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WORLD This month we hear from Rich Jepsen, formerly of OCSC Sailing and current

A BVI charter from the planning stages to jumping in the warm water "I just don't think I can do it." We were three months out from an April 2021 BVI charter with The Moorings BVI — a trip that was delayed a year already. COVID-19 cases had yet to shrink much in the US, and the vaccination numbers were still low. The organizer of the friends and family charter had laid it on the table. She spoke on our crew update via Zoom, and the words hung in the air. Two more couples piped up to say they thought it best to postpone another year. So, with a heavy heart, I promised to communicate with The Moorings and find out what options we had. After losing half of our crew of 10, I was hoping for some generosity and flexibility, even though BVI had been open since December. After the call, I turned to my wife, Cecilia, dejected. "We were this close." "What if we keep the charter?" she responded. Suspending disbelief for a moment, I asked, hesitantly, "Where will we find replacement crew on such short notice? We can't afford this boat with five of us." "Every sailor you know is dying to travel and sail. Who knows who we might find? Let's build a spreadsheet of candidates!" As a retired engineer, spreadsheets are her 'go to' response to anything! The boat we had reserved was a six stateroom Moorings 5800 Cat; 58' of comfort and luxury — special even for a catamaran. It was our last chance to sail her, as all the 5800 bareboat One advantage of being early to return was quiet beaches and anchorages.

charter boats were being converted to crewed yachts. So, it was now or never. My Moorings agent, Lisa Mayo, was incredibly accommodating, allowing us to postpone again to an April 2022 charter on a Moorings 5000. But I also asked for, and was given, a few days to see if we could still make our April 2021 charter dream come true. At the top of our spreadsheet were my sailing siblings, Bill and Dorothy, and their spouses. Always game for a sailing adventure, they were in. I called a longtime charter leader, sailing instructor and OCSC member, Dave, and was lucky to find a month free on his busy chartering dance card. He was intrigued with the 5800, and it had been since July 2019 that he and I had been together on a charter (Tahiti). Amazingly, we were back on our way to BVI 2021! So, that was easy, right? Well, not exactly. As I'll explain later, we had numerous challenges and obstacles just to get to BVI, much less be freed up to fully enjoy her. However, we managed the entry and quarantine requirements with amazing help from Lisa and her team and the BVI Tourism Board's Lynnette Harrigan. In short, we took a Covid test before travel, provided the test results to both BVI and Puerto Rico, took another test upon arrival in BVI, quarantined for four full days after the date of arrival, took a final test and were released from quarantine. This was primarily because the BVI government was controlling the virus well and was trying to protect itself from a wave of infections from hot spots like the US and Britain. Due to the length of our charter, we needed one final negative test to get back to Puerto Rico. Even with this very protracted protocol, we got to quarantine on our charter boat, had 14 approved anchorages/mooring fields from which to choose, sailed and snorkeled to our hearts' content and had an

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF HAPPY ENDINGS CREW

Vice-President of US Sailing, about his April BVI charter. He shares the strategy of booking, setting up crew, and the many good reasons to plan now to reconnect with the delights of chartering in the British Virgin Islands. The islands are ready to welcome you back.

The 'Happy Endings' crew found it was the right time to dive back in to BVI chartering. Inset: Overcoming the hurdles, the crew enjoyed a good beginning, middle and end.

experience very close to what we might have had with no restrictions. We planned our provisioning ahead to account for the four extra days, so we ate very well aboard! We used Bobby's Market for our provisioning, but both Moorings/Sunsail and RiteWay Provisioning were available and delivered directly to boats at the base. One of the sad issues for the BVI tourist trade was how quiet and uncrowded BVI was. Many people who might otherwise have come were still being put off by Covid and the entry requirements. While I perfectly understand the concern, it left our island paradise almost empty for those of us intrepid enough to proceed. There were seven boats in mooring fields normally holding 70. We had several popular anchorages and moorings to ourselves. And the local business population were elated to see us, serving us extremely well once we were out of quarantine. We had great breeze all week, the water was clearer than normal and reef fish were as abundant and colorful as ever. We saw lobsters, barracuda and grouper while snorkeling, tarpon

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Latitude 38 June 2021  

Since the publication of our first issue in 1977, Latitude 38 has championed a way of life with a style unique among sailing magazines. Ofte...

Latitude 38 June 2021  

Since the publication of our first issue in 1977, Latitude 38 has championed a way of life with a style unique among sailing magazines. Ofte...

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