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Sailing with Charlie: Mixed Signals

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Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre
Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre

Chartering is a huge revenue earner for the Caribbean. This tourism sector is the single most important for many island nations and it involves several facets – bareboat chartering, sail training and crewed yacht charters. The latter involves fully catered sailing trips with quality cuisine, full service cabin cleaning and make up, watersports and dinghy taxi service. In other words, a full-on pampered sailing vacation. In order to accomplish this a husband and wife team or established partner team is required, with each partner having the necessary qualifications. This is often the most difficult aspect for charter companies to achieve, i.e., good teams that can work together in harmony in sometimes difficult conditions. Recently Charlie was asked to step in as captain when a captain and mate team had a crash and burn episode. The problem then arose that there was only one cabin available to share with an unknown chef. Charlie should have run a mile – but he was broke – so he took the job.

The chef, Strawberry, was a blonde, attractive and well-endowed young lady with all the right qualifications but she made it very clear from the beginning that any kind of hanky-panky would not be tolerated. In fact, she was so adamant about it that Charlie, a good-looking lad, was rather put out. “You want me sign a contract,” he said, rather sarcastically. He agreed though, without reservation, and consigned himself to sleeping in the storage locker, sometimes optimistically called a crew cabin, in the pointy end of one of the hulls in the catamaran.

The charter turned out to be a difficult one, with six guests, all with specific dietary requirements, drinking habits and recreational choices. Charlie, though, kept it all together with stories and jokes and even saved the day in the galley on a couple of occasions – once managing to resurrect a curdled Hollandaise sauce that had poor Strawberry almost in tears. Toward the end of the seven-day trip they were in the galley doing the dishes. ‘Strawbs’ had had a couple of glasses of wine and joked and laughed with Charlie, elbowing him seductively on a couple of occasions and even pinching his bum once. Charlie stood his ground. Then came the unexpected, “Are you gay?” she said.

Charlie could have and should have said ‘yes’ and ended the conundrum, but being a young, red-blooded Caribbean hand, he rather fancied a bit of horizontal playtime with the voluptuous Strawbs. Now, it seemed, she had reversed her attitude of abstention and wanted to be a player.

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Carpe Diem was one of Charlie’s favorite expressions and later, in the dimly lit hallway leading to the crew quarters, he seized the moment and just at the right time and without hesitation he planted a big wet tongue-filled kiss on her moist and inviting lips to firmly express his intentions.

Unfortunately, Charlie’s amorous advances were met with a slap on the cheek and words that would have embarrassed Satan himself. A door slammed in his face was the last straw.

Charlie is now studying to become a marine surveyor. He never really liked pampering rich people anyway.


Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.


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Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.

So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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