Skip to main content
Publish date:

Looking Ahead at the USVI Charter Show


St. Thomas, US V.I. – While the crewed charter and bareboat industry are clearly slated for a very busy sailing season, the recent Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association (VIPCA) show held in Charlotte Amalie Nov. 7-10 highlighted much of what is unique about the U.S. territory of St. John, St. Thomas, Water Island and St. Croix. It also illustrated the region’s recent reboot as both a charter yacht and sailing destination.

"One of the more interesting things about the current USVI crewed charter yacht industry is that we have a lot of relatively young and ambitious crew and captains here now entering into this career with newer skillsets. Their energy and the competitive edge they enjoy means guests have the option of getting out on hydrofoil kite boards or the incredible Seabobs for snorkeling or great towables from behind the tender,” said VIPCA executive director Oriel Blake.

Not only is there youthful energy to the crews, but there are also plenty of very accomplished sailors among them as well, like Capt. Kennon Jones on the 52ft Lagoon, Ventana, who sailed solo around much of the world for a couple of years before joining the charter yacht trade. It is also becoming increasingly common to see a young man and woman running a yacht with both of them being licensed captains: in part, many newer captain told me, because the Covid-19 lockdowns gave them the time to study up and pass their certification tests.

A number of newer captains at the show had also recently left a traditional career and home life in the U.S. as part of what is being called the “great resignation” – taking the leap into a new life and career. Case in point: Don and Staci Smith of Chicago, veteran sailors who are not only in the middle of starting their very first season as captain and crew are also now partners in a nascent charter company called Virgin Mermaids Charter Company.

"St. Thomas has come a long way in the marine and charter yacht industry,” Don said. “We love cruising over to Brewer's Bay [nestled within the 388-acre St. Thomas campus of the University of the Virgin Islands] or Water Island [which only has 100 residents and no cars]. We are also pleased that many more moorings are planned. We are very excited about staying in the USVI all season, chartering in primarily St. Thomas, St. John. For those interested, we will visit St. Croix. We are offering both day and week-long charters."

The 2021-22 season will also feature the option of visiting Lovango Cay, St. John, which overlooks Caneel Bay. Lovango Cay is an inclusive resort that will open on December 20. All captains and vessels are welcome, with day and overnight moorings available and tender service to/from the moorings to their docks.

The 2021 Charter Yacht Show also recognized many of the participants with an awards ceremony ranging from best dessert to best host and hostess to best overall crew. After three days of fielding questions from nearly 125 individual brokers and preparing a series of lunches and dinners for the visitors, the awards ceremony Tuesday evening was an exuberant moment for a lot of very hard-working professionals who are entering into an intensely competitive crewed charter yacht season. The winners are as follows:


Best Crew in Show - 2021

Runner Up: Aeolus
Crew: Captain Mayon, Stew Elizabeth, Chef Therese

Winner: Justified Horizons
Crew: Captain Ryan, Chef Dani, Stew Christian

Best Yacht in Show - 66ft & Over

Runner Up: Lady Sharon Gale
Crew: Captain Keith, Chef AJ, Stew Zara, Engineer Sean

Winner: Burn Rate
Crew: Captain Evert, Chef Tanya, Stew Karien, Mate Daan, Engineer Louis

Best Yacht in Show - 56ft - 65ft

Runner Up: Le Reve
Crew: Captain Dirk, Chef Sandy

Winner: Aeolus
Crew: Captain Mayon, Stew/Mate Elizabeth, Chef Therese

Best Yacht in Show - Up to 55ft

Runner Up: Sea Dog
Crew: Captain Keagan, Chef Olivia

Winner: Southern Comfort
Crew: Captain Ish, Chef Julia

Broker of the Year - 2021

Runner Up: Lynne Campbell from Carefree Yacht Charters

Winner: Nick Cirillo from Blue Ocean Charters

Cocktail Mixologist Competition Grey Goose - 2021

Runner Up: "Stormin' Mornin'"
Mixologist: Stew Zara of Lady Sharon Gale

Winner: "Mermaid Rose"
Mixologist: Chef Amy of Let's Play Too

Cocktail Mixologist Competition Captain Morgan - 2021

Runner Up: "So Nice I Made it Twice"
Mixologist: Captain Ryan of Justified Horizons

Winner: "Mango Lime in da Coconut"
Mixologist: Captain Ish of Southern Comfort

Culinary Competition: Appetizer

Winner: Burn Rate, Chef Tanya Theron with Lionfish Ceviche with Wasabi Cucumber Ice cream and Plantain Chips

Main course

Winner: Lady Sharon Gale, Chef AJ Sharpe- Red Hind Grouper, Pickled Baby Beetroot and Radish, Parsnip Crisps, Butternut Sqaush and White Sweet Potato Puree, Roasted Okra, and Micros

Runner Up: Justified Horizons, Chef Dani Querry- Coconut Poached Mahi with Recao, Lemongrass, Lemon Bay Leaf, Ribboned Yellow Squash and Zucchini


Winner: Lady Sharon Gale, Chef AJ Sharpe- “Pain Kotta”

Runners Up (tied):

Aeolus, Chef Therese Gorsich- “Chocolate Truffle Cake with Bruleed Pineapple, Passionfruit Caramel, Macadamia Praline, and Lemongrass Ice-cream

Burn Rate, Chef Tanya Theron- Plantain Panna Cotta, Mango Three Ways, Toasted Coconut and Almonds, White Chocolate Crumb, Strawberries, Lime Tuile, and Rum Caramel Sauce

For more on the recent VIPCA, visit



VIDEO: World Sailing Awards 2021

Alec Wilkinson and Hannah White host the World Sailing Awards and announce the Rolex World Sailor of the Year and 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award.  December 2021 more


Cruising: Miracle On Ice

I was preparing some tea just before heading topside for my watch. Even though it was summertime, the tea was not iced—it was hot. That’s because our boat was in the High Arctic. We were trying to complete a westbound transit of the treacherous Northwest Passage. If we more


New Monohulls: Hallberg-Rassy 400 & Hanse 460

For all the consolidation in the boatbuilding world in recent years, there remains plenty of variety out there, as can be seen in these two new monohulls. The products of two very different boatbuilders offer two very different takes on performance-cruising, even as they also more


The Power of Sails

I suppose it isn’t merely a coincidence that I’ve made significant changes to the sailplans of the last three cruising boats I’ve owned. The first project was the biggest. My old Golden Hind 31, Sophie, had lots of charm and character, but her sloop rig was laughably small. more


Charter the Sea of Cortez

Chartering and the notion of going “off the beaten path” may sound self-contradictory. Charter companies tend to put bases where demand is high and they can turn a profit, so if you’re lucky enough to find an outfit and a destination that gets away from the typical—say yes. To more


Cruising: Anchoring Skills

Watching charterers make a run for the last mooring in a cove is fun—and weird. I always wonder why so many would rather try to catch a mooring than drop the hook. Maybe charterers don’t trust their anchoring skills, but it’s harder to drive up and grab a buoy than most people more


11th Hour Breakdown in the TJV

11th Hour Racing’s Mālama kicked off the second week of the Transat Jaques Vabre with keel problems, forcing co-skippers Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry to adjust for a more conservative approach to the race’s remaining 2000 miles. “We’ve been dealing with a lot of more


Rolex Nominations Open

Award season is upon us, and US Sailing is looking for the next Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex since 1980, the annual Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards recognize individual male and female sailors more