It is no wonder that the Virgin Islands are recognized as the sailing capital of the world. There are so many beautiful and protected anchorages in close proximity, so many beach bars and great restaurants, a proliferation of protected coral reefs for diving and snorkeling and many trails for hiking. Add to this a "treasure island," a geological wonder, "the Baths," an atoll-like island, Anegada, and an island named after a pirate, Jost van Dyke. "If people can't have a good time in the VI they can't have a good time anywhere," explains Charlie with a smile. Then he tries to ascertain what type of cruise his guests would like: laid back at quiet anchorages, party every night, fine dining or barbecue on the boat.
One of Charlie's recent charter parties was particularly fond of adult beverages, happy hours of laughter and dinner out. One beautiful night out at the Anegada Reef Hotel we were enjoying a wonderful dinner beachside, toes in the sand, when the subject of boat names came up. The lady, Betty, somewhat tipsy, said that she was going to name their new boat Toes in the Sand after the incredible night they were enjoying. Husband Joe agreed but thought it might be a tad long so Charlie intervened and suggested the acronym.
It took a few seconds but eventually a few chuckles broke through except that Betty had turned slightly red and was attempting to change the subject. It was then that Charlie noticed that she was rather flat-chested and that perhaps he'd made a SNAFU (another acronym).
Joe thought that the idea of an acronym for a boat's name was a winner. For the rest of the meal he kept coming up with ideas. "What about Sailing Into Stormy Seas?" No that might evoke the wrath of Poseidon. "What about Tropical Islands Please Salty Yachtsmen?" Charlie thought this might be appropriate since Joe had just ordered a third bottle of wine. By this time Betty was getting right into the swing of things and, in fact, had come round to the idea of Toes in the Sand. Then Joe came up with Navigating under Tropical Skies and everyone agreed this was a winner.
So if you see a boat out there in the next few months with those acronyms on the transom, you'll know the origin of the name. And you can blame Charlie and the sandy beach outside the Anegada Reef Hotel.
Julian Putley is the author of "The Drinking Man's Guide to the BVI," "Sunfun Calypso" and "Sunfun Gospel."