Yacht-Spotting on St. Thomas
CharterWave editor Kim Kavin was in the U.S. Virgin Islands in November, scouting for great yachts and interviewing crew at the industry-only boat show on St. Thomas.
The pickins were somewhat slim in terms of great charter deals, not just in Kim’s eyes but also in the eyes of many reputable brokers who attended. (“Wait till you get to Tortola,” as one broker put it. “The boats are a lot better on the British side.”)
Still, there were a few gems in the crowd of boats at American Yacht Harbor on St. Thomas, including the 47-foot sailing catamaran Tachyon, the 72-foot sailboat Sublime, the 72-foot sailboat Drumbeat, and the 50-foot sailing catamaran Sea Chateau.
CharterWave members can check out Kim’s First Impressions of those yachts and others from the St. Thomas show beginning this month. Also look for interesting tidbits and advice from the show in the back-postings on the CharterWave blog.
More Great Finds on Tortola
That charter broker who said to wait until seeing the yachts on the British side of the Virgins sure knew what she was talking about. As CharterWave editor Kim Kavin cruised into Road Town, she found more than a handful of great all-inclusive boats that are hungry for business from new clients.
Some of the First Impressions we’ve proudly added to the CharterWave database for our members to review this month include the 76-foot sailing catamaran Zingara, the 64-foot motoryacht Semper Fi, the 58-foot sailing catamaran Sabore, the 57-foot sailing catamaran Aldebaran, the 73-foot sailing catamaran Wonderful, and the 63-foot sailboat Stenella.
While those yachts were among the standouts Kim saw firsthand at the Tortola show, there were a half-dozen or so others that seemed to have a lot of good potential, as well. Look for even more boats from the Tortola show to be added to the CharterWave database in January.
The Best Charter Ever
Well, at least we hope it will be in the eyes of the client who worked with charter broker Barbara Stork of The Sacks Group to snag a 50th-anniversary cruise onboard the stunning 237-foot motoryacht Kogo.
The client has been with Stork for a half-dozen years, booking everything from 100-footers to 160-footers. “It depends on whether it’s a weekend, if he’s by himself, or if he’s with the whole family,” Stork told CharterWave in an exclusive interview. “One of the reasons he likes boats is that he can have quality time with his family. They’re all together, the kids and the grandkids.”
In fact, that’s one of the things that sold him on Kogo, which at a whopping 420,000 euros per week (about a half-million U.S. dollars at presstime) will certainly be a golden anniversary memory to cherish. He chose Kogo (part of the Nigel Burgess fleet) not just because of the extra dose of glamour the yacht itself will inject into the stunning Italian Amalfi Coast charter, but also because the yacht’s stateroom configuration would allow all the little ones plus their nanny to come along in the 12-guest party.
“He looked at bigger boats that take more than 12 guests, but thought they were a little too much for what he wanted to do,” Stork explained. “So he thought about bringing more people, but then his wife said no, that it wouldn’t be a family thing.”
It just goes to show you that no matter how much money you’re prepared to spend on a charter, you still need a reputable broker to help you find exactly the right yacht to make your vacation the best ever for your needs.
Crewed Yacht of the Month
Time and time again, people who are new to charter think the fanciest-looking yacht is by definition the best. That’s definitely not the case, and to prove it, we’re promoting the 60-foot commercial-looking Irony as this month’s crewed yacht of the month.
Irony is a terrific yacht that cruises the Chesapeake Bay with Dan and Libby Cole onboard to serve your every need. The husband and wife team—both licensed captains—previously worked on much larger motoryachts, and they offer their well-honed style of big-boat service in this much smaller package.
Don’t let Irony’s exterior fool you, either: She’s a top-notch yacht through and through, filled with warm mahogany and design details that make her more comfortable than a lot of other boats in her size range.
If you’re a CharterWave member, you can learn more about Irony by reading our full review in the members-only section. Click here for our cruising article, or click here to go straight to The High Five.
Bareboat of the Month
If you’re a woman who’s new to bareboating, you need a yacht that’s in good condition, a place built for easy cruising, and an instructor who not only knows the ropes, but also has the patience to teach you how to tie them off properly.
CharterWave bareboats expert Heather Freckmann (and another student, shown at right) found all of that and more onboard the 40-foot sailing yacht Glamorous Galah, a boat operated by The Moorings and used by Offshore Sailing School to conduct liveaboard women’s-only sailing courses in the British Virgin Islands. Heather’s onboard experience left her with new friends, new respect for the cruising lifestyle, and a healthy sense of empowerment—not to mention a very strong desire to go cruising in the Virgin Islands again as soon as possible.
For these reasons, we’ve selected Glamorous Galah as CharterWave’s Bareboat of the Month for December. Members can read the details of Heather’s experience by clicking here, and can even ask her direct questions about the trip by going straight to the CharterWave Ask Our Experts section.
Best of the Blog
CharterWave editor Kim Kavin tries to post every weekday to the site’s blog. If you haven’t been reading the blog regularly, then you missed a lot of great news and information in the month of November.
Here’s one November blog entry, titled “Dicey Charter Prices,” that received a lot of positive feedback:
“If I could share only one thing I’ve learned during the past few days at the annual industry-only St. Thomas charter show, it’s this: Don’t judge a Virgin Islands yacht by its price.
“The boats featured in this charter show on the U.S. side of the Virgins are what I would call entry-level crewed yachts. They’re all somewhere in the vicinity of $7,000 to $12,000 per week for anywhere from four to ten guests, making them ideal for first-timers who want to try crewed charter without breaking the bank.
“What is surprising to me, though, is that more than a few of the $7,000 yachts are in better condition and run by better crew than some of the $12,000 yachts. This is not usually the case at the higher end of the crewed yacht marketplace, where price is often commensurate with yacht condition and service. But here in the U.S. Virgin Islands–an oft-chosen first-time charter destination–the crewed yachts seem to have very little cohesiveness as a marketplace when it comes to their price points.
“And so, my standard advice applies: Be sure to work with a reputable broker when booking any crewed yacht. Especially if you’re a first-timer looking at entry-level rates in the Virgins, a good broker may help save not just your hard-earned vacation money, but also your vacation itself.”
We’re Scouting for You Again
We barely have all our information posted for you from the industry-only St. Thomas and Tortola charter yacht shows, and already we’re off to the next important Caribbean events.
CharterWave editor Kim Kavin will be in St. Maarten and Antigua this month to collect more insider advice, terrific yacht details, and top-notch crew information. Look for all of that and more throughout the site in January, including Kim’s full roundups of each charter show in the January edition of CharterWave eNews.
Also be sure to check the CharterWave blog each weekday. Kim does her best to post up-to-the-minute information for readers while she’s on assignment, even if she’s at sea with a temperamental WiFi connection!
Sandy Carney Goes Independent
Longtime and well-respected crewed charter yacht broker Sandy Carney has left Churchill Yacht Partners to form her own independent agency in Newport, Rhode Island.
The new company is called Sanderson Yachting LLC. It will focus exclusively on crewed yacht vacations. Carney will not book bareboats, and her day-charter bookings will be only for repeat clients.
“I don’t want to be enormous,” she told CharterWave. “I just want to be good and reputable.”
From all we’ve seen of her work over the years with Alden Yachts, Little Harbor, and Churchill, she’ll be all of that and more.
Carney’s website is under construction. For now, anyone interested in working with her to book a charter can call (401) 338-6866 or e-mail
Need Stocking Stuffers?
If they’re decent-size stockings you’re trying to fill this holiday season, consider giving a copy of CharterWave editor Kim Kavin’s book Have the Whole Boat: The Insider’s Guide to Private Yacht Charter Vacations.
You can drop a nice hint about a charter vacation you’d like to take by attaching a card that reads: “For your research on what to get me next year…”
New charter broker interviews added to the CharterWave database this month:
Sandy Carney (updated info)
New First Impressions added to the CharterWave database this month: