We’re fortunate to build so many lasting friendships with our yacht owners; relationships that span 20+ years in some cases. It is something that is unique and very special to Horizon Yacht Charters. It’s amazing to see our owners’ children grow up in front of our eyes.
We’re going to feature a series of our wonderful owners in our Blog to share some of their experiences of our partnership and their sailing journeys. Susan Barner – the owner of DOUBLE EXPRESSO puts the case for family sailing so beautifully:
“We absolutely love the ability to completely disconnect from our busy lives and reconnect as a family. Our children have learned so much about sailing, the oceans and the people of the islands. We feel fortunate that we have been able to give them such special childhood experiences that they will remember forever.”
Susan, our first featured yacht owner and her family, from North Carolina, USA, bought the Nautitech Open 40 “Double Expresso” back in 2018, but her family’s Horizon story starts way back in 2002.
Here’s our interview with Susan:
TELL US, WHY HORIZON?
“Our experience with Horizon Yacht Charters goes back 17 years. Our first charter experience was in 2002. We had such a wonderful experience with Horizon that we have never considered another charter company for any of our sailing vacations. Specifically, we were impressed with the quality and care of the boats and their first-rate customer service.
During one of our sailing vacations, we accidentally dropped a line in the water while the motor was running and it got caught in the propeller. It was New Year’s Day and we knew it would be difficult to get someone to come out to Norman Island to repair it. So, we called Horizon and told them that we would be able to make it back to port on one motor. Horizon told us that they did not feel comfortable with us sailing with only one motor and insisted that they send someone. Within 45 minutes, a marine technician was at our boat. We felt terrible because the technician had to come out on New Year’s Day because of our mistake. But, not only was our boat repaired quickly, the technician was pleasant and happy to help us. What we thought was a disastrous situation ended up being resolved quickly and pleasantly because of Horizon’s caring response.
Not only does Horizon care about their charterers, but they also care about their employees. One of the things we love about returning to Nanny Cay is that many of the employees have been with Horizon for the entire 17 years we have been chartering with them. That level of employee retention is not something you see every day and it says a lot about the core values of their company. Horizon Yacht Charters is a first-rate company in every way.”
CAN YOU SHARE YOUR HORIZON CHARTER HISTORY?
“In 2002, we chartered a 32′ monohull named “Jammin” in the BVI. We had such a great experience that we decided to charter a 42′ monohull in the Grenadines/St. Vincent with Horizon in 2006.
During the next 8 years, we had two young children and were not able to take a sailing vacation. In 2015, when our children were ages 7 and 9, we decided to take them on their first sailing adventure in the BVI. We chartered “Sweet Chariot”, a lovely monohull. Since we had two young children, we thought a catamaran would give us more space, so the following year we chartered “Double Expresso”. Then, in 2017, we decided to explore further south and chartered with Horizon out of their St Vincent base and sailed the beautiful Grenadines with our children.”
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO BUY YOUR OWN YACHT?
“Mike is an avid sailor and grew up racing sailboats. When I put my foot down and insisted on chartering a catamaran in 2016, Mike was sceptical. He did not think that a catamaran would sail as well as a monohull. However, while chartering Double Expresso, my husband was pleasantly surprised with how the Nautitech Open 40 sailed.
It was a “win-win” because I loved the comfort and space of the Open 40 and my husband loved how it sailed. You could say we fell in love with Double Expresso! So, in 2018, when Double Expresso was listed for sale, it seemed like a dream come true – it was the perfect fit for our family and we jumped at the opportunity to purchase it.”
WHAT DOES SAILING GIVE YOU AS A FAMILY?
“Mike and I have always loved sailing, but having children has made it even more special. There is no better family vacation than a sailing vacation! It is a different world today than it was when we were growing up. There are so many demands and pressures that kids are faced with today that we didn’t have growing up.
Everything is so scheduled and monitored – there is very little freedom for them to simply play and have fun.
Taking a sailing vacation gives our kids the opportunity to just be kids. There are no devices, TV or social media when we are sailing. We snorkel, paddleboard, hike, explore, play games and talk. I truly believe that our kids have grown and learned more during the weeks we have taken them sailing than they have during all their years in the classroom. More importantly, it has bonded us as a family.
I encourage all families to take at least one sailing vacation when their kids are young.
You don’t have to know how to sail; Horizon offers crewed charters with awesome captains at very affordable rates. Taking a family sailing vacation is something you will never regret and the memories will last a lifetime.”
SUSAN, ANY FINAL WORDS FOR OUR READERS?
“For us, there is no better charter company than Horizon Yacht Charters. You may say that we have always “looked to the Horizon” for our sailing vacations (corny pun intended!)”
Keen to get sailing with your children and friends on Double Expresso? Simply click the email link below and mention Promo Code “ONEDREAM” to our Reservations Team: firstname.lastname@example.org“
SOME OF THE BARNER FAMILY’S FAVORITE SPOTS IN THE BVI?
- White Bay on Jost Van Dyke where we love the beach, painkillers and sunset!
- Anegada; We love renting a truck where we pile the kids in the back and explore the island and a lobster dinner on Anegada can’t be beaten!
- Snorkelling off Cooper Island. We saw a 5ft. Green Moray Eel the last time we were there!
- Privateer Bay on Norman Island on our last night; such a quiet, peaceful cove. It is the perfect bay for the end of the trip.
- Our daughter, Anna, at the helm
- Mike and our son, Andrew, jumping off the bow in White Bay, Jost Van Dyke
- Anna and Andrew paddle-boarding in White Bay, Jost Van Dyke
- Andrew learning how to trim a sail
- Family photo on Anegada
- Double Rainbow in the BVI
- Anna exploring The Baths on Virgin Gorda
- Mike and the kids at The Baths on Virgin Gorda
You can read more about Susan’s Nautitech Open 40 DOUBLE EXPRESSO right here.