For the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Pacific?
The two lovers met on the captain’s first boat, namely a Beneteau First 35s5 1993. It was a beautiful boat with a very avant-garde design by Philippe Starck. The atmosphere inside was more like a bright New York apartment then the usual cavernous boat interior. She was the perfect boat to learn all aspects of sailing on a fresh water lake (Lake Champlain). For as all sailors do, we had dreams for a boat with a few more feet.
In 2010, before searching for a new boat, we developed our criteria and our navigation plan. First, we needed a boat capable of carrying our present and future family. With a departure around 2015, we knew we would have two kids with the oldest being 5 years old. Then we had to have a good idea of the water we wanted to sail. The options open to us were the following: the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the Pacific. For the Mediterranean, a monohull to a size smaller than 50′ (15m) is preferable to find a dock in the high season. For the Caribbean, about anything that floats can do, because the navigation is easy with the trade winds, reduced distances and abundance of anchorages. In the Pacific, the islands are scattered across vast distances and some offers little or no interesting anchorages. (Easter Island, Pitcairn among others).
We quickly ruled out the possibility of starting in the Pacific ocean. The distances are huge: it takes nearly a month at sea after Panama to visit the Marquesas or Easter Island (although you can stop Galapagos after a week). With young children and a mother prone to seasickness, starting a trip in this region is probably the best way to have the whole family hate sailing. So we decided to test drive our new boat in the Caribbean but where we really wanted to go was the Mediterranean sea. So I had to, reluctantly, abandon the idea that my next boat would be catamaran but rather a monohull between 47 and 50′.
A choice with sense
Any boat search systematically starts with YachtWorld.com and a presence to some boat shows. Thus, we visited Annapolis (x2), Miami, Canne and La Rochelle. After dozens of visits and hundreds of hours of research, our criteria list lengthened: bright interior, panoramic vision to see the children, easy access to water, fast hull. Fortunately, a boat emerged from the lot because it was trying to marry the benefits of a catamaran into a monohull design. The design was radically different from all other boats on the market, but this difference was exactly what we wanted: a huge cockpit separated by only 3 stairs. This design is probably not ideal against Force 10 conditions, but comfort at anchor and dock is unrivaled. As we have no agenda and the luxury of time, we can carefully pick our weather windows. We don’t have anything to prove and no desire to defy the forces of nature, so our crossings will always be performed in optimal conditions every time.
After numerous negotiations with Beneteau dealers in France, Montreal and Florida, we placed our order in April 2011 at Florida Yacht Group. Their price was nearly $100,000 less than the local retailer for the same configuration. The pre-sales service with Fokke was excellent. He even arranged us a visit to the Beneteau factory in St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie (France) so we could see our boat on the assembly line.
Like a house to equip
On December 16th 2011, after a long journey on a freighter that led her to Baltimore, and then by truck across the East Coast, she finally arrived in West Palm Beach, Florida. The captain was feverish seeing the large truck carrying the biggest gift in its life! A few hours passed before I could get in and explore my new toy. Over the next few weeks, I would be in a marathon to prepare the boat for her first crossing, a sailing trip from West Palm Beach to George Town, in the Exumas (Bahamas). Florida Yacht Group’ technician (James) worked for six weeks in order to prepare the boat. A never seen delay because of the complexity of all the electrical and electronic systems. Daniel Nadeau, a friend and captain of experience came to lend me a hand for other works, including the installation of the HAM radio.
The boat was christened Jayana, which means « He who returns with victory » in Sanskrit, the sacred language of Hindu and also used by Buddhists. The butterfly symbolizes the monarch butterfly which is renowned for its endurance and migration across North America. Jayana will not only be our home but also our vehicle for hopping island to island. She will lead us beyond the horizon to allow us to come back the head stuffed with memories and experiences, our mind happy and satisfied to have lived the adventure of a lifetime.