My daughter Izzy and I are lying on our tummies in the bow of a swanky catamaran, racing through the twilight towards the lights of Rodney Bay. It’s the end of an amazing day on board the Moorings 4000, a 49-foot beauty that cuts through the Caribbean like a lightsaber through a Mars bar. Earlier this afternoon we’d been welcomed aboard by our smiley captain, Hubert, who showed us around. It’s an impressive beast – roomy saloon, kitchen, bathroom, three double cabins, comfortably sleeping eight.
Luxurious Life on the Ocean Wave
With Skipper Hubert at the wheel, our eight-strong party set out from the marina at Rodney Bay with the wind in our hair and a fridge full of cold ones. The children made a beeline for the “trampoline”, as the forward fabric platform spread across the two halves of the catamaran is known. It’s not an actual trampoline, which is probably just as well – I had a mental image of overzealous kids being catapulted overboard. It was, however, a choice sunbathing location, and a fine place to lounge with a beer as we made our way southwards.
Our four-hour voyage took us down the serene western coast of Saint Lucia, past steep cliffs topped with green. We passed Castries, Saint Lucia’s capital city, and sailed on to Marigot Bay, which the American novelist James A Michener once described as “the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean.” It’s hard to disagree. A dramatic, boot-shaped inlet surrounded by steep, rainforested mountains, it’s a natural haven that’s been used through the centuries as a “hurricane hole”. Marigot was also the site of several battles between the British and the French and was a location for the 1967 film of Doctor Dolittle. But Izzy, 7, and her friends Omar, 12, and Olivia, 10, were less interested in the history of the bay than they were in jumping into it from the yacht. Which, once Hubert had dropped anchor, they did over and over again with cries of delight. OK, it wasn’t just them. I may have followed suit once or twice.
Back on board and wrapped in towels, we sat back as Hubert turned the boat around and headed back north towards home. This was 21st-century century yachting, with everything from sails to anchor operated by the touch of a button. As the sun sank into the sea on our port side, Hubert switched on the autopilot. “Daddy, the boat is steering without the man!” shouted Arlo, my three-year-old son. Indeed, it was, the wheel turning left and right of its own accord, as if it was helmed by one of those ghost sailors in Pirates of the Caribbean. Once they were dry the girls treated us to a dance routine on the aft deck. And now, as dusk falls, we’re lying in the bow, watching Rodney Bay marina loom into view. “What a lovely day,” says Izzy. Couldn’t have put it better myself.
Ed Potton, The Times.
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