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We have quoted Stephen's letter in full. They chartered 'Ciao Bella' in July, 2004
When I contemplated a 25th wedding anniversary trip as a crewed sailing voyage, I considered a number of issues. Not the least of was my wife's unease about vessels that were less than 300'; eight days on a yacht with two people we had never met; and, finally, the risk that reality could not possibly meet my admittedly romantic expectations.
For me, this trip was a 'last chance' return to the water after a twenty-five year hiatus from sailing. For my wife, this was a celebration of a never-to-be-repeated milestone in our marriage. For both of us, this was an opportunity to begin vacationing with our children as adults: sort of the last "family" vacation and the first vacation with family.
In planning the trip I thought I understood the importance of the crew to the whole mix. As it turned out, I had no idea! I had focused first on the yacht, then on the crew. I now know I had it backwards. On the other hand, I did try to communicate to the crew what my hopes were; I neer imagined that anyone could listen so closely.
I am writing to simply say that Tim Forderer and Lisa Jouris have won our hearts in a way that I would never have imagined possible. I presented them with some Herculean tasks and expectations and somehow they surpassed my wildest hopes. Each of them, individually, found a way to integrate every one of my family into the voyage and make it "their" trip. Each family member returned home thinking that they were the "special" focus of the cruise. Everyone felt they had found new friends; all "discovered" sailing; each was truly saddened by our parting; no one was "relieved" to be alone after we disembarked.
All of this is truly remarkable and I thank you for the combination of talent and elegance that you have created.
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