They have sailed the world, yet chose to settle and start a company in the Caribbean. James Pascall and business partner Jacqui Pascall have worked together for the past 18 years as owners of the Horizon Yacht Charter base at True Blue Bay Resort in Grenada. Together, they opened a second base in Blue Lagoon, St. Vincent in 2014. It’s the spectacular cruising grounds here that drew them, continues to keep them, and for which they hope will remain just as pristine in the future.
The two started down two very different roads that in the end converged with both working professionally in yachting. James grew up sailing with his family around the Solent and English Channel and later raced several seasons in events such as the Fastnet Race. Jacqui grew up far from the sea in Shropshire, UK, but developed a love for the sea during summers spent at Tenby, Pembrokeshire, where she learned to fish. James career start was a corporate one at the Financial Times in London that required him to wear pinstripes. His sailing passion led him to trade suit for shorts and he took the helm on yachts in Greece and Turkey for Sunsail. After three years in the Mediterranean, James caught a ride on a transatlantic delivery to the British Virgin Islands where he joined the management of the Moorings. Jacqui dove right into yachting, sailing from the UK to the Virgin Islands on the replica of Sir Francis Drake’s galleon, the Golden Hind. From there, she cruised aboard through the Panama Canal to attend World Expo Vancouver in 1986. Jacqui then crewed on various yachts that took her to Australia and New Zealand, the Mediterranean and back to the Caribbean over many years. Ultimately, James and Jacqui’s paths crossed in the BVI and a few years later the two partnered to open their own charter company in Grenada.
“Chartering in the Caribbean has changed over the years mostly in terms of the amount of yachts that are now based here in the winter season. The bareboat industry has grown immensely especially in the Virgin Islands. In the old days it was mostly crewed yacht charters with captain and chef taking care of clients in a more involved manner, but now clients tend to charter bareboat and do it with just family and friends,” says James.
Jacqui adds, “Despite the growth in yachting, the Grenadines still maintains its charm and it’s possible to find quiet out of the way anchorages. Grenada has developed hugely as a yacht service destination over the years and now rivals many of the other islands for facilities. It’s part of the reason we’re so immersed in the yachting industry here – once in, it’s very hard to get out!”
James has been the vice president of the Marine Association (MAYAG) for many years, helping to drive the industry forward with legislation and changes of policy. Jacqui has been the treasurer of the Grenada Sailing Association, encouraging the development of junior sailing in the islands and assisting association president James Benoit in many initiatives.
Both say the biggest advantage of the Southern Caribbean, specifically Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is that it’s a wonderful place to sail and enjoy other watersports such as scuba diving and kite-boarding. The challenges, James and Jacqui agree, are protecting the environment for future generations as with development there is always a price to pay.
“The islands need to find a balance between development and maintaining the environment, which is very sensitive to disturbance here,” says James. “A lot more still needs to be done before this balance is achieved and at times it feels like it’s tipping the wrong way.”
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.