My First Time! I'm So Excited!
By Chad Barton
Its true, this month's charter review is my first solo review! As such, Capt. Kev asked me to give a quick preface for our loyal readers out there. The review this month may be a couple degrees port of the Charter Advisors reviews you've come to know and love. If you would like to jump ahead to Carpe Diem's review, by all means, please do. But, here is the brief backstory on how one of Charter Advisors' novice crew found himself in charge of this month's review.
I joined the Charter Advisors about a year ago. A certain sub-genera of 1990s family film instilled in me a supreme desire to attend summer camp. As a young boy wish fulfillment fantasies like "Camp Nowhere" and "Heavyweights" tapped into my desire to make my own way in the outdoors, by my own rules.
(Note: If you're searching for a way to pry your children away from the xbox/iPad/etc., these films might offer a bit of added ammunition.)
The closest I ever got was attending a writing workshop in Stanford my senior year of high school where I spent my time in classrooms and the occasional courtyard. Unstated, that prepubescent desire for self-reliance and wooded adventure matured into the romanticized thirst to plot my own course at sea.
In adulthood I realized that even the road less traveled was still a road. I wanted the freedom of a lane-less horizon extending into the sunset. Aboard Carpe Diem, the Charter Advisors review yacht from Annapolis Bay Charters, that is exactly what I got.
In the spring of 2012 I decided to leave Los Angeles and "take my talents" to Dallas, TX where I met the notorious Capt. Kev and shortly there after officially joined the crew. Working my way up through the ranks I learned the ins and outs of our charter review publication, and tangentially sailing. In March of 2013 I was selected to join the review crew in the British Virgin Islands.
The trip was the experience of a lifetime, a bucket list item fulfilled. Sailing, sun, and adventure were all on hand. I learned the basics, caught some sun, spent my nights sipping Caribbean cocktails or reading among the stars — not the cement outlines on the Walk of Fame. Real stars, bright, numerous, and far beyond what one experiences in any metropolitan city.
The opportunity to conduct the next charter review: SOLO!
In Charter Advisors' five years of existence, the publication focused its efforts on bareboat charters outside the continental U.S. It was time for something new.
Our readership, some of whom were not quite ready to assume the responsibility of captaining million+ dollar yachts, were clamoring for a review of a captained charter. As part of an administrative commitment to broadening the publication's horizons in 2013, Charter Advisors at last committed to conducting its first review in the waters of the continental U.S. as well as its first captained charter review.
The result is that yours truly set out with nothing but a rented captain, a fresh pair of underwear, and the latest in OmniHeat Outerwear from Columbia PFG (Professional Fishing Gear) to review Annapolis Bay Charters brand new Beneteau Oceanis 45; Carpe Diem.
I choose to believe that it was not my inexperience, but drive and enthusiasm that landed me this assignment. It is also possible that our publisher wanted to present those charters who are not familiar with yachting our most authentic point of view. Or maybe Capt. Kev has finally gone completely nutty. Whatever it is, the fact that year-over-year Charter Advisors has dramatically widened its audience didn't hurt my chances either.
Keep this in mind as you motor through the review ahead. This review is written from the perspective that many of our readers haver entering the situation. I did not bring years of sailing experience to the charter. I gleaned much of my background information from my ever helpful and extremely competent charter captain. (Capt. Bob Dunn, recommended by Annapolis Bay Charters) and filled in in any gaps with copious research.
- Charter Review: The Moorings 5800 Ocean Suite by Captain Kev
- Charter Review: VOYAGE Charters, VOYAGE 520 Silver Lining by Capt. Kev