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Chartering the BVI When COVID Tries to Stop You

In Latitude 38‘s June issue, Rich Jepsen shares the story of “A BVI charter from the planning stages to jumping into 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 had been 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!

Chartering the BVI
Who became the crew on the Happy Endings charter?
© 2021 Happy Endings Crew

The boat we had reserved was a six-stateroom Moorings 5800 cat, 58 feet of comfort and luxury — special even for a catamaran. It was our last chance to sail her, as all the 5800 bareboat 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.

Please go to Latitude38 magazine to find out what happened next

1 Comment

  1. Mark Simons 2 years ago

    I used the Moorings in Sep of 1989 to Charter my boat out BVI. September, not the best idea. Hurricane Hugo came and wiped everything out including sinking the boat. In the Age before emails and texts, the agents were great, shifting everything literally at the last minute to another base in St Lucia. It was a great adventure and they were great to work with!

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We found both a nut and later a split ring just lying on the deck. We glanced around, searching for the devious Friday night beer can racer who might have been trying to undermine our faith in our rig, but found none.