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CareyGEOFF CAREY, French Maid, March 2013

I entitled this story "Outside the Comfort Zone" because my family has sailed with me on a Hobie Cat and a Laser before, but never on anything that even remotely resembled the French Maid - a Jeanneau 509. They were a little nervous to say the least. I have captained a number of boats this size, including three years of racing in the Antigua Sailing Week, so I wasn't concerned. However, it took them a few hours on the water before they figured out that Dad really did know what he was doing. First of all, a few things about the boat - she was perfect in virtually every way. She was brand new (launch in Dec '12) and sailed beautifully. The sails were perfect and the equipment was first rate, both in immaculate condition (as you would expect in a boat with only 4 months under her belt) and perfectly located. I could have sailed her by myself if I didn't have such an enthusiastic crew. The lines all come back to one of two helms and the halyards are all controlled just forward of the cockpit. Everything was easily accessible and logical. The electronics were very high end and helpful. Mechanical worked without incident. An all-around a joy to sail. Even with a full gas tank and two full water tanks, she was able to hit 8 knots on several occassions. The interior was spacious, beautifully thought out and well equipped. We provisioned through the grocery store recommended by BVIYC and they did a great job. Abbie and Cassie in the offices of BVI Yacht Charters make things so easy and comfortable from the minute you contact them about the charter. They are knowledgeable about the boat, the area, the transaction, travel plans, scheduling, and planning your trip. First class from start to finish. Anthony was an outstanding resource - teaching us about the boat in every detail. When I pulled away from the dock on Sunday morning, I felt that I knew everything I needed to handle the boat effectively. Additionally, I also knew he would be there for me at a moment's notice, if anything were to require his help while I was sailing. Happily, we only had to call Anthony once and the issue was easily resolved. I really just wanted to see if the phone worked.  Bottom line - We will be back. Everyone had a great time sailing through gorgeous waters on a beautiful boat. It was a vacation that scored big on the family fun meter!!

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