|Sweet and Suspenseful Surprises|
Part 3: The best thing about this crew is that they’re more than attentive, they’re mind readers.
By Elizabeth A. Ginns - October 2003
Indeed, one of the most important changes Trinity made that turned Leda into a successful charter was finding the right crew. As I dined on confit of black duck in a mission fig demi glace served with caramelized enoki mushroom and Bermuda onion, Smith told me, “If you have a good crew, you’re yachting; a bad crew, you’re just boating. A good crew will make or break a charter.” Each member of Leda’s crew brings a different area of expertise and interest and thus a different dimension to the experience. First mate Tony Accetta is an avid sportfisherman, while South African stewardess Vanessa Guerrera is a certified diving instructor and fluent in four languages. Chef Eric Foss, first-place winner of the Concours de Chef competition at the Newport Charter Show in June, has worked on yachts in the 150-foot-plus range and brings a higher level of service than most people would expect on a 115-footer. And Capt. Bud Stein, who handled Leda with ease and was so knowledgeable about the areas we visited, ensures that there is never a dull moment onboard.
But the best thing about this crew is that they’re more than attentive, they’re mind readers who know what you need even before you know you need it. Case in point: our last day onboard when Smith, my fiancé Will, photographer David Paler, and I took the tender from our anchorage to the nearby island of Norman’s Cay, a drug-smuggling hot spot in the 1970’s and 1980’s (see “Drug Smuggling on Norman’s Cay,” this story). We’d planned to have lunch at a restaurant there, then meet up with Leda about halfway back to Paradise Island. Only, we never found the restaurant. When we pulled into what we thought was the restaurant’s dock and walked up the “road” about 500 yards, all we found was a burned-out gasoline truck with bullet holes in it. Further exploration (curiosity got the best of us) revealed abandoned homes, also with bullet holes. Less than relaxed as the eerie scene unfolded, I became more edgy as I noticed an approaching thunderstorm.
Not wanting to get caught in a deluge, we left the island and soon caught up with Leda, well ahead of the storm, thanks to the Intrepid’s twin 250-hp Yamaha outboards, and hopped back onboard the big boat for the remainder of the trip. A bit shaken from the near miss with the storm and too-close-for-comfort evidence of the Colombian cocaine trade, I was delighted to return to my world of luxury and pampering and hear Vanessa say, “Your clean laundry is on your bed, and there’s time for a shower before we get back to the dock if you’d like.” But since we’d never gotten the cheeseburger we set out for, our minds were elsewhere, and amazingly, Eric somehow knew we were starving. So he whipped up a “snack” of cold duck salad in a Thai peanut sauce and a traditional ginger cake with whipped strawberry frosting for dessert (doesn’t everyone eat dessert at one o’clock in the afternoon?). After a bit of TLC from the crew, I was back on track.
And with that last, final surprise, we headed into the Atlantis Marina. I was less than thrilled to say goodbye to a yacht and crew that had helped make my week so full of adventure and excitement, but such is life. And on my three-hour plane ride back to New York City, something dawned on me that made my return to civilization a little less torturous. The paradise I’d just visited wasn’t in the Amazon. I’d been just 30 miles south of Nassau. I could always go back.
Leda is available for charter for $38,500 per week plus expenses, $40,000 per week plus expenses when including the Intrepid tender.
The Sacks Group Phone: (954) 764-7742. www.sacksyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the September 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.