Tag Archives: Moorings program

The Next Cruising Phase – Monohulls to Catamarans

In 2006, shortly after our beloved and impeccably restored Sabre, Jerawyn, had broken her mooring and gone adrift during the big “NoName” storm, my husband Richard and I started looking at catamarans. For a year or so, broker-par-excellence Phil Berman from The MultiHull Company educated us about the varieties and brands of these new-to-us sailing vessels and showed us yachts in various places in the Caribbean and the U.S. During that time we came to three conclusions: 1. Our next boat would definitely be a cat, 2. After maintaining our lovely Sabres for some twenty-five years, the respite from the chores, maintenance expenses and worry was a surprisingly welcome relief, and 3. The “Round the World” boat that had always been in our game plan was simply not going to happen. The world was a different place in 2006 than ten years earlier. There were serious security issues and our lives had changed as well – busy family and professional lives made clear that we wouldn’t be ready for long-term cruising for at least five more years.

One cat that had caught our eye during the Annapolis Boat Show was the then brand new “Boat of the Year” Robertson and Caine Leopard 40 – 3 or 4 cabins, two heads, only a 56 ft. air draft and a little over 20 ft beam (perfect for the ICW, one of our favorite trips). It was small enough for just the two of us but big enough for our now grown family with spouses. But it was a brand new model, so there were no gently-used, fully equipped versions around – and the US distributor for the new boats was The Moorings out of Clearwater (the largest charter operator in the world) so we couldn’t buy it through Phil.

Out of the blue, we started looking harder at the Moorings Owners Program. Hmmm. Maybe this could be the answer: 1. It’s a cat. 2. There would no chores, maintenance expenses or worry. And 3. maybe we could do the “round-the-world” a little differently – sailing the arias instead of the whole opera. At the time, The Moorings had bases in four Caribbean ports, two in the South Pacific, one in Australia, nine in the Med, one in the Abacos, Baja Mexico and Belize. Part of our deal would be nine weeks a year on either a sistership or comparable cat at any of these bases (with lots of caveats, of course). And so we bought the next iteration of S/V Jerawyn and signed The Moorings standard long-term (5 years, extendable) chartering and maintenance agreement in March, 2006.

Since then, we have cruised a good part of the world out of every possible Moorings base, sometimes with family and sometimes with many of our sailing friends along so it was always a bit of a house party. With guidance from the unflappable Moorings owners’ booking agent John Keyes, we learned that we had to book pretty far in advance to get the location, boat and dates that we would work for us and keep him apprised of our preferences in case of cancellations. To us, this was the same as buying our season subscription to the Metropolitan Opera – if you aren’t “forced” to schedule and book, you somehow never go. So we scheduled, we booked and we went: Turkey, Croatia, three remarkably different cruising grounds in Greece, circumnavigation of Corsica, Whitsundays in Australia, the Society Islands (Raiatea to Bora Bora), The Baja, Belize, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Maarten, Anguilla and St. Barts, and, many times, the Virgin Islands out of our/Jerawyn’s home base in Road Town, Tortola, BVI. It was a fun ride…..

And now, perfect timing for us, our “subscription” is over and we are ready to go cruising on our own. S/V Jerawyn has just been through a thorough “phase out” under the watchful eye of the Moorings’ Robert Ansell – supported by multiple reviews by our surveyor Geoff Williams at West Indies Surveyors, also in Road Town. After this overhaul, Richard sailed her to Sint Maarten for more sprucing up with new electronics, an inverter, electric heads, radar, new sails and stack pack along with some cosmetic and comfort additions – with more to come when she is laid up for six months in Grenada during hurricane season.