My Sailing Adventure Aboard The Charter Yacht CRYSTAL CLEAR
I recently had the good fortune to accompany Captain Charly Zahr aboard his yacht CRYSTAL CLEAR for a delivery cruise back from St. Martin to the yacht’s home base in Leverick Bay on Virgin Gorda.
CRYSTAL CLEAR was in that part of the Caribbean because of a photo shoot I booked aboard her that took place in St. Barts at the end of November.
I met up with Captain Charly and the CRYSTAL CLEAR crew a day after the photo shoot. She was docked on the wall in the Fort St. Louis Marina in Marigot. Our original plans for having a nice dinner at one of the many French restaurants in the Marigot Marina Royale complex to celebrate Captain Charly’s birthday. We had planned to depart Marigot the next morning and head back to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
Well, Mother Nature had her way and changed our plans. Seems the seas were still running 9ft high after peaking at 13ft when Captain Charly made the trip down to St. Barts a few days before. Captain Charly decided to play it save and wait this weather system out. Everyone agreed, why not wait it out and make the 12 hour 90 mile run in comfort instead of beating ourselves to death.
For the next three days we spent our time shopping for things that Captain Charly just could not find on a small island such as Virgin Gorda. With time to kill Captain Charly went on a spending spree buying such things a 100 bottles of wine, hard to get boat parts, foul weather gear, toys for Valentin, his two year old son, Christmas tree with ornaments and lights, and even a swivel rocker desk chair for CRYSTAL CLEAR’s navigation station. The man was armed and dangerous with a credit card in hand.
In between things we ate, and ate, and ate well, starting each morning with a stop at Sarafina’s, a wonderful French outdoor café, for freshly baked Croissants. On three occasions we had dinner at the Marigot Marina Royale harbour complex eating at such fabulous French restaurants as Le Village and Le Chanteclair. One evening we came back to the boat from ‘Capt. Charly’s Spending Spree’ just too tuckered, so it was decided to have dinner on board that evening. Well, ole Captain Charly whipped up some Mussels Marinara that I defy you to find any better anywhere.
Our crew consisted of Captain Charly, his wife and Ship’s Pastry Chef Carolina, their two year old son and Little Admiral Valentin, and the ship’s First Mate Tom Vannieuwenhuyse. How’s for a last name? Needless to say I called him Tom all week. Tom is a terrific young man. Tom is from Belgium and has studied Political and Social Sciences and graduated as a Master in Sociology. He speaks fluently in Dutch, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. What did I tell ya? The kid is great!
Our point of sail on the way to Virgin Gorda was excellent being very smooth and relaxing up until a fishing reel sang out 'Fish On'!. We had been dragging a line in the water since leaving Marigot. While we all sat there stunned by the break in solitude Charly jumped up grabbed the pole and reeled in the most beautiful Mahi mahi dinner you’ve ever seen.
Now what to you do with a fighting mad fish on a sailboat? Well Charly is not a man of violence, so he broke out a bottle of his best Gin and poured it down the fish’s gullet so that the fish dies instantly from being over served.
After the mess from the fishing incident was cleaned up Charly put his Chef’s cap back on and served another one of his fantastic meals consisting of Roasted Chicken with all the trimmings. Just like my Grandma would serve on a Sunday afternoon!
It was 6:00 in the evening when we arrived back in Virgin Gorda. This was one great day and worth the wait. – Thanks to Captain Charly and the Crew of CRYSTAL CLEAR.