Since John & I think we want to retire on a catamaran, we thought it would be wise to test drive one for a week before we committed to them, especially while we’re living in southeastern US just a quick flight from the Caribbean where cats are plentiful.
After doing a bunch of research online, we chose to charter a Lagoon 440 called the Black Pearl, and spend our Christmas vacation sailing though the Virgin Islands. Rather than bareboating, we decided that having a captain and chef would be best since this would be our first sailing adventure in the Caribbean and we would have the added benefit of being able to scuba dive since the crew are PADI qualified. We also wanted the experience of being able to learn from some pros and ask a gazillion questions about everything from diesel engines to provisioning tips. We figured that during a week, we’d really get a sense if this size catamaran works for us. And it does!
The luxury of having a crew available to us 24-7 took all the worries out of the trip so it was a great way to actually get a “holiday”. The crew looked after absolutely everything from cooking meals, preparing scuba gear, clearing customs, and trimming sails so while we learned about the boat, we also felt pampered and actually got a vacation. Having a crew that were so knowledgeable about the local area also meant that we are now quite comfortable in going on our own the next trip, and being able to find all the best hangouts as well as great hide-away spots that get us away from the busy anchorages when we want some quiet time.
If you are interested in vacationing in the Caribbean and have even a slight interest in boating, I would definitely recommend chartering a boat. You can visit multiple islands, selecting the ones which have a vibe that suits your personal style, or experience ones that expands your horizons. We found a bit of both…and can’t wait to go back!
Over the next few blogs, we’ll tell you all about our trip, what we learned about the Virgin Islands and our thoughts about the Lagoon 440 test drive.