A little over seven years ago, in January of 2016, my partner Hannah and I landed on Beef Island in the British Virgin Islands for the very first time. The purpose of our visit? I was to captain a sailing catamaran with a group of both old and new friends on a week long sailing adventure through these tropical islands. It was also the first time I had ever traveled away from my home sailing grounds of the San Juan Island and Salish Sea region, to charter a sailing vessel and explore unfamiliar waters.
One of the old friends that was going to be joining us was one of Hannah’s long time friends who was bringing her new boyfriend along for the adventure. On the deck aboard a 35’ Catamaran in the BVI, I was introduced to Todd Hennings, the new boyfriend. We all, as a total group of seven, proceeded to have a wonderful time sailing amongst the islands. During this week, my new friend Todd proved to be a valuable asset not only handling the boat, but also with his culinary skills in the galley (kitchen). At the conclusion of our trade wind sailing adventure, while saying our goodbyes, I told Todd, jokingly, that if I ever needed a first mate, I would give him a call.
Years passed, and in the spring of 2021, I was a one season veteran of single hand sailing charter operation. With a one year plan to buy NW Sailing Adventures, a local successful charter operation, from friends Ron and Mari, expansion was on the horizon. But, with expansion, I was going to need help. In May of 2021 I presented the opportunity to Todd to come and join me as First Mate/Chef aboard S/V Diminuendo, my “new to me” 43’ Jeanneau Sun Odyssey DS for the following 2022 summer sailing season.
The season came and we hit the ground running. Todd quickly lived up to my highest expectations and massively exceeded them. His gourmet quality food along with his many many other skills, all of which he can provide under pressure made him a great fit for the business structure I wanted to build. We, as a team, have realized that we are able to provide a premium product that all of our guests are grateful for.
As I sit here on March 18th 2023, in a van in the eastern deserts of Oregon, I am happy to say that our guests DO feel that we provide something special. We are both headed back to the BVI next week to provide our skill at the request of guests that have sailed with us in the past. We will be in the Islands just short of a month and will be out with two groups on two very different boats. Both boats will be launching from the same harbor on the island of Tortola that Todd and I met on those years ago.
Stay tuned for more of our island adventures!