Every year, the Annapolis Sailboat Show checks the pulse of the charter industry, gauging what’s remaining, what’s changing and what’s making heads turn. This year, the charter docks were abuzz with sailors booking their annual vacations in their favorite sailing destinations. Much of the core trends remain the same, but we did get the word on a few new and interesting charter tidbits. Here’s the skinny on the 2012-2013 charter season.
It was impossible to miss the all-new Moorings 5800 crewed charter catamaran, as it soared three stories tall, gleaming above its neighbors. This Robertson-Caine designed yacht is the 1000th R-C build for TUI Marine and it is truly impressive. The first story looks like a shiny version of your typical charter cat: four cabins, four heads, plenty of headroom and usable stowage. The second story includes a massive swim step, an expansive main saloon and—in a clever design move—two sleeping cabins on the bridgedeck, each with its own head. These cabins open to a forward cockpit where guests can enjoy private meals cooked by the professional onboard crew. Climb up yet another flight of stairs to the impressive helm station where the professional captain will control all sails and lines from a single point. With a wet bar and open-air BBQ, lounge chairs and a dining area, this deck is the place to be. You could spend an entire charter chilling up here, enjoying the scenery and the company of your crew.
The 5800 will be available for crewed charter in the BVI this season, with the all-star team of captain Garreth Donaldson, first mate Jenna Newcomb and a stewardess to create a truly deluxe experience. A second 5800 will soon also be available as a 12-person bareboat soon. The crewed 5800 is ideal for charter sailors looking for a great crew, a comfortable boat and a head-turning photo album. Book at moorings.com
Speaking of head-turners, CYOA Yacht Charters in St. Thomas is about to introduce a gorgeous new catamaran into its fleet, the all-new Helia 44 from Fountaine-Pajot. This comfy cat oozes class and has a very sailable elevated helm station, where a captain can operate the boat while the crew lounge on the nearby deck cushions. The galley has several innovative features, including a drawer-configured refrigerator and a raised oven, and the sleeping quarters all look perfectly comfortable. The boat will be in St. Thomas in November and available for charters with CYOA in the 2012-2013 season. Check out an album of the happy new owners here and a video of the boat here.
Just when you thought you’d sail them all, several charter companies are announcing new charter bases. Set sail in:
-Mystic, CT with Horizon Yacht Charters
-Newport, RI with Dream Yacht Charters
-San Francisco, CA and Vancouver, BC with Sunsail
-Corfu, Greece; Annapolis, MD; and Miami, FL with The Moorings
One of this year’s proudest charter companies was Conch Charters, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. This family-owned and operated business has been selling “The Best Deals on Keels” out of Road Harbour since 1986, and they’ve developed a solid following. As part of the anniversary festivities, Conch will be sending Jack Connolly, their very first charter guest, out on a free charter. Jack chartered with Conch on December 7, 1986.
Meanwhile, all other charter guests can enter to win 25 percent off their charter fee for the winter season. The contest will begin online in November with a draw at the end of the month.
The BVI Charter Yacht Society is once again gearing up for the annual BVI Charter Yacht Show to be held November 6 to 9 in Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola. Like speed-dating for crewed yachts, the show provides crews the opportunity to get to know charter brokers by putting their boats and world-class cooking on display. During the show, brokers get to know the crews better so they can masterfully match them to charter clients.
Last year, the Charter Yacht Society published Dining on Deck, its first-ever recipe book, filled with recipes from the most beloved sailing chefs. Learn more about the show or order a copy of the cookbook.
If all this talk of chartering has you running to Orbitz to check flights, you’re the perfect candidate to enter SAIL’s Great Escape contest. For the second year running, SAIL is offering a free charter on board a TMM sailboat in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. All you have to do is submit your “Top 5 Reasons to Escape to St. Vincent” before October 31. Enter here