Chapter 1. A job in the Caribbean.
You lucky bastard!
Actually, the words were worse than that, but either way, my college house-mate was super jealous of the role I had just landed – a job sailing a yacht in the Caribbean! Who wouldn’t be jealous?
Could I sail a yacht?
Well, I’d been on one a few times, albeit as crew, but I was a dinghy sailing instructor, so how hard could it be?
Oh, and another thing, there would be about 10 teenage boys on board. Apart from that – a piece of cake!
Yes, it was a sailing camp program for wealthy American teenagers. One of many summer holiday camps but this one was for the more adventurous (and more wealthy). Four weeks on a yacht, sailing the British Virgin Islands. British Virgin Islands? I’d never heard of them, but from the material I was sent, I understood they were about an hour’s flight from Puerto Rico, wherever that was.
I wouldn’t be working alone, of course. There were in fact 8 yachts, divided into two separate ‘camps’ following a similar program. And we would be learning to SCUBA dive too! It all sounded too good to be true.
Well, it almost was…
My limited experience of yachting had been during my year as a student teacher at Brighton, on the south coast of England. One of the teachers at the school owned a Jaguar 27, a small but well-equipped yacht and would regularly participate in races on the cold, grey sea that was the English Channel. And I was able to join him on a few occasions. But it was a far cry from yachting in the Caribbean. This was a whole new ball game.
“Do you have quarter of a million dollars?” I was asked by Tom, our Camp Director. I checked my pockets. No. “Because that’s how much these boats are worth, so don’t wreck ‘em.” he added.
We had arrived in Road Town, the main (and only) town on Tortola, the principal island of the BVI.
The Moorings, Tortola.