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Taking Control of the Wind: United Airline Pilots Learn the Ropes (and Lines) on a Crewed Yacht Charter Vacation in the British Virgin Islands

Updated: Apr 12

United Airline Pilots Captain Dan Gronstal and Jo Gronstal Reviews Their Yacht Charter Vacation in the British Virgin Islands

At first glance, the cockpits of airplanes and yachts seem like worlds apart. One a high-tech marvel soaring through the clouds, the other a privately crewed charter yacht dancing on the surface of the sea. Yet, for some airline pilots like Captain Dan & Jo Gronstal and Christine Kinkead of United Airlines, there's a surprising allure to the world of sailing, and the skills they've honed in the skies translate very well to navigating the waves.

Even more surprising is that the yacht that they booked for their vacation, 59' Catamaran Odyssea, has hosted two weeks of charters recently with UAL pilots in the British Virgin Islands!

As professional sailors for 18 years who segued to CYBA charter yacht brokers in 2015, we've enjoyed sailing with many pilots and helping arrange their vacations onboard yachts in the Caribbean & Mediterranean! All over the world, the camaraderie amongst sailors & pilots is a special draw, fostering a sense of community that can be missing in the solitary world of the cockpit.

There is a certain romanticism that both professions share. Airline pilots see the world from a unique perspective via a horizontal wing, while sailors experience the raw power of a vertical wing and beauty of nature & the wind firsthand. But the similarities go deeper. Both require a deep understanding of complex systems, a keen awareness of the wind, and the ability to make quick decisions under pressure.

With a natural affinity easily learning the feel of a yacht's wheel, an airline pilot's knowledge of weather patterns and reading instruments comes in handy when understanding wind direction and sail trim on a yacht. Their experience navigating by instruments can also be a plus when using navigational tools at sea. The learning curve for a pilot-turned-sailor can initially be a challenge, but their existing skillset gives them a solid foundation which yacht charter captains love!

For many airline pilots, a sailing vacation on a private catamaran or monohull offers a welcome escape from the regimented world of commercial aviation. It's a chance to reconnect with nature, enjoy a slower pace of life, and explore hidden coves unreachable by plane.

So, the next time you see a yacht gracefully cutting through the waves, don't be surprised to find a UAL airline pilot at the helm. They may have traded the jet stream for the wind, but their passion for navigating and exploring new horizons remains the same!

Watch Our Yacht Charter Birthday Vacation Video!

Read Captain Dan & Jo's personal reviews of their recent vacation aboard Catamaran Odyssea in the British Virgin Islands:

"The Sail was Awesome!" 

"One of the things I noticed was there seemed to be a perfect amount of interaction with the Odyssea Crew. Good service without hovering. We were allowed to help ourselves and participate in sailing wherever we chose to.

1. We liked the family friendliness! 

2. Knowledge was shared and we talked navigation as we both share in this topic.

3. Top notch. Meals, table settings and presentation were fantastic.

4. The Crew was very professional but courteous. The whole crew bent over to make us welcomed and stress-free without being overbearing. Great mix!

5. Good value. Overall very satisfied.

6. Food was fantastic. Gi is an excellent chef and First Mate Mario will eventually have to workout excessively to burn off all her great meals!!! haha!

7. We sailed 2 times without engines and we like that very much.

8. Captain Dylan always found a calm bay for anchorages and sleeping.

9. We only did scuba and snorkeling. Girls did paddleboard and Jo and I took out the kayaks.

10. The Baths were my favorite onshore highlight.

We have had a wonderful experience booking our second sailing charter vacation with YachtCharters.Gurus. You have made sailing yacht charter catamarans much less stressful!

~Capt Dan Gronstal, TX

"The trip was amazing! Crew was super and First Mate Mario is a great addition. I enjoyed the full sailing the most! Dylan was very knowledgeable about the area and did his best to make our overnights in as calm of water as possible. The scuba dives were amazing."

We suggested to have a drink of the day and Mario was all over it! He came up with a drink each day and gave it a name. We loved it! The shore excursions were fantastic! We loved The Baths in Virgin Gorda. They were amazing. Also we went to Saba Rock for dinner which was delicious! I would definitely recommend the Catamaran Odyssea crew!

~Jo Gronstal, TX

"Everything was fantastic." 

~Christine Kinkead


  • 59 Feet Catamaran for up to 8 Guests

  • Beam: 29.1 Feet

  • Draft: 4.6 Feet

  • Make: Fountaine Pajot

  • # Cabins: 4

  • Cabin Configuration: 4 Queens

  • Showers: 4

  • Wash Basins: 4

  • Elec. Heads: 4

  • TP in Heads: Yes

  • A/C: Full

  • Engines/Generators: 2 X JANMAR 110; 1 X 8 & 1 X 10 man life rafts - EPIRB; Iridium Satellite; Garmin GPS, Onan 17.5KW

  • Year Built: 2012

  • Refit: Annually

  • Fuel Consumption: 2 US Gall/Hr

  • Cruising Speed: 8 knots

  • Max Speed: 10 knots


  • Preferred Pick-up : Village Cay Marina, BVI

  • Cruising Permit : Included

  • MCA Compliance: Yes

  • Location Details: Relocation fees apply to islands out of the BVI, please inquire for costs.


  • Salon TV : Yes

  • Device Hookups : Yes

  • Deck Shower : Yes

  • Bimini : Yes

  • Special Diets : Yes

  • BBQ : Yes

  • Hairdryers : Yes

  • Guests Smokes : Only on Aft deck.

  • Pets Aboard : No

  • Children Ok : Yes

  • Minimum Age : All Kids Welcome!

  • Inverter : Yes

  • Voltages : 220v

  • Water Maker : Yes

  • Internet Access : Onboard WIFI

Water Sports

  • Dinghy hp : 70 for up to 8

  • Water Skis Adult : Yes / Water Skis Kids : Yes

  • Kneeboard : Yes

  • Snorkel Gear : Yes

  • Tube : Yes

  • Wake Board : Yes

  • Kayaks 1 Person : 2

  • SU Paddle Boards : 2

  • Floating Mats : Yes

  • Swim Platform : Yes

  • Boarding Ladder (Loc/Type) : On Transoms

  • Beach Games : Yes

  • U/Water Camera : Yes

  • U/Water Video : Yes

Scuba Diving

  • Tanks : 21

  • Three dives are offered from the yacht gear rental at guests' expense at the fee $230 for the week - per diver.

  • Additional dives after dive number 3 are at $100 per dive


Read our Guides!

Questions about Planning Your Yacht Charter Vacation? Learn More

See 6 Top Things to Do in the British Virgin Islands! Click Here

Watch Videos of Some Of Our Favorite Charter Yachts Worldwide! Link to Videos


-Your Charter Yacht Vacation Expert & Concierge!

CYBA Yacht Charter Brokers: Capt. Randy & Shelly Tucker!

If you want to experience a luxury yacht charter vacation first hand and up close, there is no better way than on your own privately crewed yacht with a full-time professional Captain and Chef/First Mate. We've been sailing and chartering for well over thirty years.

How We Got Started:

The U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands were our "backyard" which we came to love and cherish. So much so, that we sold everything in 1997, became a USCG licensed Captain and moved to Charlotte Amalie, USVI as owners & operators aboard the 72' sailing yacht. We do know the ins and outs of this special place & the people who live there. That's what makes us an official "Yacht Charters Guru”!

Never been on a chartered yacht vacation? We will help you personally design your charter yacht vacation in the Caribbean or Mediterranean! Imagine being able to sail into small bays with beautiful white sands & fantastic snorkeling. A yacht vacation is a great way to spend quality time with your friends or family!

Why use a CYBA Certified Yacht Charter Broker?

Is Your Yacht Charter Contract Real? Learn How to Validate Your Contract!
  • As a member of CYBA, the Charter Yacht Broker’s Association, we adhere to strict yacht charter booking protocols. We have access to the CYBA industry escrow account and E-Contract to protect your money. This is made available by CYBA for electronic use only by established, industry recognized and reputable Yacht Brokers.

  • Charter yacht owners, their hired crews and travel agents do not have access to this account.

  • We have time to answer ALL your questions. If the crew are taking care of guests onboard, they honestly do not have time to answer a lot of travel questions.

  • This is what differentiates professionally licensed yacht brokers from anyone else trying to book charters.

  • Very Important! It is not safe to send your hard-earned money directly to a business or yacht that is not accredited by a professional charter industry association to handle yacht charter client funds. Always ask!

We frequently received compliments for how we've arranged our site, making it easy to see yachts within your price range. Choose from an extensive list of hand-picked yachts on our site that we have personally chosen to represent, including our spacious and stable catamaran charters, power catamarans, traditional monohull sailboat vacations, or high-end luxury motor yacht charters in the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Belize, Croatia. Greece, and the Mediterranean.

Yacht Charters Guru does Not sell yachts like many other agencies so there is no conflict or distraction in our focus for your yacht charter. Our service is free to you. We travel extensively to boat shows and yacht charter shows worldwide year-round to personally view and inspect as many of the charter yachts and the crews as possible.

6 Reasons Why We are Qualified:

1. As Members of the Charter Yacht Brokers Association, The Virgin Islands Professional Charter Yacht League, and the BVI Charter Yacht Society, we maintain contact with the yachts to keep abreast of the very latest information on crew/yacht conditions and new yachts entering the arena.

2. We stay on top of local and Federal Governments to keep informed about changes in our industry, as well as involve ourselves with the changes in the environment in which we offer charters.

3. We engage in open dialogue with local publications to help keep the government and the public aware of this important industry in our islands.

4. We attend multiple charter yacht industry shows in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, go aboard each of the yachts, meet the crews, attend association meetings and seminars. We'll happily share our notes about changes to the boats and crews and confirm any newly added features and upgrades as well as re-fits to the boat’s decor like new carpets, interior and exterior soft goods & fun new water toys.

 5. As a seasoned charter yacht Owner & Crew, we have access to the "inner circle" and know all the insider facts. 6. We've developed a longtime friendship with vendors of services such as local taxi drivers, ferry companies, good places to stay on land, great restaurants, and much more.

Yacht Charters Guru is Proudly Accredited by These Professional Associations


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