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British Virgin Islands

BVI Sailing Charter at Peter Island

Silmaril
"Silmaril" sailboat;©Dan Price Photography
Being marooned on Peter Island for our honeymoon was like spending a week at Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts home.

There are water playthings galore and whether it's maneuvering around on a Sunfish or kayaking along the shore, all you need to do is ask and its free to use.

There are some premier features like the spa amenities for which you need to pay.

However, if you would like to take advantage of the true spirit of Peter Island, you should think about chartering the Silmaril, BVIs 41-foot classic wooden yacht, owned by Paul and Judy Rydburg.

There are many options when chartering the
Silmaril 2
Writer Mair Downing on Silmaril;
photo © Dan Price Photography
Silmaril. Paul and Judy make planning your adventure a breeze. You can take anywhere from a half-day to three-day sailing excursions. If you have a large party or family, the vessel can accommodate up to eight.

As much as an overnight was temping, my husband and I decided to book the Silmaril for a half-day, which included some cave-snorkeling in the middle. Like all things on Peter Island, it was easy to arrange.

We just walked up to the docked boat, peered in and asked when we could sail. A quick check of the record books showed availability the next day.

DONE.

We left about 10 a.m. the next day. The Caribbean, at least when we were there in mid-July, is very blustery, which caused a choppy sea. It took about five or ten minutes to get used to the jostling and swaying, but once our sea legs attached, we were ready to hoist the mainsails.

After a gentle entrance into the sea, we did raise the sails and “test her out.” Now I've grown up with powerboats my whole life, but there is no sensation of power and force quite like a dialed-in sailboat.

The tilt of the hull and the tightness of the sails ripped the Silmaril through the water, and my husband and I were fighting for the prime seat in the front. (Well, we were just married, so we did share.)

After stretching the ship's legs somewhat, we moored just off of a series of underwater caves, where we took an hour or so to explore the sea life with Paul. Though we had snorkeled off the beaches of Peter Island, neither my husband nor myself have been cave diving. It was quite a treat.

The trip back was more enjoyable than the jaunt out. The wind had picked up and the captain and his first mate had a better feeling about our sailing skills, so they really opened up the Silmaril and we zipped across the water at breakneck speed.

Entering the channel that leads to Peter Island Resort, we were met by an aggressive dingy-sized skiff, which circled the Silmaril like she was prey. Though the driver look more like a pirate than a person, Paul informed us that it was a man named Guy, who owned a company called Yacht Shots.

He and his dog spent their afternoons snapping pics of Peter Island guests on water adventures.

With a few clicks of the shutter he motored away, the 14-footer bouncing on the burly waves.

The day went by too fast, but it was one of the most unique adventures we could have done on our vacation. It's not every day you can spend four hours on a classic, wooden sailing yacht.

At least, not my every-day.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Excursions   

December 15, 2008

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