Back around, oh, 1996? Something like that, Cat and I took our first trip to the British Virgin Islands to spend a week aboard the Flying Cloud, a 207ft Barque (3 masts, square rigged on the first mast). It was a delightful trip, and our first time in the BVI’s. We were hooked.
We’d end up taking 4 more trips down there, once with her company, then 3 doing our own bareboat chartering (the picture above is from one of those trips, where we caught sight of the Flying Cloud while stopping at Normal Island). Our last trip was in 2002, after which most of our time and money was being sunk into Mosaic, so we haven’t been back since. I miss it!
I’ve been off and on keeping an eye on Windjammer Cruises, thinking it might be nice to take a trip again. We thoroughly enjoyed our first time – it was very laid back and comfortable. They don’t call it ‘Barefoot Cruising’ for nuthin.
Alas, the Windjammer company has basically fallen apart. There are many suggestions as to why this has happened, but it appears it’s mostly due to infighting among the Burkes, the family that owns the business. The fleet is completely laid up, and even though the website is active, they haven’t sailed in over a year. They are essentially closed up permanently.
I hope another comes along to take up the concept. Having a cruise that is part sailing, part exploring, part cruising, without all the stuffiness that tends to come with your standard ‘big ship’ cruising was very nice, and I’d hate to not have that opportunity in the future.
Edit, 11:40am – There is a fantastic, lengthy article on Cruisemates.com that details the entire history of Windjammer, and how badly they’ve come apart. Highly recommended.