Captain/Owner, 72-foot sailing yacht Pacific Wave
Date interviewed: December 2008
How did you realize you wanted to become a captain?
Ever since I was a baby in Cheshire, England, my family had a place in North Wales, and we’d spend holidays there. I had to be on the water. As a young girl, I couldn’t get enough.
As I got older, I decided to be sensible and get trained with a degree in accounting, but I just wasn’t meant to be in an office. So, in 2001, I decided to buy my own boat. I started training for my commercial license so that I could know as much as possible about boats for safety reasons, and so I could race and get into charter.
How did you decide on the 72-foot sailing yacht Pacific Wave?
Two years ago, my boyfriend Mark Miles and I went looking. We wanted a yacht that sails well but that also is good for people who haven’t been on boats before, because we were buying with charter in mind.
We’d been out to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, three times looking a boats, and that last time we visited, we saw Pacific Wave and fell in love with her. She’s not one of these new, plastic boats. She’s a beautiful custom design.
Tell me more about what made you love Pacific Wave at first sight.
In the 1980s, an Italian consortium got together to build a boat to race in the America’s Cup. It was a boat called Azzurra, and it did well. As a result of that boat being so well built, the lawyer for that America’s Cup consortium commissioned Pacific Wave.
We’re the fifth owner now, and every owner has taken great care of her. She’s had three major refits. We bought her in June 2008 and worked on her through September.
What do you think makes Pacific Wave special in terms of charter?
I’ve been sailing all my life, but now we’re just starting in charter. I’ll be the captain and stewardess, while Mark will be the chef and deckhand. We are a couple, and we’re among just a handful of owner-operators of a charter yacht in this size range. So that makes us different.
Pacific Wave herself is special because of her pedigree. She sails beautifully. She’s very safe, and there are plenty of places for people to spread out and sit.
I’ve also bought the best quality of everything that I can. We have Egyptian cotton linens, waffle bathrobes, luxury towels, Villeroy & Boch china and crystal, Molton Brown bath products, and so on. We may be the same size sailboat with similar rates to others out there for charter, but we’re trying to offer more in that price range. We’re trying to offer what I would expect on my own holiday. We’re trying to offer a better experience.
What features onboard Pacific Yacht do you think will appeal most to charter guests?
The headroom in our saloon is 7 feet, 10 inches. It’s almost that high in the cabins as well. That sets us apart from other yachts in our size range, and it means that our guests will enjoy a far more spacious feeling when they are onboard.
You haven’t yet done your first charter. Do you know the Caribbean well enough to show guests a good time?
We have some suggested itineraries, and we’ve chartered our own bareboats extensively around the Caribbean, from the Virgin Islands all the way to the Grenadines. We know the anchorages, we go ashore, we dine at the best restaurants ourselves, so we know where guests might like to go. I golf and ride horses as well, so we can recommend the best places for those activities if clients are interested.
Our plan is to start with the sample itineraries and then be totally flexible depending on what the guests want. We can do one-way or round-trip charters, as long as the passages are safe.
Do you have any favorite destinations in the Caribbean?
I really am looking forward to chartering in the British Virgin Islands. It’s perfect for people chartering a yacht for the first time. You get up, have breakfast, do a short two-hour sail, then swim and snorkel and have lunch. Then maybe another hour’s sail. It’s calm, short passages compared to what you find farther south in the Caribbean.
What kind of charter guests are you most looking forward to meeting?
We’re open-minded about having all types of guests aboard. The way our berths are organized, one couple with children would be great. But our upper-lower berths are big enough that adults will be fine as long as they don’t mind sleeping apart. We also can take all-male or all-female groups because of the way our beds are configured.
We’re happy to have children aboard, but we’re aiming for children ages 5 and older. We’re flexible on that, but we don’t particularly want toddlers because of safety.
What awards have you won?
We took third place in our bareboat class during 2007 Antigua Race Week.
What else should CharterWave readers know about you and Pacific Wave?
I think the main thing, for us, is that this is a long-term commitment. We hope to welcome people onboard who will then become repeat clients for many years.
We’re prepared for English tea. We’ve bought nice French and Italian wines. We’ve thought about it, and we are trying to offer the best of what one can get. We have expensive taste ourselves, and we believe our clients deserve the same.
Pacific Wave is part of the Nicholson Yachts fleet. She takes six guests with two or three crew at a lowest weekly rate of $16,000, which includes food. Contact any reputable charter broker to book a week onboard.