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A Family Affair

The 130-foot ReJoyce offers couples and kids all the comforts of home.

October 4, 2007

“We never left the dock. Well, maybe for a little while, but for the most part, we never left the dock.”

Skeptically, my left eyebrow-the one that flies solo in moments of real disbelief-sprang toward the top of my forehead.

“You never left the dock?” I slowly repeated, making sure I had heard ReJoyce’s enthusiastic chef, Staci Markowitz, correctly.

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“Pretty much, but let me explain,” she replied.

Markowitz then told me one of the most impressive charter stories I’d heard in quite some time. It was not rife with ice sculptures, theme nights, culinary epiphanies or any of the mixed bag of entertainment tricks that play like a continuous loop on many charter yachts. What Markowitz described was a charter cursed with weather that was so rough, the family on board decided to stay within the calm of the harbor for the majority of their one-week stay.

The chef and her five crewmates turned what could have been a disaster into a success by staging “dates for the parents and taking the kids on “field trips to the crew quarters, where the kids watched DVDs and surrendered to the PlayStation. The crew also created elaborate games to keep the kids calm while making sure the parents had as much downtime as possible.

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“When we decided it was too rough to really cruise, we were a little worried about spending so much time onboard, but it is amazing how well it worked out,” Markowitz said. “It was just like we were one big family for the week.”

My experience with ReJoyce and her crew confirmed that the elements of crew, boat and guests can indeed come together to create a seamless charter experience. ReJoyce is a yacht designed for family and run by family, and everyone who chooses to call her home, even for a week, is treated like family.

As would be the case if you were on a trip back to Mom’s house, the moment I arrived I was greeted like a long-lost relative and led directly to ReJoyce’s cozy, country kitchen-style galley. I felt so relaxed so quickly that I found myself asking Markowitz, “How do you pull it off?”

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“Well, it helps that Dusty and I have been together for 10 years,” Markowitz said, referring to ReJoyce’s captain as she prepared a light snack of lox, Brie and crackers.

Markowitz and the athletic, soft-spoken Dusty Dial have been together long enough to anticipate each other’s next move, but perhaps most important, they’ve been with this 130-footer’s owner since 1998, when the only ReJoyce was a 76-foot Lazzara. There was one more ReJoyce, a 108-foot Westship, before the owner decided to go a little bigger and bought the current yacht, a Westport that splashed in winter 2002 (she was the second such hull to launch from the Westport, Washington, facility).

Markowitz was quick to point out the advantage of this situation.

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“The owner trusts us to do what we need to do to make a charter successful,” she said.

As is the case with any successful charter, one of the key elements in walking away satisfied is the quality of the meals you have while under way. Guests on board ReJoyce might be surprised to hear that Markowitz actually has no formal training as a chef, which, in her opinion, puts her in a position where she’s “not afraid to try anything.”

Indeed, almost everything I ate during my stay was Markowitz’s first attempt at a certain dish, and she was spot-on every time. That’s an impressive feat for someone who got her start “molding meatloaf into the shapes of penguins and turtles when it was her turn to cook while growing up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

While on charter, ReJoyce carries a maximum of 10 guests. The layout allows for atmospheres as cozy or as private as necessary. Afterdeck seating is copious and comfortable, and this will be the preferred place to dine when weather permits.

ReJoyce’s accommodations will please a crowd with diverse tastes. The master, forward, is more than adequate for a couple. Four guest staterooms, including two mirror-image twin staterooms, are perfect for kids. If a couple will be staying in one of these, the beds push together to create a queen berth. The remaining two staterooms have queen berths.

If someone ever writes a how-to guide for successful group charter, either with the whole family or with friends, the author would be wise to spend some time aboard ReJoyce with her crew. The yacht is a case study.

Contact: Fraser Yachts Worldwide, (954) 463-0600; [email protected]; www.fraseryachts.com, or any charter broker. ReJoyce charters for $70,000 per week, plus expenses, for 10 guests

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