In early 2007, Capt. Witt purchased a new Amel 54 in La Rochelle France. Named "Rochelle" after her birthplace, she is a bit larger and more sophisticated than her older sister, the Amel Super Maramu. Rochelle is the product of an evolution of Amel cruising sailboats, inspired and built by the Captain Henry Amel.
The 2015-2016 season has turned out to be Rochelle's most successful in years! Sailors are flocking to St. Thomas to enjoy the warm weather, gentle waters, and beautiful anchorages of the Caribbean. In general, all tourism in the area is up, especially for European visitors who the Dollar/Euro exchange rate is most attractive! Rochelle is VERY busy this season, doing what she has always done, acquainting sailors with the waters, anchorages, and shore-side attractions of the American and British Virgin Islands; preparing them for their first bareboat charter on their own. This is where Rochelle functions most efficiently; ushering the young (and the young at heart) sailors through the Virgins, showing them what to do to get to and from the attractions safely and conveniently, and have fun doing it! Then your first bareboat with you as skipper can be a piece of cake!
Typically, when we leave the dock at Tropicomm, it will be at high tide and we will motor sail to Jost Van Dyke in the BVI. You can help with the piloting if you like, or just find a comfortable corner and enjoy the ride and scenery! If we plan to tour the BVI we will clear customs at Jost and after a visit to Foxy's, find our mooring for the night either on Jost or Tortola. If we plan to stay on St. John, we'll say goodbye to Jost and head over to my favorite anchorage in the Caribbean, Leinster Bay. From Leinster we can walk to many places of historical significance and natural beauty; the bay is the best spot for beginning snorkelers to get familiar with their equipment and build up self confidence. If we stay in the BVI we will work our way windward, possibly as far as Virgin Gorda and then begin our downwind sail back home. It's a big area to cover in a week, or even in a month, but that is what keeps people coming back year after year! Whether we stay on St. John or venture into the BVI, is for you to decide. Either way, you won't be disappointed. Just a word of caution, if you are an "armchair sailor", and/or don't have a lot of outdoor experience, we don't rule you out, but be prepared to live on a boat where your quarters will seem cramped to your home or condo; your bunk won't be as large as your bed at home; you'll need to be careful with water and ice usage; you won't have air-conditioning at night (but you will have an open hatch over your head with stars to look at when you fall asleep); we eat simple foods (if I cook, it's good!); you will sweat and get wet and feel uncomfortable at times; you will need to crawl in and out of the dingy to get to shore. In all seriousness, if you and/or your spouse have issues or doubts about living on a boat, either as physical limitations or preferences, discuss these with me beforehand so we can make special arrangements so you won't be disappointed during the charter.