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Travel that Transforms

Jeanne Craig

Jeanne Craig

I got lucky. My first experience on a charter was aboard a classic Trumpy. Talk about a boat with stage presence. Each time she entered a harbor, the handsome motor yacht—with her signature white hull and polished wood—drew lingering stares. Yet, the boat was just one element that made that trip unforgettable. It was also my introduction to the British Virgin Islands. And it was my first real cruise.

I’d been asked to write a story about the place and the Trumpy. This was a couple of decades ago, when the totality of my boating experience had been on a friend’s center console. I imagined the BVI would be a learning experience and an adventure.

As it turned out, that elegant Trumpy and those beautiful islands left a big impression. My passing interest in boats evolved into a fascination with the sea and the people who are passionate about it. I changed course professionally and, in the years that followed, had the privilege to work with some of the best writers, editors and photographers in the business. I also was able to interview experts of all kinds, from yacht designers and tugboat captains to U.S. Coast Guard pilots and globe-trolling fishermen with records to their credit.

Some of the best stories, though, came from boat owners who called themselves ordinary and believed that time on the water was nothing less than extraordinary. I became one of them at heart.

Today, I’m fortunate to be collaborating with a new team of talented professionals. I’ve just come aboard at Soundings and yet the people here make the work feel like smooth, familiar waters. They, too, love the sport, as you’ll see in this issue.

Executive Editor Pim Van Hemmen takes us on a fun ride around Lower Manhattan aboard a new Back Cove in “Need for Speed.” Senior Editor Gary Reich reports from the Abacos, where he discovers that an outboard-powered Everglades is the right craft for exploring the shallow waters. Art Director Briana Smith makes their storytelling all the more compelling with visuals that capture the salt and sea breeze.

And then there’s Kim Kavin’s feature on chartering. She makes a strong case for splurging on a crewed charter in five of the most interesting global cruising destinations. As she writes, the beauty of a crewed yacht is that you get all the fun parts of boating in a new place without the worries or headaches of being at the helm. I can agree with that.

About 20 years after that first visit to the BVI, I returned to the islands with my family and rediscovered the waters aboard a 50-foot catamaran with a delightful crew. It was a great adventure. Our two children—who until then had never slept aboard anything larger than our 28-foot express cruiser—were on cloud nine. And my husband and I were happy to hop in the dinghy and head for the reef when maintenance issues required time and patience from the crew. That, too, was an excellent adventure. Guess I got lucky again.

Jeanne Craig

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue.



Rebel Yell

On a damp gray morning in September, I left a dry room in a B&B on Bellevue Avenue to walk down to Bannister’s Wharf, smack in the middle of the harbor front, ground zero for the town’s seafaring past.