Sailing with Charlie: New Beginnings

The BVI is finally opening up the ports for yachts and ferries. Hooray! After severe restrictions allowing only a few visitors – those BVI lovers who didn’t mind negotiating the protocols and quarantines – trickled in to enjoy the uncrowded pristine destination. Now, a new beginning is happening.

New beginnings are exciting times: an incarcerated person freed from jail; getting a new partner; getting rid of an old partner; a baby born; a terminal patient miraculously cured; a deadly hurricane passed; a war finally won OR a world-wide plague defeated. 

Just imagine if a new beginning meant learning to sail, buying a sailboat and going cruising. A Caribbean charter would definitely get you into the swing of things, but don’t be tempted to slide into a power boat charter – it’s just not the same. Harnessing the wind is fun. A few sailing charters should give you enough experience to whet your appetite – read a Fatty Goodlander book – he’s filled a lifetime with salty sailing adventures. 

Chartering is different to cruising though; the former is sailing to one beach bar after another, then, after a week of hangovers, you feel like having a vacation. Cruising is like sailing to a beautiful anchorage, exploring, adventuring, discovering and after several days moving on – to another new beginning. 

Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre
Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre

There are two types of cruisers. Those who have made tons of money, bought the latest sailing machine and outfitted it with all the newest conveniences, gadgets and doohickies. Then there are those who build, rebuild or somehow acquire a small sailboat and go off adventuring. Charlie’s good friend Shirlz on Speedwell of Hong Kong is a great example of someone who has taken great advantage of a new beginning. Check out her blog of the same name – she’s been single-handing for years and now in her 70s is having the time of her life. The KISS principle is her modus operandi. 

Beach bars, restaurants, snack bars and watering holes have the chance now to re-invent themselves. Charlie predicts that 2022 will likely see a boom in yacht chartering and yes, most charterers want to sail from beach bar to beach bar, for which the BVI is ideally suited. Now is the time to re-evaluate the market because people’s tastes are changing. Vegan – no, not the latest extra-terrestrial TV star – but the anti-animal eating, eco-conscious, health fanatic 2020s person. Beans, seeds, organic vegetables and local fruit could be the ingredients required for these new age folks. To make tasty dishes from bland ingredients may be the challenge for Caribbean restaurateurs. Take a tip from Popeye, the epitome of the sailorman (‘I yam, I yam, I yam.’ Yep, yams are good.) who sometimes flavored his spinach by sucking it through his pipe. Mmmm, spinach and burnt tobacco – there’s an idea.

There are new beginnings all around the world – a new administration in the US, Brexit in the UK, riots in Hong Kong, calamities in the Middle East. But there’s a positive side too – young people are becoming more and more engaged in an eco-friendly approach to the planet, recycling, sustainability, less waste, less haste, more inclusion, less division and more equality. Charlie advises to avoid all mention of politricks. Whether you’re having a potluck bbq on a sandy beach or a happy hour with guests on a charter boat, keep it simple. 

A new beginning aah… a wonderful moment. It should embrace all people – spread joy, peace, love and happiness and watch the world go round.

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