One of the best sails I’ve had this season was a broad reach on Freedom Chaser from White Bay to Virgin Gorda. The mainsail’s large roach gave us plenty of power, and we discovered performance was improved when we trimmed with the traveler rather than the sheet. The electric halyard winch made easy work of raising the sail. Jack took the helm, and for almost an hour, nobody spoke; we just made an adjustment here and there, running alongside the north side of Tortola, through the deep blue sea, while the obligatory sounds of Third World pulsed through the speakers.
We decided to bypass Anegada in order to make our schedule a little easier to manage. Bitter End Yacht Club is the perfect spot to head if you have kids on board and they need some room to roam. The pool will keep any junior guppy entertained for hours, and water activities abound. I also share the love with nearby Saba Rock. You can grab a mooring or one of the few slips, the meals are tasty, and the views are unbeatable. Free water is offered if you take a mooring.
Sipping a glass of wine that night on Freedom Chaser’s aft deck, we threw out a few options for the next day or two. By now Kathy had also succumbed to the spell of the islands. “Hey, I’m fine with whatever. I’m happy to just stay on the boat.” Perfect! The concoction of sun and salt water, sprinkled with a little rum, had mellowed her as well. Suzy concurred with a simple shrug of the shoulders and a beaming smile. Everyone was on island time.
Jack, an avid diver, wanted to dive on the wreck of the RMS Rhone. We decided that he would leave from the Bitter End, and we would sail to Cooper Island, where we would organize a drop-off as the dive boat drove past. So Jack went off, and Kathy, Suzy, Sienna and I got the boat under way and had another glorious sail down the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Kathy started to prep some food for lunch and dinner, adding the aroma of sautéed onions and garlic to the air.
Cooper Island is on my must-stop list for good reason. The west-facing harbor offers an unforgettable spot to gaze at the sunset, while the deep harbor allows you to get in close to the beach. The recently renovated Cooper Island Beach Club includes a large deck with lounge chairs and wicker sofas. Our plan to stop by for a drink blossomed into an all-afternoon affair of simply chilling out and relaxing. The food there is also superb, and I highly recommend you plan a dinner. Treat this as more of an overnight stop, I beg you.
In seven days, we visited only three islands — that’s it. Yet during that time, we read, cooked, caught up with each other, had deep life discussions, swam, snorkeled, dived, exercised, turned the foredeck into a yoga lounge, napped, played, sailed and laughed. On the way to the airport we began to discuss the next trip. Maybe we would add another three or four days so we could add one more destination. A bareboat charter in the British Virgin Islands offers endless possibilities. The trick to a memorable trip, however, is realizing that a good boat and good friends are just as important as the journey.
For more information on the Voyage 500 and charter rates log onto voyagecharters.com.