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We have quoted Vic's letter in full. They chartered 'Purrfection' in March, 2005
Dear Ed Hamilton & Company:
Thanks very much for introducing us to John and Rachelle and Purrfection. We had a wonderful time with them in the BVI. We'll answer the survey questions first, then add a few personal comments.
When we arrived at Village Cay Marina, Purrfection was clean, shipshape and ready to sail, and John and Rachelle took great pains throughout the week to keep her that way (despite our gang's occassional mess). All the advertized equipment was on board and in working order. As we were leaving Village Cay Marina a sea turtle surfaced off our bow, which we took to be a good luck omen (and certainly proved true).
All the water toys were enjoyed, but the waterskis were a particularly big hit. We had three serious skiiers and a few novices in the group, and the 90hp dinghy was one of the main reasons we chose Purrfection over other boats ( a bit of good luck, that). John handled
the dinghy extremely well and was tireless in his efforts to make sure that all our skiers had a good time. One of our group counted 13 snorkels during the week.
The boat itself was very comfortable and fully equipped. We all slept well and the ventilation was adequate without using the a/c. We all had more than enough hot water after snorkeling and swimming every day. The only constructive criticism we would offer in terms of equiptment is that raising the dingy in its davits was a back-breaking affair for the crew (not that they complained for even a single moment). Electric winches would add to the enjoyment of this wonderful crew for their work, we're sure. Their cheerful willingness to lower the dinghy for all of our many expeditions is all the more commendable for this reason.
Our captain John Yoxall was quite simply the best skipper we've ever sailed with. The safetly of his guests was always priority #1 throughout the charter, from remedial snorkeling lessons to carefully cleaning up a broken wine glass. John and Rachelle helped keep our somewhat unruly group on schedule and were always there when they said they'd be. They were such a great team in setting the anchor...we didn't drag once all week, despite some relatively unfriendly bottoms. John seemed to know Purrfection extraordinarily well. His commitment to our having a great vacation went way beyond sailing the boat, however. For example, in our two nights ashore he tooka personal interest in loosening us up to have a good time in the clubs (which we certainly did). We came to realize that John considers one of his roles as skipper to be Ambassador to the BVI for his guests, a role he performed beyond expectations.
John and Rachelle made it clear to us from day one that the itinerary was strictly up to us. We had an informal talk every morning about what to do that day, including John's wonderfully entertaining stories about the history of the BVI. His stories were so much fun that one of our guests promptly began videotaping him, which didn't bother John in the least (it may have actually encouraged his theatrical flair!) . We visited every site we wanted to see, even though our charter was only six days. John and Rachelle's local knowledge added tremendously to our vacations, reinforcing my judgement that a crewed charter was well worth the extra cost over bareboating.
In terms of drinks, not only was the wine and beer we requested available, but John mixed up a different, delicious Caribbean concoction for us every night, all of which were new to us. In fact, it's safe to say that John's talents on the grille were exceeded only by his bartending skills. His wine selections were well received by our group, especially the reds. And after dinner, port was served every night, a favorite of both crew and guests.
Rachelle's creative cuisine was absolutely declicious. Her dishes would have been greatly appreciated in a three-star restaurant, let alone within the limitations of once- a-week provisioning and a ship's galley. She called us at home before the charter to fill in the blanks on our meal preferences. To our surprise we enjoyed a hot breakfast every morning and dessert every evening. She even arranged alternative meals for the vegetarian in our group. One of the survey options regarding our chef is 'Eager to please'...yes, she certainly was.
Your next question involves the description of the boat on your fact sheets...was it accurate? We would say you did a fine job of communicating the features of the boat within the limitations of a one-page format. She met or exceeded all expectations your information created. Her dinghy's suitability for water skiing could perhaps be given greater emphasis. Also, we have never sailed a catamaran before this trip, but her performance characteristics were fine with us. John sailed whatever wind conditions permitted, and we had several long, lovely reaches during a fairly calm week. To monohullers like us, Purrfection seemed to fly.
We were very pleased with Ed Hamilton's services. A real person promptly answered our every call, and each day's e-mail questions were answered that night. Your meal preference surveys helped us focus. No one should undertake a crewed charter without talking to Ed Hamilton & Company. We would be pleased to serve as references for your services or Purrfection, John and Rachelle. All of htis note can be quoted in whole or in part by Ed Hamilton & Co. or Purrfection's owners.
Finally, a few personal comments about John and Rachelle. Its rare to meet a couple with such a wonderful combination of maturity and youthful charm, intelligence and sophisitcation. They added so much to our charter above and beyond their professional credentials. Their teamwork and mutual resepect set an example for our group in how to get along in tight quarters (some of us had never sailed before). Their enjoyment of each other was very infectious. Rachelle's comic talents provided many laughs, memorably her impression of Angelina Jolie's 'plumper' lips. So in addition to all the wonderful memories, we came away from the charter with two great new friends...John and Rachelle have a standing invitation to visit.
Vic & Marnie