A Sea Captain’s Life – Part II

Following our first part of this series, we conclude our interviews with two more local captains willing to reveal what it’s like to be heading charter yachts on these Caribbean waters as the high season gets underway.

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Originally from Hollis, New Hampshire, Captain Jon Bellemare developed a love for the ocean at an early age. He captains the all-inclusive sailing charter yacht, Blue Gryphon, an 83-foot Catamaran.

What life path led you to become a charter yacht captain in the Virgin Islands?

Growing up sailing in New England, I’ve always had a love for the ocean. I did a few trips down in the BVI and USVI over the years and met some great people and they talked me into trying to get on yachts full time. I attribute Grant Young and Tara Hartz for getting me into this career.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about what you do?

I think the biggest misconception is that this is a full-time career not just a gig that we plan to do for a few years. I get asked a lot “when are you going to get a real job?” This is my “real” job and I absolutely love the career path I have chosen.

How do you like to spend your time off?

My wife and I bought a waterfront house in Mid-coast Maine last winter. We enjoy spending our time off at home with our family and furry friends that we only get to see a few months out of each year.

Describe the perfect day on the job.

Flat seas, 20 knots of breeze, and sunshine. And of course, happy charter guests!

Captain Sam Augspurger is a fun-loving sailor with tens of thousands of nautical sailing miles under his belt. He captains the all-inclusive sailing charter yacht, Starfish, a 46-foot Catamaran.

What life path led you to become a yacht captain in the Virgin Islands?

As a young man, I sailed a lot with my father through Florida and the Bahamas and I always hoped to travel the world on a sailboat. That dream came true when Jen and I sold our businesses and took off with our pre-teen kids for a multi-year voyage through the Caribbean and the South Pacific on our prior catamaran. Some years later, with both of our kids in college, Jen and I returned to the Virgin Islands and soon started our charter business on our newest catamaran, Starfish.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about what you do?

People think Jen and I sit on the boat every day, enjoying drinks with little umbrellas, eating lobster and listening to steel drum bands. In reality, maintaining five-star hospitality is a lot of work that requires our constant attention and efforts.

What are the highs and lows of the job?

The highs are seeing our guests leave their stress behind upon boarding Starfish, followed by the smiles as they experience our beautiful Virgin Islands and all the great snorkelling, beaches, hiking—well, just everything about the Virgin Islands. The lows are the end of the charter week when we say goodbye to our new friends.

Describe the perfect day on the job.

The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, and guests are all smiles.

Photography by Michael Spark Photography

Lauren Hodgins
Lauren is a crewed yacht charter broker based on St. Thomas, USVI. Working in the industry since 2004 and sailing over 8,000 nautical miles to date, Lauren now heads Caribbean Yachts International. www.CYIcharters.com
Lauren Hodgins

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