I first visited the BVI in the fall of 1988. A friend had a 48’ yacht based at Village Cay Marina in Road Town, the capital of Tortola, and he generously invited a few of us to come and join him for a few weeks of sailing and exploring the islands. I had done a certain amount of dinghy sailing before, but not so much in big yachts. Having just recently joined the Navy however I had begun to spend time offshore in yachts of 40’ plus so I was eager to put my new skills to the test.
What a place to sail and explore! The islands of the British Virgins, and the neighboring US Virgin Islands just the other side of the east west running Sir Francis Drake Channel, are arguably the best places in the world to sail. The winds are a steady 10-15 knots in the summer and fall, rising to 15-20 knots in the cooler winter and spring months. Navigation is simple line of sight, from one island to the next. There are anchorages a-plenty and these days most of the islands have bays and beaches that have casual beach bars and restaurants, ideal for lazy afternoons spent ashore, or for a meal when the crew fancy a break from galley fare!
At the time it was my first experience of the William Thornton (or Willy-T), the Cooper Island Beach Club, The Bitter End Yacht Club and the various haunts on White Bay, Jost van Dyke, starting with the now world famous Soggy Dollar Bar.
Time passed, and I visited again with my wife in the 90s, and the 2000s when our kids were still quite young. Each time we chartered from a variety of charter companies, never really finding the right one. The Islands always remained the same, a few more yachts each time, a few more bars, and a few more restaurants. The yachts seemed to get bigger too, and they grew more hulls (!) as the catamaran generation began to take over.
Finally we found TMM. I don't really know why it took us so long as they have been in operation with current management for most of the time that I have been visiting the BVI. But find them we did, in Road Reef Marina east of the main Road Harbor. Bottom line, they know how to run their business. They look after their boats; they love their owners and they look after their guests. The briefings are thorough, as charterers it was clear that the safety and skill level of the whole crew was uppermost in the mind of the boat briefer. (Now as owners this makes us feel very comfortable!) Even the kids felt very much a part of the briefing process and this encouraged them to take on responsible tasks during the week. The yachts themselves are very well maintained and as a result the customers keep on coming back. The owners of TMM, Barney and Lin Crook, are very hands on, and their team are among the most experienced in the islands.
Frankly they were the obvious choice when we decided to enter the charter market with our own catamaran in 2016. The process of selecting the boat, fitting it to our own specification, and of getting set up as an boat owner in the TMM fleet has been great fun and expertly managed by TMM’s owner Barney and his sales manager, Don. I cannot have asked them for more and I am hugely looking forward to meeting our yacht when she arrives from France in the next couple of months.
Thanks team TMM - we look forward to spending time with you and with ARIADNE over the next few years!