motor yachts, sailboats and professional crews. We're happy to promote these yachts offering modern conveniences & unlimited pleasure while sailing the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands.
What should you expect from a luxury crewed yacht charter in the Caribbean? It's "ALL about you, ALL the time" onboard a privately crewed charter boat! It's surprisingly affordable too! Far away from overcrowded cruise ships, all-inclusive charter yachts allow you to explore some of the Caribbean’s most exclusive areas and delight in the natural, unspoiled beauty of secluded islands, hidden coves and secret dive sites. Sail to a nearby island every day & snorkel around your own private beaches; enjoy your favorite cocktail while watching the sunset on your own private yacht; indulge yourself with 5-star gourmet cuisine that is prepared with Caribbean flair and served in the most beautiful surroundings you could ever imagine. We love matching the right crew & yacht with you!