Each year, SAIL and St. Vincent and the Grenadines offer our readers the trip of a lifetime: a free charter in paradise on board a TMM Yachts charter boat. To win, readers submit their “Top Five Reasons” for chartering in SVG, and we sift through 1,000 essays to pick our winner. Here’s our 2013 winner:
Daniella, Elliott and Little Elliott Crowder from Newport, Oregon
Daniella and Elliott live and sail in Newport, Oregon, where their 8-year-old son, “Little Elliot” has been on boats since he was an infant. They keep their 27ft Pearson Ariel on a mooring within walking distance of their home and go on day sails as often as possible. Their San Juan 21 stays at their cabin in Southern Oregon and they often trailer it to regattas around the Pacific Northwest. Big Elliot is the Vice Commodore of their Yacht Club, Little Elliot races his own JY Trainer and Daniella considers herself the Captain of the Galley.
The Crowders will be traveling to St. Vincent and the Grenadines with their longtime sailing buddy, Jeff Breazile, who’s accustomed to the big winds of the Columbia River, where he keeps his boat. “It will be nice for my husband to share his ‘Captain’ duties with another capable sailor, especially since the SVG looks like a step up in difficulty from the BVI,” says Daniella.
They’ve chartered twice before—both times in the BVI—and Daniella recalls, “we met with a few weather challenges, but coming from sailing year-round on the rugged Oregon Coast, and being able to sail in a bikini in a tropical setting—nothing could have darkened our trip!”
According to Daniella, the crew has already started preparing. They’ve purchased charts and books on the SVG and are busily planning their trip, something they enjoy almost as much as sailing. “We are looking forward to discovering new charter grounds and learning about a new country and its people and customs,” she says.
The Winning Essay
1) Our family of three live and sail on the cold and rugged Oregon Coast. Our love of sailing has us out year-round. When the wind is blowing sideways and the rain gauge shows 20 inches for the month, an escape to a tropical paradise torn from the pages of SAIL Magazine sounds like a dream come true!
2) Our 8-year-old son is on the Junior sailing team and is quite good at racing! He has been on boats since he was days old and loves charts and navigation. Our family has chartered before in the BVI and our son was our junior navigator when he was just 5 years old. A trip with TMM Yacht Charters to St. Vincent & the Grenadines would be a wonderful way to introduce us all to new sailing grounds and learn about a new country, its customs, its charts and enhance our sailing skills in a new environment. Not to mention our son would freak out to be where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed.
3) We are active Board members of our Yacht Club (more of a beer-can club than a champagne club). My husband is Rear Commodore and I am Publicity Chair, and help promote sailing to our community in all aspects. We would be wonderful ambassadors to promote chartering in St. Vincent & the Grenadines to all our fellow Pacific Northwest sailors who are looking to escape long, wet winters and charter in tropical, warm-water destinations.
4) We would be the perfect “poster family” for SAIL Magazine! We are in our 40s, have an 8-year-old whom we are introducing to a lifetime of sailing, are active, race but also love cruising, are the owners of a small family bike shop, have a Pearson Ariel 27 but someday dream of a larger boat that we can cast the lines and explore the world on.
5) Our family would be a great choice to win this trip. We are a middle-income family who love to sail and read every book, blog and article we can get our hands on about sailing families. We believe that sailing is a wonderful family sport that should be encouraged from an early age to cultivate the lifelong love for the sport that my husband and I share. We also believe it should be the Olympic dream for kids, as it is for our 8-year-old son!